Has the World Gone 'Sopranos' Crazy?

(Page 2 of 4)

Sopranos fans now have their own lingo, cookbooks, landmarks, college course — even a religious leader, a minister in Houston who's written The Gospel According to Tony Soprano (Relevant Books).

And then there's Soprano Sue. She grew up in Clifton, where Sopranos creator David Chase was born. Chase later moved to North Caldwell, the basis for the town Tony and Carmela call home.

"There was a lot of mob there when I was growing up," Sue says. "My high school boyfriend used to brag that he was related to Lucky Luciano."

She says she doesn't watch much TV, but when she saw images of her hometown on the HBO show, she got hooked. Soon she was hunting down both locations and actors.

"I track them like animals," she says, and has pictures of herself with every obliging cast member to prove it.

Sue's also got some powerful allies. Capo Frank, a consigliere (that's mobspeak for "trusted adviser"), writes dispatches for her Web site and moderates an Internet forum on the show's latest happenings.

Gambling on some inside information two years ago, Sue and her sidekick, "Gramps," took off on a 100 mile drive into the wilds of New Jersey. The payoff? They witnessed the shooting of a classic moment, wherein Christopher and Paulie botch the execution of a Russian mobster and nearly freeze to death. Gramps' car actually appears in the episode, Sue says.

[For a quick tour through Soprano Sue's New Jersey, click here.]

Where does she get her inside information?

"I value my kneecaps too much to tell you," she says. But the truth might be the biggest scandal since Big Pussy ratted out Tony.

Soprano Sue says she maintains good relations with all involved. That why there's no stop at Tony's home. Neighbors of the folks whose house is used for the exterior shots complained about fans hanging around. But the $30 "on location" tour (cannoli included), takes you all over the rest of Tony's turf.

As for the new season, I tried pumping her for details — but got nothing. "I know a lot," Sue says, "and all I can say is this — someone is going to die."

But Sue isn't the only one who's jumped on the show's bandwagon. Here's a look at some Sopranos products:

Bada Being and Nothingness

Sopranos Psychology — Would a shrink be crazy to treat Tony Soprano? Poor Dr. Melfi was forced into hiding after Tony's "associates" found he was discussing "the business" with a psychiatrist.

"I would only refer Tony Soprano to my worst enemy," says Dr. Glen Gabbard, a professor at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine and author of The Psychology of the Sopranos (Basic Books).

Still, Tony's complexity intrigues the mental health community. The American Psychoanalytic Association even honored Lorraine Bracco, along with two of the show's writers, for Melfi's portrayal.

In an earlier book, Psychiatry in the Cinema, Gabbard reviewed more than 400 movies and TV shows. He says The Sopranos is the most "credible" portrayal yet of psychiatric treatment.