When your brother walks in after years of not seeing one another, most siblings would greet each other a hug, a handshake, or some dap. But not Frank. When his older brother, Gino, shows up (played pitch perfectly by Jon Polito), Frank greets him with his grubby palms wrapped around the throat. Why? Well, because he stole the love of his life, his “One & Only”.
Philadelphia is the city of Brotherly Love after all.
Also, don’t talk with your mouth full. “It’s disgusting”. Cue theme song.
While Dee, Dennis, Mac, and Charlie seemed enraptured by the violent happenings in the bar, Frank and Gino have a lot of issues they need to work out. Nothing like a good ol’ storytime to resolve a brother’s quarrel, right? I can tell by the faces of “the younger generation” that’s not quite right.
When Frank and Gino begin recollecting their fractured past together, we are paid a visit by one of the most enduring characters on one of the most celebrated shows in television history — Lieutenant mother#@$%in’ Daniels! Shiyyyyet.
In a homage to Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, Gino and Frank are your typical fuck-ups playing gangsters against the backdrop of the 60′s. As a mop-topped 19 year old, Frank falls for the classy jazz bar’s girl — Shadynasty (pronounced Shh-die-nasty). This leads to several built-in jokes regarding black people, interracial relations, and blatant racism on the part of authorities. My favorite joke? Gino getting 2 years for beating Reggie, while Reggie got 6. Why? “‘Cuz he was black… Those were the days.”
In the decades that follow, we see the relationship between girl and boy and brother deteriorate faster than Sweet Dee’s health while addicted to crack. It’s an astonishing progression and one that dissolves due to cocaine addiction, rampant backstabbing, and disco clubs. Throughout the storytelling, we get both Gino & Frank’s side of the past. Along with plenty of arguments amongst brothers in present time.
Jumping back to present day, it’s revealed that Shadynasty had been receiving love letters from “Her One & Only” while living with Gino. Gino had come to the bar to confront Frank. Only problem with that idea was that Frank stopped writing to her ages ago.
So The Gang jumps to the airport where she had been planning to meet her true “One & Only”, none other than classy jazz bar owner
Lt. Daniels Reggie.
The loving couple doesn’t quite look like how The Gang had imagined, which was another great joke told visually. They also don’t end up together, since some things don’t ever change. Like racist cops.