Advertisement

Introduction: Sympathetic Serial Offenders

  • Dana RengaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The introduction considers the influx of sympathetic perpetrators—criminals, mobsters, corrupt politicians—who have flooded Italian television screens over the last ten years or so. It looks at the representation and appeal of criminals when they are the subject of popular fictionalized accounts, focusing on a selection of recent, well-known Italian television series that create sympathy for perpetrators and that premiered on Rai, Mediaset, Sky Italian, and Netflix. In particular, the introduction outlines serial television’s several viewing pleasures; discusses the “sympathetic perpetrator identikit” that positions viewers to root for and align with antiheroes; considers complex masculinities; and addresses the particularities of the Italian case (i.e., sympathetic perpetrators on Italian television are conventionally attractive, and narratives are based upon historical figures and events, in particular Italy’s mafias: the Camorra, Cosa Nostra, Banda della Magliana, and ’ndrangheta).

References

  1. (@mdemarco55). 2016. “Gomorra e il rischio dell’emulazione ‘Troppi ragazza imitano la fiction.’” Corriere della sera, May 11. Accessed September 9. http://www.corriere.it/cronache/16_maggio_13/gomorra-rischio-dell-emulazione-troppi-ragazzi-imitano-fiction-56a647fc-1882-11e6-a192-aa62c89d5ec1.shtml.
  2. Albrecht, Michael Mario. 2015. Masculinity in Contemporary Quality Television. Surrey and Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Anania, Francesca. 1997. Davanti allo schermo: Storia del pubblico televisivo. Roma: Nuova Italia Scientifica.Google Scholar
  4. Ansa.it. 2016. “Tv: ascolti, vince Felicia Impastato con 7 mln, serata Rai.” Ansa.it, May 11. Accessed September 9. http://www.ansa.it/legalita/notizie/regioni/sicilia/2016/05/11/tv-ascolti-vince-felicia-impastato-con-7-mln-serata-rai_ce347907-7833-4382-9b48-80ab45fe6957.html.
  5. Ardizzoni, Michela, and Chiara Ferrari, eds. 2010. Beyond Monopoly: Globalization and Contemporary Italian Media. Lanham and Boulder: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  6. Atay, Ahmet. 2015. Queer Diasporic Males in Cyberspace: Globalization’s Impact on Cultural Identity Formation. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  7. Bainbridge, Caroline. 2014. “Psychotherapy on the Couch: Exploring the Fantasies of In Treatment.” In Television and Psychoanalysis: Psycho-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Caroline Bainbridge, Ivan Ward, and Candida Yates, 47–65. London: Karnac Books.Google Scholar
  8. Baker, Brian. 2015. Contemporary Masculinities in Fiction, Film, and Television. New York and London: Bloomsbury.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barca, Flavia, ed. 2012. Effetto Sky: L’impatto della piattaforma satellitare sul sistema televisivo in Italia. Sovario Mannelli: Rubbettino editore.Google Scholar
  10. Barker, Martin, and Julian Petley. 2001. Ill Effects: The Media Violence Debate. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Barra, Luca. 2014. “L’Italia in vetrina. Spazi e modelli produttivi della soap opera televisiva.” Bianco e Nero 578: 55–65.Google Scholar
  12. Barra, Luca. 2015. “Oltre le solite storie: Le sfide di Netflix, e quelle del sistema televisivo.” La rivista il Mulino, October 8. Accessed December 15. https://www.rivistailmulino.it/item/2969.
  13. Barra, Luca, and Massimo Scaglioni. 2013. “Modello Sky. Introduzione.” In Tutta un’altra fiction: La serialità pay in Italia e nel mondo. Il modello Sky, edited by Massimo Scaglioni and Luca Barra, 11–15. Rome: Carocci Editore.Google Scholar
  14. Barra, Luca, and Massimo Scaglioni. 2015. “Saints, Cops, and Camorristi. Editorial Policies and Production Models of Italian TV Fiction.” Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives 1: 65–76.Google Scholar
  15. Bauman, Rebecca. 2018. “Masculinity, Melodrama and Quality TV: Reviewing La piovra.” Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies 6 (2): 209–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Benvenuti, Giuliana. 2018. Il brand Gomorra. Dal romanzo alla serie tv. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  17. Bertazzoni, Chiara. 2007. “L’ultimo dei Corleonesi.” ThrillerMagazine, January 3. Accessed September 17. http://www.thrillermagazine.it/4156/l-ultimo-dei-corleonesi.
  18. Bertolotti, Romana De Angelis. 2017. Storia della nascente television italiana e dei suoi uomini. Bologna: Odoya.Google Scholar
  19. Bischoff, Dan. 2014. James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  20. Bordwell, David. 2006. The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Boylan, Amy. 2017. “Democratizing the Memorial Landscape: Casamemoria Vittimemafia’s Calendar of Loss.” In The Italian Mafia, New Media, and the Culture of Legality, edited by Robin Pickering-Iazzi, 102–20. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  22. Bruun Vaage, Margrethe. 2013. “Fictional Reliefs and Reality Checks.” Screen 54 (2): 218–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Bruun Vaage, Margrethe. 2015. The Antihero in American Television. New York and Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Buonanno, Milly. 2012a. La fiction italiana: Narrazioni televisive e identità nazionale. Milan: Gius. Laterza & Figli Spa.Google Scholar
  25. Buonanno, Milly. 2012b. Italian TV Drama and Beyond: Stories from the Soil, Stories from the Sea. London and Chicago: Intellect.Google Scholar
  26. Buonanno, Milly, ed. 2017. Television Antiheroines: Women Behaving Badly in Crime and Prison Drama. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Buttitta, Alessandro. 2016. “Gomorra 2: martedì 10 maggio la prima puntata su Sky. 10 motivi per cui non riuscerete a resistere alla seconda stagione.” L’Huffington Post, May 9. Accessed September 9. http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2016/05/09/gomorra-2-10-maggio_n_9867380.html.
  28. Camilleri, Andrea. 2007. “Di mafia parlino le sentenze.” La Stampa, November 29. Accessed March 13, 2017. http://www.lastampa.it/2007/11/29/cultura/opinioni/editoriali/di-mafia-parlino-le-sentenze-7IPAsJGjFZFLlaPBssqWZO/pagina.html.
  29. Carroll, Noël. 2004. “Sympathy for the Devil.” In The Sopranos and Philosophy, edited by Richard Greene and Peter Vernezze, 121–36. Chicago and LaSalle: Open Court.Google Scholar
  30. Casey, Bernadette, Neil Casey, Ben Calvert, Liam French, and Justin Lewis. 2002. Television Studies: The Key Concepts. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Cepernich, Christopher. 2009. “The Changing Face of Media: A Catalogue of Anomolies.” In Resisting the Tide: Cultures of Opposition Under Berlusconi (2001–2006), edited by Daniele Albertazzi, Clodagh Brook, Charlotte Ross, and Nina Rothenberg, 32–45. New York and London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  32. Chiarenza, Franco. 2002. Il cavallo morente: Storia della RAI. Milano: Francoangeli.Google Scholar
  33. Chicago Tribune. 2001. “Italian-Americans Sue Over ‘Sopranos.’” Chicago Tribune, April 6. Accessed October 11. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-04-06/news/0104060248_1_tony-soprano-dignity-american-italian-defense-association.
  34. Crane, Ronald S. 1953. The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Currie, Gregory. 1997. “The Paradox of Caring: Fiction and the Philosophy of Mind.” In Emotion and the Arts, edited by Mette Hjort and Sue Laver, 63–77. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. De Gregorio, Concita. 2016. “Gomorra and Felicia Impastato, vince la fiction-verità.” la Repubblica, May 12. Accessed September 9. http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli/tv-radio/2016/05/12/news/gomorra_e_felicia_vince_la_fiction-verita_-139611440/.
  37. Donnelly, Ashley M. 2014. Renegade Hero or Faux Rogue: The Secret Traditionalism of Television Bad Boys. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.Google Scholar
  38. Elsaesser, Thomas. 1999. “‘One Train May Be Hiding Another’: Private History, Memory, and National Identity.” La Trobe University, April 16. Accessed August 1. http://tlweb.latrobe.edu.au/humanities/screeningthepast/reruns/rr0499/terr6b.htm.
  39. Feasey, Rebecca. 2008. Masculinity and Popular Television. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ferrari, Chiara. 2012. “‘National Mike’: Global Host and Global Formats in Early Italian Television.” In Global Television Formats: Understanding Television Across Brders, edited by Tasha Oren and Sharon Shahaf, 128–47. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Fresh Air. 2013. “Gandolfini Through the Eyes of Those He Worked With.” Fresh Air, June 20. Accessed October 7. http://www.npr.org/2013/06/20/193865792/gandolfini-through-the-eyes-of-those-he-worked-with.
  42. Fu, Xiaoming, Jar-Der Luo, and Margerete Boos. 2017. Social Network Analysis: Interdisciplinary Approaches and Case Studies. Boca Raton, London, and New York: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  43. Fumarola, Silvia. 2016. “Kim Rossi Stuart: ‘Basta con gli eroi negativi, la tv dovrebbe essere educative’.” La Repubblica, June 18. Accessed October 7. http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli/tv-radio/2016/06/18/news/kim_rossi_stuart-142248460/.
  44. García, Alberto N. 2016. “Moral Emotions, Antiheroes and the Limits of Allegiance.” In Emotions in Contemporary TV Series, edited by Alberto N. García, 52–70. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Gauntlett, David. 1995. Moving Experiences: Understanding Television’s Influences and Effects. London: John Libbey.Google Scholar
  46. Gerbner, George. 1997. “Television Violence at a Time of Turmoil and Terror.” In Media Literacy: A Reader, edited by Donaldo Macedo and Shirley R. Steinberg, 103–15. New York and Washington, DC: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  47. Giomi, Elisa. 2010. “Public and Private, Global and Local in Italian Crime Drama: The Case of La Piovra.” In Beyond Monopoly: Globalization and Contemporary Italian Media, edited by Michele Ardizzoni and Chiara Ferrari, 79–100. Lanham and Boulder: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  48. Giomi, Elisa, and Sveva Magaraggia. 2017. Relazioni brutali: Genere e violenza nella cultura mediale. Bologna: Il Mulino.Google Scholar
  49. Goodman, Tim. 2011. “‘Breaking Bad’ Spoiled Bastard: Ep. 3 ‘Open House’ and Ep. 4 ‘Bullet Points’.” The Hollywood Reporter, August 12. Accessed September 19. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bastard-machine/breaking-bad-spoiled-bastard-ep-222708.
  50. Grasso, Aldo. 2008. Storia della televisione italiana. I 50 anni della televisione. Milano: Garzanti.Google Scholar
  51. Grasso, Aldo. 2012. Storia della televisione italiana. Dalle prime sperimentazioni alla web tv. Milano: Garzanti.Google Scholar
  52. Grasso, Aldo, ed. 2013. Storie e culture della televisione italiana. Milano: Mondadori.Google Scholar
  53. Gratteri, Nicola, and Antonio Nicaso. 2017. L’inganno della mafia: Quando i criminali diventano eroi. Rome: Rai Eri.Google Scholar
  54. Halberstam, Judith. 2011. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham and London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hamilton, James T., ed. 2000. Television Violence and Public Policy. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  56. Hibberd, Matthew. 2008. The Media in Italy: Press, Cinema and Broadcasting from Unification to the Digital. Berkshire: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Hill, Sally. 1997. Shocking Entertainment: Viewer Response to Violent Movies. Luton: John Libbey Media.Google Scholar
  58. Horrocks, Roger. 1994. Masculinity in Crisis: Myths, Fantasies, and Realities. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. la Repubblica. 2016. “Ascolti, 7 milioni per ‘Felicia Impastato’. Boom per ‘Gomorra 2.’” la Repubblica, May 11. Accessed September 6. http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli/tv-radio/2016/05/11/news/ascolti_7_milioni_per_felicia_impastato_-139561989/.
  60. Lombardi, Giancarlo. 2011. “‘Don’t Stop Believin’, Don’t Stop …’ (De)Structuing Expectations in the Final Season of The Sopranos.” In Mafia Movies: A Reader, edited by Dana Renga, 192–200. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: The University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  61. Lombardi, Giancarlo. 2013. “Soap Operas.” The Italianist 33 (2): 215–21.Google Scholar
  62. Lombardi, Giancarlo. 2014. “Rethinking Italian Television Studies.” The Italianist 34 (2): 260–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lotz, Amanda D. 2014. Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the Twenty-First Century. New York and London: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  64. MacKinnon, Kenneth. 2003. Representing Men: Maleness and Masculinity in the Media. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  65. Maiello, Angelo. 2016. Gomorra. La serie. La famiglia, il potere, lo sguardo del male. Rome: Edizioni Estemporanee.Google Scholar
  66. Marrazzo, Francesco. 2016. Effetto Netflix: Il nuovo paradigma televisivo. Milano: Egea.Google Scholar
  67. Martin, Brett. 2013. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. New York: The Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  68. Martina, Marta, and Attilio Palmieri. 2015. “Researching Television Serial Narratives in Italy: An Overview.” Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives 1: 89–102.Google Scholar
  69. Matarazzo, Elio. 2007. La Rai che non vedrai: Idee e progetti sul servizio pubblico. Milano: FrancoAngeli.Google Scholar
  70. McCabe, Janet, and Kim Akass, eds. 2007a. Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond. London: I.B. Taurus.Google Scholar
  71. McCabe, Janet, and Kim Akass. 2007b. “Sex, Swearing and Respectability: Courting Controversy, HBO’s Original Programming and Producing Quality TV.” In Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond, edited by Janet McCabe and Kim Akass, 62–76. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  72. Menduni, Enrico. 2002. Televisione e società italiana. 1975–2000. Milano: Bompiani.Google Scholar
  73. Mittell, Jason. 2010. “On Disliking Mad Men.” Just TV, July 29. Accessed September 12. https://justtv.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/on-disliking-mad-men/.
  74. Mittell, Jason. 2014. “Lengthy Interactions with Hideous Men: Walter White and the Serial Poetics of Television Anti-Heroes.” In Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Exploring Screen Narratives, edited by Roberta Pearson and Anthony N. Smith, 74–92. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  75. Mittell, Jason. 2015. Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. New York and London: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Modleski, Tania. 1991. Feminism Without Women: Culture and Critique in a ‘Postfeminist’ Age. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  77. Monteleone, Franco. 2005. Storia della radio e della televisione in Italia. Costume, società e politica. Venezia: Marsilio.Google Scholar
  78. Mukherjea, Ananya. 2011. “My Vampire Boyfriend: Postfeminism, ‘Perfect’ Masculinity, and the Contemporary Appeal of Paranormal Romance.” Studies in Popular Culture 33 (2): 1–20.Google Scholar
  79. Nelson, Robin. 2007. State of Play: Contemporary “High-End” TV Drama. Manchester: Manchester University Press. (Online).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Newman, Michael, and Elana Levine. 2012. Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. O’Leary, Alan. 2011. Tragedia all’italiana: Italian Cinema and Italian Terrorisms, 1970–2010. Oxford: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. O’Rawe, Catherine. 2014. Stars and Masculinities in Contemporary Italian Cinema. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  83. Padovani, Cinzia. 2007. A Fatal Attraction: Public Television and Politics in Italy. Lanham and Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  84. Peitzman, Louis. 2014. “Ranking the ‘Orange is the New Black’ Characters by Likability.” Buzzfeed, August 8. Accessed September 22. https://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/ranking-the-orange-is-the-new-black-characters-by-likability?utm_term=.qw0BwbbRN#.qcozokkM6.
  85. Piantadosi, Emanuela. 2012. “‘La televisione legittima i criminali’: la denuncia dell’associazione ‘Vittime del dovere.’” affariitaliani.it, March 13. Accessed December 2. http://www.affaritaliani.it/sociale/faccia-d-angelo-sky-cinema130212.html?refresh_cens.
  86. Piazzoni, Irene. 2014. Storia delle televisioni in Italia: Dagli esordi alle web tv. Rome: Carocci editore.Google Scholar
  87. Prell, Christina. 2012. Social Network Analysis: History, Theory, and Methodology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  88. Raney, Arthur A. 2011. “Media Enjoyment as a Function of Affective Dispositions Towards and Moral Judgements of Characters.” In The Routledge Handbook of Emotions and Mass Media, edited by Katrin Döveling, Christian von Scheve, and Elly A. Konjin, 166–78. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  89. Renga, Dana. 2013. Unfinished Business: Screening the Italian Mafia in the New Millennium. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  90. Rigoletto, Sergio. 2014. Masculinity and Italian Cinema: Sexual Politics, Social Conflict, and Male Crisis in the 1970s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Robinson, Sally. 2000. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sannino, Conchita. 2016. “Ecco Gomorra la serie 2 tra realtà e fiction: ‘È il neorealismo della television.’” la Repubblica, May 10. Accessed September 9. http://napoli.repubblica.it/cronaca/2016/05/10/news/ecco_gomorra_2_tra_realta_e_fiction_e_il_neorealismo_della_televisione_-139476615/?ref=search.
  93. Scaglioni, Massimo. 2013. “Tutta un’altra audience. Il pubblico delle fiction pay.” In Tutta un’altra fiction: La serialità pay in Italia e nel mondo. Il modello Sky, edited by Massimo Scaglioni and Luca Barra, 49–65. Rome: Carocci editore.Google Scholar
  94. Scaglioni, Massimo. 2016. “(Not So) Complex TV. Framing Seriality as a Practice via Contemporary Models of Italian Television Fiction.” Mediascapes Journal 6: 8–20.Google Scholar
  95. Scaglioni, Massimo, and Luca Barra, eds. 2013. Tutta un’altra fiction: La serialità pay in Italia e nel mondo. Il modello Sky. Rome: Carocci editore.Google Scholar
  96. Sepinwall, Alan. 2013. The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers, and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever. New York and London: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  97. Smith, Murray. 1995. Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion and the Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  98. Smith, Murray. 1999. “Gangsters, Cannibals, Aesthetes, or Apparently Perverse Allegiances.” In Passionate Views: Film, Cognition, and Emotion, edited by Carl Platinga and Greg. M. Smith, 217–38. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Smith, Murray. 2011. “Just What Is It That Makes Tony Soprano Such an Appealing, Attractive Murderer?” In Ethics at the Cinema, edited by Ward Jones and Samantha Vice, 66–90. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Snyder, Katie. 2014. “Burn One Down: Nancy Botwin as (Post)Feminist (Anti)Heroine.” In Heroines of Film and Television: Portrayals in Popular Culture, edited by Norma Jones, Maja Bajac-Carter, and Bob Batchelor, 17–29. Maryland and London: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  101. Sobchack, Vivian. 2013. “Introduction: History Happens.” In The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television, and the Modern Event, edited by Vivian Sobchack, 1–14. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  102. Tally, Margaret. 2016. The Rise of the Anti-Heroine in TV’s Third Golden Age. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  103. Walsh, Fintan. 2010. Male Trouble: Masculinity and the Performance of Crisis. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Wheatley, Helen. 2015. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Television.” Feminist Media Studies 15 (5): 869–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Wheatley, Helen. 2016. Spectacular Television: Exploring Televisual Pleasure. London and New York: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  106. Williams, Linda. 2018. “World and Time: Serial Television Melodrama in America.” In Melodrama Unbound: Across History, Media, and National Cultures, edited by Christina Gledhill and Linda Williams. New York and Chichester: New York University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of French and ItalianThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations