And we’re back! Pod Yourself A Gun: A Sopranos Podcast has returned from our self-imposed hiatus to discuss episode four of season two (204), “Commendatori.” Or, as it’s known in It’s Always Sunny naming convention, “The Gang Goes To Italy.”
Joining us for this episode is columnist/writer/author Drew Magary, formerly of Deadspin, currently of GenMag and (sometimes) Vice. Drew was a semi-regular guest on our other podcast, the FilmDrunk Frotcast, though this is the first time we’ve had him on since his brain exploded and he almost died, and since his company got bought by private equity ghouls and the entire staff quit in protest.
2019 was an eventful year for Drew! But mostly he’s just here to discuss “Commendatori,” one of my personal favorite episodes of Sopranos. How many other episodes involve a trip abroad and a wise guy Elvis impersonator getting whacked? Reportedly this episode was one of David Chase’s least favorite (even though he wrote it) and in fact it was the first (and only) episode Chase brought up in this 2019 interview when asked if there were any episodes he wishes he could do over. Apparently he thought Sofia Milos was too sexy as the mob boss.
Whatever the case, I love this episode (I made an entire dish based on it for this cooking challenge), partly because the episode is peak Pauly Walnuts. Here he’s been basing basically his entire life and persona on this idea of coming from Italy and being Italian and then he finally goes there and the food is weird and the people are kind of rude and everyone thinks he’s a dumb asshole.
When he sees the old man on the waterfront and says, “Commendatori, buongiorno!” and the old man asks “Are you with NATO? You cut our ski lift cable,” (in Italian, which Pauly can’t really understand) it’s one of the best moments in the entire series.