Sopranos Blueprint

The 10 Greatest Comfort Food Episodes on The Sopranos

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The Sopranos is a lot of things. It’s entertaining. It’s emotional. It makes you reflect. And it can also be pretty hilarious. Sometimes—no, make that most of the time—The Sopranos is all of these things rolled into one. With that said, these are my 10 greatest comfort food episodes on The Sopranos.

Sopranos Comfort Food: "The Pilot" (S.1, E.1)

Tony Soprano in The Pool
The Sopranos Pilot, HBO

First, The Sopranos Pilot episode is really a little mini-series/movie unto itself. It’s that beacon of light you turn to in that moment of despair when the screen fades to black in the series finale. Think about the amount of talent and personality you meet throughout that episode alone.

By the way, I particularly enjoy that opening scene at Bada Bing where the guys are sitting upstairs. And don’t let me forget to mention the quotes, especially from Junior and Livia. You could write a whole blog post just about the brilliant lines from the Pilot episode. As a matter of fact (shameless plug), I already have.

Sopranos Comfort Food: "College" (S.1, E.5)

Meadow Soprano drinking coke in a restaurant
The Sopranos, "College" (HBO)
Tony: You know, there was a time then when the Italian people didn't have a lot of options. Meadow: You mean like Mario Cuomo?

Next, “College” is a prime example of the yin/yang, suburban dad/vicious mob boss back and forth that blankets the entire show. One minute you’re having a father-daughter heart to heart talking about the Potsdam Conference.  Contrarily, you’re swept away to Carmela sitting on the floor in the Soprano residence receiving communion from the priest. Soon enough, you’re back on the side of the road choking out a rat with your bare hands. 

Sopranos Comfort Food:
"Boca" (S.1, E.9)

Silvio Dante is yelling at the soccer referee on the field
The Sopranos, "Boca" (HBO)

Similarly, “Boca” became a comfort food episode for me very quickly, and for a number of reasons. But first, soccer. I grew up playing soccer and know exactly how it feels to be on the field. As with other facets of the show that apparently were very accurate, this one was totally on-point, too. Sports parents are absolutely that ridiculous. 

By the same token, my other favorite scene is when Paulie brings the T.V. set to Coach Hauser’s house. What a kind gesture “from your friends at the Bada Bing.” Wait, you mean there’s a catch? They want him to change his mind and stay here to continue coaching the soccer team?

Sopranos Comfort Food: "Toodle-F*ng-Oo"(S.2, E.3)

Meadow Soprano talking
The Sopranos, "Toodle-F*king-Oo" (HBO)

Following season one, season two was chock-full of Sopranos comfort food. Dr. Melfi was the star of “Toodle-Oo” because, well…it was her first time here, and the veal was excellent! I was also amused by Big Puss talking about his two talents, pulling dents and spotting pipe fitter lips. Not to be outdone, Paulie followed up by asking Silvio if he remembered his “first” time. In case you missed it the first time, he was kind enough to repeat the joke to make sure you heard him.

What’s more, contributing to the episode’s hilarity was Meadow displaying her finest privileged, spoiled adolescent behavior. While I know she has no idea what it means to be actually stressed, I couldn’t help but think about how I had probably echoed similar cries at least once when I was that age. Although, I definitely cannot say I’ve ever pulled the “I could’ve taken Ecstasy but I didn’t!” line.

Sopranos Comfort Food: "The Happy Wanderer" (S.2, E.6)

poker, royal flush, card game

On the other hand, we know it’s not just teenagers who are more than capable of making foolish decisions in the moment. Have you met Dave Scatino or Richie AprileIt definitely goes without saying that Davey should NOT have gone to that executive card game. I’m certainly NOT a fan of Richie Aprile’s style of conflict resolution, if there were a time when Richie’s irritation was justified, that may have been it.

Another thing I enjoyed in “The Happy Wanderer” was the animated banter among the players in the executive card game. It was particularly interesting to observe the Family’s interactions with “outsiders” like Dr. Fried and Mr. Sinatra. Dr. Fried—the prick doctor—comes in handy later this season when he removes a bullet from Furio. 

Sopranos Comfort Food: "Full Leather Jacket" (S.2, E.8)

"I want you to write that letter."

Carmela Soprano

In contrast to the wise guys we’re used to seeing make “office visits,” Carmela pulled out some tools of the trade in “Full Leather Jacket.” Between Carmela’s sass and the famous jacket, I can always count on Full Leather Jacket for a good laugh. By the way, I’m still waiting on confirmation that Joan Cusamano wrote a letter in the first place, given Meadow’s wait-listed status.

However, the golden goose in Full Leather Jacket was—you guessed it—the jaaacket! Richie gave Tony a leather jacket as some sort of special peace offering, but he never saw Tony wear it. He never saw Tony wear it because Tony gave it to their cleaning lady’s husband, whom Richie spotted wearing it as he strolled through the Soprano kitchen. The look on Richie’s face was priceless. 

Richie Aprile talking with Tony Soprano in Season 2, Episode 8, "Full Leather Jacket"

Sopranos Comfort Food:
"From Where to Eternity" (S.2, E.9)

Paulie Walnuts talking to the psychic
The Sopranos, Season 2, Episode 9, "From Where to Eternity" (HBO)

Furthermore, speaking of laughs, in “From Where to Eternity,” Paulie has not one, but two, of his most epic scenes. First came his explanation of how to precisely calculate your time in purgatory.

Afterward, we see Paulie go to a group session with a psychic. For all intents and purposes, this session didn’t really clarify much for Paulie. For the audience, however, it was priceless. By the way, I’m still trying to figure out how the psychic knew about the Paganos and the poison ivy, among other things.

Sopranos Comfort Food:
"He is Risen" (S.3, E.8)

Have you heard the good news?

-Aaron Arkaway

Indeed, “He is Risen” has a few elements going on at the same time, but they all go back to the Aprile household. Ecstasy, Thanksgiving, Tony’s hatred of Ralph…the whole nine yards. Speaking of yards, it’s a shame that turkeys have no sense of direction.

Although I know this wasn’t meant to be serious, I was also happy to see Meadow’s roommate, Caitlin, enjoying herself. She hadn’t been in a very good head space since we first met her at the beginning of season three. I guess she bounced back from Noah’s restraining order (how insane was that, by the way?).

Sopranos Comfort Food:
"The Weight" (S.4, E.4)

Silvio and Christopher The Sopranos
The Sopranos, "The Weight" (HBO)

"I don't know if we need to be that overstated."

Silvio Dante

Additionally, you’d be hardpressed to find another moment in the series where Silvio and Christopher are so clearly out of their comfort zone. Although, I do wonder how that Carvel cake tasted. I’m glad that in the end, the DiMaggio brothers didn’t end up killing Johnny Sack. Although, Sack only escaped death for a couple more years, as we know.

Sopranos Comfort Food:
"Eloise" (S.4, E.12)

Later, Eloise was a great demonstration of the anticlimactic nature of The Sopranos. For example, just as the tension couldn’t get any hotter, Furio just up and left, with nothing but a 4:00 A.M. message he left at the Bada Bing. Inasmuch as we’re used to witnessing awkward interactions on The Sopranos, the Billy Budd dinner conversation took on a whole new level of irony. 

While homophobia later comes into play in a major way, Carmela’s insistence that Billy Budd couldn’t have been gay was very telling. On a semi-side note, I really loved the song in this episode’s credits!

P.S. Sopranos Comfort Dessert: "Soprano Home Movies" (S.6, E.13)

Bobby Baccalieri holding his daughter, Nica, by the water at the lakehouse.
The Sopranos, "Soprano Home Movies" (HBO)

"Sweeter than wine, softer than a summer night"

Finally, I should state out front that by season six, it’s hard for me to feel comfortable about almost anything. Nevertheless, that final scene showing Bobby and Nica was one of the most heartwarming in the series, so I felt I should include it here.


In short, we all have different comfort food episodes on The Sopranos, and our tastes may change over time. As you may have noticed, I don’t really have any particular comfort food episodes in seasons five or six. That’s because most of them were far from comforting, don’t you think?

With that said, what are some of your “comfort food” episodes on The Sopranos? Let me know by connecting with me on social media, and check out my book recommendations below:

1. The Sopranos Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz & Alan Sepinwall

2. The Sopranos – The Complete Book by Brett Martin

Honorable Mentions - Coming soon!

"Mergers & Acquisitions" (S.4, E.8) - Up Next!

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