The Sopranos (1999–2007)
8.7/10
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4 user 1 critic

University 

Noah and Meadow's relationship is disrupted by her roommate, while Ralphie starts getting rough with one of the strippers from the Bada Bing causing Tony to intervene and questionably violating one of the mafia codes of conduct.

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(created by), (teleplay by) | 6 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Jennifer Melfi
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Junior Soprano (credit only)
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Silvio Dante
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A.J. Soprano
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Meadow Soprano
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Adriana La Cerva (credit only)
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Janice Soprano (credit only)
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Furio Giunta
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Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri (as Steven R. Schirripa)
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Ariel Kiley ...
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Storyline

Ralph Cifaretto, who is still having a relationship with Rosalie Aprile, is having girlfriend problems with one of the dancers at the Bada Bing, Tracee. She asks Tony for help when she gets pregnant by Ralph since she isn't sure Ralph will take care of her if she has the baby. Ralph has been acting over the top lately and when he kills Tracee in the Bing's parking lot, Tony teaches him a lesson. At Columbia, Meadow and Noah's relationship is moving forward but Meadow's roommate Caitlin Rucker is behaving very oddly. She's not fitting in with university life and reaches out to Meadow who is sympathetic but doesn't appreciate just how serious the problem is. Noah is also sympathetic, at least at first, but eventually gets his entertainment lawyer father to get a restraining order against Caitlin. Meadow gets to meet Noah's Dad but Noah shows his true colors. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 April 2001 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story about a homeless woman wearing newspaper as underwear is based on a real thing experienced by Terence Winter on the subway, where a passenger was a similar homeless woman. See more »

Goofs

After Tony punches Ralphie, Paulie tells him that he's the boss of the family, therefore he has the authority to. When in fact Junior is the boss of the family. See more »

Quotes

Ralphie Cifaretto: What are you being like this for?
Tracee: Fuck you. Three days you don't call, not even to see how I am.
Ralphie Cifaretto: Baby, I'm busy. I gotta work! How else am I gonna take care of you when you're nine months pregnant?
Tracee: Serious?
Ralphie Cifaretto: Of course I'm serious!
Tracee: Ralphie, I love you.
Ralphie Cifaretto: I love you too, baby. Hey, if it's a boy, we'll name him after me. If it's a girl, we'll name it Tracee after you... that way she could grow up to be a cocksuckin' slob just like her mother. Are you out of your fucking mind?
Tracee: Guinea motherfuckin' ...
[...]
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Connections

References The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Inside My Love
(uncredited)
Written by Minnie Riperton, Dick Rudolph, and Leon Ware
Performed by Minnie Riperton
Courtesy of Epic Records
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User Reviews

 
Ralphie gets raw
27 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

From the moment he showed his nasty face in the second episode of the season, it was clear Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) would cause a truckload of trouble. His bouts of madness reach their peak in University, one of the most truly disturbing eps of the series.

The story focuses on two relationships becoming what Woody Allen wittily described as "a dead shark" - a fitting moniker, given death is heavily involved in one break-up. On the one hand, we have Meadow and her boyfriend Noah (yep, the African-American one) drifting apart after a third person starts getting in the way. Nothing too dramatic, though, as opposed to Ralphie's affair with Tracee, a 20-year old stripper who works at the Bing: she is young, naive and optimistic about her future, not to mention pregnant with the man's child; he is arrogant, kinky, easily irritable, hung up on drugs and tends to get violent with random people for random reasons (at the start of the show he hits a guy just because the latter wasn't familiar with Ralph's favorite movie, Gladiator) - not the ideal father for the unborn kid. Tracee desperately asks Tony for help, but he doesn't respond to her pleas, claiming he can't be friendly with employees. Eventually, he has a change of heart, though not in time to stop an unwarranted explosion of brutality.

For the first and only time in the program's history, more focus is granted to the women who work for Tony and Silvio: most of the time, they're just a nice bunch of tits and ass, but through Tracee the previously labeled "stripper" emerges as a more complex, lovable person, and credit is due to the writers for not indulging in predictable "hooker with a heart" characterizations: this is a real human being we're talking about, and it's this unseen humanity that makes it damn near impossible for everyone involved, both in the show and outside of it, to stomach the bloody outcome of Tracee's attempt to lead a better life.

The whole episode is so brutal even fans of the show could find themselves surprised by Ralph's manic acts. Such is the profound insanity of the character, accompanied by the courage of the actor: a subtle bad guy in The Matrix and Memento, Pantoliano reaches levels he's never approached before, not even in Midnight Run, where he played a sort of proto-Ralph; and yet it never feels like he's going over the top, perhaps because with guys like these there is no top. It's an incredible performance, so strong it makes you wonder how come he won an Emmy for Season Four, but wasn't even nominated for Series Three: based on this episode alone, he would have won as easily as his character kills.


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