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5 Memorable Moments From Italian TV Shows

Alessio enjoys vintage Italian TV & music. He also enjoys listening to Chinese POP music.

Over the years, there have been several absurd, embarrassing, or funny episodes in Italian television broadcasts.

Over the years, there have been several absurd, embarrassing, or funny episodes in Italian television broadcasts.

Over the last few decades, Italian TV has undergone several changes. Several broadcasts have aired over the years, and various presenters have made TV history. One thing in common with the different eras that have marked the history of Italian TV is the presence of funny, sometimes even embarrassing, situations that occurred within the various TV shows: moments that have become real memes in Italy. This article will show 5 of the most absurd scenes that ever happened in an Italian television program and will describe them in a way that makes them easier to understand despite the language.

Top 5 Memorable Moments from Italian TV Shows

  1. A Contestant in a Quiz Gives the Wrong Solution on Purpose
  2. The Audience of the Sanremo Italian Song Festival Rebels Against the Final Ranking
  3. A Contestant at MasterChef Italy Serves the Judges a Dish Recovered From the Trash
  4. An Italian Journalist Comments on Kay Rush’s Legs, Maybe Thinking He Is Off-Air
  5. A Contestant Gives the Answer Before the Question Is Asked

1. A Contestant in a Quiz Gives the Wrong Solution on Purpose

This first episode is one of the funniest and most remembered by Italians, even after decades. It happened in 1995 during an Italian TV quiz that was very popular in that decade: La Ruota della Fortuna, the Italian version of Wheel of Fortune. I grew up watching this quiz, one of my favorite TV shows ever, conducted by one of the most relevant presenters in the history of Italian TV: Mike Bongiorno.

That quiz features a word puzzle shown on an electronic board, and a mysterious topic is provided to the contestants before the start of the game. Each contestant spins a wheel to determine the prizes, then they have to guess a consonant: if this is present in the puzzle, they win that prize multiplied by the number of times the consonant appears. On the other hand, vowels can be bought by deducting a sum from the accumulated prize pool. The first contestant who succeeds in guessing the exact solution wins the round of the game.

In the 1995 episode, a certain Mr. Giancarlo participated in the television quiz and had to guess the solution to the theme "The Amazons", which was:

They won battles thanks to their ardor

— Translated from Italian

The Italian word corresponding to "ardor" was "foga". Another Italian word used to refer vulgarly to the female genital organ is "figa". One step away from the final solution, the contestant found himself choosing between:

  • Giving the right solution, saying the word "foga", and winning the whole prize;
  • Unleashing the hilarity in the studio and becoming part of the history of Italian television, saying "figa".

The choice was, in practice, between money and fame. Mr. Giancarlo chose the second option. Although he did not leave the quiz empty-handed, he sacrificed 8 million Italian lire. Nevertheless, he is still remembered today as the undisputed symbol of one of the funniest moments on Italian TV.

The key moments of this episode.

Minute

2.28

The assistants and the judges are already starting to laugh: many have noticed the offending word, and even Mike Bongiorno manages to perceive the general atmosphere of hilarity.

2.41

Mike Bongiorno invites Mr. Giancarlo to provide the solution, paying attention to the vowels: he confirms that he was the first to have noticed the offending word.

2.55

Mr. Giancarlo is about to give the wrong solution that will make him enter the history of TV.

3.15

The reaction of Mike Bongiorno: he laughs and declares that that episode would most likely have gone down in TV history (and so it did, being remembered even today).

4.24

Giancarlo leaves as a champion after winning the following rounds and collecting 51 million lire. The wrong answer that made him enter the history of TV cost him, in the end, only a little part of the prize money that he then won.

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2. The Audience of the Sanremo Italian Song Festival Rebels Against the Final Ranking

The Sanremo Italian Song Festival is one of the most popular TV programs in Italy. In 2019, however, the final ranking of the songs was not liked by the whole audience, but the reaction was perhaps a bit exaggerated. A large part of the public booed loudly for some time the judges, who found themselves in front of a situation unprecedented in the history of the festival: a real revolt, more than a normal manifestation of dissent, which fortunately did not go beyond the whistles and screams.

3. A Contestant at MasterChef Italy Serves the Judges a Dish Recovered From the Trash

MasterChef is full of memorable situations. Reactions from the judges to poorly cooked dishes are part of the history of this program. Would you have ever imagined, however, that a would-be contestant of MasterChef Italia, during the selections, served the judges a dish... literally recovered from the garbage?

The would-be contestant explained in the episode that, once the time to prepare the dish expired, she believed she had to go home. She threw away the dish she was finishing preparing, only to discover later that she had to go to the judges to have them taste it.

In the end, for the judges to taste the dish, she recovered it from the trash bin, including the shells of the prawns. The judges, after the initial disgust, will taste what remains of the dish recovered from the trash bin. Finally, they refuse admission to MasterChef for the would-be contestant, who reacts badly to their decision.

The key moments of this episode.

Minute

0.56

The contestant says she threw the dish in the trash.

1.20

Judge Joe Bastianich says "It's disgusting."

1.58

Chef Barbieri sarcastically asks: "Is the dish finished?"

2.02

Chef Barbieri sarcastically invites the contestant to taste the dish recovered from the garbage first and Joe Bastianich makes an amused face shortly after.

2.08

Chef Barbieri ironically asks if the dish tastes good.

2.14

Joe Bastianich tells the contestant: "Maybe you better eat it all". The contestant raises her head immediately after.

3.37

The contestant reacts badly and insults the three judges, also adding that they should fly much lower (although they still accepted to taste a dish recovered from the trash).

4.02

Joe Bastianich throws the plate away and says: "Ashes we were, Ashes we will return".

4. An Italian Journalist Comments on Kay Rush’s Legs, Maybe Thinking He Is Off-Air

This is one of the most embarrassing moments in the story of Italian TV. At minute 0.16, the Italian journalist Emilio Fede comments on Kay Rush's legs. At minute 0.17, the journalist puts his hand in front of his mouth, making it increasingly possible to hypothesize an inappropriate comment made thinking he was off-air.

5. A Contestant Gives the Answer Before the Question Is Asked

During an episode of the Italian show Non è la Rai, the presenter Enrica Bonaccorti is phoning a contestant who answers, from home, the questions of a crossword puzzle. Suddenly, the contestant chooses to answer a completely blank line and provides the solution before the presenter asks the question. The presenter gets angry, believing more than possible that a scam is in progress and that the contestant is receiving suggestions from someone who works within the program.

The key moments of this episode.

Minute

2.08

The contestant chooses to answer the horizontal line 36 of the crossword puzzle: the presenter already appears perplexed, as it is an empty line.

2.15

The contestant immediately says the solution, even before the presenter asks her the question.

2.19

The presenter gets angry because she believes it is more than plausible that the contestant has somehow received a suggestion from someone who works within the program, not considering it possible that she could have answered the question without first being asked.

2.29

The presenter, visibly angry, asks the direction to mute the background suspense music, saying that a machine gun would be more suitable instead of the music.

2.31

The presenter asks the contestant how she knew the answer without her asking the question.

2.38

The contestant states that the presenter asked her the question and the host replies that it is not true (the host is right).

3.00

The presenter stresses again that the contestant answered the question before she asked her. She also notes again that the contestant has chosen a completely blank line.

3.12

The presenter says that a real scam is in progress and disqualifies the contestant.

3.23

The presenter talks to the audience and says something heavy: "The program plays a lot of jokes, but the money won is real. There are many people who dream of being able to participate and maybe win a prize that can change their lives for the better. You can't cheat."

3.50

The program ends with a trashy scene: the presenter, still angry, breaks the lectern.

4.13

The presenter, when interviewed years later on a television program, said she went to the police to shed some light on what happened and to see if some type of crime committed by the contestant could be framed.

Memorable Moments From Italian TV Shows Poll

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

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