Scott Brown
May 02, 2006 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Oh, Artie. Look how far you’ve fallen. Booze and coke? Sheesh, why not throw in a hooker and a bag of White Castles? But it wasn’t the fictitious chef Artie Bucco, but the very real John Ventimiglia (pictured) who was charged with DUI and drug possession last night.

Unfortunately, Bucco is just the latest Sopranos cast member to run afoul of Johnny Law. The list is long: In hunting up talent for the great Gambino-Cheever family reunion that is The Best Show Possibly Ever, creator David Chase and his cohorts have an uncanny knack for casting future offenders. The alumni’s aggregate charges and allegations running the gamut from robbery to murder to minor fashion violations. (And these are just the young’uns. Our friend Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico was a stickup artist back in the day.)

Guys, the authenticity is breathtaking. The meta-media-ness of it all is striking. The indictment of the American privateer spirit, scalding. I’m impressed. I’m confused. I’m starting to think maybe Christafah really did hit Lauren Bacall in the face. But where does it end? And does this give credence to critics who say the show traffics in ugly stereotypes? Or does it just mean I should wear Kevlar to the wrap party?

I am invited, right? C’mon! I jaywalk! I’m an incorrigible rock-paper-scissors cheater! I have “Smooth Criminal” on cassette!

addCredit(“The Sopranos: Craig Blankenhorn”)

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