When I saw The Sopranos last week, and Tony's cruising around in an Escalade, and Carmela can't shut up about her new car ["It's a Cayenne. Like the pepper!"], I thought it was perfect: who else but a murderous New Jersey mook and his relatively-goodhearted-but-hopelessly tacky moll would drive these rigs?
When Dan Neil agreed ["If you don't think their characters are defined by these vehicle choices, think again."], I knew I was right.
But then I read Jon Fine's BusinessWeek lamentation on the encroachment of product mentions into the Sopranos dialogue, apparently in exchange for free cars. In other words, the car makers are actually paying for inclusion somehow in the show. Suddenly, I realize I've had this marketing jiu jitsu all wrong. [Deadpan with me: "I going to learn. Jiu jitsu?"]
Auto makers of the world, now's your chance: Give me your pointlessly large autos, and I will criticize and make fun of them and associate them with unsavory characters. Before I ebay them. Operators are standing by. [image: wreckedexotics.com]
Related: Trading the Hummer for a Honda [nyt]