The Sopranos

The 1 Sopranos Joke James Gandolfini Wanted Cut From The Show

One joke from The Sopranos didn't get James Gandolfini's stamp of approval, and he wanted the writers to cut the obscure joke out of the episode.

There was one joke in The Sopranos that didn’t get James Gandolfini’s approval. The series aired on HBO from 1999 to 2007 and followed Gandolfini’s character Tony Soprano, a member of the Italian-American mafia. The Sopranos nailed every joke with or without approval from the actors who had to say the lines. Showrunners took the series very seriously, allowing actors very little room to add their own spin on things. While it may sound strict, it worked in their favor as the series was a massive success with an incredible legacy. 16 years after its finale, The Sopranos has not been forgotten.

The series won 21 Emmys in its time on air, further proving how well-received it was. However, Gandolfini carried the series as the main character, so it’s understandable why he felt he should offer some feedback on one of the show’s jokes. Ultimately, it didn’t ruin the episode or make The Sopranos any less legendary, but it did showcase just how serious the writers were about sticking to their script and not allowing actors to insert their opinions. The cast went along with everything the writers instructed them to say, but Gandolfini had to speak up about just one joke in the series.

James Gandolfini Wanted A Joke Cut For Being Too Obscure

Tony insults Agent Grasso in The Sopranos season 1

Gandolfini didn’t think The Sopranos fans would understand one of the jokes because it was too obscure. The joke the actor disapproved of appeared in The Sopranos season 2, episode 13, “The Knight in White Satin Armour.” Tony was talking to Uncle Junior when he told him Richie Aprile planned to kill him. Tony accuses Junior of being a double agent and calls him Matt Helm.

RELATED:What Happened Between The Sopranos Creator & James Gandolfini

The line is a reference to Dean Martin’s double agent character in the films The Silencers, The Wrecking Crew, Murderers’ Row, and The Ambushers. Gandolfini didn’t feel like the movie character was widely known enough for the joke, but since the writers didn’t take actors’ critiques very seriously, the joke remained in The Sopranos episode. Despite Gandolfini’s skepticism, the joke remains a prime example of The Sopranos‘ varied sense of humor and ability to draw on a wide range of media.

The Sopranos’ Obscure Matt Helm Joke Proves How Strict The Show Was

Tony Soprano smiling in The Sopranos

The Sopranos had two strict rules; no improv and no script changes. Most shows allow their actors to be creative and add their own flair to the script. While they still have to follow their lines, they’re often allowed to improvize or go a little off script, not saying everything word for word. However, this was not allowed on the set of The Sopranos. Gandolfini’s desire to take out the Helm joke is proof of how serious writers were about the characters saying the exact lines that were written for them.

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