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5 Memorable Moments From Italian TV Shows

Alessio enjoys Italian television and music from the 1980s and 1990s. 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 Gives the Wrong Solution on Purpose
  2. The Song's Festival Audience Rebels Against the Final Ranking
  3. Food Recovered From the Trash at MasterChef
  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 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 on an electronic board, and the presenter provides a mysterious topic to the contestants before the start of the game.

Each contestant spins a wheel to determine the prizes, and 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, they can buy vowels 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 contestant had to guess the answer 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 correct answer, saying the word "foga," and winning the whole prize;
  • Unleashing the hilarity in the studio and entering the history of Italian television, saying "figa."

The choice was, in practice, between money and fame, and the contestant 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.

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The key moments of this episode.



The assistants and the judges are already starting to laugh: many have noticed the offending word.


Mike Bongiorno invites the contestant to guess the solution, paying attention to the vowels.


The contestant is about to give the wrong solution.


Mike Bongiorno laughs and says that that episode would likely have gone down in TV history.


The contestant leaves the quiz as a champion after winning the following rounds.

2. The Song's Festival Audience Rebels Against the Final Ranking

The Sanremo Italian Song Festival is one of Italy's most popular TV programs. In 2019 the audience booed loudly against the final ranking of the songs, leaving the judges stunned.

3. Food Recovered From the Trash at MasterChef

MasterChef is full of memorable situations, but nothing beats a would-be contestant of MasterChef Italy who, during the selections, served the judges a dish recovered from the trash.

The would-be contestant explained in the episode that she believed she had to go home once the time to prepare the dish expired, so she threw away it, thinking it was too late. After realizing her mistake, she recovered the food from the trash bin, including the shells of the prawns.

After the initial disgust, the judges taste what remains of the dish. Finally, they refuse admission to MasterChef for the would-be contestant, who reacts badly to their decision.

The key moments of this episode.



The contestant says she threw the dish in the trash.


Judge Joe Bastianich says, "It's disgusting."


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


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


Chef Barbieri ironically asks if the dish tastes good.


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


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


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

4. A Journalist Comments on Kay Rush's Legs

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, he puts his hand in front of his mouth, maybe realizing later he is on-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 that the contestant is cheating and someone who works within the program is suggesting her the answers.

The key moments of this episode.



The contestant chooses to answer an empty line of the crossword, perplexing the presenter.


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


The presenter gets angry and argues with the contestant.


The presenter disqualifies the contestant.


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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

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