Paulie Walnuts

Curator's Note

In its six season run, THE SOPRANOS never failed to make all of its characters, major and minor, anything but multi-dimensional. Even its minor players seemed fully fleshed out--real. Of all the 2nd tier SOPRANOS characters none fascinated more than Paulie Walnuts, memorialized in this fan compilation. What would Dr. Melfi say about Paulie (assuming she ever wants to treat a mobster again!)? Recall that in the final episode of Season One, he did confess to having "coping issues." Really? What makes sick fuck tick? Name his best/most infamous moments in the series?


Say what you will, but only he in that inspired landscape merited a visit from The Virgin Mary -- in The Bing. After hours. And he provoked some plausible spirits at a seance, after that message from Chris's dip into the afterlife. So the most brutish gangmember seems to have some antenna going out there. In the Last Episode speculations many figured Phil Leotardo spared Paulie to have him whack Tony, but his earlier betrayals perhaps argued against that. Fascinating character.

The best, funniest and yet most heartbreaking moment has to be when Paulie discovers that the woman he has always adored (like every good Italian American boy) his mother is not all she appears to be and his aunt (who he has always considered to be a bit strange) is his real mother. The confusion that this scene throws up, his real bitterness at a life he now feels has been a sham, the cancer scare that he now has to deal with alone. What a sad and complicated figure he makes. And yet, his perfectly coiffed hairdo, his manicured fingernails and attention to sartorial detail mark him as somebody different from the rest of the mob, more sensitive maybe? The resulting tussle with his sense of betrayal and eventual acceptance of the woman that he once knew as mother is as poignant as any moment in the Sopranos. What will happen to Paulie Walnuts, the man without a goomah or familly? The man that stands out in his crowd.

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