A Hit Is A Hit (Season 1, Episode 10, The Sopranos)

1 A Hit is a HitDirected by Matthew Penn

Written by Joe Bosco, Frank Renzulli

Some days we should be thankful for golf.  That’s what Tony tells Sil in Boca when he shanks ones and says he distracted with the whole Coach Hauser thing.  Tony and Sil are golfing with Junior and Mikey.  It’s the family.  It’s individuals who all play by the same rules, or at least know what those rules are.  In A Hit Is A Hit, we see the Soprano family out mixing with the rest of the world.  And it’s uncomfortable.

The episode begins with Pussy, Paulie and Christopher killing a drug dealer and finding an enormous amount of cash in the hotel room.  Later, when they are celebrating at the Plaza, Tony mentions that a “score like this happens once in a lifetime” and suggests they invest in an IPO and “live off the juice.”  (I have always been under the impression that Tony likes being a gangster and did not recall him ever talking about wanting to go legit at some point, but it does come up here.  Though it doesn’t seem that he’s that serious about it.)

The celebration at the Plaza includes Christopher, Tony and Irina, as well as Paulie and his girlfriend.  Pussy is not there.  Christopher tells Tony that he’s going to go and celebrate with Adriana.

“Bold men make bold statements”

Christopher celebrates the score by taking Adriana into New York for dinner at La Cirque and a show, Rent.  Apparently, the portions are tiny at La Cirque, Adriana is embarrassed to be hungry, and after the show stop at a fast food place to grab something to eat.  We’ve seen how well Christopher handles waiting in line, and this time those in front of him are African Americans and there is opportunity for him to loudly lace his complaints with references to welfare checks, hairnets, and Mark Fuhrman.

Also in the restaurant is rap star Massive Genius and his entourage.  A cop on the scene mentions to one of Massive’s assistants that Christopher is “semi-hooked up with the Tony Soprano crew.”  (So getting his name in the Star Ledger did give him an identity!)

“It’s reparations I seek.”

This chance meeting leads to Christopher and Adriana wanting to explore a career in music management and Christopher setting up a sit down between Hesh and Massive Genius.

Massive Genius is looking to get Hesh to make reparation for Little Jimmy Willis, a singer that was managed by Hesh’s music company F-Note Records, in the form of back royalties.  Christopher agrees to set up the meeting but notes, “I’ve heard his opinions on giving back pieces of Israel, I can only imagine what he’s going to say about this shit.”

When they finally meet at Hesh’s farm, Massive observes that Hesh bought horses with his royalties, “Little Jimmy’s royalties, what ever became of those?’  Sil responds with “He bought horse.”  We learn a little more about the relationship between Johnny Boy Soprano and Hesh.  Johnny Boy was a silent partner who “made sure” the records got played on the radio.

Branching out

Although barbeques and golf are favorite past times of Tony, it’s a different story when it’s among medigan or what Johnny Boy would call “Wonder bread wops.”  Tony finds the barbeque boring and when he tries to turn the conversation to stocks, they talk a bit and when they notice Tony is listening they change the topic.  Carmela, on the other hand, is a little more successful in uncovering a good stock tip.

It goes from bad to worse when Tony joins Dr. Cusamano on the golf course.  The other members of the foursome are relentless in asking Tony mob-related questions – never taking the hint in Tony’s efforts to laugh off the questions.

Later when Tony talks with Dr. Melfi about the experience he shares the story of Jimmy Smash, a kid from his neighborhood with a cleft palette, who “every time he’d open his mouth, we’d piss ourselves laughing.”  Tony compares his experience on the golf course with Cusamano and friends to his discovery that after spending time with Tony and his friends, Jimmy would go home and cry himself to sleep.  Tony tells Melfi, “When I found out, I felt bad – but I never really understood what he felt, to be used for somebody else’s amusement like a fucking dancing bear, til I played golf with those guys.”

This is an interesting admission because it might point to the fact that Tony is treatable.  He has the ability to reflect on how his actions affect others and feel remorse.  But Melfi continues by asking whatever to Jimmy and Tony explains that he’s doing 20 years for robbery and makes the joke that it wasn’t hard to the police to identify him, then imitates Jimmy’s voice.  The look on Melfi’s face appears to be disappointment that Tony’s momentary insight probably isn’t evidence of change.

2 A Hit is a Hit“Live and Learn”

After a string of really good episodes, A Hit Is A Hit is…well…to quote Hesh, “This is not a hit.”  The first half of the episode feels awkward.  The dialogue doesn’t sound quite right and the Massive Genius and Visiting Day scenes seem to drag a bit. Towards the end, it becomes more familiar, beginning with a choice conversation between Christopher and Adriana:

Christopher:  You know how I use the technique of positive visualization?

Adriana:  I know you talk about it.  You’re fairly negative a lot of the time.

Christopher:  I think you should mentally prepare for the possibility Visiting Day sucks.

In the Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti, Christopher asks Paulie, “You ever feel like nothin’ good was ever gonna happen to you?”  In this episode, when Hesh tells him that Visting Day’s song is not a hit, he asks “Why?”  Hesh responds, “For reasons we can’t comprehend or codify.”

The episode closes with Carmela seeing her stock purchase (which Meadow sort of scoffed at) resulting in a three for one split.  Tony, who gave Cusamano Cuban cigars at the beginning of the episode, now has a mystery package his going to give him to mess with his mind.  “Tony, that is so evil!” Carmela laughs.  Tony smiles, “That’s why it’s so much fun.”

Further reading:

Boca (Season 1, Episode 9, The Sopranos)

The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti (Season 1, Episode 8, The Sopranos)

Down Neck(Season 1, Episode 7, The Sopranos)

Pax Soprano (Season 1, Episode 6, The Sopranos)

College (Season 1, Episode 5, The Sopranos)

AV Club http://www.avclub.com/articles/a-hit-is-a-hitnobody-knows-anything,42750/

Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Hit_Is_a_Hit

Watch along with me (affiliate link):  The Sopranos: The Complete First Season