The Sopranos is oft considered one of the greatest and most influential television shows ever written. With each episode being a masterclass in acting delivered by James Gandolfini whose portrayal of big donged crime boss Tony Soprano being lauded by audiences, critics and most impressively of all, actual mobsters. Many of whom greatly enjoyed almost every aspect of Gandolfini’s performance, except for his wardrobe.
For anyone familiar with The Sopranos throughout the show’s run James Gandolfini’s wears some, interesting outfits while portraying series patriarch Tony Soprano, having a particular penchant for the kind of shirts normally worn by retired porn stars and hipsters.
Admittedly the show was produced in the early 2000’s so some of these stylistic faux pas are understandable given the visual diarrhea that was, the fashion of the early millennium. That isn’t to say that Gandolfini looks bad, because let’s be honest, he pulls off almost every look on the show through sheer dicks-out confidence and a total lack of any discernible fucks being given.
Something actual mobsters responded very strongly to, frequently contacting Gandolfini and the show’s writers/creators to compliment them on the accuracy of the show’s portrayal of organised crime. Not that they had to given that the FBI also did that, recounting to the writers that actual mobsters they’d wiretapped would gush about the show’s quality. Sometimes wondering out loud if some of the plot lines on the show had been inspired by their own criminal activities.
However, there was one thing mobsters didn’t like about Gandolfini’s characterisation of Soprano, his love of booty-hugging short shorts.
Now keep in mind that Tony Soprano is a mass murdering, drug dealing psychopath with a hair-trigger temper who endlessly cheats on his wife. Sure the show portrays Soprano sympathetically at times, with the whole point of the show being his tragic, self-inflicted downfall. Still he is absolutely, unequivocally a piece of shit and mobsters had no issue with any of that, but wearing shorts. That is where they drew the line.
In fact, one mobster was so incensed that they somehow got ahold of Gandolfini’s home phone number and called him at like 3AM purely to give him shit for wearing shorts in one episode. Specifically, they told the actor that while they appreciated his performance “A don doesn’t wear shorts”.
A story showrunner David Chase found so amusing he actually wrote it into the show, making another character give Soprano the business for wearing shorts in an earlier episode. Leading to one of the show’s most memorable moments and an absolutely classic Tony Soprano reaction image.