The Sopranos

The Sopranos: Tony’s Most Sympathetic Moments, According To Reddit

Tony's softer side on The Sopranos can make viewers forget that Dr. Melfi diagnosed him as a sociopath. Redditors discuss his moments of humanity.

Tony Soprano’s violent, abrasive demeanor has fans clamoring for him and other HBO protagonists to be added as playable characters to Warner Bros.’ recently announced crossover fighting game, MultiVersus. But that doesn’t mean he is without redeeming qualities, as several points in the series show his compassion and vulnerability

One of the greatest triumphs of The Sopranos’ six-season run is how the filmmakers repeatedly cause viewers to flip between being scared of Tony and being scared for him. His softer side can make viewers forget that Dr. Melfi clinically diagnosed him as a sociopath when he shows the humanity the mob boss is capable of. Reddit users have created a thread discussing these tender moments.

Reflecting On His Past In “Down Neck” (Season 1: Episode 7)

Tony’s mother is a hateful, cruel character, and it’s clear that her years of abuse have had a profound effect on Tony. This episode provides a glimpse of where that abuse began with flashbacks of Livia threatening to stick a fork in the eye of her young son.

RELATED:The 10 Best Sopranos Characters, According To Ranker

Tony clearly had a rough childhood, as he grappled with both the criminal influence of his father and the emotional and physical abuse inflicted by his mother. Reddit user SnuggleMonster15 was bitter that Tony was still a good son to her as an adult, saying “he was trying to do right by her and got nothing but drama and guilt trips in return.”

Getting Embarrassed By Who He Is in “A Hit is A Hit” (Season 1: Episode 10)

Whether he’s with the family or “the family,” Tony spends most of his time with fellow Italian-Americans. He makes a conscious effort to change that in this episode, as he accepts a golf invitation with a group of country-club types who are not of Italian descent. He comes to regret his decision when they bombard him with offensive questions about his role in organized crime.

No one should ever be made to feel like a stereotype, and that is exactly the position the insensitive golfers put Tony in. Reddit users were struck by Tony’s confession to Dr. Melfi after the incident, where he says that he felt he was being “used for somebody else’s entertainment, like a dancing bear.”

Dreaming Of A Different Life In “Isabella” (Season 1: Episode 12)

Tony rarely expresses regret for his criminal activities, but “Isabella” shows his intense jealously for his Italian neighbor who did not go down the road of organized crime. Throughout the episode, he is seen staring longingly at Bruce Cusamano’s house, even hallucinating a beautiful young woman that he believes is living there.

RELATED:10 Most Unexpected Things To Happen In The Sopranos

Despite the immense power and influence he wields, Tony is envious of Bruce for being able to live his life out of the shadows. Reddit user orincoro noted Tony’s line of work limits his respectability, saying, “He is in a way shamed by having Cusamano as his neighbor. It shows a square guy can get ahead while Tony is clawing his way up the ladder with his fingernails.”

Learning The Truth In “I Dream Of Jeannie Cusamano” (Season 1: Episode 13)

Throughout the show, Tony is not seen as having the most positive relationship with his mother or his Uncle Junior. Despite this, not even he expected FBI agents to play him a recording of the two flippantly discussing how things would be better for both of them if Tony were dead.

Tony’s barbaric worldview can certainly be explained by the fact that he comes from a family capable of killing its own sons and nephews. Tony has to grapple with many unlikable relatives, but this takes the cake. Redditor heyshugitsme said Tony’s pain “is so palpable even the FBI agents feel sorry for him. It’s brutal.”

Opening Up To Meadow In “Bust Out”(Season 2: Episode 10)

In some ways, Tony treats his actual family much in the same way he treats his crime family, as he attempts to hide his true emotions from both. That changes in this episode when Meadow walks in on a drunk, contemplative Tony, who wants to make sure his daughter knows how much he cares for her and how much he sees himself in her.

RELATED:5 Reasons Why Meadow Is The Better Sibling (& 5 Why It’s A.J.)

Despite the fact that Tony is several brandies deep by the time he has his heart-to-heart with Meadow, this is a sobering scene that had a profound impact on Reddit user Floccinaucinihi. They said, “I’ve experienced that moment with my father and it changed how I saw him entirely… he was vulnerable and it just hit me like a train that my parents are just people struggling through life like I am.”

Discovering His Lo Mein Is Missing In “Army Of One” (Season 3: Episode 13)

From his loving odes to gabagool (capicola) to his orange juice pulp tirades, Tony gets very fired up about food over the course of The Sopranos. But no meltdown is as notable as when he comes into the office to find that his lo mein has been snatched up, prompting an expletive-filled rant that’s one of the funniest moments in Sopranos history.

Tony has arguably never been more relatable as he is here, most people know what it feels like to have their food ungraciously snatched from the refrigerator in their place of work. Redditors lamented Tony’s profound loss and questioned the loyalty of his inferiors that would so callously breach refrigerator etiquette, with Greg428 saying, “He was dreamin’ of it all the way over…”

Asking Junior If He Loves Him In “Where’s Johnny” (Season 5: Episode 3)

One of the major themes of The Sopranos is the corrosive nature of toxic masculinity. In one of The Sopranos’ most heartbreaking scenes, Tony challenges its placement in his family when he asks Uncle Junior why he can never say anything nice to him and questions whether Junior even loves him.

Like many men his age, Uncle Junior is faithfully dedicated to upholding traditional standards of masculine behavior. Reddit users were moved to see Tony realize how limiting that can be, giving hope that he might be able to break the chains of generational trauma that exist in his family (he doesn’t of course.) GrapefruitFizz sums it all up by saying, “When Junior says Tony never had the makings of a varsity athlete and later Tony says why do you only remember hurtful, mean things? Don’t you even love me? So sad. Gets me every single time.”

Carried Off The Golf Course In “Unidentified Black Males” (Season 5: Episode 9)

Tony’s constant panic attacks make him instantly relatable to anyone who similarly struggles with debilitating anxiety. In this episode, Tony suffers from one on the golf course when he learns that his cousin has unwittingly dragged the family into war with a rival crime family.

Tony normally keeps his mental health struggles removed from his work life, making it impactful to see him buckle his knees and drop to the ground in front of his inferiors. This striking image struck a chord with Redditor CRTPTRSN, who said Tony “looks like a helpless infant as the other guys help him over to a bench.”

Trying To Comfort His Son In “The Second Coming” (Season 6: Episode 19)

As The Sopranos nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that Tony’s mental health struggles have been passed on to his son, A.J. After Tony saves the young Soprano from taking his own life, he is told that he can’t bring a pizza into the psychiatric hospital where A.J. is receiving treatment.

Tony is extremely rough on A.J. throughout the series, so it’s nice to see him show his son some compassion here in one of The Sopranos’ best episodes. Redditor TheFire_Eagle was particularly devastated that Tony was not able to bring the pizza to his son, saying “Food to him is such a great comfort, denied the one way of comforting his son he knows best, brutal.”

Coming To Grips With His New Reality In “The Blue Comet” (Season 6: Episode 20)

The sixth and final season of The Sopranos sees the criminal empire Tony’s built for decades crumble to the ground. Here in the show’s penultimate episode, he is forced into hiding away from his family, where he sits alone in a safe house with nothing to do but point a shotgun at the bedroom door.

Even though Tony quite literally made the bed he’s sleeping on in this scene, it’s still very striking to see Tony so helpless to the fall of his organization. Redditor peterfonda3 contrasted Tony’s modest, solitary environment with how he is presented before going on the lam, saying, “You have to have some sympathy about how far [he’s] fallen from his 6000 square foot mansion.”

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