It’s TV Time

After the summer break the gents are back! This time talking about their favorite TV Shows. Who makes number 1? This as well as a special announcement for the month of October and more! So grab a drink, get your popcorn ready, and sit in your comfortable seat for this action packed episode of Yumper and Svo!

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The Simpsons (1989- present … 35 Seasons)

  • Stars Dan Castenella, Nancy Cartwright, Hank Azaria, Yeardly Smith and Harry Shearer.
  • Trivia
    • Has won 181 awards including 35 Primetime Emmys with a total of 352 nominations
    • Comic Book Guy is based on Matt Groening himself: “He’s the way I think I look to other people.”
    • Homer (Dan Castellaneta) is the only character to have dialogue in every episode. While Marge (Julie Kavner) and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) also appear in every episode, Marge doesn’t have any dialogue in “Krusty Gets Kancelled” (Season 4 Episode 22), and Lisa doesn’t have any dialogue in “Chief of Hearts” (Season 21 Episode 18). Bart (Nancy Cartwright) doesn’t appear in “Four Great Women and a Manicure” (Season 20 Episode 20).
    • Nick is named after George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos, who was charged after Elvis Presley’s death for prescribing thousands of doses of narcotics to cater to Elvis’ massive appetite for prescription drugs.
    • Lionel Hutz says he got his law degree from Princeton. Although most Ivy League schools offer a law degree, Princeton does not, which helps confirm that he is phony.
    • Milhouse has been cursed with a nefarious name. “Milhous” was Richard Nixon’s middle name (spelled differently on this show) and Miss Leslie Van Houten was a member of the Charles Manson family. She was one of those who were convicted in the LaBianca murders. His middle name, “Mussolini”, references Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
    • Many of the characters are named after Matt Groening’s family and relatives, including Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Maggie, which are the real names of his parents and younger sisters.
    • Real names of unnamed characters:
      • Comic book guy – Jeff Albertson: Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass (2005).
      • Crazy cat lady: Eleanor Abernathy.
      • Sea Captain: Captain McAllister, according to Conan O’Brien, the character’s creator. Conan talks about this on the season four DVD commentary.
      • Squeaky voiced teen: Jeremy.
    • Some of the store and place names around town are parodies of real life chains: Air conditioner store: It Blows; Airport Bookstore: Just Crichton and King Books (Michael Crichton, Stephen King); Boys’ Clothing Store: Wee Monsieur; Comic book store: Androids Dungeon; Cookware store: Stoner’s Pot Palace; Discount Store: Try ‘n’ Save (parody of Shop N Save); Dog Obedience Schools: Eastside Ruff-Form School, Professor Von Bowser’s Sanitarium For Dogs; Donut Shop: Lard Lad Donuts; Family Restaurant: Texas Cheesecake Depository; Financial Planning: Let’s Get Fiscal (based on Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical”) She of Little Faith (2001); Girls’ Clothing Store: Saks Fifth Grade (parody of Saks Fifth Avenue) and Dingo Junction; Girls school: Saint Sebastian’s School for Wicked Girls; Gourmet Food store: Eatie Gourmet’s; Gun Shop: BloodBath and Beyond (parody of Bed, Bath and Beyond); Hair Stylist: Turn Your Head and Coif; Hair Stylist (where Julio works): Hairy Shears (a play on Harry Shearer); Healthcare Facility- HMO (Hibbert Moneymaking Organization); Indian restaurant: Taj Majal You Can Eat; Investing service: IPO Friday’s; Jewelry store: The Family Jewels; Joke/Novelty Shop: Yuckingham Palace (parody of London’s Buckingham Palace); Junkyard: Uriah’s Heap (Uriah Heep, from the story of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens); Law Office: I Can’t Believe It’s A Law Firm!; Middle Eastern restaurant: Two Guys from Kabul; Museum: Louvre: American Style; Music shop: Suicide Notes, Tommy Toots and King Toots; New Age Shop: Karmaceuticals; Optometrist: Eye Carumba; Optometrist: Eye Care, Do You?; Outdoor Clothing Store: Malaria Zone; Pastry Shop: The French Confection (The French Connection (1971)); Repo man: Repo Depot; Roach Motel: The Ritz Carlton Hotel for Vagrants; Seafood Restaurant: The Fryin’ Dutchman; Soup Kitchen: Helter Shelter; Toy Store: Valley of the Dolls (1967) Toy Store: J.R.R. Toykins (J.R.R. Tolkien); Toy store in Chinatown: Toys “L” Us (parody of Toys “R” Us) Many of the characters are named after major streets in Portland, Oregon, where Creator Matt Groening grew up. Examples: Flanders, Lovejoy, Terwilliger, Kearney.
    • The telephone number at Moe’s Tavern is apparently 764-8437, or “SMITHER”, revealed when Mr. Burns tries to call Smithers but does not know his phone number. Naturally, SMITHER was his only guess: season seven, episode seventeen, “Homer the Smithers”.
      • Several recurring characters are spoofs for former or current celebrities:
      • Arnie Pye: Ernie Pyle
      • Bumblebee Man: Roberto Gómez Bolaños (based on his Chapulin Colorado character)
      • Drederick Tatum: Mike Tyson
      • Maria Quimby Maria Shriver
      • Mayor Quimby John F. Kennedy, Mrs. Quimby Jacqueline Kennedy
      • Judge Constance Harm: Judge Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy)
      • Rainier Wolfcastle: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
      • This is made obvious in season fourteen, episode nine, “The Strong Arms of the Ma”, presumably because the motif of that episode is bodybuilding. An interesting note; in the series, the character Rainier Wolfcastle is based on Arnold Schwarzenegger, yet in The Simpsons Movie (2007), the president is Arnold Schwarzenegger, dropping the guise of ‘Ranier Wolfcastle’. That makes Arnold one of the only celebrities on the show to have a parody character AND their real life counterpart (even though Schwarzenegger didn’t provide his voice to either).
    • Hank Azaria said that he adopted his characters’ voices from celebrities and people he has met. Among others, Chief Wiggum’s voice is based on Edward G. Robinson, Lou’s on Sylvester Stallone, and Comic Book Guy’s and Snake’s on Hank Azaria’s roommate in college.

 

Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)

  • Created by Paul Feig
    • Tim (Heavy Weights)
    • Zoey Extraordinary Plaist
  • Starring Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco, Jason Segel, Samm Levine, and Seth Rogan.
  • 4 wins including a Primetime Emmy for outstanding casting for a comedy series on 15 nominations.
  • Trivia
    • Series producer Judd Apatow told Vanity Fair in 2012 that whenever he sees an opportunity to use anyone from the show, he does. It is his way of refusing to accept that the show was cancelled, and that all of his subsequent movies are the continuous adventures of those characters.
    • The creators were determined not to end each show with a typical “happy ending”. One notable exception is the pilot episode, which the creators purposely wrote as a self-contained story, in case the show was never picked up for production
    • The actors improvised lines in many of the scenes to achieve a sense of reality.
    • James Franco and Busy Philipps were said to have hated each other in real life so much that he pushed Busy to the floor once, in spite of the fact that they play a couple in the show.
    • About halfway through the season, it was evident that the show was in danger of being cancelled. The rest of the episodes were put on hold, while the creators wrote and filmed the final episode (which was written in a way as to serve as both a series finale, if the show was cancelled, and a season finale, if the show would’ve gotten picked up for a second season). Several episodes later, it was cancelled.
    • Jason Segel admitted it was very easy to act intimidated by his father in the show, played by Kevin Tighe, because he was intimidated by Tighe in real life.
    • Shia LaBeouf auditioned for the role of Neil Schweiber.
    • Ben Stiller was cast in episode seventeen as a favor to Judd Apatow to save the show from being cancelled. The show was cancelled three episodes before it could even air.
    • Linda Cardellini (Lindsey) and Jason Segel (Nick) dated off-screen for five years. They also dated in the show. They had previously co-starred in Dead Man on Campus (1998). Segel stated in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2008 that Cardellini was a great girlfriend, and the title character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) was not based on her, it was more an amalgamation of a lot of different relationships and break-ups he had.
    • Seth Rogen later revealed that he once asked network executive Garth Ancier why he had canceled the show. Ancier told him that due to the show’s poor ratings, he had given showrunner Judd Apatow instructions on how to improve the show’s success. One of these included giving the characters a victory at the end of an episode. Since this was exactly the opposite of what Apatow had set out to do, he refused to implement this change. The ratings remained bad for the remainder of the series, and the network subsequently canceled the show after one season.
    • The series takes place from 1980 to 1981.

 

NYPD Blue (1993-2005 12 Seasons)

  • Created by Steven Bochco
    • HillStreet Blues
    • A. Law
    • Murder One
  • and David Milch
    • Writer
      • Hillstreet Blues
      • Deadwood
      • Brooklyn South
    • Starring Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits, David Caruso, Gordan Clapp, James McDaniel, Nicholas Turturro, and Kim Delaney.
    • Had 88 wins including 20 Prime Time Emmys (4 by Franz alone) and 203 nominations total.
    • Trivia
      • Dennis Franz (Detective Andy Sipowicz) is the only actor to appear in all 261 episodes of the series. In second place is Gordon Clapp (Detective Greg Medavoy), who appears in 256 episodes.
      • The exterior of the 9th Precinct station house is used to represent the fictional 15th Precinct’s station house. It is the same building used to represent the station house on Kojak (1973).
      • Just like an earlier Steven Bochco series, Hill Street Blues (1981), most of the episodes were written to take place over the course of a single day.
      • The character of Detective John Kelly was originally named Flinn, and intended for Jimmy Smits, who turned down the role. Smits later played Kelly’s replacement, Detective Bobby Simone.
      • This show is famous for the trademark camera zoom scene’s in which the camera zooms in on the character
      • Ricky Schroder (Detective Danny Sorenson) left the show because his wife suffered a miscarriage and felt he needed to return home with her, so they wrote him out.
      • Jimmy Smits left the show once his initial contract ended. During the show’s run, he found the constant last-minute re-writes frustrating and chose not to extend it, but stayed on for a five-episode arc at the beginning of season six to allow his character have an explained departure.

 

True Blood (2008-2014 7 seasons)

  • Created by Alan Ball
    • Produced
      • Six Feet Under
      • Uncle Frank
      • American Beauty
    • Starring Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammel, Ryan Kwanten, and Chris Bauer.
    • Had 38 wins including 1 Primetime Emmy and 158 nominations total.
    • Trivia
      • To shoot the title sequence, the production crew took a four day trip to Louisiana, Chicago (where the church was filmed), and Seattle (for the bar scenes and writhing bodies). They would jump out of their cars as soon as they saw something they liked, or got permission to shoot people’s homes, like the man in the rocking chair. He later had a few beers with them. Executive Producer Mark Bayshore is the man dancing with the girl, her arm around him, and his sons are the boys with berry juice over their faces.
      • Alexander Skarsgård originally auditioned for the role of Bill Compton.
      • Photos of the cast and crew are seen behind the bar at Merlotte’s.
      • The title sequence avoided using any of the actors and actresses, because Alan Ball dislikes other television shows that do that. Since we’re watching these people for the next hour anyway, he doesn’t see the point in it.
      • Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux) originally auditioned for the role of Cooter.
      • The exteriors for the mansion home of Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), the Vampire King of Mississippi, and his husband, Talbot (Theo Alexander), were filmed on-location at Longwood, a mansion in Natchez, Mississippi. Longwood is unusual in several respects: it is an octagonal structure, an architectural style that was otherwise unknown at the time in the region; the tower has a large, onion-shaped dome on its top; and because the Civil War interrupted its construction, it has never been completed – the family that commissioned it was never able to live in the main part of the house and instead furnished the basement. Longwood is a registered National Historic Landmark.
      • Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Crystal Norris, but was deemed too young for the part.
      • Zack Snyder is reportedly a huge fan of this series and “noticed” Joe Manganiello as a possible Superman even before signing on for Man of Steel (2013). Manganiello was about to make a screentest with a Superman suit when HBO stepped in and prohibited him from any auditions due to contractual obligations with this series.
      • The song commonly heard in scenes involving a wolf pack, is “Spoonful” by Howlin Wolf.
      • Sarah Palin was offered a cameo as herself in the final season.
      • Luke Grimes played James in season 6 but subsequently exited the show before season 7. In an article on TVLine in December 2013, an HBO spokesperson said that the role was being recast “due to the creative direction of the character” and an unnamed insider claimed that Grimes quit after reading the season 7 scripts due to disappointment with the changes made to the character. In an article in Buzzfeed in June 2014, it was claimed that Grimes left the show because he objected to James and Lafayette becoming a couple. In an e-mail to Buzzfeed Grimes’s publicist Craig Schneider denied this, claiming that Grimes exit from the show was to do with scheduling with film roles and not with the storylines for season 7. Schneider also claimed that Grimes had not been privy to the storylines for season 7 at the time of his exiting the show. Nathan Parsons took over the role of James for season 7.

 

Ash vs. The Evil Dead (2015-2018 3 seasons)

  • Created by Ivan Raimi
    • Writer Darkman, Army of Darkness, Spiderman 3
  • Sam Raimi
    • Spiderman Franchise
    • Evil Dead Franchise
    • Darkman
    • Xena Warrior Princess
    • Herculues Legend Continues
  • Tom Spezialy
    • Leftovers
    • Watchmen
  • Starring Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Lucky Lawless.
  • Won 12 awards on 18 nominations.
  • Trivia
    • The yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88 that Ash drives is the same make, model, and color used in most of the movies directed by Sam Raimi. The original car belongs to Raimi, and was bought new by his father in 1973.
    • Was originally meant to be the fourth movie, but due to so much material being written, the makers decided to turn it into a television series instead. If the first season was a movie, it would’ve been around five hours long.
    • Ellen Sandweiss (Cheryl) is the only other cast member from The Evil Dead (1981) to appear and reprise her role.
    • Picks up thirty years after the events of The Evil Dead trilogy. For the first season, Universal Pictures/MGM did not allow Starz to use footage or elements from Army of Darkness (1992). For the second season, Universal/MGM gave Starz permission to use elements from Army of Darkness (1992).
    • To give Pablo and Kelly their own iconic look to stand up to Ash’s classic blue shirt and brown pants, the Wardrobe Department created an individual tone to their costumes. Pablo always wears clothing with the color green and graphic t-shirts, and Kelly always wears purple-colored apparel along with distinctive rings she wears that spell out different words in each episode. They also created multiple versions of Ash’s wardrobe for diverse reasons, including blood splatter, tears, and stunt work. They even had a collection of shirts that was a lighter tone of blue for scenes with darker lighting.
    • Bruce Campbell announced that the cancellation of Ash vs Evil Dead marked the end of him portraying the character Ash Williams for good.
    • Ellen Sandweiss reprised her role as Deadite Cheryl and ad-libbed her line, “I’m gonna make like a tree, and f**k you!”, referencing her infamous “Tree Rape” scene from The Evil Dead (1981). Original Director Sam Raimi expressed his regret for the scene multiple times, while Sandweiss on the other hand defended it, stating that it was one of the scariest scenes in any horror film.

 

Ted Lasso (2020- present 3 seasons)

  • Created by Brendan Hunt
    • Fallout 4 Voice Perry
  • Joe Kelly
    • Writer
      • SNL
      • How I Met Your Mother
    • Bill Lawerence
      • Showrunner
        • Scrubs
        • Cougar Town
        • Shrinking
      • Starring Jason Sudeikis, Brett GoldSten, and Brendon Hunt.
      • Won 78 awards including 11 Emmys (4 By Sudeikis Alone) and 190 nominations total.
      • Trivia
        • Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent on the show, was initially just hired on as a writer. He got so attached to the character of Roy that he sent an audition tape to Bill Lawrence and later won the role.
        • Jason Sudeikis said his own situation paralleled Ted Lasso’s, in that he was going through a bad breakup with Olivia Wilde when the show was picked up (like Lasso going through a divorce with his wife), so, like his character Ted Lasso, he went to England (where the show is filmed) in order to grieve and start moving on.
        • The character of Roy Kent is based on Irish footballer Roy Keane. Keane played in the Premier League from 1992 to 2006 for both Nottingham Forest and, more famously, Manchester United. Like Roy Kent, Keane was also team captain and was famous for his temper and aggression, both on and off the field. Coach Beard describes Kent as a “box-to-box midfielder”, which is a description that was often used to describe Roy Keane’s style of play.
        • Zach Braff directed episode 2 of the series. He happened to be in Britain as the show had begun filming and he was invited to direct.
        • Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso), Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) and Joe Kelly (writer) are all alumni of the Amsterdam based improv comedy company Boom Chicago. Brendan Hunt also wrote a comedy program based on his experience as an American in Amsterdam/Europe.
        • Jousting tournaments used to take place on Richmond Green in the Medieval era.
        • All the properties on Richmond Green are all Grade II* listed, including a lamp post and two telephone boxes. Listings of this kind denote historical preservation and the asterisk differentiates these properties from others as “important” beyond being simply “special”.

Suits (2011-2019  9 seasons)

  • Created by Aaron Korsh
    • The Deep End
    • Pearson
    • Syucheu (Japanese Suits)
  • Starring Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams, Megan Markel, Sarah Rafferty, Rick Hoffman, and Gina Torres.
  • 1 win and 9 nominations
  • Trivia
    • Stephen Macht (Professor Gerrard) is the real-life father of Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter). Gabriel Macht’s inspiration to become a producer in the series (and take control in areas such as casting department) came when he was watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? (2009), a comedy show where the actor and singer Gustavo Goulart is responsible for many departments at the same time. Macht noticed that it gave a special mark to the project, so he decided to take more control of his series too.
    • Some of the prints that hang on the wall in Rachel Zane’s office in season 3 are the work of Patrick J. Adams (Mike Ross).
    • Gabriel Macht (Harvey Specter) and Sarah Rafferty (Donna Paulsen) are best friends in real life. They have known each other for almost 20 years and Macht is the one who suggested her for the role of Harvey’s loyal and faithful assistant.
    • The series frequently quotes Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men (1992), who also wrote and created The West Wing (1999). Harvey’s secretary Donna is a tribute to the West Wing’s Donna Moss. Although the characters don’t share every aspect, they have the same relationship with their boss. Both shows also starred Dulé Hill.
    • Many critics have referenced the gradual change in profanity levels throughout the series’ progression. The first season used terms like “sh*t” and “goddamn” sparsely, but still more often than most basic-cable shows. As they became a success, these words were used even more liberally in future seasons. The Season 7 premiere was the first to feature the word “f**k,” and since then it has not been uncommon to hear one censored use within the episode.
    • Gabriel Macht’s last name coincidentally means “power” in Dutch and German.
    • Every Suits (2011) season, except Season 1, contains a flashback episode.
    • Louis Litt officially “Litt up” sixteen people in the first four seasons.

 

Entourage (2004-2011 8 Seasons)

  • Created by Doug Ellin
    • Ramble on
    • Bad Santa 2
  • Produced by Mark Wahlberg
  • Starring Kevin Connoly, Adrain Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jorry Ferra, and Jeremy Piven.
  • Won 14 awards including 6 primetime emmys (3 by Piven Alone) and 106 nominations.
  • Trivia
    • The show is loosely based on the Hollywood experiences of Mark Wahlberg, one of the executive producers.
    • Throughout the show, Ari’s wife is always referred to as either Mrs. Ari or Mrs. Gold, or pet names like “honey, sweetie” by Ari. It isn’t until the sixth episode of the last season that Bobby Flay addresses her as Melissa.
    • Jeremy Piven’s character is loosely based on Ari Emanuel, a partner at the Endeavor Agency.
    • Kevin Connolly had actually retired from acting when show creators first approached about doing the show. It wasn’t until he was informed the part of Eric had been written specifically for him that he decided to take part.
    • Johnny Drama is based on actor Johnny Alves, Mark Wahlberg’s cousin. Thus, in the pilot, Turtle mentioning that Vince thought Johnny was his cousin until they were fourteen.
    • Whenever a boxing match is shown on television, it is the exact same fight. Jerry Ferrara has commented, “I have that fight memorized.”
    • “Aquaman”, Vince’s first blockbuster film was inspired by Mark Wahlberg working with Wolfgang Petersen on The Perfect Storm (2000), Wahlberg’s first major blockbuster.
    • In season four, Turtle asks Drama if he’d ever seen 24 (2001). In real life, Kevin Dillon appeared on three episodes of 24 (2001) during its second season.
    • Ari Gold’s “Let’s hug it out, bitch” was ranked #6 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s 20 Top Catchphrases” (21-27 August 2005 issue). Creator John Koch claims that he doesn’t know where the line originated. In one of Piven’s previous television shows, Cupid (1998), his character is seen in a limousine yelling, “That’s right good citizens, it’s International Hug a Stranger Day! It’s time to hug it out, you little freak!”
    • “Medellin”, and its bad reception by critics and audiences has a lot of similarities to Southland Tales (2006). Both movies were big projects directed by directors (Billy Walsh and Richard Kelly), who had a huge success with an indie-flick (Queens Boulevard and Donnie Darko (2001)) that had huge fanbases. Both movies were first screened at Cannes, and a huge buzz was created about them. After they were screened, they both received bad reviews (Southland Tales (2006) scored the lowest reviews for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, averaging 1.1 out of 5) and bad audience reaction. Additionally, Southland Tales (2006) went straight-to-DVD in many countries, just like “Medellin”.
    • The show’s intro music track is Superhero by Jane’s Addiction.

 

The Sopranos (1999-2007 6 seasons)

  • Creator David Chase
    • Producer
      • The Rockford Files
      • I’ll fly away
    • Starring James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Steven Van Zandt, Dominic Chianese, Tony Sirico, and Steve Schirripa.
    • 122 awards including 21 Emmys (3 by Gandolfini and 3 by Falco) and 309 nominations
    • Trivia
      • James Gandolfini said that he was often contacted by real-life “wise guys”, complimenting him on the authenticity of the series, as well as giving him advice
      • David Chase only directed two episodes. The first and the last.
      • It is said that during some scenes, James Gandolfini inserted a small stone in his shoe to anger him, making him play the role of Tony Soprano more authentically. He would also stay awake all night for some of the breakfast scenes, to achieve a tired look.
      • After the pilot aired, a real-life “wise guy” told James Gandolfini never to wear shorts again. The encounter seems to have been incorporated into season four, episode one, “For All Debts Public and Private”, when New York City mob boss Carmine tells Tony that he’d heard about his recent backyard party, and that “a don doesn’t wear shorts.”
      • To settle salary disputes after season four, James Gandolfini gave each main cast member $33,333 from his own pocket.
      • Four members of northern New Jersey’s only real-life mob family, the DeCavalcantes, were secretly taped in 1999 by federal investigators talking about their similarity to the fictional DiMeo/Soprano crime family. On the tape, one mobster asks another, “Is this supposed to be us?” And his capo buddy replies, “You are in there. They mentioned your name in there.”
      • Lorraine Bracco was originally asked to play the role of Carmela Soprano, but she felt that the part was too similar to her character in Goodfellas. She decided the role of Dr. Melfi would be more challenging.
      • When asked if there would ever be a movie based on the series, James Gandolfini jokingly replied that it would only happen “when David Chase goes broke.” Nearly 14 years after the end of the series, David Chase produced the prequel The Many Saints of Newark (2021).
      • Corrado Soprano’s nickname, “Junior”, was taken from the actual nickname used by Tony Sirico when he was a gangster as a young man, before he became an actor.
      • Ray Liotta was a top choice to play Tony Soprano, but he turned it down, stating he did not want to commit to a television series. Later, Liotta was in talks to play Ralph Cifaretto, but ended up not taking the part. Ray would end up taking a role in the prequel film ‘The Many Saints of Newark’.
      • Tony Sirico only agreed to sign on for the show if it was guaranteed that his character Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri would not be a “rat” (an informant). As Sirico explained in James Toback’s documentary The Big Bang (1989), he had served time in prison for robbery. Altogether, Sirico’s rap sheet included at least twenty-eight arrests. Reportedly, he appeared briefly in an uncredited role in The Godfather Part II (1974). Some aspects of Sirico’s real-life, a brief stint in the military, et cetera, were added to Paulie’s life as well.
      • James Gandolfini is the only cast member to appear in every episode.
      • Before series creator David Chase chose “Woke Up This Morning” by the U.K. band Alabama 3 (from their 1997 debut album “Exile on Coldharbour Lane”), he wanted to open every episode with a different song. HBO executives convinced him that viewers needed to be able to identify the show with a theme song. However, every episode ends with a different song.
      • Series creator David Chase was a longtime fan of Steven Van Zandt’s music, and had always wanted to write a role for him. When Chase saw Van Zandt induct The Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he invited him to audition for Tony Soprano, even though he had never acted before. Van Zandt did not want to take a role away from a real actor, so Chase wrote the role of Silvio Dante for him. The Rascals’ performance footage ended up being featured in season one, episode seven, “Down Neck”.
      • While playing “Kevin Finnerty”, Tony Soprano’s dream alter-ego, James Gandolfini speaks in his natural accent.
      • The first cable-television series to win the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series.
      • During seasons two and three, Steve Schirripa had to wear a fat suit in order to play Bobby Bacala.
      • Michael Rispoli originally auditioned for the role of Tony. Series creator David Chase liked Rispoli’s audition so much that he adjusted the role of Jackie Aprile, Sr., originally a much older character, to fit Rispoli’s age.
      • David Chase claims the relationship between Tony and his mother Livia was based on his relationship with his own mother, Norma. Livia is also the name of the Roman emperor Augustus’ conniving, murderous wife, especially as portrayed in I, Claudius (1976).
      • Rolling Stone Magazine rated this the number one best television show of all time.
      • Each episode cost more than two million dollars.
      • Whenever Tony and A.J. are accused of lying, they both always reply with “I told you!”
      • Max Casella (Benny Fazio) originally auditioned for the parts of Matt Bevilaqua and Jackie Aprile, Jr. Both characters only lasted one season, but Benny remained until the final episode.
      • When Jamie-Lynn Sigler was first called in to audition for Meadow Soprano, she knew nothing about the premise of the show. From the title, she thought it might be about opera singers.
      • Anthony LaPaglia early on, when the series was first pitched to the Fox network, was considered for Tony Soprano. Fox felt that LaPaglia had attractive Italian good looks that would score big with female viewers. However, David Chase was adamant that Tony Soprano look like you average suburban dad everyman. Chase felt that with Tony looking like an average Joe viewers would not only relate to him but would see that the only thing that attracted people to him was the power he yielded as a Mafia Don.
      • Originally, series creator David Chase was going to call the key character Tommy Soprano. He later changed it to Tony.
      • Tony Sirico and Frank Vincent auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior. Sirico was offered the role of Paulie instead. Vincent joined the cast as Phil in the fifth season.
      • In the pilot, “Satriale’s” was “Centanni’s Meat Market”. Centanni’s is an actual neighborhood butcher, but they couldn’t shut down every time the show needed to shoot. Location scouts went out and found an abandoned building and modelled it into a pork store, which became Satriale’s.
      • The first cable series to win a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama.

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