Alongside Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts, Silvio Dante is one of the three most likable mobsters in The Sopranos. He distinguishes himself by not making a single mistake the entire series. As a result, his life is never really in danger until the last few episodes of Season 6 when he is targeted by Phil Leotardo’s men for refusing to turn him against Tony.
The loyal consigliere often has a serious look on his face but that doesn’t mean he takes life too seriously. He doesn’t crack as many jokes as Paulie but almost every sentence he utters is a thing of beauty. Silvio’s words also leave plenty to ponder over. It’s no surprise that Tony values his advice above that of everyone else.
“I Genuinely Don’t Think There’s Anything To Gain By Keeping Him Around.”
Silvio suggests the death sentence as he and Tony discuss Richie Aprile’s ambition. The two have whacked plenty of enemies and disloyal gangsters even before the series began, hence such a quote is as normal as “Pass me the salt!”
Thanks to Uncle Junior, Tony has just found out that Richie is planing a coup-de-tat. Richie has been influenced by none other than Tony’s sister Janice who wants to be the wife of a boss. Richie approaches Uncle Junior to support him but Junior decides to warn Tony instead. Tony sanctions a hit but Richie dies before that can happen, thanks to a violent domestic incident with Janice.
“The Fact That These Girls Make $1500 A Week Has No Bearing With My Principessa.”
The Bad Bing strip club has always been a key location in the series. It’s considered a holy ground of the DiMeo family hence the saying “Don’t disrespect the Bing!” However, Silvio’s daughter Heather doesn’t value the Bing at all.
During a chat with his colleagues, Silvio tells them about Heather’s opinion of the club. She feels that working there is demeaning to women since they have to constantly show off their bodies. Silvio doesn’t agree. He feels it’s a legitimate career. He is surprised that Heather isn’t considering the fact that the dancers make a lot more money than people in other professions.
“Yeah, He’ll Talk To Him In ‘Ball Peen Hammer’.”
In the series, New Jersey residents sometimes go to Tony’s crew instead of the police. That’s if they want justice to be delivered quickly. A motel owner named Mr. Teittleman approaches Silvio to help him settle a feud with his son-in-law. Not only is the son-in-law seeking to take over the motel business but he is also abusing Mr. Teittleman’s daughter.
Silvio introduces Mr. Teittlemant to Tony. The motel owner asks Tony what he’d do if his daughter was abused. Tony says he’d talk to the abuser. Silvio agrees, adding that they’d talk to him using a hammer.
“Certain Aspects Of Show Business And Our Thing.”
Tony and his men discuss plenty of trends in the series and on one occasion, they talk about a recession that has hit America. News reports say life will be harder for ordinary citizens but Tony feels they’ll be fine.
He tells Silvio to explain to the guys what kind of businesses have always been immune to the recession. Silvio, who has always been a big fan of music and movies, states that certain areas of the entertainment industry are recession-proof. Then there is organized crime. No matter what happens, gangsters will always conduct heists and collect from businesses.
“Tzu, Tzu! Sun Tzu, You F****** A**-Kiss!”
When Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto comes out of prison, he can’t believe that the boy he used to play with many years ago is now head of the family. He’s obviously missed out on a lot. Paulie starts praising Tony, saying that he is not like other mobsters. He doesn’t want fame. He just wants to get the job done. He then compares Tony to Emperor “Sun-Tuh-Zoo.”
Blundetto wonders who “Sun-Tuh-Zoo” is. Silvio gets what Paulie is trying to say. He figures that Paulie means Sun Tzu, mostly known for writing the book The Art Of War. He corrects Paulie before labeling him an a**-kiss for praising Tony too much.
“You’re Only As Good As Your Last Envelope.”
Junior mobsters are required to give a percentage of their earnings to their capos. The capos then give part of their cuts to the head of the family. With this set of rules, mobsters who know how to get more money are highly valued.
This is why Tony is so reluctant to whack Ralph despite his reckless behavior. Ralph consistently brings in a lot of money, thanks to his connections with labor union members. During another chat with his colleagues, Silvio explains that a mobster doesn’t need to worry about pleasing anyone. They only need to worry about dollars.
“Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pulled Me Back In.”
Silvio repeats this a couple of times in a dramatic manner a couple of times in the series, much to the amusement of his colleagues. Big Pussy also urges him to say it when he returns from hiding and lies to Tony and the crew that he had gone to seek treatment in a foreign country.
Silvio—a fan of The Godfather trilogy—borrows this quote from Michael Corleone. The Al Pacino character says the words in the third installment, implying that he believed he was done with the mafia, now there are fresh matters that require his attention.
“He’ll Pull A ‘Jack Ruby’ On You”
Ralph and Richie are undoubtedly the craziest mobsters to ever work for Tony. In Season 3, Ralph murders his girlfriend outside the Bing. This angers Tony since he liked the girl too. He goes on to beat Ralph in front of everyone. The problem is, Ralph is a “made guy” and once someone achieves such status, even his boss isn’t allowed to physically touch him.
Tony later offers Ralph a drink as a way to make peace but he declines. Later Tony and Silvio discuss Ralph’s actions. Silvio warns Tony that Ralph is not only crazy but he is also rising too fast hence he might kill him the way Jack Ruby killed John F. Kennedy’s alleged shooter Lee Harvey Oswald.
“I Sit With My A**, Why Don’t You Sit With Yours?”
Tony’s counseling sessions with Dr. Melfi help him a lot throughout the series. At first, not many people know about it and Tony wants to keep it that way because he fears his associates will label him weak if they found out he was seeing a therapist.
Soon, Paulie and Silvio find out. Paulie asks Silvio how the new development sits with him. Silvio hilariously tells him that he sits with his a** and that he should do the same. He is simply suggesting that Paulie should mind his business.
“Make Peace Or Make Him Disappear.”
Tony and Silvio find themselves discussing Ralph again. Tony is deeply bothered by his behavior so Silvio suggests two options. He can either try to please Ralph by making him a capo or he can simply make him sleep with the fishes.
Making unruly mobsters disappear is an art that the DiMeo crime family has mastered. Big Pussy was never seen again and neither was Richie. At first, Tony, who has money on his mind, tries to please Ralph. But after Ralph Disrespects Tony’s favorite horse, the boss kills him.