In The Sopranos, Tony’s sister Janice is in a constant love-hate relationship with the leading character. Janice loves her brother for always looking out for her, but she also detests him for being controlling and unreasonable. She has a very adventurous love lifestyle, too, as she gets to date three of the most powerful mobsters in the DiMeo Crime Family.
Like the mobsters she interacts with, Janice is a ruthless and conniving person. Her penchant for doing evil deeds is mostly what inspires her words, though, on a couple of occasions, she airs opinions that come from the good and tiny part of her heart. Nonetheless, whether she is ranting or being hopeful, Janice’s remarks are always interesting.
“When Your Opponent Gives You An Opening, Be Swift As A Hare.”
After making love to her finance, the Capo Richie Aprille, Janice suggests that he should pull off a coup d’état and become the new Don of the family. Richie is shocked at the suggestion, but Janice insists that he should take advantage of the fact that Junior is feuding with Tony by partnering with Junior to steal power.
Janice’s lack of contentment is evident here. She already has plenty of privileges by being the sister of a mob boss, but that isn’t enough for her. She dreams of being the wife of a Don, and that’s why she is badly pushing for a change in leadership at the expense of her brother. Since she is persuasive enough, Richie starts making plans, but he dies before anything happens.
“For Every 20 Wrongs A Child Does, Ignore 19.”
Tony and Carmela are furious when Meadow comes home drunk and goes straight to her room. Tony wants to confront her, but Janice thinks they are all overreacting.
Janice’s parental advice here is not only hilarious, but it’s not to be taken seriously since she even struggles with Bobby’s children. Punishing only a small fraction of a child’s wrongs is guaranteed to make them morph into a very ill-disciplined human. The major reason she is calling for leniency is that she is very fond of Meadow, not because she thinks her niece doesn’t deserve to be punished.
“You Pay Me $3000, I’ll Answer Your Questions.”
Tony once falls for Valentina, a woman Ralph has been seeing. He is reluctant to pursue her, so he begins fishing for reasons to do so. When he hears rumors about Ralph’s masochistic fetishes, he asks Janice if it’s true since she dated him, but she won’t tell him unless he gives her $3000. He asks how she came up with that figure, and she has a fitting answer.
Having known her brother for a long time, Janice has determined the elastic limit of his generosity. Given the number of favors Tonny has done for Janice in the past, she’d be expected to tell him what he wanted to know for free, but that’s not how she’s built. To her, Tony has money, hence, doing him any favors for free is being unwise.
“They Expect Their Wives To Live Like The Nuns At Mt. Carmel College.”
While chatting to Carmela about Angie and Sal Bonpensiero’s impending divorce, Janice expresses her disgust about mobsters always having goomahs, or mistresses. She hates how they always sleep around yet expect their wives to be holy.
Like most of the other mob wives, Carmela has always looked the other way, and that’s why the list of Tony’s mistresses and lovers in The Sopranos has grown so long. The chat with Janice gives her some sort of awakening as she realizes that infidelity truly isn’t right. A change in perception is seen later in the series when she leaves Tony after one of his mistresses exposes him.
“Enough To Know I Don’t Want Another One.”
Tony isn’t happy with how Janice enjoys lazying around, so he calls her out for her short resume. He asks her how many jobs she has ever had in her life, and she has a ready response.
By being a member of the biggest crime family in New Jersey, it makes sense that Janice doesn’t have any incentive to work. It’s also hypocritical for Tony to call out Janice for staying at home all day, yet most of the best mob wives in The Sopranos do the same, including his wife Carmella.
“What If He Was Gay, What Difference Does It Make?”
Richie gets furious when he discovers that his son loves ballroom dancing. He shockingly labels it “gay” behavior, which angers Janice.
Most of the mobsters on the show have been portrayed as extremely homophobic. The Cosa Nostra in general hates the LGBTQ community, and it’s for this reason that Vito is brutally murdered by Phil Leotardo’s men. It’s thus refreshing for fans to see Janice call out her finance for his outdated views. She is the first person to stand up against homophobia on the show. Tony later does so during the Vito incident when he states that people shouldn’t be judged by who they love.
“The Dead Have Nothing To Say To Us.”
On what would have been the 14-year anniversary of Bobby and his late wife Karen, he bakes a cake and takes it to her grave. Janice finds this totally weird and confronts him over it. She makes it clear that he should stop doing that, now that she is his wife.
Both Bobby and Janice are justified in feeling the way they do at this particular moment. Bobby and Karen made one of the best couples in The Sopranos, and it’s normal that he misses her. Janice, on the other hand, is right to feel uncomfortable, as e Bobby ought to focus on her since she is his new wife. Taking cakes to graves isn’t a common practice, either, so Janice being baffled is expected.
“I’ve Seen That Sitting In The Chair Thing Before.”
Bobby proves to be one of the best fighters in The Sopranos when he and Tony engage in fisticuffs. The fight happens after Tony insults Janice. When he loses, Tony comes up with all kinds of excuses before going to sit by himself. A concerned Janice tells Bobby that, whenever Tony does that, he is plotting payback.
Once again, Janice proves that she has studied the Book of Tony and knows just about every chapter. She knows that he doesn’t like losing, and, even though it’s he who provoked Bobby, he’s going to make him pay. This plays out exactly as Janice predicts; Tony forces Bobby, who had never committed a murder, to kill someone.
“My Happiness Really Drives You Crazy, Doesn’t It, Tony?”
Janice bursts out in anger when Tony tries to discourage her from dating Ralph. He warns her that he knows plenty of bad things about the Capo, but Janice won’t listen.
Even though Tony is fond of bullying Janice, he wants the best for her. The mobster is right about Ralph since he’s the same guy that killed his girlfriend Tracee outside the Bada Bing just because he didn’t like how she was talking to him. Janice might seem happy at the moment, but Tony knows it isn’t going to last—and it doesn’t.
“She Believed That Wild Flowers Blossomed Best Among The Rocks.”
During Livia’s wake, Janice gives a speech, and, to everyone’s surprise, she praises her dead mother. She claims that Livia’s toughness helped her become a better woman in life, but no one else seems to agree.
Before Livia dies, she is hated by just about everyone. She is not only mean, but she also lacks a conscience. Early on in the series, she even orders a hit on her own son. However, Janice relates to Livia because she is more like her. Just like Livia, Janice does things for her own benefit and doesn’t seem to realize it when she hurts others. Nevertheless, Janice’s speech is a perfect tribute to a person she cared deeply about.