Watching Too Much Television

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Our (Crack) House

Once they get to a diner, Joey takes the opportunity to ask Cousin Brian for some investment tips. "Buy land," Brian advises, "because God ain't making any more of it." Perhaps not surprisingly, Tony doesn't contradict him by pointing out that Iceland and Hawaii were formed by volcanic activity, and therefore God in fact is still making more land. But that's not the point. The point is that Brian has a story about a scam a friend of his once pulled using the Department of Housing and Urban Development to guarantee some "fugazee mortgage loans." Reminiscent of the way in which MacGyver always used to leave out one critical component when assembling a nuclear weapon out of dental floss, cat food cans, and a leg of lamb for fear that kids would try to replicate it at home, David Chase elects to cut us to a silent exterior shot of the diner just as Brian begins to explain the crucial details. Aww, MacGyver. That would have been my third show.

Cut to Furio, driving Tony to an as yet undetermined location. They pull over to park, and Tony tells him to wait while he runs inside. People who enjoy hunting for film flubs will be pleased to note that the windshield, which was just wiped clear of rain in the exterior shot, appears completely soaked from the inside. Tony gets out and heads across the street, while Furio waits in the car and looks through a stack of pictures from his housewarming party. When he comes to one of Carmela, he pauses thoughtfully and then starts scribbling "Mrs. Carmela Giunta" on a nearby Trapper Keeper.

The undetermined location turns out to be a Russian bathhouse, and while I'm sure some of you were expecting a Czechoslovakian interior decorator to jump out and grab Tony, he's actually just there to have a nice schvitz with Boon, Joey Pants, and Vondie Curtis-Hall, who is playing an African-American civil rights activist that happens to be one of Boon's old college buddies. And while it is true that the world must never forget that Vondie is the man most responsible for Glitter, we should probably just be grateful that David Chase elected not to cast Tim Matheson in black-face for the role. Especially when you consider all the other stereotypes this episode traffics in. Speaking of which, Vondie is telling everyone about the "Jew-fro" Boon used to sport back in the day. Man, I'd kill to be able to pull off the Jew-fro. The best I can manage these days is the Jew-comb-over. Tony and Vondie reminisce for a moment about growing up near one another in the old neighborhood, which also provides Joey the opportunity to make his contractually obligated offensive comment of the week.

Back out in the car, Furio gently places his sunglasses in the glove compartment, and then picks up a cell phone to call Carmela. Incidentally, anyone who thinks they're not deliberately dressing Edie Falco in frumpier fashions this season needs to check out the seriously unflattering scoop-neck sweater and snow-leopard print mock turtleneck they've got her wearing here. It looks like something Adriana's grandmother would wear. Anyway, a clearly smitten Furio claims to be calling because he lost his sunglasses, and while it's never quite clear whether Carm buys that excuse or not, she does make at least a token attempt to look around the house for them. They exchange a lot of awkward small talk, and Carmela seems to be a bit more brusque than you might expect, even after Furio tells her that he found a particularly pretty picture of her from the housewarming party. Realizing that he's unable to sustain the pretense for calling any longer, Furio wistfully promises to see her soon, and looks incredibly sad as he hangs up the phone.

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