Welcome to my first in-depth Sopranos episode review, featuring “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (season two, episode five). Big Girls don’t cry, or do they? What about big boys? Expressing emotions is not the Soprano crew’s strong suit, at least when it’s something other than anger.
While a whole chapter could be written on “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” I’m condensing it into a discussion on some themes, ideas, and characters that I thought were important. With multiple plots and subplots, if you’re not careful, you could miss something! I know this because each time I watch this one, I learn something new. By the way, these aren’t necessarily listed in order of importance, but rather, as they flew out of my head and onto the keyboard. Let’s take a look.
Big Girls Don't Cry - "My name is Chris MacEveety"
First, this episode is very symbolic of Christopher and Adriana’s relationship. Adriana gets him an acting class as a birthday present to help him with his movie script. On the day of the first class, when she drops him off, her face has a look of such genuine love. She truly wants the best for him, but we all know where that leads (I’m saving that for another day!)
Specifically, when Christopher gets into the acting, I see some potential. The problem is, he doesn’t have the self-awareness or discipline to turn his passion into something sustainable. An example: When Adriana is helping him practice his class assignment, Chrissy gets randomly annoyed, stops to do drugs, and then responds to her advice about acting revealing one’s innermost feelings by asking “How do you know? From writing down orders at the restaurant?”
You're Out of the Woods
Next, in “Big Girls Don’t Cry” Dr. Jennifer Melfi describes to her therapist a dream she has of watching Tony get into an accident as a result of having a panic attack while driving. The dream has led her to consider taking Tony back as a patient. Elliot speculates that she enjoys having Tony as a patient so she can experience the vicarious thrill of being terrified without the consequences.
However, Dr. Melfi interrupts Elliot to remind him that it’s not just a “vicarious thrill.” As you probably remember, Dr. Melfi had to go “on the lam” at the end of season one because of Tony, and she’s also suffering in real time by feeling like an out of control little girl who’s eating too much sugar and gaining a few pounds. While this vice may seem mild in comparison to the other character’s vices, it’s still very real.
"Ozzie and Fuckin Harriet Over Here."
Further, Tony’s less than thrilled to see Richie answer the door at his mother’s place (where Janice is staying). If it’s any consolation, Richie offers Tony eggs (this offering eggs thing is actually a theme we see multiple times). While this technically isn’t a “new” romance, as Janice and Richie dated back in high school, that doesn’t make it any better in Tony’s eyes. While Richie claims that he and Janice have grown up, Richie made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t exactly Mr. Zen when he ran over Beansie and turned him into a paraplegic after Beansie didn’t agree to give Richie a piece of his pizza business.
With that said, what I took from this scene is the reality that old habits die hard, whether it’s dysfunctional relationships, violence, or a combination (we’ll see that later in the season!) When it comes to toxic relationships, they can still be pretty comforting, dysfunction notwithstanding. It’s the devil you know, right? Interestingly enough, this scene also made me think of the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.” Tony berates Janice for not growing up, but meanwhile, Carmela tells Tony to grow up in that very episode, which largely falls on deaf ears.
Big Girls Don't Cry - "He's a master cheese maker."
Next up is Furio. I’m so fascinated by Furio’s dual personas, both of which seem to reflect the “real” him. At the party, you see him enjoying the little things, like making small talk with the young mother and child or expressing his enthusiasm about American T.V. shows. Overall, Tony already resents Furio enjoying himself in general while Tony suffers from constant agita.
On the other hand, Furio’s here to work, and he does that very well, too. After Christopher was unable to get the money owed by a brothel owner, Furio went in and cleaned house, literally and figuratively. If there had been any doubt in your mind that this guy knew what he was doing, all doubt vanished following that scene.
"Nobody tells me nothing."
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” is when Pussy realizes the jig is definitely up. At Furio’s welcoming party, Pussy expresses his frustration to Silvio that nobody “tells [him] nothing.” Honestly, though, he can really only blame himself for that. After he ghosted the whole Family at the end of season one, what did he expect? In fact, that wasn’t even his first ghosting offense, although we’ll learn more about that in season three.
For what it’s worth, the house party wasn’t the first moment in which Pussy realized the status quo was no more. Earlier in the episode at Vesuvio, Paulie asked Puss to give him, Furio, and Johnny Sack a minute to talk in private as if Puss was a mere soldier or acquaintance. There’s no longer any doubt in his mind that Tony is onto him. It’s now just a matter of how much he knows.
Big Girls Don't Cry Conclusion
In conclusion, consistent with my standard Sunday night insomnia, I’ll likely be up late watching television and think about another theme from “Big Girls Don’t Cry” that I forgot to include here. In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and send me a tweet or message letting me know what you think and any other episodes you’d like me to dive into next.