Episode Report Card
Aaron: C+ | Grade It Now!
Wild Horses Actually Can Drag Him Away

Why is it that every TV show in the history of the form has used stock footage for horse racing scenes? Can't anyone be bothered to actually go to a race and shoot their own stuff anymore? I mean, it's not like there aren't a lot of tracks in New Jersey, and this show has certainly filmed in less accommodating locations in the past (the Pine Barrens, for example), so would it really have killed them to go with the real thing? Besides, just think of all the great opportunities to product place everything from mint julep mix to Elmer's glue. Anyway, the announcer scores our official StTM points for the week (1,146 seconds) as he calls a race that looks like it was videotaped on a Betamax in 1984. Pie-O-My (that's Joey's horse, for anyone who hasn't noticed the episode title at the top of every single page in the recap) starts out in fifth place, trapped along the inside rail. After much screaming and exhortation from the boys, however, she breaks to the outside and finishes strong to win the race by half a length. Everyone is ecstatic, but it's Joey who is the happiest of them all, screaming that he won forty thousand dollars and that now he's rich. Which makes a nice contrast with Tony's estate planning, by the way. I also know everyone believes that it's significant that he has to sit down and clutch his chest here (especially since it happens again later on), but I honestly just think that was Pantoliano mugging for the cameras. Of course now that I've said that, he's totally going to drop dead of a massive coronary in the next episode, but still.

Later on, everyone is gathered around watching an uncomfortable looking Hispanic woman in an "I Love Paris" sweatshirt getting her picture taken with the winning horse. After someone teases Joey that she's his girlfriend, CPA Ginsberg is forced to explain that she's actually his maid, and her name is on the racing license purely for legal reasons. Good lord, people. What is this, The Jews Do Exposition Week? Or is it some new way of celebrating Simchas Torah that I'm not aware of? As they walk back to the stables, Joey declares that Tony is a genius for suggesting that they hold the horse back until the end of the race. "You are not going unthanked," he declares. "I'm giving you a taste of my winnings." They're joined by the jockey, who incidentally is only a few inches shorter than Joey, and champagne is passed out for everyone. "Not for nothing," says Joey to the jockey, "the horse won, but that was not the agreed-upon strategy." Oy. What a tool. Lois the Trainer explains that the horse got trapped, and that the whole thing was a fluke, but both Silvio and Joey insist that Tony was nothing short of prescient. Despite Tony's repeated (but mostly likely faux) insistence that he doesn't need to be rewarded, Joey pulls out a wad of cash and hands it over.

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