Throughout the entire six season run of HBO’s The Sopranos, Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) never ceased to be a thorn in his nephew’s side. While Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) loved and admired him, Junior was a stern, cranky, and thoroughly old-school gangster.
After a violent and bloody power struggle early on, the two managed to become family frenemies of sorts, begrudgingly working with one another for the sake of the business, as well as their own mutual benefit. While you can re-live the entire series anytime on HBO Now, here are Uncle Junior’s most hard-nosed lines for when you need to remind everyone that it’s your way or the highway.
“You might run North Jersey, but you don’t run your Uncle Junior. How many f*cking hours did I spend playing catch with you!?”
Going all the way back to the pilot episode, Junior was quick to let Tony know that just because he was his uncle, that wouldn’t give him any leeway with him. Junior didn’t play favorites, and he didn’t let sentimentality get in the way of how he ran his affairs, either.
“I don’t like it. Next he’ll be making jokes about me.”
Once Junior decides to set certain events in motion, he relies on his smarmy wheel-man, Mikey Palmice (Al Sapienza), to find the right guy to get the job done. Once this guy makes a particular offhand remark about Tony, Junior makes it clear that he doesn’t want this situation taken lightly, and demands that Mikey get ahead of the problem right away. There may have been a time and a place for humor, but it’s not when conducting business, and it’s definitely never at Junior’s expense.
“Take it easy. We’re not making a Western, here.”
A recurring problem on The Sopranos was the presence of tough guys who always thought they had something to prove. Tony called it “Cowboy-itis.” Junior, of course, had his own way of shutting down that way of thinking.
“I prefer Mr. Soprano.”
Junior would always pride himself on the fact that he lived his life with dignity. After being arrested, the FBI asks if he prefers to be called “Junior” or “Corrado,” his real first name. Junior never caves to the pressure, and he never raises so much as an eyebrow. He just tells them what he’d like to be called, and it’s definitely not his first name. Even when the chips are down, it’s important to demand respect.
“Federal Marshals are so far up my ass I can taste Brylcreem.”
Okay, so you probably can’t relate to what it feels like to face a RICO trial and endure government agents tailing you to make sure that you don’t break the terms of your house arrest. Regardless, Junior sure can express how it feels to be really, really fed up with something. No pun intended.
“You tell me to take a dump on the Queen Mary, an hour later they’re hosing it down with disinfectant.”
Even though he liked to give the impression that he always took a hard line, he didn’t necessarily do it with everyone. For instance, he held his cancer surgeon, Dr. Kennedy (Sam McMurray), in such high regard that he willfully admitted that he trusted the man with his life. Why? Because of the man’s name. No one ever said being the boss didn’t entitle you to some quirks now and then.
“Keep thinking you know everything. Some people are so far behind in a race that they actually think they’re leading.”
Junior, proving that he always had his own self-interest in mind, let Richie Aprile (David Proval) think he’d back him in a move against Tony. When Richie fails to drum up support, though, Junior goes behind his back and tells Tony everything, netting a few dollars for himself in the process. Junior also manages to restore some of the trust between Tony and himself — for a while, anyway.
“What the hell would we have in common? Bunions? You know how I feel about feet.”
When Bobby Bacala (Steven R. Schirripa) tries to persuade Junior into a forming a friendship with Catherine Romano (Mary Louise Wilson), a dear friend of his from the old neighborhood, Junior is quick to scoff at the idea. He eventually relents, but not before reminding Bobby just how unpleasant he finds the whole ‘human interaction’ thing.
“I’ll do it if I f*ckin’ feel like it. Take your ultimatums and stick it in your ass!”
Even after years of house arrest before being moved into a private care facility, Junior managed to keep his sharp tongue, even if his wits had started to fray a bit. Still, he never took kindly to being told what to do, as this psychologist was quick to learn. While we don’t recommend anyone approach a situation with such open hostility, no one can say Junior didn’t stick to his way of dealing with things as long as he could. Cranky as those ways were.
“You can’t blame it all on the Justice Department.”
Even a guy as tough as Junior isn’t able to hold out forever, and after being moved from a private run facility he ends up medicated and staring out a window in a state facility, a cruel fate that Tony himself hadn’t even considered. That being said, let’s remember Junior as the perpetually agitated, foul-mouthed uncle, the boss of the family (even if in name only), who rarely had kind words for anyone.