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The Happy Wanderer

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The Happy Wanderer
Season 2, Episode 6 #19
Air date February 20, 2000
Written by Frank Renzulli
Directed by John Patterson
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"The Happy Wanderer" is the 6th episode of Season 2 the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 19th overall episode in the series. It was written by Terence Winter, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on February 20, 2000.

Episode castEdit

Lillo Brancato Jr. as Matthew Bevilaqua
Nicole Burdette as Barbara Soprano Giglione
Federico Castelluccio as Furio Giunta
Vince Curatola as Johnny Sack
John Fiore as Gigi Cestone
Joseph R. Gannascoli as Vito Spatafore
John Hensley as Eric Scatino
Paul Mazursky as "Sunshine"
Robert Patrick as David Scatino
Frank Sinatra, Jr. as Himself
Lewis J. Stalden as Dr. Ira Fried
Chris Tardio as Sean Gismonte
Ed Vassalo as Tom Giglione
John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco

SynopsisEdit

During College Night at Meadow's school, Tony reunites with an old school friend, David Scatino, who owns a sporting goods store in Ramsey, New Jersey. Davey then casually asks Tony if he can play in the "Executive Game", a high-level poker game established by Tony's father, Johnny Boy, and Uncle Junior in the 1960s, and now resurrected by Tony himself since Junior's house arrest. Tony declines David entry, saying that the stakes are high and the income from his sporting goods store does not lap over such bets. Some time later, David is seen gambling with Artie and some other guys in a lower-stakes card game run by Richie Aprile. At the sporting goods store, Richie comes to collect on David's debts. David makes a partial payment, to which Richie warns that missed payments are added to the principal, so he is not to come to any more card games until the debt is retired.

At his therapy session with Dr. Melfi, Tony discusses that things are going well for him but that he is becoming angry at everything. As an example he refers to "happy wanderers," people walking down the street with a smile and a happy manner. Tony explains that he is resentful of these people because "they always walk around with a clear head", while he cannot stave off depression and anger even when life is seemingly unproblematic, despairing at the death of his brother-in-law's father, Tom Giglione Sr., who was swept off a roof while putting up a satellite dish just one day after his retirement. Tony then tells Melfi that he is beginning to resent therapy as it encourages feelings of victimization, while his hero, Gary Cooper, was always resilient, "the strong, silent type". Tony also learns from Uncle Junior that he had another uncle who was mentally disabled. Uncle Junior tells him that his name was Ercoli (nicknamed "Eckley") and that his mother could not take care of him, instead sending him to the most suitable charity home in the state. Melfi sarcastically asks Tony if having a retarded family member makes him feel better about coming to therapy.

At Tom Giglione's funeral, Tony becomes angry when Livia arrives, saying she is dead to him. He also becomes angry when she attends a school performance where Meadow is scheduled to sing.

Before the card game, Christopher Moltisanti grooms Matt Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte giving them the dos and don'ts when they arrive at the game. Furio Giunta arranges the game to be held at the Teittleman motel, and is derisive when Hillel Teittleman complains about the criminal enterprises the mob has brought into his family's establishment, noting that the Hasidim enjoy the services of their prostitutes. At the card game, the players include Frank Sinatra, Jr., Johnny Sack, Silvio Dante, and Dr. Ira Fried, who specializes in sexuality. Tony is surprised when Davey Scatino arrives looking to join the game, and initially resists ("Dave, this game isn't for you") but at his friend's insistence, finally allows him to enter. By the morning, Davey owes $45,000 to Tony. Richie then visits the motel room where he sees Davey and attempts to choke him for even daring to enter the Executive Game when he still owes Richie thousands of dollars. Tony breaks up the fight and takes Richie outside. Richie tells Tony that Davey already owes him $8,000. Richie's conduct was inexcusable by Mafia standards, as there is a time and a place for collections. As punishment for what Richie did, Tony says David Scatino will not pay Richie anything until his debt to Tony is retired, and that Richie will not be allowed to charge interest or make collections until further notice. A humble Richie apologizes to save face. When driving home with Janice, Richie says Tony is a good guy, but Janice, in an attempt to stoke Richie into regaining his status as boss, says Tony's favors have been a matter of duty, not friendship. Davey fails to come up with the money for Tony, who tracks the debtor down to his store and smacks him around his office. Desperate, Davey turns to his friend Artie Bucco for a loan, but Artie declines when he learns that Davey is asking for $20,000, even though he is concerned by the news that his friend is in debt to Tony. Although not stated, Artie probably realizes that with Dave heavily in debt to two mafiosi, his own chances of ever being repaid would be minimal.

As partial payment, a desperate Davey gives Tony the Nissan Pathfinder that belongs to his son, Eric Scatino. Tony then gives the car to Meadow, who soon realizes that it belonged to her friend and refuses to take it. Offended, Tony tells her that he is justified in demanding whatever payment Davey Scatino could offer, and insists that Meadow either acknowledges all she gets is from Tony's work, or leave. Tony realizes Meadow did not ask for a car, so she can decline, in which case he will sell the jeep to Big Pussy and use the revenue to buy "food, clothes, toys or CD players and everything else I have been buying for you since the day you were born!" Carmela warns that the Scatinos have connections to Georgetown University, and this may be jeopardizing Meadow's admission there, but Tony fails to comprehend that. However, Eric is not prepared to accept his father's responsibility for the loss of his property. When they meet later that night to perform a duet with Meadow at the school's cabaret night, Eric demands that Meadow "make" Tony give his SUV back. When Meadow points out that she can't force Tony to give anything back, and further suggests that Davey bears at least some responsibility for his situation, he drops out minutes before their scheduled performance, saying, "Fuck you, fuck your gangster father and fuck this." As the show begins, an announcer alerts the audience a program change in the second act: that Meadow will be performing alone. Carmela is surprised, but relieved that Meadow will have a solo performance for her college application, while Tony seems unrepentant at the obvious impact he has had on the Scatinos and their friendship with his own family.

TriviaEdit

  • "The Happy Wanderer" is also a German song written by Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller. An English version sung by Frankie Yankovic is played during the end credits.

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