Tony sports an evil grin as he throws his arm around Noah and leads him to the foyer. In a blatantly transparent effort to determine Noah's racial lineage, Tony starts quizzing him on his background. Noah says his parents are in "the business," and we're apparently supposed to think he means the mob business, but then he clarifies it to "show business." Tony asks if his parents were in "those old Tarzan movies," and this is beginning to look like it could get ugly. Noah, however, doesn't seem to get it, so Tony starts asking him which boxes he checked on his application to Columbia. Noah reveals that he checked African-American, and Tony seems to be getting a real kick out of messing with the kid when he oh so politely tries to confirm that Noah is indeed a "charcoal briquette." Noah at long last figures out what's going on here, and I gotta say, for an Ivy League boy, he's kinda slow on the uptake. He swears at Tony, who laughs it off and tells him that "when [his] little girl comes down those stairs, you'll say it was nice to meet me. Then you're going to drop her off and say goodbye." Gandolfini so totally channels Brando on this last line reading that I halfway expect Martin Sheen to show up in a boat and try to kill him. That'll probably have to wait until the Emmys. Anyway, Meadow comes down the stairs to find a speechless Noah, who immediately turns and sulks straight out of the house.
So a lot of people have been discussing whether Noah was out of line or not (he was showing off a bit, but Tony's the one in the wrong here), but what I find interesting are Meadow's motives. It's not like she couldn't have found a VCR on campus, so it's pretty clear she wanted Dad to see her new half-black boyfriend. And she certainly knows him well enough to anticipate precisely this reaction, so why leave them alone together? On the other hand, I seriously doubt that a minor case of cockiness is the worst thing we're going to see out of Noah this season. On this show, everyone is a bad guy.