|Behind the Scenes|
Charmaine is an old friend of Carmela Soprano's, and married Artie Bucco -- a friend of Tony Soprano's ever since grade school. She also dated Tony Soprano in high school, and several allusions to their high school sex life are spread throughout the series -- especially one scene in the episode, The Test Dream. Artie and Charmaine co-own an upscale Italian restaurant, Vesuvio (inherited from Artie's father); Charmaine runs the front-of-the-house, and Artie is the head chef. Charmaine's education is referenced periodically in the series: for instance, in The Test Dream, Tony reveals that Charmaine is a licensed notary public. Also, in the Season Four episode Everybody Hurts, when Charmaine raises concerns over losing control of Vesuvio, in relation to Artie's excitement over Tony's offer to become an "investor" in Vesuvio (which would fund Artie's dreams of transforming the restaurant into an ultra-high-end, extension of his own ego), Artie sarcastically retorts that this business idea would never pass Charmaine's "incredibly high Wharton School of Business standards".
Artie and Charmaine have three children together, one son, and two daughters. One of their daughters played with Meadow on the high school soccer team.
In Season One (1999), Charmaine and Carmela have drifted apart. Charmaine resents that Carmela enjoys an affluent lifestyle that is only made possible by her husband's criminal activities. She discourages Artie from associating with Tony because of those mafia connections, and talks Artie out of accepting suspiciously generous gifts from Tony. Charmaine and Carmela's friendship reaches a crisis point when Carmela hires the Buccos to cater a silent auction fundraiser at the Soprano home. Carmela treats Charmaine like a servant, prompting Charmaine to exact revenge by revealing that she slept with and dated Tony at the same time he was beginning to date Carmela (who was on a trip with her parents at the time).
Charmaine's often appears shrewish and irritable, and she rarely masks her growing annoyance at her husband's deepening association with members of the Soprano crime family. However, she could also be considered one of the series's few moral anchors. She never compromises her moral and ethical decency; as a result, she's one of the few recurring characters who is never corrupted by Tony Soprano's influence.
Following a series of escalating arguments, Artie and Charmaine finally separate. Artie sees Tony as the person who can help him realize his dreams of fame and fortune. Charmaine sees Tony as a cancer-like threat to their family's chances to achieve The American Dream. She also feels that the more Artie pursues Tony's influence and approval, the less Artie likes and listens to her. She leaves, telling him, "You're not getting the kids". Since the split, Charmaine considerably improved her personal appearance, while defiantly continuing to work at Nuovo Vesuvio (which the Buccos opened to replace Vesuvio, which burned down in Season 1, episode 1).
Charmaine ultimately reconciles with Artie. During their restaurant's financial difficulties in 2006, Charmaine remains level-headed and actually supportive of her husband.