TV: Ok to watch the Sopranos?

Hi everyone, I know this programme is quite old now, but I’ve recently got into watching the Sopranos. I’m on series 1 & 2.

My issue is that, although I really enjoy it a lot there is violence and sexual content. Is it wrong to watch the programme? I don’t watch it for the violence or sex but rather for the plots, characters and the way it is so well-made and well-acted. Also there are some good Catholic characters on it. Do you think the content is just too racy for a strict Catholic to watch, or is it ok? Thanks.:thumbsup:

I have never watched the show and never will. Your description is enough to keep me away. Before you definitely told me what it was full of, the fact that the culture embraces it (and other programs like Friends) tells me all I need to know in almost all cases. I would say it’s a venial sin at the minimum. Even if it were not, do you really want yourself exposed to that filth? Try some 60’s shows instead. It’s almost another world. You might find Adam-12 or Dragnet very interesting for a start. I see them mon-fri over-the-air and I usually schedule my day around them. Unfortunately those shows are only 30 minutes long.

So many people seem to have watched the Soprano’s and I have not, and I don’t feel as though I have missed a thing. Big deal, there’s all sorts of programs I will never see. I would rather watch dvd’s of Perry Mason than that, and I don’t even care much for Perry Mason.

You will find that there are probably more here than care to admit, because it isn’t “proper”, who watch shows that are not necessarily “Catholic”, or have “questionable” main characters.
I say, enjoy the show!


Long after the show ended, and I am finally interested in watching it on A&E. What little I’ve seen was largely unobjectionable, and maybe A&E is censoring the objectional stuff. I don’t know.

Hmmmm…if you watch it on A and E it’s been significantly cleaned up for language and content.

But if you watch the DVD’s the language is bad (lot’s of F words), violence is pretty violent…and the sex is pretty graphic at times.

I watched it here and there, it is pretty well made, and the acting is great. I’ve also gotten a few laughs…one line that stayed in my mind is Tony’s mistress complaining to him, and says, “Tony, where is MY knight in white satin armor.” :smiley:

Great show, great writing, enjoy.

If anyone thinks that this show endorses or promotes promiscuity, violence, or really any criminal activity, they clearly haven’t seen it. If anything, it repeatedly and graphically makes the point that organized crime destroys everything it touches.

It also has a great moment when a character describes what Hell is like for an Italian-American: its an Irish bar, and every day is St. Patrick’s Day. :smiley:

It’s quite hypocritical, the way Hollywood works. This show was yet another example of pushing the envelope of what people find acceptable. The same scenes with ‘dancers’ were shot again in less revealing wear in an attempt to resell it to more “mainstream” outlets. It never happened. Hollywood knows when it’s crossing the line. And they know that line exists because of Catholics and other Christians.

I’ve seen it, and it is a show about profoundly dysfunctional people. I realized that meditating on such things is bad. Unlike television from the 1950s and 1960s which was watched by the networks’ Standards and Practices Departments to make sure that everything was suitable for the entire family, this stuff is tragic and explicitly so.

In the past, I could talk about my favorite scenes from the original Star Trek and so on, but the Soprano’s? What? The scene where Tony blows away that guy? Or the scene where he strangles that other guy? Or how about that scene… One could argue that it was an accurate portrayal, but that’s one reason I would never want to be a cop investigating a brutal murder. I don’t consider that “entertainment.”

Too graphic. Profanity. Sexual situations. Nope. Not suitable.


A&E must be really cleaning it up then. And when augustineguy points out that it shows the consequences of gangster life in a negative way, is that enough to mitigate it? To offer another example, would it be acceptable to watch a film of men and a women fornicating in full graphic pornographic style if at the end it showed them burning in Hell as consequence? It’s the right lesson after all. My common sense says no. When does the depicted objectionable content become unacceptable and blow away whatever good message the material is trying to convey?

You said it.

I just today delivered a lecture at a local center on Black History month.discussing various issues down thru the years and how I fought against bigotry and class,ethnic hatred…so your ‘question’ is timely but confusing…you dont seem to care or notice that hollyweirds century long Italo bashing is in full swing…you like shows that sterotype folks hey…like Archie Bunker and Irish bigots,and Woji the Polish detective on the Barney Miller show etc etc…no group of people have so contantly been insulted as have we Italo-Americans…even as a teacher once in a while some smirking high schooler would ask me if I were ‘connected’ I would reply…'sure,see my pointed shoes"…Run dont walk and buy a copy of Birth of a Nation…this flick,premiered in the white house by Woodrow Wilson back in 1914,endorsed and glorified the KKK…this is a great relaxer and should also make you feel good. Stephin Fechit was an actor who played roles that made African-Americans look rather stupid…rolling his eyes,never talking clearly,shuffling,afraid of his own shadow etc etc…this is how I see those SOB actors who perform in the sopranos and gawd,fadder shows…and lets not forget the Fonze,the ultimate in grease monkey “…” etc etc…this latest cartoon re: the chimp killed by police but in a satyr actually our new president is a great one to keep,be sure to get your copy today…all the best…take this in good humor…plus a teaching moment…

I have an Italian friend who led a demonstration against the showing of the Sopranos, her point being that it demeaned Italian Americans. We came to the conclusion that it is a modern ‘Amos and Andy’ with Italians instead of black folks.

I saw the documentary on Jack Johnson for the second time here recently on PBS. I don’t know why I saw it again, when you consider it was a mere 6 months before that I saw it the 1st time. I have a fascination with documentaries at times I suppose. When I saw it the second time, I saw something I did not see the first. Understand, Jack went through an awful lot of racial prejudice against him and that was apparent the first time as well, but a couple of things struck me to the core, and if these things weren’t entirely fabrications, they were very bad statements indeed. I understood this show was very likely done by a bunch of liberals, so anything could happen, but being used to seeing liberal slants it seemed to me it wasn’t too slanted and wasn’t begging for death to white america or anything like that.

The two things that struck me, were that Birth of a Nation segment, where it wasn’t only Woodrow Wilson that loved it, but I think the entire Supreme Court and a great many congressmen. It was the first movie ever showed at the White House.

The one thing that really got me though, was the press. They were calling Jack all the common anti-black slurs, alongside making obvious references to his race being inferior, animals, and so forth. So what did that do to me? I used to say that my ancestry was full of poor people, so there’s no way they owned slaves, so there was no problem with Negroes there. But after I saw the documentary I would have to say that they were quite likely just another cog in the widespread anti-Negro thinking of the day. To think that it was so out in the open that this garbage was being ran in very large newspapers, not only in the South, but also on both coasts. And of course we know the course it took later, with segregated drinking fountains and so forth. It did rather make me ashamed of being white.

There’s not a lot I can do about it anymore, as the attitudes of that day have largely past, but nowadays I worry about the other forms of prejudice out there, more specifically the anti-european male one out there, as that segment of the population is the one those who want revenge blame it on. You know reverse-discrimination and all of that. Racial hatred doesn’t really take a back seat (pun definitely not intended) if all it does is shift to another segment of the population. People just have to decide they won’t participate in it.

I told some of this to my Mom when she was in the hospital recently and I mentioned how silly it seems for at least white america to have any hatred for the blacks, or any other race, simply based on the principle of hurt. The principle of hurt, is that basically you should hate those who hurt you the most. Now while we know we shouldn’t hate, I look at it from a worldly perspective, and in the end, as you will see, it works out.

So, who hurts you the most? Usually your own race, just because you’re around them the most so therefore they hurt you the most. So why would you hate a race more, when they hurt you less? You don’t hate your own race I presume, so why other races? My mother then told me that a brother-in-law’s father was a big time racist, but when he was close to dying he confessed that he didn’t know why he hated black people, as they never did him any harm.

:whistle: “Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun”… :whistle:

I simply love this show. If loving Soprano’s is wrong, I don’t wanna be right :D.

What I find interesting is that my father and grandfather could care less about the Sopranos, but find the Godfather both angering and harmful. Their logic was that while the Sopranos portrays the Mob as dysfunctional, corrupt, and pretty miserable, the Godfather gives them a veneer of honor.

The Italian neighborhood my dad grew up in saw kids dropping dead on the streets from drugs that the Mafia sold, and others falling into the life of a low-level enforcer or drug runner. To them, it was the Godfather and that pop culture image that needed to be protested. They were glad that the Mob was finally portrayed as the bunch of criminals that it is. Not that they had any interest in watching the show, either.

That was the point in the NY Times’ review of Mario Puzo’s novel. The review said he glossed over the thuggery.

And Gay Talese was just nuts about the Bonnanos. Men of honor my foot!

I often ask my priest about certain things in the mainstream world, and if it’s ‘wrong’ to partake in them. Inevitably, the answer (or question) he gives me is “How does it affect you after watching it?” and “How does it affect your relationship with God?” If what you’re watching or doing weakens your realtionship with God then yes it’s bad and you shouldn’t do it. If it strengthens or at least doesn’t affect it, then it’s not a problem. It all depends on what kind of spirit it puts you in after.

I watch the Sopranos not to see new and exciting ways to sin. I watch because I enjoy the drama, the acting is great, and that it does in fact cast a moral shadow on the actions of these people. I like Tony Soprano the character, not because I idolize who he is or what he does, but because it’s a representation of everything I don’t like about the non-christian world. The characters are great, the acting behind them is great, but it’s not something I emulate or take into the real world. It’s just a tv show.

And I think the comparison to porn is a specious one. The show is not 100% sex and/or violence all the way through. There’s a lot of swearing, but it isn’t non-stop. There is a lot of plain old dramatic acting and plot in each show. The question was where do you draw the line about the redeeming quality of the show’s message. I think you draw it a long time before you get to the 100% sex/violence and/or porn, regardless of the end message. And the Sopranos come nowhere near that line.

What you are forgetting, and him as well apparently, is that what you see (and hear) is what you get. You dont’ have to think it’s not affecting you, it will anyway. This is especially the case when you think it’s not affecting you, because you are all the more open to it’s suggestions. I had a 6 month period at work where a couple of guys I knew went about their conversations saying the F word frequently. They didn’t do it with me separately, but just between themselves for some reason. I said nothing and figured they knew better anyway and I would go about my business. I don’t know when it started, but that word starting coming out of my mouth when I got into a cussing situation during that time. I didn’t think it affected me, and it did nonetheless. I never used to use that word, period, and that was like 2-3 years ago and it still plagues me even though the guys are gone and I don’t really have any contacts like that anymore. Don’t tell me that thinking something doesn’t affect me, won’t, I know better.

“It’s just a TV show.” So, what’s the big deal? Right?

When any person spends hours being exposed to certain words and images, it becomes a meditation. It begins to have an effect. For Catholics in particular, I watched TV get worse and worse and worse very gradually, from the 1970s until now. I used to think, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” Now I know better. I stay away from this stuff because wasting hours of my life this way is not good, it’s not helpful. It’s a waste. It’s like being a peeping tom looking into the world of gangsters.

It’s bad for the mind and bad for the soul. My brothers and sisters in Christ, I suggest we all find things that are uplifting and truly enjoyable to do, or, if you have the time and ability, helpful for others.


One of the recent Mass readings was Christ’s mini-parable on how sin comes from within, rather than from goes into you. I haven’t watched the Sopranos (yet, though it’s definitely on the NetFlix queue list), but I don’t see it undermining my faith. I’m minded of something which Catholic novelist Francois Mauriac wrote: "A literatur of edification falsifies life. To depict man in all his misery is to unmask the abyss opened, in the modern world, by God’s absence

Real life experiences – such as dealing with priests who don’t understand the problems which I bring to them for a solution, or bureaucratic bishops who care more about revenues than the people who are generating those revenues, or meddlesome friends who think all my problems will be solved if I get married and have kids – have shaken my faith more than any fictional accounts of man’s weakness ever will.

Fictional account of man’s weakness Spoken just like an atheist:shrug: .

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit