“Una programma granda”

October 3, 2009

FLAVIO INSINNA

FLAVIO INSINNA

Comcast generates its share of our junk mail, but we were tickled by the colorful flyer that arrived today, offering us programming from Italy for $9.95 a month.
This service is not something we need, but one of the shows listed caught our eye — a quiz called “Affari Tuoi,” which means “Your Affairs” or — more to the point of the show — “Your Business.” This show is a knock-off of Howie Mandel’s “Deal or No Deal,” but — not surprisingly — it has a kind of abandon that the American show lacks.  At least it seemed that way to us when we visited my kinfolk last year and found that they had become addicted to it. They time their evening meal to coincide with “Affari Tuoi,” which is on all week.
FLAVIO INSINNA AT WORK

FLAVIO INSINNA AT WORK

The popularity of this show — which has counterparts in other countries — couldn’t have been hurt any by the host who ran the proceedings when we were last in Italy — a charismatic actor named Flavio Insinna. He’s a show all by himself, constantly in motion, alternately counseling and egging on the contestants, and slipping into high drama whenever he took a phone call from the “dottore” upstairs. He was not the original emcee and he has left the show since we were last in Italy. Too bad. He made Mandel look like a funeral director by comparison.
As for my relatives, when we first visited them more than 30 years ago, they barely watched television at all. If anyone had told us that they would ever be glued to the screen, we’d have laughed it off. But on one of our later visits, we found that their daily routine included Barbara Stanwyck in “The Virginians” to accompany the midday meal. Now the evenings are almost totally consumed by “Affari Tuoi” and another quiz show that follows it, plus an hour or so of news. They’re on their third television set and they have a VCR now. They still don’t have central heat, but measuring progress is a subjective exercise at best.
You can see Flavio Insinna cutting up on “Affari Tuoi” at this link:
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