This sends Tony back there to pay a little visit to Artie. They're both leery of each other at first, as Tony tries to break the ice with still more small talk. We also learn that Artie is living in a Motel 6 because Charmaine got the house. Heh. But I won't be happy until he's in a cardboard box under a bridge, far, far away from the television cameras that insist on bringing him into my own home each and every week. Tony gets the brilliant idea of offering to let Artie move into Livia's house with him, and I almost cried when I heard him say that. "I was talking to my cousin Tony B," he continues, "and he says it's fucking stupid that we're on the outs." Um, that's actually not what he said at all, but it is a nice illustration of how Tony's mind works. It's like that "friend" who "couldn't use" those tickets to "Bermuda." Artie finally gives up and agrees to move in, and then they kiss and make up for good. Well, without the kissing, at least. And thank God for that. Obviously I was eventually proved to be very, very wrong, but I literally had to chew half a roll of Tums to settle my stomach after thinking about what it would be like to recap these two as roommates. I mean, I almost asked to switch to network show. Oy. Oh, and on the way out, Tony also offers to get Artie hooked up with some discount dry cleaning through Tony B. That may or may not be important later.
Junior's Joint. Tony, Junior, and Bobby are in the living room watching This Old House in that old house, while Janice gets dinner ready in the kitchen. Junior shuffles in to ask when they're eating, and Janice gripes that she just told him five minutes ago. That'll be important twenty minutes from now. Then she sits everyone down to get started eating, even though Barbara and her family haven't arrived yet. Bobby asks AJ about his football team, which causes Junior to lean over and tell AJ that his father never had the makings of a varsity athlete. This clearly infuriates Tony, but Junior doesn't even seem to notice. Or remember that Tony never went to college, for that matter. "Small hands," adds Uncle Jun. "That was your problem." Heh. This cracks up Janice, who apparently knows exactly what it is they say about men with small hands. Tony, however, just can't let it go. "What is it with you and this obsession with this varsity crap?" he asks. "The other day you said it, and when I was a kid, you told the girl cousins the same thing and it was very hurtful." Aww, hello Mr. Continuity. I'd thought I lost you in the dust bowl somewhere. Janice tries to defuse the situation, but Tony isn't finished. "It's undermining," he shouts, "and it's the kind of stuff I'm teaching my kids NOT to do." Ahh, yes. I can see that he's got that one listed fourth on the lesson plan, right after fidelity, integrity, and proper nutrition. Junior doesn't even look up from his dinner during this outburst, which ends up not mattering anyway, because Barbara and her family arrive just in time to end the awkwardness. Everyone sits down, and Mr. Barbara is all excited about the Jets drafting some tight-end from Tulsa. And God knows they need one. Junior, however, still doesn't think Tony has the makings of a varsity athlete, which is precisely what he announces to the assembled guests. Again. Tony jumps out of his chair and screams that he's leaving, which confuses poor Barbara, who has no idea what's going on. Tony also yells at AJ to get his coat, to which AJ replies: "Uh, I don't have a coat." Hee! AJ almost scored the hat trick in this episode, which is pretty impressive for one of the Soprano kids, who usually lead the league in Shut Ups per Minute and Smack-to-Chuckle ratio. Tony storms off, declaring that he'll never eat Sunday dinner at Junior's house again. As soon as he's out the door, Janice turns to Uncle Junior to ask if that was really necessary. "He's a goddamn hothouse flower," replies Junior. "That's his problem." Nice. Chianese's still got game.