Why Tony might be hard to identify with:
- He’s clearly a psychopath. We sense that, despite the self-pitying talk typical of psychopaths, he’s not really someone who deserves any sympathy.
- He doesn’t admit what he does. He says he’s a “waste management consultant,” then helpfully adds, “The environment.” We see that his behavior is different from what he’s saying, which always makes people more believable.
- He’s fat, and he gets the paper in his robe, not exactly like the blinged-out gangsters we’re used to.
- His mom won’t answer the phone when it’s dark out, which feels delightfully real.
- He describes his attack in a unique way. “At first it felt like ginger ale in my skull.”
- We would loathe him if he wasn’t suffering panic attacks that sent him into humiliating therapy.
- And of course he has an evil mother, which always makes evil characters likeable.
- Everyone disrespects him. Even his likeable behavior, like watching baby ducks try to fly, is looked down upon by his family.
- His malaise is universal: “Lately, I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over.” Melfi responds, “Many Americans feel that way.”
- As he gets sucked into the MRI his wife tells him, “What’s different about you and me is that you’re going to hell when you die.”
- Originally Tony engaged in no violence and nobody liked the pilot, then Chase added the scene of Tony (with upbeat doo-wop music playing) running down someone with his car, and people loved him. He’s active and good at his job!
- “Who do you think you are?” “I’m the person who says how things go, that’s who I am!” We always like having a hero in charge.
- Eat: They’re all eating all the time. When he finds out his grandma isn’t coming to his party, Tony’s son famously says, “No fucking ziti now?”
- Exercise: He sure gets active when he gets violent.
- Economic Activity: His life is his job.
- Enjoy: He loves the ducks. He loves running the guy down.
- Emulate: He wants to be like his father and feels he can’t. When he runs the guy over, he reveals the real reason for the violence: “You tell people I’m nothing compared to the people who used to run things??”
- He decides to see a therapist for his mental (and physical) health, which isn’t allowed at his job, to put it mildly.
- He puts his professional relationships at risk to keep his friend’s business from being ruined.
- He’s doing a favor for Artie.
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