The Sopranos: Season 5, Episode 4

All Happy Families (28 Mar. 2004)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 973 users  
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Feech makes a pain of himself by trying to return to his past glory. Carmela tries to work with Anthony's teacher to rein in the out-of-control son.

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(as Rodrigo Garcia)

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Title: All Happy Families (28 Mar 2004)

All Happy Families (28 Mar 2004) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Cast

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Junior Soprano (credit only)
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Meadow Soprano (as Jamie-Lynn DiScala)
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Janice Soprano (credit only)
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Storyline

Blood is shed in the power struggle between Johnny Sack and Carmine Lupertazzi Jr. when one of Carmine's loan sharks doesn't pay Johnny instead of Carmine. Feetch La Matta gets Tony's okay to take over Uncle Junior's lucrative high stakes poker game. When one of the game's regulars, Dr. Ira Fried, finds the the guests at his daughter's wedding have had their expensive foreign cars stolen, he turns to Tony for help. Tony's pretty upset when he finds out who was behind it and makes sure it doesn't happen again. AJ's grades are dropping and a visit to his school guidance counselor, Robert Wegler, doesn't give much hope for college unless his grades improve. Carmela feels she's being undermined by Tony who is always buying the boy gifts and after AJ disobeys her yet again, she lets him move in with Tony. She also gets a call from Wegler who asks her out for lunch. Tony meanwhile is still trying to woo Dr. Melfi. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

28 March 2004 (USA)  »

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Trivia

This episode also features three celebrities playing themselves at the Sopranos' high stakes poker game: Lawrence Taylor, David Lee Roth and Bernie Brillstein. See more »

Goofs

A.J. is in the principal's office. When he gets up from his seat, he is wearing tan khaki pants but when we cut to a shot of him leaving the office, he is wearing dark jeans. See more »

Quotes

Parole Officer: Is that your garage?
Feech La Manna: Nah. It's where I make my weapons of mass destruction.
See more »

Connections

References The Honeymooners: The $99,000 Answer (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

NOBODY LOVES AND LEAVES ALIVE
by The Lost Boys
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User Reviews

 
Goodbye, Feech
15 May 2008 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

After being mentioned briefly in Season 3, Feech La Manna (Robert Loggia) was introduced in the Season Five premiere, and proved himself a worthy presence on the show. Unfortunately, his stay wasn't very long, in fact All Happy Families features Loggia's last appearance in the series. According to David Chase, his departure had to do with memory problems (the actor was past his seventies), an ironic fact given the previous episode dealt with the possibility of Uncle Junior having Alzheimer's. Nonetheless, Loggia's four-episode guest spot remains one of the highlights of the show's great history, and his exit is every bit as good as his entrance.

The need to take Loggia off the series is narratively transformed into Tony's need to get rid of Feech, whose attempts to get his old power back is causing more trouble than anything, and with Christopher's help the nuisance is dealt with rather painlessly. Meanwhile, the war that's raging between Little Carmine and Johnny Sack gets uglier with the killing of the former's loan-shark, and on the private front AJ's mediocre grades lead to Carmela having a sit-down, and perhaps something else, with the school counselor, Robert Wegler (David Strathairn).

Aside from Loggia leaving the series, the most notable achievement of this episode is Strathairn's riveting performance: best known in mainstream cinema for playing unpleasant fellas, such as Kathy Bates' abusive husband in Dolores Claiborne or, most famously, Kim Basinger's vicious pimp in the extraordinary L.A. Confidential, he joins TV's best crime drama playing a nice guy, albeit with a few characterial flaws, and gives a humane portrayal justly remembered by Empire magazine as one of the show's five best guest spots (the other four, in case you're wondering, are Robert Patrick, Jon Favreau, Ben KIngsley and the already mentioned Loggia). His story arc allows the writers to move away a little from the gangster universe, which is always refreshing, and also sheds new light on the personality of Mrs. Soprano, a quite different woman since she dumped Tony.

The title may be highly ironic (no one's really happy in the episode), but hey, at least the viewers are satisfied. And for those lamenting the disappearance of a superb recurring presence, consider this: his replacement is just as marvelous.


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