In The Sopranos, Vesuvio owner Artie Buvvo has a habit of acting recklessly because he is untouchable, thanks to his status as Tony Soprano’s childhood friend. Artie is mostly annoying, but no matter what he does, Tony always gives him a pass because he believes he is a good person at heart.
Artie’s freedom to act as he pleases has also translated to his freedom of speech. He normally says whatever he wants without taking a few seconds to ponder over it. At times, this has gotten him in trouble, but on most occasions, it only served to further paint him as the comical character that he is.
When He Doubts Tony
“You’re Innocent. I Get It. I’m Just Another Victim Of ‘Benny Fazio: Criminal Mastermind.'”
It’s all Benny Fazio’s doing, but Artie refuses to believe that Tony wasn’t pulling the strings when American Express bans The Vesuvio for fraudulent card transactions. Even though Benny is one of the best street soldiers in The Sopranos, Artie doesn’t consider him smart enough to come up with such a major scheme.
Artie has a right to doubt Tony since the mob boss denied any involvement when The Vesuvio was torched earlier in the series, yet he was actually responsible. Still, the restaurateur fails to realize just how much Tony cares about him. He would never intentionally hurt his business. Even when he gave an order for The Vesuvio to be torched, it was a way of preventing it from being a murder scene.
When He Tried To Act Tough With Jean-Philippe
“Qu’est-Ce Que C’est? Answering Machine Broken?”
Jean-Philippe, the brother of one of Artie’s hostesses, borrows him $50,000 to invest in a liquor business, but starts avoiding Artie’s calls. Artie heads over to the Frenchman’s house, trying to act tough, but he hilariously gets beaten and thrown out.
The collection mission goes badly for Artie because it’s not something he normally does. He even rehearses what he’s going to say in front of a mirror before heading over to Jean-Philippe’s apartment, but still leaves with a torn ear. What’s funnier is that he tries to sarcastically infuse some French words so as to be clear as possible to Jean-Philippe, but it’s all pointless.
When Tony Gives Him Unsolicited Advice
“I Guess Because You Know How To Eat, You Know How To Run A Restaurant.”
Realizing Artie’s business is struggling, Tony offers him unsolicited advice on how to improve things. His suggestions include hiring Latin cooks and allowing coupons. But Artie wants none of that.
Artie has the impression that he is the best at what he does because a lot of high-profile individuals eat at his restaurant, but the numbers say otherwise. He highly doubts that a mob boss would know how to run a restaurant better than him, but he is definitely wrong since Tony makes a lot of money overseeing different kinds of businesses. One doesn’t get to lead a major organized crime family without some business acumen.
When He Got Jealous Of Benny Fazio
“I’m Telling Her What To Do. Last Time I Checked, That’s The Way It Works.”
Artie becomes jealous when Benny Fazio starts dating Martina, a hostess at The Vesuvio. While Martina is chatting with Benny, Artie orders her around so much that the mobster advises him to calm down. Still, Artie feels that as her boss, he has a right to issue directives.
The restaurateur has an unhealthy habit of falling for his hostesses but never telling them. Consequently, other men normally come in and swoop the women of his dreams, leaving him bitter. It’s a surprise that having known Tony for so long, he hasn’t learned a thing or two from him on how to charm women.
When He Thinks About His Life
“My Dad Used To Say To Me, ‘You’ll See, Pay’s Off In The End.’ What A Joke.”
Artie is devastated when his business starts failing, especially when new competition comes in the form of Da Giovanni’s restaurant. He, therefore, wonders whether life would have been different if he had become a gangster instead of taking on honest work, as his dad advised him to.
Being a law-abiding citizen in a New Jersey area full of mobsters made Artie suffer financially. The fact that he is one of Tony Soprano’s closest friends hasn’t helped much since he can’t be included in the illegal dealings. Nevertheless, he might regret not being a gangster, but his life has its advantages. He doesn’t get to live with the fear of being killed or watch his back for law enforcement officers.
When He Worries About His Restaurant Causing Food Poisoning
“A Touch. Nothing Else, Right?”
After a night out, Tony becomes sick from a serious case of food poisoning. To prove that the bad food he ate was not from his restaurant, Artie calls Big Pussy to confirm if he has stomach issues too. Big Pussy confirms he has a touch of diarrhea.
Over the years, Tony has not only been a loyal customer, but also a high-spending one, hence the reason Atie is so concerned about his welfare. He wouldn’t want the Don to get the impression that hygiene standards at The Vesuvio have dropped. Unfortunately, Artie always has a way of making things worse and by calling Big Pussy, he does just that.
When He Gets Tough With Benny
“Step Outside, Man!”
Soon after confirming that Benny is solely responsible for the card fraud at The Vesuvio, he heads over to his house. As Benny tries to explain himself, Artie sends fists flying, proving he has a case for inclusion among the best fighters in The Sopranos.
It’s the only moment on the show where Artie appears tough. The character himself is as shocked as the viewer when he overpowers Benny since a mafioso would be expected to be better at fisticuffs than a restaurateur. Benny’s injuries force him to go to the hospital but since revenge is always a guarantee in the underworld, Artie soon gets his hand dipped in hot oil.
When He Offers Benny’s Wife A Martina
“A Martina. It’s Like A Martini, But It’s From Albania.”
When Benny shows up at The Vesuvio with his wife, Jen, Artie takes the opportunity to embarrass him. He suggests serving him a Martina, claiming it’s a Martini from Albania. In reality, there is no drink like that. Martina just happens to be The Vesuvio hostess that Benny is sleeping with.
It’s a creative and shady joke from Artie. With it, he comes close to snitching on Benny to his wife, but he stops just before Jen figures out what he means. It’s his way of telling Benny that he can cause him much harm if he wants. It’s moments like this that make Artie vs Benny one of the best feuds in The Sopranos.
When He Learns Tony Was Responsible For The Arson
“I Don’t Just Hate This Man. I Hate All Men.”
Upon learning that Tony is responsible for the arson at The Vesuvio, Artie becomes devastated. He declares that men are never up to any good.
It’s easy to sympathize with Artie at this moment, but what Tony did was for his own benefit. If he hadn’t torched The Vesuvio, Junior would have killed Little Pussy Malanga in it. Consequently, this could have spooked customers, causing the business to tumble. By torching it, Artie is able to rebuild it with insurance money.
When He Professes His Love For Adriana
I Love Her!”
Artie once confronts Christopher as he is having dinner with Tony. He is angry that Christopher forced Adriana to stop working at the restaurant so that she could run her own club. The two almost fight, so Tony orders his nephew to wait outside. Artie then confesses that he loves Adriana, something Tony finds totally silly.
It’s yet another case of Artie falling for women he has no chance with. Audiences can relate to watching Tony resist bursting out in laughter when Artie confesses that he loves Adriana. Taking out his frustrations on Christopher is also unreasonable since he had so many days to try and woo Adriana, but he didn’t.