Was The Sopranos a realistic mob show? It depends who you ask, but several people who ought to know certainly thought so. The list includes FBI agents who endorsed the show’s portrayal of law enforcement as well as some real-life mobsters.
Those weren’t coincidences. Sopranos creator David Chase had ex-law enforcement advisors working on the show to make things as realistic as possible. And it turns out writers had an ex-mafioso help on the season 1’s “Boca,” which follows the exploits of Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese).
In that installment, Junior and longtime girlfriend Bobbi take a trip down to Boca Raton, Florida, to get away from New Jersey. And, while there, viewers learn one reason Bobbi holds a special place in her heart for Junior. (It’s oral sex.)
On the May 25 edition of the Talking Sopranos podcast, co-host Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) explained how the ex-mobster on set helped develop the subplot surrounding Junior’s talents. Apparently, the mob did not approve of such things.
‘Sopranos’ writers loved that mob guys would frown upon Uncle Junior’s talents
Junior Soprano isn’t the only one trying to hide secrets in “Boca.” By then, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) has been seeing a psychiatrist for some time. And in the previous episode his mother Livia (Nancy Marchand) informed Junior about Tony’s visits to the shrink.
On his end, Junior becomes exposed when his girlfriend gossips about his talents at the beauty parlor. Unbeknownst to Bobbi, a friend of Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) was sitting with her there. So the boss in name (Junior) and the real boss of Jersey (Tony) eventually get dirt on one another.
On episode 9 of Talking Sopranos, Imperioli recounted what “Boca” co-writer Robin Green told him about putting the episode together. According to Green, Chase and the writing team thought the installment needed more than the threat of indictments and the soccer coach scandal.
To get rid of the “after-school special” feel, they turned to an ex-mobster. “The guy said the mob’s stance on cunnilingus (or oral sex on a woman) was very negative,” Imperioli said Green told him. “They thought that was both very bizarre and very hilarious, and they worked it into the script.”
The ex-mobster shared even darker mafia tales with ‘Sopranos’ writers
In “Boca,” you get an idea how mobsters could use cunnilingus against someone in the organization. While golfing, Tony starts needling Junior by singing “South of the Border” prior to hitting the ball. And even Carmela makes a crack on the subject at the dinner table.
But the ex-mobster shared more vicious tales from his days in organized crime. “‘As the day wore on, things got weirder and weirder with his stories,'” Imperioli quoted Green saying. Green said they heard about rape with a broomstick and the proper technique for breaking an arm on a curb.
Sopranos writers would file away those stories for another day. But you can see how they adapted at least one of the ideas. When Vito Spatafore (Joe Gannascoli) meets his end, it involves the horrifying use of a pool cue. So you could several parts of that story are true, too.