In The Sopranos, Aprille Crew capo Ralph Cifaretto is reputed for being the highest earner in the DiMeo crime family. This is thanks to him being in charge of the lucrative Esplanade construction project as well as his ties to labor unions. He also happens to be one of the most brutal and least empathetic mobsters in the show.
Ralph’s reckless behavior has put him at odds with Tony and Paulie, resulting in some of the most interesting feuds. However, his antagonizing behavior isn’t the only thing that stands out about him. Ralph is quite a brilliant conversationalist too, 0ften coming up with remarks that leave the viewer impressed even when they are not well-intentioned.
“Tomorrow I Can Be On Time, But You’ll Be Stupid Forever.”
Ralph and Paulie find themselves in a dispute involving earnings from a heist, with Paulie demanding $50,000 of the $100,000 made since he provided the intel. Tony organizes a meeting to resolve the issue, and Ralph is the last to arrive, which angers Paulie. He calls Ralph out for being late, only for Ralph to respond with a shady burn.
With the insult, Ralph is implying that bad habits be altered for the better, whereas someone with a low IQ is forever doomed. Even though Paulie is a ruthless executioner, sitting atop among the characters with the highest kill counts in The Sopranos, he is not the smartest. He tends to misunderstand things and often prefers to employ emotions over logic. However, Paulie is cautious, and it’s for this reason that he outlives most of his colleagues.
“Why Was I Born Handsome Instead Of Rich?”
After an argument with his girlfriend Tracee at the Bada-Bing, Ralph cracks yet another joke. He feels that his good looks always make his girlfriends insecure.
It’s an obvious quip meant to save face because Ralph is actually richer than he is handsome. He wasn’t born rich, but he has achieved that status through crime. He acknowledges that he has relationship problems, but he rarely does anything to solve them. As a result, he breaks up two of the main characters in just a short span of time.
“He Should Break The Dean’s Legs, ‘Cause You’re Too Lazy To Read A Book.”
Since his goal is to become a mafioso, Jackie Aprille Jr. complains to Ralph about Tony pressuring him to stay in school. Upon hearing Jackie’s lamentations, Ralph jokes that Tony should hurt the dean in order to force him to give Jackie better grades.
The mobsters on the HBO drama have a habit of using force to achieve an intended objective hence Tony breaking a dean’s legs isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Jackie’s refusal to see the importance of academics makes him spiral further into crime and, as a result, he gets whacked before he even becomes a made guy.
“I Have Come To Reclaim Rome For My People.”
Ralph shows up to the VIP section of the Bada Bing one night with a chain in his hand. When the manager Georgie asks him what’s going on, he claims he has come to reclaim Rome. It’s a quote he borrows from Gladiator.
The intelligent members of the DiMeo Crime Family are known to be in tune with pop culture. Silvio even quotes Michaele Corleone on the regular. As for Ralph’s words on this particular occasion, they are not only hysterical but also trigger historical nostalgia. Conversely, his actions illustrate his recklessness since he accidentally damages Georgie’s eye as he swings the chain while trying to recreate a scene from the movie.
“I Need To Hear It Was Merit And Not Just Because Someone Was Constipated And Blew A Gasket.”
Tony summons Ralph and gives him the promotion to Capo when his preferred candidate Gigi collapses and dies in the washrooms. Though happy, Ralph would like to be assured that he was the first choice.
Ralph joking about a dead man is something to be expected since he’s always had a weird sense of humor. He is also happy to make fun of dead Gigi since he was a rival for a coveted position. He knows that Tony doesn’t like him but he hopes that Tony appreciates the work he puts in. That’s why he seeks assurance, but unfortunately for him, Tony won’t give it to him.
“Why Not? Last Year You Believed A Flying Saucer Was Over East Rutherford.”
Paulie throws tantrums when Tony rules that he is only entitled to $12,000 from the $100,000 Ralph earned. He exclaims, claiming he can’t believe what Tony has done but Ralph wonders why, since he believes in stranger things such as flying saucers.
Ralph enjoys classifying Paulie as a dumb person and he does so again by reminding everyone that he is a conspiracy theorist who believes that there are beings on other planets. The high-earning Capo is obviously flying dangerously close to the sun by throwing all these burns at the ruthless Paulie. People have been killed over tiny disagreements in the New Jersey underworld but Ralph is confident he can hold his own since he is malevolent too.
“I’ll Pass Because If You Don’t Pay Me, I Won’t Be Able To Hurt You.”
Afraid that debt might ruin his friendship with Tony, Artie approaches Ralph for a loan instead. Ralph politely declines and he has a rather logical reason for that decision. If Artie fails to pay, he won’t be able to hurt him because he’s one of Tony’s closest friends.
Loan-sharking is another business venture that has made Ralph one of the richest characters in The Sopranos. He’s successful at it because he only lends to be people he can intimidate. In as much as he’d love to help the restaurateur but in addition to him not being able to charge him exorbitant interest rates, Artie might fail to pay and there’s nothing he’ll do about it.
“Two Minutes In Charge And He Thinks He’s Lee Iacocca.”
Ralph doesn’t take too kindly to Gigi asking him to stop making jokes as DiMeo mobsters visit Bryan Spatafore. He hilariously claims that Gigi thinks he is as important as legendary Ford Motor Company executive Lee Iacocca just because he’s been given a promotion by Tony.
The antagonistic mobster sure has perfect the art of belittling his rivals even when he knows they are better men than him. Comparing Gigi’s authoritativeness to that of a car company boss is as hilarious as it is smart. As someone who makes so much money, it’s no surprise that Ralph knows all the famed business executives and looks up to them for inspiration.
“Are You A Horse Investigator Now?”
After the racehorse Pie Oh My gets killed in a fire accident, Tony suspects that Ralph planned it all so that he could collect the insurance money. He thus goes to Ralph to complain about but the Capo has no time for horse talk.
Ralph shows a total lack of compassion here since the horse meant a lot to Tony. He doesn’t understand why someone would mourn an animal, which perfectly sums up the kind of person he is. While the quote is guaranteed to trigger giggles, it offends his superior, who ultimately goes on to kill him.
“He’s Not Leaving Me A Lot Of Options Here.”
Ralph loses his mind when Tony hits him in front of everyone outside the Bada-Bing. During a private chat with one of Tony Soprano’s closest friends, the Lupertazzi Crime Family underboss Johnny Sack, he hints that he could resort to murder as payback for the disrespect, an idea Sack shoots down.
Killing is always among the options for the New Jersey mafiosos when thinking about conflict resolution. They actually prefer it as opposed to signing a peace treaty. It’s true that Tony isn’t leaving Ralph a lot of options but among the few ones he has is making right with his boss and changing his ways. He doesn’t do that and as a result, the bad blood leads to his death.