I was chatting with my favorite Lady in Red last evening – well evening for me, late morning for her – and complaining about the young lad upstairs practicing his piano. After 30 minutes of progressive scales I would have been content to have him return to Tre Topi Cieci. Dora suggested turning the television up to drown him out; that set me off on a tangent about Italian television. We had the Skye package for a while but there are only so many Simpson episodes you can watch – in any language. So we ditched that (it just wasn’t worth $135.00 a month) and now just get regular Italian TV: a few channels in German, Romanian and Polish and 35 or so in Arabic. Strangely the channels in Arabic seem to be a mix of religious channels and sex chats channels and even stranger the telephone numbers given all seem to be in Canada, area code 416 – so much for Toronto the Good!
Sorry, talk about going off on a tangent, I was saying about Italian TV. Though there are some good things on Italian TV the bulk of the entertainment evening seems to be taken up with inane game shows hosted by aging Lothario with bad dye jobs and orange tans and silicone enhanced bimbas with botoxed lips.
Now I have to admit the Italian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire is far superior to its North American counterpart, however Wheel of Fortune is another story. Ruota della Fortuna is exactly the same format as in the rest of the world: host, 3 contestants, wheel, game board and the top scorer gets to play a final round for a big prize. Last night’s finalist was all decked out in a sparkly t-shirt and beat out two young ladies with plunging necklines – much to the disappointment of the host, Enrico Papi. You’ll notice the contestant is wearing a head mike – all the contestants do. That’s so they can join in the singing and dancing between rounds. Sorry but you can’t have a game show without some singing and dancing. And the audience calls out the letters as they pop up on the game board – just in case you don’t know a D from a W – oh sorry there aren’t any Ws in native Italian.*
Oh I forgot they also have the letter turner, it wouldn’t be Wheel of Fortune without the letter turner. But here in Italy the young lady who turns the letters is no Vanna White. Here we have Victoria! Victoria Silvstedt the Playboy Playmate for 1997.
There are two things that stand out on Victoria – no not those, well yes those but that’s not what I’m talking about. First she’s almost 6 feet tall – in fact probably is in her stilettos – and second she normally only wears about 2 feet of dress. One of my colleagues at work has suggested that it would be very dangerous for Victoria to go near an open flame but I have a feeling that’s just envy
Victoria doesn’t speak all the much Italian but she does exchange some light banter with Papi and they both giggle over her grammer mistakes. But then they really don’t ask Victoria to talk that much, mostly she just moves and the camera follows her. She plays to the camera shamelessly – winking and making faces. And of coure there are lots of angles from above (cleavage) and below – just as she twirls after crossing in front of the board and her dress flares. And one of their favorite shots is taken from stage floor level with the contestants framed by Victoria’s shapely legs.
Papi and her have the dumb blond and the little man with big ideas routine down pat and it can actually be very funny at times. In the random dance breaks the two of them carry on like a demented Fred and Ginger. .
And Laurent just came across an interesting fact – he’s become a Victoria groupie, don’t ask – in France where she also appears on Wheel of Fortune she accounts for 30% of the viewership and it isn’t all men – 29% of the women who watch the show say its because of her.
And I freely admit we only watch it for Victoria – what will she almost be wearing tonight, what salacious shots will the camera man think up and what silly mistakes will she make. And occasionally we’ll play along and get the right answer too.
*I am stating that to the best of my limited knowledge, I’m sure a comment will appear correcting that assumption if it is indeed wrong.
10 febbraio – Santa Scolastica