Tony Soprano is one of the most iconic characters in modern pop culture. Even though previous portrayals of mob bosses have glorified their activities, The Sopranos attempted to show a more realistic picture with Tony being a toxic friend, husband, and father.
There are clearly many problematic aspects of his personality that serve as major red flags. Even though some of his troublesome actions have made for iconic episodes and even funny moments, they expose serious notions of toxic masculinity that shouldn’t be emulated by anyone. So, even though Tony is a legendary character, he is far from a good person.
His Behavior Towards His Children
Even though he tries to drive away his life of crime from his children, Tony turns out to be a toxic, manipulative, and emotionally abusive parent.
He tries to evoke his toxic masculinity with his son Anthony Jr. aka AJ whenever AJ engages in a pursuit that doesn’t seem “manly” enough. When AJ finally starts emulating his father’s mannerisms by bullying others, he enters a phase of self-destruction. Meadow similarly went through a lot of mental troubles with her father constantly getting involved in her relationships, be it by intimidating Noah or killing off Jackie Aprille Jr.
Tony seems to have a particularly racist attitude towards Black, Asian, and Muslim people, as is evident from his jokes with friends. For the latter, he also seems to harbor some Islamophobic stereotypes that drive him to loggerheads with his daughter, Meadow.
Tony was angry that Meadow was dating a Black student named Noah Tannenbaum. After confirming his ethnicity, Tony not only hurled racial slurs at him but also tried to scare him away from Meadow. Unsurprisingly, his daughter ended up calling him a racist after this incident.
He Backstabs His Own Friends
Despite his flaws, Tony still tries to secure the lives of his friends and family. At the same time, he can turn his back on them when it suits his selfish goals. Artie Bucco had several tussles with him after he burnt down his restaurant as a part of a hit under Uncle Junior.
Similarly, Christopher Moltisanti was a close ally of Tony’s for a long time. But Tony didn’t think twice before killing Christopher in a season 6 Sopranos episode, as he had become a liability to his operations. Tony also showed no remorse while ordering the hit on Christopher’s girlfriend, Adriana La Cerva, despite her respect and admiration for him.
He Creeped On His Imaginary Neighbor
In one of the best season 1 episodes of The Sopranos, Tony hallucinates a new neighbor called Isabella. Even before the plot twist is revealed, Tony seems to constantly stare at her through his window. This stalking pattern is repeated till he finally meets her.
While Isabella seems to be a figment of his imagination, Tony’s tendencies to invade someone’s privacy in such a manner definitely make him a creep.
His Constant Adultery
A recurring theme in every season is the presence of Tony’s multiple mistresses. Just like his peers, he is a compulsive cheater and wants to have sexual relations with almost every woman he encounters.
Not only does his adultery affect his wife, Carmela, but it also goes on to create issues for the mistresses themselves. A major case in point is Gloria Trillo, who not only was toxically obsessed with Tony but also ended up taking her own life when he rejected her advances.
His Domestic Violence
If gaslighting and cheating on his wife wasn’t enough, Tony Soprano has even been violent with Carmela at home. When Carmela decides that she has tolerated enough of his adultery, she threatens to leave him, upon which Tony aggressively grabs her collar. Tony and Carmela’s toxic relationship in The Sopranos brings out Tony’s lying and manipulative side.
There are other such moments in the show when he grabs her and clenches his fists. Even though he ends up punching the wall instead, the very gesture is threatening in nature.
He Bullies His Staff
As the owner of Bada Bing, the least that Tony can do is to treat his staff with respect. He hardly does this, though, as is evident from his tantrums with the dancers and bartending staff. Basic professional etiquette clearly doesn’t seem to go with Tony’s personality.
The bartender Georgie Santorelli, in particular, faces his wrath on many occasions. Whenever Tony feels like releasing his anger, he ends up hitting Georgie in the face with anything in each, from a telephone to a cash drawer.
His Bad Temper
The biggest issue with Tony is perhaps his uncontrollable anger. Of course, it is this rage that drives most of the show’s iconic storylines, but Tony’s personality also seems like a warning for those with anger issues. At times, the scenes of his outbursts make for some of the funniest scenes on The Sopranos, but at the same time, his behavior is concerning.
Whether it be shouting at those weaker than him to letting his fists do the talking, Tony has become the dreaded mobster that he is because of his anger, and his family and friends suffer the brunt of this the most.
His Thoughts About Dr. Melfi
Even though therapy is taboo for the people around him, Tony tries it with Dr. Jennifer Melfi. The doctor turns out to be very calm and understanding, despite Tony’s fits of anger.
However, there comes a point of time when Tony isn’t even attending his sessions for his own mental health, but rather to just spend time with Melfi. He even starts having sexual fantasies about her and tries to make a move on her, violating all professionalism that a therapist and client should have.