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Funhouse
Season 2, Episode 13 #26
Air date April 9, 2000
Written by David Chase
Todd A. Kessler
Directed by John Patterson
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"Funhouse" is the 13th episode and season finale of Season 2 of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 26th overall episode in the series. It was written by series creator/executive producer David Chase and co-producer Todd A. Kessler, and was directed by frequent The Sopranos director John Patterson. It originally aired in the United States on April 9 2000, attracting about 9 million viewers.[1]

James Gandolfini won an Emmy Award for his performance in the episode and it was also nominated in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

SynopsisEdit

Shortly after Janice's departure, Tony and younger sister Barbara arrive at Livia's home to discuss her permanent living arrangements. When Livia refuses to move in with Tony and Carmela or Barbara, Tony becomes very angry and hands Livia two airline tickets to Arizona (one for herself and for her sister Quintina) and warns her to leave for good.

Later, Tony discusses a calling card credit scheme with Silvio Dante and Big Pussy Bonpensiero at Artie Bucco's restaurant, immediately after eating at an Indian restaurant. During the night, Tony dreams that he is walking on the boardwalk in Asbury Park and meets up with Paulie Walnuts, Silvio , Christopher Moltisanti, Hesh and Philly "Spoons" Parisi. Tony has just received word that he has six months to live from a terminal illness (possibly cancer, though it's never stated) and accepts the information as if he had already known this and come to accept it. His friends further inform him that he is going to kill himself instead, to which his friends commend his bravery and appreciate the favor he will be doing them, sparing them all those doctor visits. Tony douses himself with a container of gasoline and Paulie ignites a Zippo. Christopher asks, "What if these doctors are wrong?" Tony only gets a split second to process this information, and the gasoline explodes before Tony could even close the Zippo. Tony then quickly awakes to vicious diarrhea and vomiting.

The following morning, Carmela believes that her husband has received food poisoning from Artie Bucco's restaurant and contacts its owner. When Artie arrives at the Soprano home, he and Tony argue about the quality of his food and Artie quickly learns that Tony ate at an Indian restaurant, which could have also caused sickness. Eventually, Artie calls up Big Pussy to see if he is sick as well. Tony then goes into a delirium after receiving a house call from Dr. Cusamano and eventually falls asleep. Tony then begins to dream about having sex with Dr. Melfi during a therapy session.

Tony also has a minor fever dream about Uncle Junior wandering on a factory site. Furthermore he sees himself through a binoculars playing a card game with Paulie. When Paulie says something, Tony shoots Paulie to death.

Later, at Dr. Melfi's, Tony goes off on a racist rant against Indian people and also against his mother, on which Dr. Melfi challenges him. Tony stubbornly refuses to delve into his own mind, and tells her of his sexual dream with her before he storms out.

Tony has one final "fever dream", involving him speaking to Big Pussy, who has taken the form of a fish: this dream-version of Pussy hints "You know I'm working with the government, right?" and makes tongue-in-cheek reference to "sleeping with the fishes". After this point the confusion of whether or not Tony was truly awake steadily becomes clear. In the morning, Meadow reveals she is going to Columbia University. Tony and Silvio later go to Pussy's house, and invite him to go boating with them. Searching Pussy's room, Tony finds Pussy's wire—proof that Pussy is indeed an FBI informant.

Silvio, Tony and Pussy meet up with Paulie Walnuts at the dock, and they sail out together. On the boat, Tony confronts Pussy, and asks how long it has been since he "flipped." Pussy at first denies the charge of informing, but quickly confesses under pressure. He claims not to have given any major information to the Feds, but Tony does not believe him. Silvio excuses himself, claiming to be seasick.

Pussy asks for tequila, and Paulie pours Jose Cuervo for Tony and Pussy. Silvio returns, as Pussy brags about the girl he used to know at the clinic in Puerto Rico. Tony asks if she was real and Pussy retreats to a corner, resigned to his fate. Then, as he asks to be allowed to sit (after his three consecutive shots of Tequila kick in), he claims his inner ear balance is off. He asks several times if it's okay for him to take a seat, clearly overwhelmed and starting to panic. Tony, Paulie and Silvio shoot him to death, honoring his wishes to not be shot in the face. Paulie removes his jewelry, and together they bind his body in chains and weights, then throw him off the back of the boat.

Hours later, Carmela receives a phone call from Livia, who is being detained in Newark Airport security for possessing stolen airline tickets. Within minutes, FBI agents arrive at the Soprano home with a search warrant and ask to search the residence and cars. An agent reveals he has already searched Tony's car and found the stolen tickets. Tony is placed in handcuffs and is taken to FBI offices for questioning. Tony becomes unbalanced at a point and almost falls, appearing weak in front of the FBI agents. One agent takes the opportunity to point out that mob boss Tony Soprano is "weak in the knees". Instead of his usual bravado to the agents, he angrily tells them he's got food poisoning, and is led into a holding cell for a brief period of time. Tony quickly contacts his lawyer, Neil Mink, and is released on bail in time for Meadow's graduation, which will be held the next day.

The following day at Meadow's graduation ceremony, Tony proudly watches his daughter accept her diploma. At the graduation, Tony tells Christopher that he is proposing him to get his "button" and become a made man. The episode ends with a montage of Tony's two families celebrating Meadow's graduation, interspersed with the images of the various illegal enterprises through which Tony makes his fortune. Carmela looks for Tony among the guests, finding him standing by himself in a corner of the living room, slowly lighting a cigar. The shot fades into a shot of the ocean at sunset, the waves crashing on the shore.

Episode Cast Edit

First appearancesEdit

The episode marks the first appearance of:

DeceasedEdit

Title referenceEdit

  • In Tony's dream, he is on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, near a funhouse with the famous wide-eyed clown painted on it known as "Tilley".
  • Also, when Livia calls Tony from airport security, Carmela hands the phone over with the phrase "the fun never stops".

ProductionEdit

  • David Proval and Aida Turturro are no longer billed in the opening credits though Turturro returns next season as a full-time cast member.
  • Just as in the season opener, "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office...", Silvio does his The Godfather impersonation ("Our true enemy has yet to reveal himself") in Tony's dream in reference to Pussy.
  • In his dream, Tony sees Pussy as a fish. The reference is to death as in "sleeps with the fishes".
  • Every time Tony dreams in this episode, there is a creaking sound in the background. This is the same creaking sound of the boat at sea when Pussy gets shot.

MusicEdit

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

Entertainment Weekly placed "Funhouse" #5 on their list of the 10 greatest The Sopranos episodes;[2] TIME placed it at #9.[3]

AwardsEdit

  • This episode was one of two viewer's choice winners on A&E. It is widely considered to be one of the best episodes in the entire series. It is also considered to be one of the most depressing episodes in the entire series.
  • James Gandolfini won the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his performance in this episode.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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