Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist’s Office For The Amazing Sopranos Season 2
It’s no exaggeration to say The Sopranos season two had some big shoes to fill following the unprecedented success of season one. And it got off to a great start with the season two opening episode, “Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office.” Consistent with that theme was an opening montage of the characters to the tune of “It Was a Very Good Year” by Frank Sinatra. As we’ll see over the course of The Sopranos, certain underlying themes tend to recur quite frequently. Many are on display at one point or another in “Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office,” and read on for my take on just a few.
It was a Very Good Year...to See a Psychiatrist for Family Therapy
First, as we enter season two, had it in fact been a very good year for all of the Sopranos? Well, that probably depends on who you ask. I’d say not so much for Junior and Livia, whose attempted whacking of Tony failed miserably at the end of season one. In fact, we find Junior in the opening montage walking through jail in an orange jumpsuit. (No, he was not arrested for attempted murder, just racketeering).
Also in the opening is Tony’s mother, Livia, getting physical therapy after suffering a “stroke.” Did I mention this stroke happened shortly after the botched Tony assassination attempt? None of this dysfunction is a surprise, however, as we were introduced to Soprano family dysfunction right off the bat in the “Pilot.”
Moving on to Tony and Carmela’s marriage, we see right away that not much has changed. This is news to neither Carmela nor the audience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt Carmela just the same. And when Tony casually tosses his shirt into the wash while it smells of Irina’s perfume, it seems to indicate his indifference to Carmela’s knowledge of his infidelity.
"I Wonder What The Scam is This Time"
Next, we have more family! And on The Sopranos, we know that with family comes a hearty dose of dysfunction. In “Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office,” we meet Tony’s sister, Janice/”Parvati.” She arrives in New Jersey from her home in Seattle, though Tony at first presumes she’s there to get some money and then “rain dance back to the commune.” It’s safe to say we could fill a whole book just analyzing Janice. Whether it’s her work habits (“total disability”), her choices in men, her going MIA for 20 years, and so on and so forth. But for the moment, look, all she needs is a coupla hundred bucks.
Nevertheless, as we all know too well, blood is thicker than water. Underneath the yelling, punched walls, and Italian curse words, there’s a thicker loyalty that endures despite all the noise. While we’re on the topic of siblings, I’ve always been very intrigued by Barbara, Tony’s other sister. We see Barbara a few times throughout the series, but she seems to have been the one to escape the cycle of dysfunction.
Now, what about Family (capital “F”) dysfunction? Let’s talk about another surprise arrival.
Our True Enemy Has Revealed Himself. You Just Weren't Paying Attention
As alluded to, “Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office” features multiple surprise arrivals. In the beginning, Tony walks down the driveway in his famous robe, and you see him suddenly stop in his tracks. There, right at the end of the driveway, is the man himself: Big Pussy Bonpensiero. The tan ghost.
As a matter of fact, in a twist of attempted reverse psychology, Pussy tells Tony that his back was in such bad shape that he had to skip town. Apparently, he knew the guys thought he was a traitor once Tony came to his house at 3:00 in the afternoon. Saying Tony gave Pussy the benefit of the doubt is an understatement. If giving the benefit of the doubt were an Olympic sport, he’d have a gold medal.
Also, doesn’t it sound for a minute like Tony and Puss are a couple? Christopher also has a habit of talking like this, which I’ll get to when I do an in-depth Christopher analysis.
"Does Tony Ever Talk About Us?"
Furthermore, things don’t usually end well when people try to enter a profession for which they’re woefully unqualified. It almost goes without saying that Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte were not cut out for a life of organized crime.
For example, while Bevilaqua and Gismonte watch the office for Christopher, they decide to throw hot coffee in a colleague’s face and beat him up for recommending something other than Webistics.
Meanwhile, the guys are good to go after a quick talking-to by Christopher. In fact, Christopher wants a piece of the action when they steal their next Porsche. Just make it two towns over. I should add that was Christopher’s irresponsibility that led to Matthew & Sean being in charge of the office that afternoon in the first place.
To conclude, there’s lots to unpack from “Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist’s Office.” Though we don’t know it yet, introducing Janice brings a whole new element of psychological family warfare. So much so, in fact, that it endures through the entire series. What did you think of this episode? I’d love to hear your thoughts.