Mafia Tradition

Italians and Stereotypes

Everyone in New Jersey went crazy yesterday during the Super Bowl. Not because of the game, but because of The Sopranos commercial.

Meadow Soprano
“Meadow Soprano” behind the wheel of the new Chevrolet Silverado EV.

The spot announcing the Silverado EV was almost an exact shot-for-shot of the opening of The Sopranos; one of the best television shows in history. This time it featured Jamie-Lyn Sigler meeting up with her television brother, Robert Iler at a restaurant down the shore. It was absolutely spectacular.

Chevrolet hired David Chase to create the trailer and Sopranos series cinematographer Phil Abraham was right by his side. I especially liked the spot where Tony would have his cigar, Meadow had a lollipop. I actually thought it was to announce a show reboot with Meadow as the family boss. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

It wound up to only be a commercial, but every show fan, especially those of us in Jersey, held our collective breath. You could just see the love in Jamie-Lyn’s eyes as she embraced Robert. They both live in California now and do a podcast, Pajama Pants.

As I perused Facebook today, it was the talk of all the commercials. Then I read this comment:

Comment on a thread on Facebook. (source:

It raises the question of Americans of Italian descent and stereotypes.

No other ethnicity was targeted as vehemently by the federal government. Hollywood loves a good Mafia story. And Jersey Mafia? It’s a mainstay. As I’ve said in the past, the Italian ethnicity is the last group you can still make fun of without repercussions.

Now, I’m not saying the individual who posted the comment is wrong; I’m just saying you need to know when someone is laughing with you versus laughing at you.

Me? I just embrace my typical Gen-X eye roll. If someone is going to be stupid enough to believe a stereotype, then I let them. I’m not going to waste my breath trying to educate them.

I’ll also let you in on a little secret; many of us like the Mafia movies and shows, like The Sopranos. Not because we are all in the Mafia, but because there are familiar qualities to them. The big families, Sunday dinners, going to Church together. It reminds us of our youth. Of grandparents we miss dearly and would give anything to make one more Christmas Eve dinner with them.

So no. We are not all “Mobbed up,” “connected,” or whatever euphemism you can recall from whatever movie or television show in the forefront of your mind. Americans of Italian descent belong to a strong tribe. And we are thankful for it. If you don’t get it; that’s on you.

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