‘Sopranos’ TBT: The Time Paulie Walnuts Demanded His Tupperware Back

For a minute, forget about the production design, the virtuoso acting, and the excellent use of music on The Sopranos. If you wanted a complex drama told against the backdrop of a unique mob story, the classic HBO show delivered in each of its 86 episodes.

But it was so much more than that. In fact, you could argue the show’s one-liners are what made it so beloved.

From the first time A.J. Soprano (Robert Iler) wondered about the whereabouts of “the fu*king ziti” to Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) opining on whether Tony (James Gandolfini) had “the makings of a varsity athlete,” The Sopranos kept fans in stitches for the better part of a decade.

But A.J. and Junior weren’t the only ones delivering the goods. Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) could hardly go a few lines without eliciting belly laughs from the audience. On this Thursday, we look back at Paulie delivering one of his most memorable (and random) zingers.

Paulie got heated over some missing Tupperware.

Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) and Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) talk business outside the Bing. | HBO

In Episode Six of Season Five (“Sentimental Education“), the audience sees Carmela trying to work school officials on behalf of A.J. while A.J. decides he’s tired of living with his dad. Meanwhile, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi) works toward becoming a licensed massage therapist.

After Blundetto’s Korean boss offers to back his massage business, we find him in the back of the Bada Bing prepping for his test with Vito Spatafore (Joseph Gannascoli). The two are working with flashcards when Paulie and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) enter the room.

While Christopher makes a lighthearted crack about the test prep (“A-oh, study hall again?”), Paulie makes a beeline for Vito.

PAULIE: Vito, where the f*ck is my Tupperware?!

VITO: Keep your shirt on. My wife’s bringing it down this afternoon.

Paulie, clearly annoyed, acknowledges the response with a vigorous shake of the head before walking away. The Tupperware’s whereabouts are never referenced again, as far as we know.

Yet the agitated Paulie comes back moments later with another question for Vito. “Tell me something: Why do pissing, sh*tting, and fu*king all happen within a two-inch radius?”

Not something you’re going to find in ‘The Godfather’ or ‘Goodfellas’

Tony Sirico and James Gandolfini prepare to shoot a scene on the TV series ‘The Sopranos’ in Jersey City. | Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

In classic mob films like The Godfather and Goodfellas, you get a few looks at mundane aspects of the gangsters’ lives. The scene in which a veteran Corleone soldier teaches young Michael (Al Pacino) how make a good pasta sauce comes to mind.

If you’re talking about Goodfellas, it’s the scene in which Tommy (Joe Pesci) takes his cohorts to his mother’s house to grab tools for burying a body. After his mom hears them come in, she insists on everyone sitting down for a meal.

However, the setting of the Sopranos household — and the overall length of the series — allows for many more such moments in the HBO show. Over the years, we hear Paulie opine on the horrors of shoelaces, the stress of relationships with his mother and aunt, and many other topics.

However, what other mob character would demand the return of his plastic food containers one minute and ask a graphic question about biological functions seconds later?

There was only one Paulie Walnuts.

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