The Strange Tale Of How One Tweet Actually Made Me Famous In Italy
"No Maria, io esco!"
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?!
It started a month ago when I was in Italy and sent an impulsive tweet about a crazy-looking show on Italian TV:
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.
Days went by and my Twitter notifications were all about that one tweet. Then a screenshot of it was posted to an Italian Facebook page with close to 1 million followers and it got tons of shares. I jumped into the comments to respond to people, and even invited everyone to come to Canada and watch our trashy TV with me.
When Ciao Darwin aired the following Friday, people kept tweeting at me to tell me to watch. Even the show's writer reached out to say hi. I tried to watch it but wasn't able to get a working online stream.
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.
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.
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.
The show started and Mother Nature made her way onto stage and into her chair.
I discovered an issue with this part of Ciao Darwin that I'd previously missed.
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."
We were all having a beautiful time together.
After nearly two hours the show was still going. It was exhausting! I eventually had to leave before it was over to go pick up my kids.
Incredibly, the show became the top global Twitter trend thanks to all the crazy tweeting from me and my Italian BFFs. The show's writer, Marco Salvati, congratulated me on a job well done.
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).
As with Ciao Darwin, there are differing views on the show.
I was immediately taken with the host, Maria De Filippi. She spends almost the entire show just sitting on the stairs in the audience. She's casual AF.
Seriously, this is her the whole show:
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 👊
At one point I just decided to randomly tweet Tina's catchphrase to demonstrate my growing trash knowledge.
People kinda lost it.
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.
By the end of the day, I learned that I was one of the top trending topics on Twitter in Italy.
Once again, Italian media were all over my tweets — even more than before.
It's possible that at this point I too had become obsessed.
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.
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.
Like that time the actor/comedian Mindy Kaling tweeted about learning to pronounce "Newfoundland"...
And it got lots of press coverage:
But now my Twitter mentions are a constant stream of lovely, random Italians who want to adopt me.
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:
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.