Over-the-top crime, unsolved mysteries, calculated hits, gang skirmishes, complicated family dynamics, loveable mobsters, story twists, and convoluted narratives are what The Sopranos is all about.
This controversial New Jersey mafia family has the ability to leave a smile on your face one moment and bring you to the edge of your seat the next. However haphazard their crime dealings might seem, it would appear the 'family,' as the gang members see themselves, abide by certain rules. These are just 10 of the more obvious rules and regulations which family members abide by, depicted in the popular series.
10 Respect First
They might be criminals, but members of the Soprano family demand respect. Tony Soprano learns this the hard way in many instances when his anger outbursts result in animosity between himself and other family members. The rule is simple: "Those who want respect, give respect."
One wouldn't expect this kind of honor from a ‘work family’ deep in crime, but then again, The Sopranos teaches us to expect the unexpected. No one is that simple, and respect and kindness can come from a mafia family.
9 Once In, Don't Try & Get Out
As lovable as this bunch is, they, unfortunately, do mean business. This means that it's easy to get involved with them and become a part of their circle. In fact, one will even get welcomed in with open arms… and might even get a cigar or two thrown into the deal.
However, it is not so easy to break ties once enmeshed in the brotherhood. It is as Tony succinctly (and rather tactlessly) puts it: "Once you're in this family, there's no getting out."
8 No Unauthorized Hits
The thought of calculated killing is too much for most of us to conceive of. Yet, in the Soprano family, arranged ‘hits’—or deliberate murders, as these are called—are commonplace. Still, no hit can be orchestrated without there having been a consultation with the rest of the family.
This does not mean just the consent of the general family, but it also has to include the go-ahead from the head of the family, who just happens to be Tony. Any unauthorized hit will result in a severe consequence, which might even mean the loss of a body part.
7 Family Ties First
It's easy for fans to believe crime comes first for this family, but this is not so. As the series will show, family comes first for this group of rough diamonds.
This lesson was learned the hard way by Adriana La Cerva, who became a snitch for the Feds. At the time, she was romantically involved with Chris. While Chris cared for her, she hadn’t realized how strong Chris' family ties were. He informed Tony, and the rest, you could say, was history. The ‘family first’ rule of The Sopranos ultimately led to Adriana's demise.
6 Never Harm Animals
What is it about mobsters and animals? They can arrange a hit and a callous crime, but try to hurt their pet puppy and there is big trouble!
While Tony loves his T-bone steaks, he is also a great animal activist who has in past episodes literally flown off the handle when others have mistreated dogs and horses. How this family manages to fit 'animal activism' into their heavy schedule of crime is a mystery, yet they get this down to a fine art.
5 Tony Is Boss
Tony is the head of the family and for this, and no other reason, all respect must be given to him. If someone doesn't obey this rule, there is trouble. When Feech La Manna joined the gang, he had been in prison for a 30-year stretch, making him significantly older (and in his eyes, wiser) than Tony.
For this reason, he treated Tony like a kid. A big mistake! When Tony finally got fed up with Feech's 'disrespect,' he made sure he was put back behind bars.
4 Actions Have Consequences
Tony has an expression: "You f*** up once, you lose two teeth." Basically, this is mafia talk for “actions have consequences.”
For example, Burt Gervasi was killed by Silvio when he tried to organize a coup. It’s simple for the members of the Soprano family: if you’re going to live by the sword, you will, more than likely, die by the sword. Then there are smaller everyday consequences, like losing a limb for showing disrespect to other Soprano brothers.
3 Respect Your Mother
It's not just pets that take a central place in gang members' hearts. Mothers are revered by the group. In fact, mothers are tantamount to sacred property in the hearts of the Soprano family. The mobster mother is an important figure. She is to be honored. She is to be respected.
If your fellow Soprano talks about his mom, listen. With respect. If you dare talk about his mom and say anything which is not good, prepare to be dealt with. Love and respect Mom. It's that simple.
2 Do The Crime, Pay The Time
There are a lot of risks associated with being in crime. These risks are well understood by family members. If caught, members could be imprisoned for long periods of time. This is just one of the many facets of the convoluted lifestyles of mafia family membership.
For example, Tony’s cousin, also called Tony, had to spend 17 years in prison for hijacking a truck. Regular viewers will know that Tony’s greatest fear is doing time. Still, the rule goes something like this: do the crime, be prepared to do the time.
1 Therapy Comes With The Territory
Okay, so members aren't completely immune to the effects of leading double lives and conning the public. This is evidenced by Tony's many therapy sessions. Fans of The Sopranos will know that the big boss often has panic attacks. These sometimes occur at inconvenient times, such as just before Tony was scheduled to accompany cousin Tony to a hijacking scene.
Thank goodness for professional therapists. Still, if you are a Soprano, it's best not to belittle Tony about his therapy and to support him, as even the toughest mafia bosses need to talk to someone at times.