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The Strange Tale Of How One Tweet Actually Made Me Famous In Italy

"No Maria, io esco!"

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Hi, I'm Craig, and I work at BuzzFeed Canada. I'm a pretty regular dude, but life's been gloriously weird for the past few weeks. I've trended on Twitter in Italy and been the subject of media headlines there, and some of the country's top TV stars are being asked about me.

Here's a sample of the insanity: A large Italian newspaper asked Maria De Filippi, the host of three very popular TV shows, what it was like to have me tweet about her show. She said it was as if she'd won an Academy Award. Whaaaat?!

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It started a month ago when I was in Italy and sent an impulsive tweet about a crazy-looking show on Italian TV:

Twitter / Via Twitter: @CraigSilverman

It started getting retweets and reaction right away. I learned that the show, Ciao Darwin, is in the midst of a very popular resurgence on Italian TV. On the show, two teams of people compete in challenges that include an obstacle course, historical trivia, a debate, and a runway show.

It's an example of what Italians call "trash" TV, meaning it's a cheesy, lowbrow show that people watch like crazy. You know, like the Kardashians in the U.S.

That first night I tuned in just as they introduced that week's "Mother Nature." She comes out at the start of each episode and the men in the audience lose their minds. Mother Nature then walks very slowly up a flight of stairs while the camera zooms in on her ass.

Canale 5 / Via ciaodarwin.mediaset.it

Mother Nature never speaks. She spends the rest of the show sitting in a chair. This admittedly was one of the things that made me tweet that the show was the end of humanity!

Then, the next day, I found out that La Repubblica, one of the largest newspapers in Italy, ran an article where they asked the show's host — a famous TV star named Paolo Bonolis — what he thought about my comment that his show is the end of humanity.

This was the first big hint that my tweet was getting to be more than a little meme.

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La Repubblica referred to me as a "super analista del web," meaning a "super web analyst." It's the best compliment I've ever received. I ordered a nameplate so everyone in our office could see they were in close proximity to web greatness.

Craig Silverman

I also wrote an initial post about this insanity. (Related: People in our Toronto office are done with hearing about my Italian adventures.)

At this point I still hadn't actually watched more than 15 minutes of Ciao Darwin! Next Friday came around and I was ready to live-tweet the show.

Twitter / Via Twitter: @CraigSilverman

Even better, that week's episode had a team of Italians competing against a team of foreigners. It's like they knew I was coming.

As the show went on, people helped explain things for me. during the debate portion of the show, one woman on the "foreigners" team became very upset. My Twitter friends explained that a man on the "Italians" team spoke about immigration and said, "Italy is for Italians."

Twtitter / Via Twitter: @CraigSilverman

Paolo saved the day with his comments, and then he brought the woman over to sit with the Italian team, where they welcomed her. Hooray for the trash!

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Things had gone so well, in fact, that I decided to take the advice of people on Twitter and check out another famous trash TV show, Uomini e Donne (Men and Women).

Uomini e Donne / Via Facebook: uominiedonne

This show is all about love and relationships. There's lots of drama as a whole bunch of people are brought out to woo a man or a woman who is the designated "Tronista." (They sit on a throne.)

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Twitter / Via Twitter: @FrancescoCasari

Tina Cipollari is one of the key people, offering advice and opinions about what's happening. She also often gets fed up with what's happening. She has a catchphrase, "No Maria, io esco!" It means, "No Maria, I'm leaving now." Or, basically, "I've had enough." She says it just before storming offstage.

At least, that's what many super analistas del trash Italiano told me within the first few minutes of me tweeting about the show.

Also, her voice is the deepest, most beautifully resonant thing ever. If she weren't a huge TV star, De Filippi could make a living doing super-dramatic voiceovers for film trailers.

vine.co

In this tweet I called her the queen without realizing that in Italy she is widely known as "Queen Mary" because she rules the ratings. She also gets called Bloody Mary because any shows that go up against her get crushed 👊

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People kept tagging a Twitter account in De Filippi's name, telling me it was her. At one point that account replied to me and I thought the queen herself had reach out. But no, it's a parody account.

The next day I woke up and people tweeted me photos of that article in La Repubblica where Queen Mary said my tweets made her feel like she'd won an Oscar.

Twitter / Via Twitter: @Tvzap_

I was apparently famous enough for a major newspaper to cite me by last name in a headline. But also: One of the biggest TV stars in Italy was happy to offer a comment on some tweets I'd sent. I mean, that is a really fucking weird sentence to type.

This whole thing is so crazy. But part of me understands why Italians reacted this way. Whenever anyone from outside Canada takes notice of something truly Canadian, we go a little nuts.

But now my Twitter mentions are a constant stream of lovely, random Italians who want to adopt me.

Twitter / Via Twitter: @musewholocked

A lot of my new friends are also fans of One Direction, at least according to their Twitter bios.

Since we're both dads, I feel like the Louis Tomlinson of Italian trash TV, if Louis were a 38-year-old Canadian whose international claim to fame is a silly tweet he sent one night after he may or may not have been drinking wine for a couple of hours. (Really good wine!)

And things keep happening. Someone on Twitter suggested I should be a judge for the finale of Amici, a talent show hosted by Queen Mary. I was all for it. A day later, the official Amici account tweeted at me:

Twitter / Via Twitter: @AmiciUfficiale

As of now I don't have any flights booked. I did, however, watch and live-tweet a bit of Amici over the weekend. (It's great!)

The sad truth is the TV season in Italy is soon coming to an end. There won't be any new shows for me to tweet until the fall, and by then I'm sure my Italian friends will have moved on. I will go back to watching crappy Netflix Canada.

But I will forever be the super web analista, and I will always be grateful to the many — seriously, so many — beautiful Italians who were so friendly, kind, encouraging, and funny.

We should never feel guilty about our "trash" TV, or other forms of pop culture. They may not be high art, but they provide a space for huge numbers of people to come together in a shared experience.

Sometimes, they even unite a silly Canadian with people from far away for a few weeks of glorious, genuine camaraderie.

Thank you, Italy. And now, Io esco.

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