Obviously, Chase is not a mobster, but he is Italian, so he’s able to draw on that. Above that, however, is simply the fact that he, like all of us, often feels like a criminal, as I said here:
- Chase was a successful screenwriter, but he was putting his own mean-mouthed mother in a home and she was heavily guilt-tripping him. He thought to himself “I’m such a monster.” He decided to do a show about what it felt like to be a rich guy putting his mother in a home. Except, in the TV version, instead of the meek TV writer he was, he would portray himself as the monster (aka mobster) he felt like.
- Chase had a real Uncle Junior, and you can see him standing next to the fictional Uncle Junior in his first scene.
- The stoneworkers story was from Chase’s family.
- He had an alienated teenage daughter.
- He was in therapy.
- Tony’s dream about unscrewing his bellybutton and his penis falling off came from one of Chase’s friends.
- Surprisingly, the story about blowing up the restaurant came not from his research, but from a family story: “My cousin Tony Pasquale told me about it.”
- The way the HMO story goes down. (We’ll talk more about the value of this soon)
- There really were gangsters named “Big Pussy” and “Little Pussy” in the 1940s.
Does that mean that he shouldn’t have included the ducks? Of course not. It’s a powerful metaphor, even it couldn't actually happen that way. But it strengthened his commitment to drawing most of his details from real life.