Family members are the easiest people to make fun of or impersonate. I may be crappy at doing impressions of famous people, but I can easily do an impression of my uncle Julio. Such is the case of actress Melanie Minichino who performs as “Maurizio.” The character of Maurizio is inspired by her own father’s characteristics and how he views American culture.
Maurizio comes off as a sweet, unassuming guy that tries mixing both his Italian lifestyle with how he thinks Americans act, always looking for a good deal (and always getting it too) or listening to American music (the birthday episode with Maurizio singing along to 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” is down right hysterical).
He dresses with an “American” style that is a combination of 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s dress attire. He’s almost like an old, ultimate hipster, but then again, most hipsters dress like that to be ironic, yet Maurizio does it because he thinks that’s how he should dress in America.
Maurizio is full of characteristics that are NOT stereotypical of Italians. Sure, he has a thick accent and loves his sauce (making sure no one has stuck their finger in it) but he also has a hilarious, yet odd infatuation with Queen Latifah. He really loves his soccer, and dammit if he’s not going to be able to watch his soccer.
A good example of both stereotypes and personal touches on display would be the episode of Maurizio’s birthday. He is so overly excited for his birthday, but as you watch, no one is around to wish him happy birthday. He has to be witness to the Jersey Shorethanks to his daughter, instead of watching his beloved soccer. His friend calls and informs he cannot make it, even when Maurizio tells him that he has to make the mozzarella. This is a sad day (as he so eloquently puts it). The food that’s left for him to eat even has his name spelled wrong on it (granted, it looks like frosting on top of a cheeseburger). Thankfully, he at least has his friend Frank to hang out with, and what do you know, it’s a surprise birthday party for him.
Just by watching that one episode, you see him angry, sad, happy, angry some more, yet at the same time, he never gets annoying or whiny. He remains a lovable person throughout the entire episode.
Moving on from the character to actress Melanie Minichino, she truly is not bashful of putting herself in awkward situations (and clothing), plus being able to stay in character the entire time. I’m not sure of how many (if any) edits were done as Minichino looks to be able stay straight-laced and not break. I can barely stop from laughing while trying to tell a joke, let alone be a whole character on a show and do an appearance such as being at the LA Webseries Festival as Maurizio (where she won two awards).
The personal touches that she seems to be channeling from her father truly make the show wholly enjoyable. It’s a satire, yet pays homage to not just her Italian father, but Italians as a whole. My Italian girlfriend watched a few of the shorts with me, and not only laughed at what was happening to Maurizio, but also at the spot-on mannerisms and characteristics of how Minichino satirized Italian men.
This show is definitely worth your time in going out of your way to see. Maurizio never feels mean-spirited towards immigrants, and the laughs that come at the expense of what Maurizio faces, be it being pulled over, his birthday mishap, or being kicked in the “lower-abdominal area” never feel wrong. It’s almost a sympathetic sort of laughter if you will.
Believe me when I say watching “The Marizio Show” will make you feel like a million U.S. dollars.
Vixen of Vocabulary who likes to wax poetic about the world of street art, music,busking and all things indie. She has earned two college degrees, traveled extensively and written three books. She is currently finishing the multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple Art-Style Book, to be released in NYC, Spring 2013.