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Sars: B+ | Grade It Now!
Mambo Italiano

Upstairs at Meadow's. The Sopranos file in; Meadow's in the kitchen with an apron on, and her boyfriend Finn -- who looks like Bob Saget, if a beaver got thrown out a tenth-story window and landed on Bob Saget's head -- nervously introduces himself. Exposition about Finn's plans to go to dental school. Jokes about Tony's loose filling. Colin and Alex stand around uneasily. AJ checks the place out as Tony asks what smells so good, and when Meadow says she's making Carm's recipe for chicken cacciatore, Tony smiles that he should have known; he puts a hand on Carmela's back as he says it, but Carmela flinches forward away from his touch and quickly changes the subject to whether it's safe for Meadow to leave her apartment door open all the time. Finn awkwards, "I'll protect her, don't worry." Yeah, right, Art Rock Hair. Still, a flicker of naked envy crosses Carmela's face, and she quickly looks down. Tony makes another "funny" about Finn and teeth, and Meadow finally introduces Colin and Alex to Tony. Tony's confused that Colin lives there but Finn doesn't. Finn says he has a place on 118th. "Good," Tony says in a faux-mild tone.

Everyone shuffles into the living room except Carmela, who fusses with the place settings before joining the others, and Tony and Finn chat about where Finn's from. Finn's father is in the navy, so he's from all over. "So you've been all over the world," Carmela says too brightly, coming to sit down and giving Finn an appraising glance. Meadow offers her mother a mushroom, which Carmela declines flatly; Tony urges her to "try one, they're good," and Carmela bristles, "Maybe later." Colin tells Carmela that Meadow "absolutely keeps [them] alive with her cooking," which Carmela feigns happiness at hearing, but as Alex asks Colin if he didn't make mac and cheese one time (Colin: "Well, I didn't want to brag." Hee!), Carmela slumps, absently accepting a glass of wine from Tony.

Back at the restaurant from earlier, we find the younger members of the crew thoroughly trashing the place. The Frisbeeing of plates around looks kind of fun, actually. One guy proudly shows off the cock and balls he's spray-painted on the Venetian mural. Heh. (I'm five.)

At dinner, Carmela questions Finn about the skiing. The trip sounds impossibly nice, but of course Carmela has to pee in the cornflakes by cautioning the kids to "just be careful, with all those accidents you read about -- Sonny Bono?" Snerk. Then we find out that Alex is descended from Spanish royalty; Colin and Meadow tease her a little about it, and she rolls her eyes but explains that she had a countess for a great-great-grandmother or something. "Which makes you…?" a fascinated Carmela asks. "Technically, I'm an infanta de gracia," Alex explains, embarrassed, and Finn pipes up that that wouldn't fit on Alex's driver's license. Heh. Everyone at the table laughs at that, except for Carmela, who snaps at Meadow through a fake smile, "Well, you might've told me you were living with royalty." Tony jokes that hey, Meadow is an Italian princess: "Does that count?" Meadow beams at him as he adds, "My wife too, for that matter." Carmela gives him an inscrutable look. Finn takes the wheel of the flagging conversation to question AJ about whether he's looking at schools yet; AJ guesses he'll go to Rutgers. With his grades? Not likely. It's a state school, not a day care. Anyway, Meadow asks if he's passing everything, and AJ says proudly that he got a C on his Billy Budd paper. Carmela's shocked, and not in a good way, but Tony points out, "He usually gets Ds and Fs -- what's with you today, you okay?" Dude, Tony -- not in front of company, my man. Carmela says AJ worked hard on it: "Why only a C?" "I don't know," AJ snots, and the roommates look uncomfortable, but Finn saves things again by asking if AJ liked the book. It's okay, AJ says, and adds that his teacher "says it's a gay book." And so it begins, with Carmela gasping, "Who, Mr. Weggler? Oh, that is ridiculous." Finn says that actually, he's heard that before, and Colin and Alex both nod, but Carmela won't hear of it: "That was written when, in the nineteenth century?" AJ pipes up eagerly: "Yeah, I didn't even know they had fags back then." Shut up, AJ. The exchange which follows is priceless, even by this show's standards:

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