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The Telltale Moozadell (The Sopranos episode)

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Sopranos

Lady Gaga (left)

The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based mobster, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. The series also features Tony's family members and Mafia associates in prominent roles and storylines, most notably his wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), and cousin and protégé Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli).
Lady Gaga made a cameo on the episode, "The Telltale Moozadell" (Season 3, Episode 9), when she was fifteen. The episode was written by Michael Imperioli, directed by Dan Attias, and originally aired on April 22, 2001. She was credited alongside the guest stars as Stefani Germanotta, "Girl at Swimming Pool #2".

Plot

On Carmela's birthday, each member of the Soprano family presents her with a gift, each of varying value/importance to Carmela: Tony, a very large and expensive sapphire ring, A.J. purchases The Matrix DVD for his mother (which he almost certainly bought for himself, as Tony comments sarcastically that it's "right up her alley"), and Meadow gives her mother a gift certificate to a day spa, which she put on her mother's credit card and purchased one for herself as well. At Carmela's birthday party, Jackie Aprile, Jr. arrives late, just as they are about to sing "Happy Birthday" and apologizes for his tardiness. Afterward, A.J. is invited to a friend's house to spend the night and Meadow and Jackie go out to a movie. In bed, Carmela asks Tony why he did not buy the Mercedes that he had been considering. Tony replies that driving that car would result in him presenting himself in a manner that would be undesirable for him and the image he would like to project, a "mid-life crisis mobile". Instead, Tony continues his affair with the Mercedes saleswoman, Gloria Trillo, who —- according to Dr. Melfi and unbeknownst to Tony —- has a suicidal past as well as an unhealthy relationship streak. They visit the Bronx Zoo on their next date. As they watch a gorilla, they passionately kiss and eventually end up in the deserted reptile house, where they have sex with their clothes on. On their next outing, they caress on a couch where Gloria finds Tony's gun, which fascinates her. At her therapy session, Gloria is taken aback by Dr. Melfi's questioning -— in particular, the psychiatrist's inviting her to expand on the male voice that was heard during their last phone conversation. At his own session with Melfi, Tony tells her that he has had a very successful week and gives her a bonus on top of the week's remittance. Melfi senses that Tony is being dishonest in part, and tries to refuse the extra money, but Tony insists on leaving the cash. Melfi then answers her son's phone call. She confesses that she "hates all them", referring to her patients for lying to her. Her stress over the situation has clearly elevated. Her son tells her that he needs to buy some expensive books for school, in a slightly apologetic and quiet manner. Dr. Melfi naturally looks down at the extra cash Tony left in her hands as a solution, but physically makes an expression revealing her moral uncertainty.
On the night of Carmela's birthday, A.J. and some of his friends break into their high school and swim in the pool. When they are finished swimming, a few people begin to throw things from the gym teacher's room in the pool, which escalates to garbage cans, a teacher's desk and trophies obtained when one of A.J.'s friends smashes the trophy case. The situation becomes out of control and they are all forced to leave before getting caught. At the crime scene, the police find a pizza that has a recognizable logo. They question the owner of the pizza parlor who says that it looks like a special order. Upon being threatened with legal action, the owner reveals the customer. A.J. is sent home due to his involvement in the vandalism, and his parents attend a parent conference with the school principal. The principal expels A.J., but, due to his importance on the football team and his academic record, suspended his sentence and opted to put A.J. on probation instead. Not feeling that the school's punishment was harsh enough, Tony and Carmela grounds A.J. for a month with no television, DVDs, computer or Nintendo, and is forced to clean out the rain gutters; Tony and Carmela are slightly appalled when A.J. doesn't even know what a rain gutter is.
Christopher Moltisanti buys Adriana The Lollipop Club, a dance club in Long Branch, New Jersey, which she renames The Crazy Horse. Christopher feels bad that he had asked Adriana to quit her job as a hostess at Nuovo Vesuvio after he earned his button, but now she will be able to run her own business and earn her own money. Christopher tells her that she will be the owner-manager and that the previous owner will work for her, as he broke himself financially betting on a football game and had to give up his business as a result. Furio Giunta and Christopher own a percentage as "silent partners"; Christopher also sees the club as an opportunity for the gang to run their business in a safe environment without FBI interference. However, at the opening, a drug dealer named Matush is caught conducting his business in the bathroom and is soon thrown out, being warned by Furio to stay off the property. Jackie steps in to help his friend, and asks Christopher to let Matush continue his dealing inside the club. Christopher flatly refuses. Not wanting to be embarrassed, Jackie lies to Matush and tells him that Christopher approved Matush making deals, but only outside the club. Matush does so, and is severely beaten by Christopher's men. While they prepare pasta, Jackie asks Ralph Cifaretto for 'a piece' and, without much querying from Ralphie, is given a .38 revolver.
Carmela is concerned about Meadow's relationship with Jackie Jr., but Tony assures Carmela that Jackie has his act together and will treat Meadow with respect. Carmela must hide her true feelings to remain friends with Rosalie Aprile, who is ecstatic about the arrangement. Meadow writes Jackie's assignment, a paper on Edgar Allan Poe, and he receives an "A". After Tony has a heart-to-heart with Jackie, and stresses how, although he has always expected the best out of Jackie, this is different and far more serious now that Meadow is involved. Jackie promises Tony that he will work hard and be faithful to Meadow, maintaining credit for the paper that he lazily left to Meadow to write for him, as he said he was going to do it but didn't even read the writing. Tony warns Jackie that he will be keeping an eye on him, and not to try to deceive Meadow. Tony then runs into Jackie at a local illegal casino, angrily scolding him and telling him to stay away and focus on his school work if he wants to continue seeing Meadow. The next morning at breakfast, Carmela tells Tony that Jackie took Meadow to see Aida which makes her rethink her original impression of Jackie, as he is clearly on his best behavior around the Soprano residence, and being a gentleman to all family members, even mentoring A.J. in football and bonding with him.

Title references

  • The episode's title is a play on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart". 'Moozadell' is rough Italian-American slang for mozzarella cheese, but can also be used as a derogatory name for an Italian man.
  • The title also refers to Jackie Aprile, Jr.'s dishonest dealings with Tony and Matush.
  • The title also refers to A.J.'s custom made pizza with extra mozzarella cheese — leaving the pizza at the high school led to the police to determine that A.J. and his friends were responsible for the vandalism.

Featured music

  • Ben E. King - "I (Who Have Nothing)"
  • Andrea Bocelli - "Con Te Partirò"

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