EW.com answers a few seasonal questions about HBO's mob hit

By Caroline Kepnes
Updated May 18, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: The Sopranos: Barry Wetcher
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Big Pussy wearing a Santa suit. Tony disinviting Ralphie from Thanksgiving dinner. Would be hit men Christopher and Paulie trudging through snowdrifts in pursuit of a runaway Russian mobster. This spring, it seems like HBO’s ”The Sopranos” (concluding May 20, 9 p.m) has been mostly about the chilly winter months. EW.com asked the show’s executive producer, Ilene Landress, to explain.

Why do a Christmas episode in the spring?
Why not? ”The Sopranos” shoots on location in the Garden State from August through February. ”We like to shoot exteriors because we like to feel like we’re really showing New Jersey, rather than making the audience feel like we’re on a soundstage in Los Angeles,” says Landress. ”Instead of fighting the seasons, we went with the seasons. This year, there was no real reason to fake being in the spring and the summer.”

Were you worried that viewers might be confused?
”Network shows always do Christmas at Christmastime. We think our audience is smart enough to figure it out.”

And that little brat at the Christmas party who says ”F— Santa”?
”That was just our version of a Christmas show.”

The May 6 episode featured wiseguys Paulie (Tony Sirico) and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) lost in the Pine Barrens. Was it written in anticipation of a blizzard?
Nope. Mother Nature contributed that detail on her own. ”Lost in the woods is funnier if it’s also lost in 2 feet of snow.”

Maybe, but how funny was it for Paulie Walnuts, whose bare feet seemed genuinely frostbitten?
”It was pretty cold that day, but it wasn’t 30 below. You ask Tony Sirico. HE’LL tell you how cold it was.”

We don’t dare.

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