Suburra. La serie as "Patrimonio internazionale / International Patrimony"

Dana Renga


This essay investigates fascinations surrounding glamorized criminals by looking at how recent Italian history and queer bodies are represented, negotiated, and received in Italy’s first made-for-Netflix series Suburra. La serie (2017 - ). In many ways, the series is a distinctly Italian production, especially in terms of the popular mafia-corruption plot that is based upon real life events. However, Suburra. La serie is a transnational production that engages viewers outside of Italy. This essay pays attention to the series’ interesting marketing strategy that flagrantly draws attention to fictional/historical consistencies, before addressing the physical allure and charisma of criminal antiheroes who appear trapped in a perpetual adolescence. Most importantly, I address how Suburra. La serie’s singularity as a transnational co-production allows for a unique representation of gender and sexuality on Italian small screens, as it marks an opening up of a mainstream space on the small screen to tell stories from the perspective of a non-normative sexual orientation. Suburra. La serie engages in a representation of queer masculinity that is distinctive in relation to Italian serial drama as a whole and especially in relation to serial dramas that depend upon sympathetic perpetrators to create relationships with viewers. As I argue, Suburra. La serie is a queer text with an address to viewers spanning continents, cultures, and languages.


Suburra. La serie; Masculinity; Queer masculinity; Italian serial drama; Sympathetic perpetrators; Mafia

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/7815


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