Why I’ll Never Get Tired of Watching The Sopranos “Boca”
It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite episode of The Sopranos, but “Boca” is surely one of them. For some background context, boca means mouth in Spanish, and the City of Boca’s full name is Boca Raton (rat’s mouth). Is your head already spinning with the scenarios? Anyway, let’s dive right in to why The Sopranos Boca episode is one of my favorites.
First, “Boca” opens to Livia, Junior, and A.J. at the cemetery visiting Johnny Soprano (her Johnny was a saint!) Having recently found out that Tony was in therapy, Livia complains to Junior about her son, “the mental patient.” After suggesting Tony sees a psychiatrist to talk about his sex life, A.J. runs up to Livia and asks her a little cemetery joke:
As a matter of fact, this joke of A.J.’s ties very well into the overall Sopranos theme. Making the dead people jealous, huh? So, you’re telling me there are a bunch of dead people laying six feet under who have nothing better to do than be jealous of those above ground? I have constant agita and stress when all this sh*t’s for nothing? Life really is absurd (or so I heard from A.J., anyway).
Soccer Dad Sil
"If you blow that whistle one more time..."
Next, let’s talk about soccer. For what it’s worth, when I see Meadow on the field, I get nostalgic from my own days on the soccer field. But what I really love about this scene is how animated Silvio gets with the referee. While Sil does get fired up every so often (see cheese incident & Columbus Day), “Boca” displays that rare fatherly side. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it (shocker). In any case, it feels like a more human side to a normally stoic, subdued consigliere. Fortunately, the game ends with the Falcons taking the W after one of Meadow’s teammates, Ally, scores the winning goal.
They made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Although everyone’s ecstatic over the girls’ win, the celebration is short-lived when they learn Coach Hauser’s accepted a coaching position in Rhode Island. Apparently, they “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
At the same time, on a parallel track, Meadow discovers that her soccer teammate, Ally, is having sex with Coach Hauser. Considering their age difference, I should really just call it what it is: statutory rape. These parallel tracks collide when Meadow breaks the news to her parents one evening.
"My name is Clarence."
but the TV stays here."
Boca & Psychiatry Brought Us to This
Aside from the soccer dilemma, it wouldn’t be an episode of The Sopranos without a hearty dose of Soprano family egos. When Tony finds out that Junior performs oral sex on his longtime girlfriend, Bobbie, he proceeds to hassle Junior on the golf course. By this time, Junior also knows Tony’s little secret (the “mental patient” one). Of course, there’s nothing to be ashamed about, and both Junior and Tony would’ve been spared a lot of agita if they just hadn’t opened their big bocas (sigh).
I don't make the rules."
Not surprisingly, when Junior is asked why pleasuring a woman has to be a secret, he responds with “It’s complicated” and “It’s a sign of weakness.” When Bobbie continues to press him, he finally gives in and admits that he doesn’t know but that those are the rules and that’s it. How many other examples can we think of, on The Sopranos and in real life, where certain “rules” really have no rationale but are followed because that’s just the way things have been done?
Boca & The Justice System
An additional interesting aspect of “Boca” is how the traditional justice system did get involved. We’re used to the families cleaning their own dirty laundry, but this time (to Silvio’s disappointment) there was no after school special. Well, at least not one in which Tony Soprano was involved.
By the way, how ironic was it that Dr. Melfi told Tony “the justice system has gotten a lot better”? As she’ll see a couple of seasons later, that justice system is still quite flawed (Rossi, anyone?)
Finally, I can’t forget to mention some miscellaneous Boca nuggets that always amuse me for one reason or another.
- When Larry Barese runs into Livia Soprano at Green Grove and Livia says to him, “Yeah, I know you. You lit an apartment house on fire, and scared your mother half to death!“
- The guy with the hat on in Artie’s restaurant sounds just like Coach Hauser when the coach says “Don Hauser will not be intimidated! I will not be threatened or bribed!”