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Italian-Americans on TV: Y U No Realistic?

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I'm going to be honest - this is something that really annoys me.

The whole portrayal of Italian-Americans on TV is ridiculous and unrealistic. I know TV is unrealistic, but this is a bit too unrealistic. I admit, I'm also bothered by the portrayals of Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, and other groups, but this I find annoying because I'm Italian-American myself.

I'm obviously going to start with the Mafia. The whole Mafia thing is overplayed. It's to the point you get ghetto rappers admiring John Gotti (I'm not kidding). Who the heck would want to admire John Gotti? Is it the same morons who worship Che Guevara? I get annoyed when people look at this Mafia crap and think that "it's so cool", when in fact most Italian-Americans only laugh at these Mafia people. No one should want to emulate a bunch of criminals, yet people do.

The whole Jersey Shore-inspired thing is ridiculous too. I was so glad they pulled the plug on Jersey Shore - it really made the state of New Jersey look bad. I know some of them weren't even Italian, but still, I got so annoyed by it. The guido lifestyle is something to have contempt for, not praise. Being a guido is not fun - plus it carries a low-class image. It's not too different from "chavs" in England. Where I live, there's plenty of guidos. I wouldn't want to hang around guys who act like meatheads, do drugs, dress like slobs, and treat girls like crap. The guidettes are just as bad. Snooki (who is actually Chilean - I don't know her real surname, though there are plenty of Italians down in Chile too) made it obvious with the trashy behavior. These are not people anyone should want to emulate, nor people who Italians in any country, be it this one, Italy itself, or elsewhere, would associate with. (Plus I hate their spray tans. Orange skin is pathetic.;-))

Another thing that annoys me is that almost every Italian character on TV is dark-haired, dark-eyed, and olive-skinned. I admit, I do look like that (being mostly Sicilian), and so do a lot of southern Italians. But it's not all of us. I've met several Italians who could pass for Swedish. There's even a few blonds in my family! In fact, look at Italy's cinema. Many of the actresses and some of the actors look more German than Italian. But according to Hollywood, there aren't any blond Italians. I'll tell Hollywood that they are crazy. (And there are redheads too. Bernadette Peters is an Italian-American who has red hair - I think her real surname is Lazzaro or something.) Although I do like the darker look better, especially for women. I just keep in mind that it's only some of us and not all of us.

Italian-American men are frequently depicted as jerks. The ones on TV talk with their hands and act like meatheads. They might have that New York guido accent too. Sometimes they'll be Latin lovers too (Italians seem to get a lot of the same stereotypes that people from Spain and Latin America do). Expect jokes about pasta and pizza too. While I enjoy both pasta and pizza, they always talk about it on TV as if that's all we eat.

The portrayal of Italian-American women on TV is bad too. Half of the time, Italian-American women on TV only seem to exist as nagging wives and overbearing mothers. The other half consists of the aformentioned guidettes, who will usually sport flashy jewelry, trampy clothes, and silicone breasts.

Probably the most annoying is when TV uses Italian stereotypes from 100 years ago, like showing Italians as dirty and untrustworthy and perpetually foreign. It's even worse when the characters act like Italians aren't even white. 90 percent of the time this is directed at people from Sicily, where there are some people who could easily pass for Arabs. They say that Sicilians are black:dodgy:. And you still get people in the US (and also in Australia) believing this crap. Seriously, that's something I'd expect from Stormfront. (Dennis Hopper's character in True Romance says something about Sicilians being black.)

There's a few other uncategorized vendettas (lol) I have against certain Italians on TV. I didn't like the Italian guy on Mad Men because I was bothered by his portrayal (no offense to any gay people meant - I don't hate Sal because he's gay, I hate him because he's a gay stereotype). It also took me a while to stop hating Fat Tony on The Simpsons. Now I just laugh along with him, since they actually pointed out that he was, in Marge's words, "perpetuating a negative stereotype".

The good thing is that there's lots of Italians in Hollywood, and not all of them play stereotypical roles. It's also good that people realize that this is offensive and it annoys people. Of course, Hollywood can still produce garbage to stereotype Italians and other groups. The best thing to do is to avoid offensive TV shows.

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  1. みさあき's Avatar
    I disagree on Snooki (which her last name is Polizzi; her real one according to wiki and other official site); but it kinda gets old that when on a reality TV show; an Italian person speaks and mafia music is played in the background. I know they don't do it anymore but they did it alot back then and it was funny at first but now it is annoying.
  2. 97SaturnSL1's Avatar
    I am also an olive skinned, dark haired and eyed Italian american and proud of my heritage. my younger brother was born with blonde hair but it did change to brown. i am also part greek, polish, german, irish and prussian so there are genes in my family that could give me blonde or red hair also. i do move my hands when i talk too. the jokes about pasta and pizza dont bother me because i enjoy eating them. i do have the Italian mouth and temper but many people in america are part italian and have been surrounded in the culture for many years so many are or have been aware and just havent overly taken offence to it. One of my favorite villans is Buzz Buzzard from Woody Woodpecker. He fits the italian Thug steriotype to the T but i do enjoy his antics. up intil recently Hollywood was very steriotypical. The 40s were the worst. I dont act like the guiddo type and i hate jersy shore because it was just bad. i even rolled my eyes at some Fiat commercials because well you had to see them. those were made in Italy where standards are different than here. but with steriotypes theres nothing really you can do. but i can safely say the steroitypes were a lot worse during WWII in the media than what Italina americans go through today.