Tony and Meadow ought to see something familiar in their new romances, says Bruce Fretts

By Bruce Fretts
Updated April 24, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Michael Imperioli: Barry Wetcher

”Sopranos” focuses on young love — and young cast members

Is this ”The Sopranos: The Next Generation”? The latest episode of the Mob drama (HBO, Sundays, 9 p.m.) had a distinctly youthful feeling — perhaps because the screenwriter was one of the show’s younger standouts, actor Michael Imperioli (a.k.a. Tony Soprano’s nephew, Christopher Moltisanti). Senior statesmen like the cancer stricken Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) were nowhere to be seen. It’s time to meet the young guns:

JACKIE JR. AND MEADOW The romance between burgeoning goodfella Jackie Aprile Jr. (Jason Cerbone) and Mafia princess Meadow Soprano (Jamie Lynn Sigler) has been consummated — she supplied a condom during a makeout session with him in a car. Her dad Tony (James Gandolfini) gave the boy a talking to about staying on the straight and narrow. But Jackie Jr. promptly obtained a .38 from his mom’s rageaholic boyfriend, Ralphie (Joe Pantoliano) and made a beeline for an illegal casino — where Tony caught him. Maybe Meadow needs to schedule a session with Lorraine Bracco’s Dr. Melfi to figure out why she’s attracted to a guy who’s so much like dear old dad, whom she allegedly despises.

ANTHONY JR. Tony’s teenage son (Robert Iler) seems headed for trouble as well: He and his buddies got caught vandalizing his school’s swimming pool. Despite a ”zero tolerance policy,” the school let him off with a warning. (Tony and Carmela did ground him for a month and make him clean the gutters.) Supposedly, A.J. escaped expulsion because he’s defensive captain of the freshman football team, which has one big game left. But don’t you think the fact that his father is the head of an organized crime family might have had something to do with it?

ADRIANNA Christopher gave his glamourpuss fiancée (Drea de Matteo) a job as manager of the Lollipop Club, a Jersey Shore nightspot previously owned by a gambler who lost the place on a bad football bet. Adrianna immediately renamed it the Crazy Horse (a nod to the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, made famous by Bruce Springsteen) and started booking bands. The joint opened on a disharmonious note, when a business associate of Jackie Jr.’s tried to deal Ecstasy on the premises and wound up in traction, courtesy of Furio (Federico Castelluccio). We told you that Aprile kid was trouble.

TONY SOPRANO Okay, so the Don is no spring chicken, but he’s been acting like a schoolboy ever since he met hard charging Mercedes saleswoman Gloria Trillo (Annabella Sciorra) in Dr. Melfi’s waiting room. Their rendezvous at the Bronx Zoo climaxed with a quickie in the snake house, aptly enough, and he even let her hold his gun during a subsequent hotel room encounter. Still, Tony would be wise not to ignore the warning signs: Gloria wears a Buddhist symbol, like his ”wack job” sister, Janice (Aida Turturro), and used one of his homicidally insane late mom’s favorite phrases, ”Poor you.” Plus, Dr. Melfi mentioned in her therapy session that Gloria attempted suicide after her last breakup. Be afraid, Tony; be very afraid.

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