In season 2, episode 7 of the TV show The Sopranos, Anthony Junior (AJ), son of the infamous mobster Tony Soprano, has a bit of an existential crisis. In school he starts to learn about European philosophers—Nietzsche, Sartre, just to name a few.
After AJ slightly damages the family vehicle after stealing it, his parents try to scold him and asked what if he had killed people? AJ responds, Life is absurd ... there is no God. He then proceeds to ask why we are even born. His parents' response? Because of Adam and Even.
Tony takes AJ's dark thoughts to his psychiatrist and tells her that AJ says there is no purpose in life. Tony also jokes, it cost about $150,000 to bring him up so far, so if he has no purpose, he wants a refund. His psychiatrist says AJ may have stumbled upon existentialism and some people believe the only absolute truth in life is death. Tony likes the idea.
Later in the episode we see AJ complaining to one of Tony's associates, Big Pussy, that he doesn't want to get confirmed. So, the following conversation takes place.
Pussy: If you're looking for purpose in life, doing what's right is your purpose.
AJ: That's not what Nietzsche says.
Pussy's Son: Nietzsche wound talking to his horse. Sartre was a fucking fraud. He copped it all from Husserl and Heidegger. You should start at the beginning. Take a look at Kierkegaard ... every duty is essentially a duty to God.
AJ's woes still aren't resolved, so he turns to his grandmother.
After his grandmother tells him of an accident were several teenagers died in a fiery accident because of safety belts, the following conversation takes place.
AJ: See? That's what I mean. What's the purpose?
Grandma: Of what?
AJ: Being. Here on our planet, Earth. Those kids were dead meat. What's the use? What's the purpose?
Grandma: Why does everything have to have a purpose? The world is a jungle. And if you want my advice, Anthony, don't expect happiness. You won't get it. People let you down. And I'm not naming any names, but in the end, you die in your own arms.
AJ: You mean alone?
Grandma: It's all a big nothing. What makes you think you're so special?
With that said, AJ likely didn't the answers he was looking for, showing that even age doesn't bring real answers.
Did you see the episode? If so, what did you think? Is the meaning or purpose of life discussed in other episodes of The Sopranos?