We Hope You've Been Saving Your Receipts
Assessment: Michael Imperioli has been given such a gift in the character of Christopher Moltisanti: he's moved up through the ranks, found love, dabbled in show business, lost love, gotten shot, and shot up a lot of dope. And even when Christopher's bad decisions make you curse out the character, Imperioli makes him fascinating to watch. He even pulls focus from Gandolfini in scenes they share -- not easy to do when you're four-foot-three. Imperioli's never stopped working as a character actor; once Sopranos is over, he might even graduate from Hey! It's That Guy! status.
Assets: Super-thick eyebrows don't work on everyone. They work on Peter Gallagher, and they really work on Michael Imperioli.
Liabilities: Good as he is, the "short, intense, New York-based Italian actor" space is pretty crowded.
Current approximate level of fame: Sam Rockwell
Deserved approximate level of fame, post-Sopranos: John C. Reilly
Name: Steve Schirripa
Age: 49 (est.)
Occupation: Actor, lummox
Non-Sopranos Experience: 21 movies, 1 TV series
Assessment: We'll say this for Steve Schirripa: he knows his place. The guy's going to get calls for mobster roles -- that's it. He knows it, and he's milking it as long as he can, by doing things like writing A Goomba's Guide To Life and hosting Mob Scene. When this role ends, he'll find another, playing some other gentle, dim meatball. He's not trying to stretch by lining up a role as...I don't know, Taft or something. We say: good for him.
Assets: Perfectly formed to play enforcers who might subdue you by sitting on you.
Liabilities: If we ever stop being interested in organized crime, he's screwed.
Current approximate level of fame: Steve Schirripa
Deserved approximate level of fame, post-Sopranos: Steve Schirripa
Name: Tony Sirico (b. Genaro Sirico)
Occupation: Actor, pointer.
Non-Sopranos Experience: 41 movies
Assessment: If Paulie Walnuts seems like a more legit mobster than any of the others, it may be because of Tony Sirico's real checkered past -- a backstory that made him appealing to Woody Allen, and qualified him to play a supporting role in Mickey Blue Eyes. We've enjoyed his ups (glee at murdering people) and downs (finding out his aunt was actually his mother), and the fact that Wonkette calls John McCain "Walnuts" for his rumoured temper. But most of all, we love his hair. When you've got a crowning glory like that, who even needs fame?