After a six month hiatus due to lack of computer access it’s good to return to the internets. Before moving forward I’ll be writing an article that I promised back then featuring characters from The Sopranos.
The relevant footage begins in episode 5 of season 1 entitled College, where Tony Soprano is away in Maine with daughter Meadow to check out a suitable college. Back in North Jersey Tony’s wife, Carmela is alone for the night until Father Phil Intintola, played by Paul Schulze, is at the door. Carmela runs to the bathroom to fix herself up a little before answering the door on a stormy night.
Father Phil reveals he is jonesing for some of Carmela’s baked ziti, which she offers to prepare, along with offering Father Phil some wine, chianti to be exact. The priest lights a fie, setting a romantic atmosphere, and sits on the couch with Carmela. Later they are in the kitchen and Carmela receives a call from Doctor Jennifer Melfi, her husband’s psychiatrist. While Carmela was aware that Tony was seeing a psychiatrist, her husband left out the face that the doctor he had been seeing was a woman, which troubled Carmela. Father Phil, from behind, puts his hand on her should to comfort her.
Next they are eating, drinking a conversing Catholicism in the living room, and then Father Phil announces that it is time for him to leave. With the rainstorm still going on, Carmela coaxes him to stay, offering to watch Remains of the Day, a romantic drama with him. Father Phil responds “Anything with Emma Thompson in it”, to which Carmela responds “Father Phil, I didn’t know you looked”. The retort by Father Phil would then be “To take in through the eyes a beautiful woman, is that so different than a sunset, or a douglas fir, or any of God’s handiwork?”.
That last line by the priest is something that many asexuals would agree with, myself included. He clearly finds the opposite sex attractive, although not necessarily in the sexual way that his worldly counterparts would.
Next up, they are watching the movies, sitting shoulder to shoulder. Father Phil has his arm on his leg, body language that I feel is a subconscious acknowledgment to the connection going on between himself and Carmela. It’s as if he is guarding himself from the possibility it going any further. Carmela becomes emotionally overwhelmed by the film they are watching and needs to have it turned off, after which Father Phil, hand on her knee suggests that he can hear a confession from her. She agrees and takes part in that sacrament. Then, with her sins being absolved and her being clean of soul, another sacrament, Communion is taken, after which they embrace in a hug.
This leads to them both sitting on the floor, very close, dozing off while seemingly cuddling. They come to, and share a moment, in which they are looking at each other and seemingly about to kiss. Father Phil then runs off to the bathroom, sick from having too much wine. He winds up crashing on the couch, having spent the night. When he awakes he approaches Carmela in the kitchen to talk about the previous night. “Last night we didn’t do anything out of line” he said, which would indicate that possibly it was just the opposite. He was concerned that his car was parked outside in plain sight, as him spending the night alone with a woman was suspicious regardless.
With Father Phil gone, Tony arrives home and he senses “Father Jughead” had been there from the entire tray of ziti being gone. Carmela confirms this and tells Tony he spent the night, which shocks Tony. Mr. Soprano begins interrogating his wife about why the priest spent the night which is when she brings up that she has learned that his therapist is a woman, turning the tables on the situation which puts Tony on the defensive as the episode ends.
In the following episode, Pax Soprana, Carmela visits the church to see Father Phil to discuss her disdain of Tony’s female therapist. She reveals that she was never intimidated by Tony’s gumats, which is a term used the mafia for a girlfriend, as they were no threat and she considered them nothing more that a form of masturbation for her husband. Dr. Melfi however she was intimidated by, and even though Tony wasn’t having sex with her she still felt “cheated on” in regards to the situation. Her husband actually having sex with other women didn’t compare with him confiding his deepest feelings with a woman other than her. This illustrates that the asexual part of her relationship with Tony was more important to her than the sexual side. The parallel relation she had with Father Phil was quite similar, although there’s no denying the night they shared in the previous episode had romantic undertones. Both Tony and Carmlla were having relationships with other people that contained no sex, yet it disturbed them both notwithstanding. By the end of the episode Tony and Carmela would reconcile, admitting she had been jealous but encouraging her husband to continue therapy.
In the final episode of season 1, I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano, the plot between Father Phil and Carmela continues with him walking into a restaurant when she is dining with Rosalie Aprielle, another mob wife. He sits with them and and he and Ro discuss the watch he was wearing, which she had given him. He puts his hand on hers, a romantic gesture, as Carmela looks on with uneasiness.
Later, Carmela shows up at the church with a bowl of pasta for Father Phil, only to see that he is already enjoying some with Rosalie Aprielle. This causes he to leave the church before even being noticed by them. It is clear she she has a problem with Father Phil having this “relationship” with another woman other than her.
Arriving home later on to find Father Phil there, Carmela’s attitude towards him has changed. She is very frigid with him as he tried to maneuver another “date” with her as he brought the movie One True Thing. When he confronts her about her attitude towards him she does not hold back saying “I think you like the whiff of sexuality that never goes anyplace; I think you have the M.O. Where you manipulate spiritually thirsty women and I think a lot of it is tied up with food somehow along with the sexual tension game.” This leads Father Phil to leave the house and in later episodes there is awkwardness between the two.
Taking this all in it can be said that this was never intended to be an asexual storyline. There are however points we can draw upon within it that does include asexuality. The comparison that Father Phil makes to the beauty of the female body with other phenomenons within nature is a clear indication that he is might be asexual. Also obvious is that there is a connection between the priest and Carmela that goes beyond being platonic. This is evident throughout the entire saga but even more so in Carmela’s response to Father Phil having this same connection with another woman. Her line in the last paragraph unravels questions about whether she understands asexuality as a concept or does not. However, it does illustrate that she gets Father Phil’s fondness of romance without sex.
There is actually another character that appears in later seasons of this show that I am planning to do a future article on that deals with a position that asexuals may find themselves in when in a relationship in regards to how friends respect the situation. I won’t writing that one for awhile as I figure it would be a good idea to space it out and move onto other topics for the time being.