The Sopranos

David Chase’s Favorite Tony Soprano Episodes Are Surprising (& Secretly Perfect)

The reason behind David Chase’s surprising favorite Tony Soprano episodes is fascinating and a perfect reflection of The Sopranos’ essence.


  •  David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, reveals his favorite Tony Soprano episodes, which are unexpected and offer a different perspective.
  •  Chase’s top picks, season 6’s “Join the Club” and “Mayham,” involve Tony in a coma with an alternate persona, largely unrelated to his typical mafia boss activities.
  •  These episodes exemplify the show’s psychological approach and willingness to take risks, making The Sopranos more than just a crime series.


Although TV veteran David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, had some surprising choices for his favorite Tony Soprano episodes, the reasons behind his picks are highly fascinating. In a 2014 interview with Huffington Post, Chase went over the best episodes for The Sopranos‘ main characters from his perspective with his choices for the other figures being interesting but somehow predictable, such as Carmela’s “Whitecaps” or Christopher’s “The Ride”. Nonetheless, regarding Tony, Chase’s point of view was unexpected.

The Sopranos first aired in 1999 and grew to become one of the most important TV shows of all time. The series follows the life of Tony Soprano, the boss of a New Jersey mafia, and his therapy sessions, which he starts attending after repeated panic attacks. The writing of Tony’s character and James Gandolfini’s perfect portrayal made him one of the most iconic characters in TV history. Throughout the show’s 86 episodes, Tony undergoes many different situations involving either his personal life, his job, or both at the same time. So, picking a favorite Tony episode was no easy task for Chase, who ended up choosing two instead of only one.

David Chase’s Surprising Best Tony Soprano Episodes

James Gandolfini as Tony in The Sopranos

Considering the vast variety of episodes featuring Tony Soprano handling regular affairs related to his job as a mafia boss or his problematic family, David Chase’s choice comes across as surprising. The creator’s favorite two episodes for Tony are The Sopranos season 6, episode 2, “Join the Club,” and season 6, episode 3, “Mayham,” which can also be thought of as a two-part piece. These episodes, also referred to as “the big dream sequence,” as Chase himself mentions, feature Tony as a businessman named Kevin Finnerty in a strange purgatory-like dream, while being in a coma after getting shot by Uncle Junior.

What’s more surprising about these two being the two best Tony Soprano episodes, according to the show’s creator, is not the fact that they are a big dream sequence or that they are not among the highest-rated The Sopranos episodes, but the fact that Tony behaves like somebody else in them. Although the differences in the performance by Gandolfini are rather subtle, everything about this version of Tony is slightly different, including his voice, his wardrobe, the way he relates to his family, and the decisions he makes. However, these episodes aim to be part of the bigger picture and to contribute to the depiction of Tony from a different angle.

David Chase wrote “Join the Club” while “Mayham” was written by Matthew Weiner, who then co-created Mad Men.

“Join The Club” And “Mayham” Add Greater Depth To Tony

Tony sitting on a hotel bed in The Sopranos' episode

Being a show that revolves around psychology, The Sopranos often uses Tony’s dreams to explain something about the character or to illustrate his mental processes. “Join the Club” and “Mayham” are clear examples of this device. However, there are a couple of things that set these two episodes apart from the rest. In the first place, the narrative weight of these episodes is greater, as The Sopranos‘ series finale draws closer and everything that happens in the dream has an impact on his ultimate fate and indicates a turning point in Tony’s life. Secondly, Tony plays a very different part in these outings.

The Sopranos is available to stream on Max.

Although Tony playing a different character during two episodes in a row might be a little strange, Kevin Finnerty says a lot about Tony himself. The whole mistaken identity plot is a clear reflection of Tony’s identity crisis, which is present from the series’ very beginning. Kevin Finnerty is a regular family man who sells heating systems, which in a way represents the man Tony thought he could be, but he isn’t. Tony constantly asks himself whether being Tony Soprano was a decision he made or something that was fixed. The dream sequence, despite being too metaphorical at some point, reflects on that and has a great impact on Tony.

David Chase’s Favorite Tony Episodes Prove Why The Sopranos Is So Special

Chase’s choice, as well as the episodes themselves, are a clear reflection of the same thing that made The Sopranos so special. While the show is about the mafia and nearly every plot revolves around organized crime, the series is much more than a crime story. The psychological approach to every character’s drama is what made the show transcend. “Join the Club” and “Mayham” are proof of the show’s courage to take risks and try to accomplish something different from other crime series. David Chase’s The Sopranos distinctly sets the point of view on the side of the mafia and aims to dig deeper into what drives these complex characters.

The Sopranos Poster
The Sopranos

Considered to be a quintessential drama series to watch, The Sopranos is a crime-drama series that follows Tony Soprano, who tries to manage the expectations of an Italian-American patriarch while acting as the head of a prolific New Jersey crime family. Burdened by the stress of the expectations thrust upon him, Tony regularly visits a therapist throughout the series run. This helps give context to Tony’s actions as a ruthless boss with violent tendencies.

Release Date January 10, 1999
Cast James Gandolfini , Lorraine Bracco , Edie Falco , Michael Imperioli , Dominic Chianese , Steven Van Zandt , Tony Sirico , Robert Iler , Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Seasons 6
Writers David Chase
Streaming Service(s) Max

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