so, medici was a flawed show. some things about it, particularly in episode 3 and 5, annoyed me and made me roll my eyes. but i’m not here to rant. in fact i’m here to take my mind off that orange talking std [cit] who just won the american elections and list some reasons why i’m happy i had medici.
it’s a rai (italian public tv) production. this in itself
a huge point because rai so far has produced, with few exceptions, mediocre fiction for barely literate old people (aka its average target). producing medici means, at least i hope, that this is going to change. it also breaks a seemingly never ending tradition of miniseries about the risorgimento and 20th century popes and nuns. i don’t mean to say my (beloved) grandmother should have nothing left to watch, but i wouldn’t mind watching something on raiuno as well, since we all pay for it. to put it shortly, it’s a step ahead. and i’ll seldom shut up about how unlike rai this show is in the following points.
- cosimo is an anti-hero. rai made some, if few, co-productions about far-from-perfect characters before (see nero starring hans matheson) but they shamelessly whitewashed them by throwing other people under the bus and stretching history far more than it’s intelligent. here, cosimo is depicted as an essentially decent but also very deeply flawed person, a liar, an unfaithful husband and a somewhat cold father. he’s brooding and unreadable most of the time and while it’s impossible to hate him (at least for me, madden’s eyes make me weak in my knees) he’s not the shiny, stainless, misunderstood poor soul rai usually showcases.
- contessina. cosimo’s wife is the strong female character™ you don’t expect. she doesn’t kick ass, she’s not cool as ice, she doesn’t go around poisoning people and claiming her right to sleep around as our modern age seems to want strong female characters™ to always do. she is strong as fuck, she is an iron lady, but she gets to be so even if she cries for her husband, if she’s desperate for his love, if she shouts hysterically at him (SO HAVE I is my favourite quote from the entire show, know it) and yes, wants some dick from him even if that’s just angry sex (ON RAIUNO). even if she’s petty to her husband’s mistress, if she endures, if she forgives him time and again and stays. not gonna lie, i would have ripped his balls and added them to the medici insignia, i wanted her to leave. but because feminism is about allowing a woman her choice and not judge her for it, whichever that is, long live contessina and her choice to stay and raise carlo as her own child.
- the women. none of the girls from this show are entirely forgettable. bianca was a touching figure, if a bit vanilla. contessina’s what i just said. lucrezia is very sweet, but also growing into a formidable woman. maddalena isn’t just ‘the slut’ and even gets to shade the medici for their disrespect of her. emilia is gossipy but loyal.
- renaissance in fiction. most italians know very little of the renaissance. ours being a relatively young political entity, we study and celebrate the risorgimento a lot, we produce a lot of fiction about it, we’re time and again told the story of the two WW and the holocaust. which is also great, we should do that. but we forget about the rest too much. we read the da vinci code but we hardly know what da vinci did and we still think napoleon stole the monna lisa because we don’t know leonardo died in freaking france. when medici was announced a lot of people had no idea who cosimo was. the renaissance is sometimes explored in documentaries, though not nearly as many as i see are made on the 20th century and the risorgimento; and it certainly hadn’t been explored in home-made fiction for at least some 30 years. to see brunelleschi (and with preziosi’s face) on tv, well that was special. personally i was really proud. that was florence, montepulciano, tuscany, lazio, finally celebrated. and not much cgi.i hate cgi.
- the story. again i should remark how rare it is for rai to make a show like medici. we produce a lot of historical fiction, as we should because we have excellent costumes, but we usually make it about fictional characters or we whitewash historical ones, overromanticizing their lives, erasing their ambitions and their flaws and their gray areas. if we’d done cosimo’s story some ten years ago we’d probably have written of a goody-goody guy ending up with a huge bank because he was fundraising to feed the poor and buy his wife some flowers and then just happened to have a fortune to share with a saintly pope. this story wasn’t romanticized, in fact it’s much less romanticized than it was, say, on the borgias, where cesare was only ever driven by his love for lucrezia.
- the bad guys. antagonists in fiction are usually ugly and just plain mean. albizzi, on the other hand, was a very handsome man and even an ex
boyfriend of cosimo’s, which created a nice, interesting dynamic between the two of them. i’m afraid that won’t be the case with the pazzi next year.
- the flashbacks. they were kind of poorly made because the characters all looked exactly the same when supposedly 20 years younger, but flashbacks were a peculiarity of this show and i missed them when they stopped coming. following two plans of the story would leave me wondering just how the hell we’d ended up there.
- the music. seriously i’m addicted to this ost, praise paolo buonvino. sometimes i even think i wouldn’t like the show this much if it wasn’t for its soundtrack. i feel so dramatic walking around the city with renaissance in my ears and i absolutely adore how the theme is kind of broken into pieces and spammed in various tracks throughout the series.
so yeah this is way too long but i’m happy i had medici and i forgot about trump for about 30 minutes. thanks.