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Most amoral/evil Sopranos character

Who is the worst/most amoral character on the Sopranos?  

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Posted (edited)

My wife and I just finished the series after watching it slowly over the last year. It was my second time through and her first. While I think the show's theme is about amorality and its aimlessness, my wife and I had this debate throughout. You can define amoral or evil as you'd like but this isn't about which character is the most unlikeble or unrealistic or poorly written. 

Edited by Zow

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Posted (edited)

The two pieces that stand out as evil for out for me with Tony did not involve murder ironically.

1) The time when he baits Janet who was trying to hard to be normal, into snapping at a family dinner

2) When he beats the councilman with his belt for seeing his old gumah of which Tony had already given his blessing to.

Edited by NewlyRetired

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Ralph was the first that came to mind. AJ probably underrated here, kid was a complete POS.

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Just now, Murph said:

Ralph was the first that came to mind. AJ probably underrated here, kid was a complete POS.

Ralph is the first for me too considering what he did to the hoo-wash outside the Bing, but considering everyone was only angry at him for disrespecting the Bing and not the beating to death of his pregnant mistress, I’m willing to say most were pretty bad. 
 

also don’t forget the Hasidic homeboy, Jamal Ginsburg. 

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2 minutes ago, Murph said:

Ralph was the first that came to mind. AJ probably underrated here, kid was a complete POS.

Yeah he wasn't my top choice and didn't really do anything too terrible on the show, but I felt he was in the top 14 for mentioning (which was surprisingly difficult to limit down to 14).

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Just now, Zow said:

Yeah he wasn't my top choice and didn't really do anything too terrible on the show, but I felt he was in the top 14 for mentioning (which was surprisingly difficult to limit down to 14).

Yeah, I kind of joking, but not really. Never really did anything specifically awful, just always seemed like he was going to grow up to be a real jerk.

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Also, I should note, I voted for Janice. She was the embodiment of her mother - basically as self-centered and manipulating as it gets - and we saw more of her in the series. Particularly evil to me was her complete takeover of Bobby after his wife died and, in the second to last episode, her refusal to permit Bobby's oldest daughter to go live elsewhere solely because Janice and Bobby's child liked her. 

She also essentially murdered Richie which arguably puts her on par with some of the major mafia players. 

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3 minutes ago, Murph said:

Yeah, I kind of joking, but not really. Never really did anything specifically awful, just always seemed like he was going to grow up to be a real jerk.

I thought the show did a nice job of removing most hope for him when, in one of the last few episodes, he was hanging with his new frat boy friends (who appear to be on their way to taking over for their fathers) and he encouraged and didn't stop the senseless beating of the black bicyclist. 

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2 minutes ago, Zow said:

I thought the show did a nice job of removing most hope for him when, in one of the last few episodes, he was hanging with his new frat boy friends (who appear to be on their way to taking over for their fathers) and he encouraged and didn't stop the senseless beating of the black bicyclist. 

I did a re-watch somewhat recently and honestly have no memory of this but glad to have more evidence for my case!

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I went Richie, could've gone Ralph.

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As we are finding out in our private & public institutions these days, the greatest human evil lies in how much a person can justify to happen sheerly in their name, because their wanting it so makes anything not just possible but necessary. The reason Tony Soprano is so compelling is that he's the most Roman lead character in TV history. He has a vision of the world worthy of Caligula or Alex the Droog - that the status he reaches, no matter how he attains it, entitles him to commensurate live-or-die power over others. He seeks that because he honestly feels that all his actions become justified by the doing, the wanting alone. Any idiot can kill a man and bodies are just meat once life is gone. I dont believe in evil as an entity, but envisioning an Empire of Death as a goal is about as close as you come.

 

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6 minutes ago, Zow said:

I thought the show did a nice job of removing most hope for him when, in one of the last few episodes, he was hanging with his new frat boy friends (who appear to be on their way to taking over for their fathers) and he encouraged and didn't stop the senseless beating of the black bicyclist. 

that was all before his suicide attempt and recovery.  he clearly was suffering in a major way.  he still may have grown up to be a #####, but i think that was more a state of mania than an indictment on his morality.

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2 minutes ago, fantasycurse42 said:

I went Richie, could've gone Ralph.

I went Ralph, but was considering Richie.

 

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As evil as Tony was, I don't think he ever beat a stripper to death like Ralph did, or killed an innocent senior citizen like Paulie did, so I can't pick him here.   Granted, he might have if he had been in that position, but I think the writing was set to where Tony was showed as being evil and immoral, but not quite as awful as his fellow mobsters.

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9 minutes ago, Long Ball Larry said:

Bandetto?

Oops. Fixed. 

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4 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

As evil as Tony was, I don't think he ever beat a stripper to death like Ralph did, or killed an innocent senior citizen like Paulie did, so I can't pick him here.   Granted, he might have if he had been in that position, but I think the writing was set to where Tony was showed as being evil and immoral, but not quite as awful as his fellow mobsters.

I mentioned this fairly recently in the Sopranos thread (I guess), but according to Ariel Kiley (the actress playing Tracee):

Quote

 

In the original draft of the script, at the end when Tracee is dead out behind the Bada Bing, Tony Soprano comes out and says something about how it’s going to ruin another rug to wrap her bloody body up in it. He is totally careless about her death. I loved that.

It showed what I already knew about my worth as a young attractive woman in the eyes of many men – I was an object to be used and thrown away. Even at 19 having grown up in a pretty safe Vermont environment, I still knew what Tracee was going through, I had already experienced it, scaled in a lesser way.

I wanted to play Tracee so innocently – like she didn’t even know the world she was in – like she thought she was a Disney Princess. I wanted the audience to truly feel her innocence, so they would also feel stunned when she was so easily killed, and shaken by how they had previously admired these gangster characters.

When James Gandolfini read the part with me, he put in a request to change the ending of the episode. Instead of responding to Tracee’s death by being angry about the destroyed carpet, he changed it to say, remorsefully, “20 years old, this girl.” I thought it was kind of lame for him to change it, but probably professionally a smart move. He had an instinct about how harsh it was and how audiences might respond.

 

https://arielkiley.co/2017/10/23/playing-tracee-on-the-sopranos/

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At least with Richie we had an idea of where his anger and bitterness came from, but Ralph was just straight-up a whackjob loose cannon.

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7 minutes ago, Charlie Steiner said:

At least with Richie we had an idea of where his anger and bitterness came from, but Ralph was just straight-up a whackjob loose cannon.

Yeah I kind of feared Ralph would run away with this... I just thought maybe there were some more bondage fans on the board. :shrug: 

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has to be Livia ... the guys were all ruthless scumbags just doing what ruthless scumbages do, that was their way of life - it comes with their territory. 

Livia was evil incarnate. horrendous parent, ######## wife, manipulative and duplicitous human - she wins. 

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Just now, Zow said:

Yeah I kind of feared Ralph would run away with this... I just thought maybe there were some more bondage fans on the board. :shrug: 

I voted for Ralph as a reflex, but I think a case could be made for Livia; there were enough hints that she enjoyed the pain she caused, and to even hint around having your own son whacked probably does put her over the top.

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Sneaky vote for Carmella.  The baddies in this show more or less owned it.  She knew where her lifestyle came from and happily accepted it, but maintained this pure, innocent exterior, as though she didn't have just as much blood on her hands.

 

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if there were anything close to a quorum of women around here, an examination of morality & the sexes would be interesting

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40 minutes ago, Zow said:

I thought the show did a nice job of removing most hope for him when, in one of the last few episodes, he was hanging with his new frat boy friends (who appear to be on their way to taking over for their fathers) and he encouraged and didn't stop the senseless beating of the black bicyclist. 

Maybe I'm remembering wrong but I thought he looked mortified but too scared to go against the rest of the crowd.

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10 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Sneaky vote for Carmella.  The baddies in this show more or less owned it.  She knew where her lifestyle came from and happily accepted it, but maintained this pure, innocent exterior, as though she didn't have just as much blood on her hands.

 

Things were always made better for her by some shiny new object. 

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29 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Sneaky vote for Carmella.  The baddies in this show more or less owned it.  She knew where her lifestyle came from and happily accepted it, but maintained this pure, innocent exterior, as though she didn't have just as much blood on her hands.

 

you're wrong about the accomplice part

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24 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

Maybe I'm remembering wrong but I thought he looked mortified but too scared to go against the rest of the crowd.

i think that you are right, but he was very excited about them pouring the acid on their classmate's toe when he didn't pay his gambling debt

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Don't remember a lot of details of the series, but Ralphie jumped out at me without even seeing all of the options.

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5 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

Maybe I'm remembering wrong but I thought he looked mortified but too scared to go against the rest of the crowd.

I think that was the toe acid scene. IIRC he looked mortified/frozen during that. 

The scene I'm referencing was after his inpatient treatment where he started to feel good again and began hanging with the frat guys. They drove somewhere - I don't recall where or why - and a guy on a messenger bike ran into one of the frat guy's opened front door and crash. Frat guy, of course, doesn't care about the bicyclist's health and complains about his door. The group surrounds the cyclist - who is black - and shove him and call him the N-word. At one point he's pushed into AJ who shoves him back and makes a statement consistent with his friends. I do not recall if AJ then joined into the beating. But, he very clearly didn't seem to care and later distinguished the act by stating that his ex-gf wasn't black. 

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10 minutes ago, Long Ball Larry said:

i think that you are right, but he was very excited about them pouring the acid on their classmate's toe when he didn't pay his gambling debt

Wrong scene. 

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1 hour ago, otb_lifer said:

has to be Livia ... the guys were all ruthless scumbags just doing what ruthless scumbages do, that was their way of life - it comes with their territory. 

Livia was evil incarnate. horrendous parent, ######## wife, manipulative and duplicitous human - she wins. 

I think had she survived for the whole series she’d be my pick.  I know Ralph was only in it a season or so too but gave him the edge

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14 minutes ago, Long Ball Larry said:

toe acid, he is completely into: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe_vFGty7xs

beating of bicyclist he doesn't seem to have an issue with, but i think that by the end he is bothered by it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDDixd7McCs

Interesting. I'm probably biased from my previously-determined conclusion that the show is about nihilism and amorality, but I see him looking on in some odd combination of fascination and numbness.  I'd note in a subsequent scene he gives up the whole noble military thing to run a club - further solidying that his brief but deep dive into morality (e.g. environmental concerns with SUVs, his reading of poetry and philosophy) was just a blip.  

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1 minute ago, Dan Lambskin said:

I think had she survived for the whole series she’d be my pick.  I know Ralph was only in it a season or so too but gave him the edge

This is why I went with Janice. She basically is her mom extended through the series and the way she selfishly chewed up and spit out Bobby's seemingly wholesome family was enough to push her into the lead at the finish. 

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Halfway through season 4 of my rewatch. Gotta be Ralphie. He beat up the bouncer in the Bing in that party, knowing that the bigger, stronger guy couldn't hit him back because he was made. He abused the power of being made all the time with the other guys... and civilians, which is a sin in the omerta. He just did whatever the #### his ego wanted, whenever. Didn't care. Just for his own fun. He's gotta be the worst.

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5 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

Halfway through season 4 of my rewatch. Gotta be Ralphie. He beat up the bouncer in the Bing in that party, knowing that the bigger, stronger guy couldn't hit him back because he was made. He abused the power of being made all the time with the other guys... and civilians, which is a sin in the omerta. He just did whatever the #### his ego wanted, whenever. Didn't care. Just for his own fun. He's gotta be the worst.

Yeah probably the right answer. And, perhaps, why the show brought his character on - to give us a barometer of the worst that one of these guys can be. 

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1 hour ago, Zow said:

I think that was the toe acid scene. IIRC he looked mortified/frozen during that. 

The scene I'm referencing was after his inpatient treatment where he started to feel good again and began hanging with the frat guys. They drove somewhere - I don't recall where or why - and a guy on a messenger bike ran into one of the frat guy's opened front door and crash. Frat guy, of course, doesn't care about the bicyclist's health and complains about his door. The group surrounds the cyclist - who is black - and shove him and call him the N-word. At one point he's pushed into AJ who shoves him back and makes a statement consistent with his friends. I do not recall if AJ then joined into the beating. But, he very clearly didn't seem to care and later distinguished the act by stating that his ex-gf wasn't black. 

you have it backwards

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Posted (edited)

Most of the mobsters did it for money. It was a job and like many jobs, it had it's less tasteful parts. Ralphie did it because he loved it. He got off on chaos, violence, and cruelty and gave 0 f's about the feelings of anyone else. Tony or Paulie or Christopher, they would kill someone who threatened their safety, health or wealth or that of their families. Ralphie would kill you because he just watched Gladiator for the 8th time and wanted to see what it would really be like to kill someone with a sword. 

Edited by Ilov80s
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Just now, Dr. Octopus said:

you have it backwards

Yeah I remembered the acid scene incorrectly. My memory was that he was mortified but after re-watch I am wrong. 

 

I still maintain that he didn't react negatively to the bicyclist getting jumped. 

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22 minutes ago, thegroveisdark said:

Ralph set his horse on fire

Which upset Tony more than Ralph killing his "huoar". 

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53 minutes ago, thegroveisdark said:

Ralph set his horse on fire

Chris killed little Cosette

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Tony, of course. Every aspect of him was despicable. 

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