I have a friend who thinks I was the only one who got, the first time I saw Manhattan, cheering on the yes and no forty-year-old bitch and not the naive 17-year-old. According to my friend, I was also the only one in their twenties and thirties and forties: according to my friend all sensible people cheer Tracy-la-scognomata, I alone cheer Mary Wilkie. But I say: how do you cheer for the innocent girl, what do we and the innocent aboriginal have to say to each other?
There is a moment, in Fidelity, in which she – yes and no forty not even particularly bitchy, but in short, an adult – leaves home, and goes to her mother. She goes to her mother and then gets annoyed when her mother meddles; but on the other hand, if Brooke hadn’t shown up at Stephanie’s house without any sense, Beautiful would have been over for decades. Anyway, her mother meddles about what happened between her and her husband, and she snorts: but you and dad never quarreled?
And at that point, if like me you are crazy old women talking on the TV, at that point you will hear yourself say in a very loud voice: sure, but your father had at least fucked her, the blonde girl he was arguing with your mother about, was not weeks of history and four hours of drama to languish.
Fidelity speaks of you. Of you who are the idiot who is pining for someone who has not even fucked, the idiot of the Tinder era, the idiot who does not want to slip into the blonde’s panties, wants to sacrifice himself not to do it, and feel for this pleased victim of his own honesty (the Fidelity idiot is the kind of idiot who uses categories like “intellectual honesty”). The idiot convinced, while staring at the blonde kissing a twenty-year-old, that he is pining because he wants the contents of her panties, not the tightness of his breath.
Fidelity speaks of you. Of you who are the idiot who fantasizes while being groped by a physiotherapist with hands so ugly that only for those he would have to go immediately to another. Of you who have all that taste for grit and no taste for men. All that taste for island kitchens and no taste for erotic fantasies.
Let me tell you about grit. Let me tell you about how Fidelity – the Netflix series based on the novel by Marco Missiroli with that perfect instagrammable cover, that white photo in which the shadow hides any double minds and only the eyes remain to promise how cool you are and probably to do not keep it when they see you in the light – has deluded me that I am taking care of my perversions.
The first scene of Fidelity looks like this. She – a real estate agent – arrives with clients in a Milanese apartment without a lift. It’s ninety-nine steps, she explains, but it’s worth it. When they enter the house, when they fall in love with the grit floors, I hope for six episodes of real estate porn. But no, because they fall in love and abandon me: shortly thereafter someone arrives who anyone who is not at his first audiovisual understands that he is the husband, the husband who pretends to be a customer in front of other customers, the husband who is a bourgeois intellectual fool with his tiny fantasy of Last Tango.
And then nothing, she takes off her underwear, and I can’t enjoy the grit. (Six episodes later they will give me the Bar Basso, because they think that we, aficionados of bourgeois aesthetics, are satisfied with the minimum).
Her raised panties do not prevent the blonde from stumbling: because otherwise Fidelity would last an episode and you are not (now it seems that in an hour and a half no one can say anything anymore: what happened to Louis Malle, that the Jeremy Irons in Danno also had wonderful fixtures); but also because nowadays the main task of television novels is to make the viewer feel very intelligent. The viewer who, when the idiot discovers the love cards between her father and one of her who is not her mother, understands an infinity of time before her that her mother already knows this great secret . The idiot no, the idiot is amazed, otherwise what an idiot she would be, and how would we feel very awake.
The blonde studies writing (never anyone who studies how to replace the tubes), and the idiot teaches her. Saying things like “one of those days you left your mark”, so that in the future we are covered on the “writers who don’t know how to use concordances” front. She teaches her in a class where there is black, Chinese, Indian, because evidently she Netflix is convinced that the courses in Milan are the same as those in Portland. A class that publishers invite to a party with an open bar to screen new talents, because Netflix is evidently convinced that, like her, not even the publishing economic bubble has burst.
There is a moment that will lead to the real feeling betrayed by the idiot, to her feeling much more betrayed than if she had a twentieth-century husband, one of those that the blonde would have fucked her at the first episode. The moment is when the blonde tells the teacher that if she wants to read her homework, she must give her the novel he is working on to read. And you think it will never happen, the writer will also have learned something from Bentivoglio of Remember me, he will also know that more ridiculous than anything is the novelist who declaims himself to the girl with whom he wants to cornify his wife.
And instead. But not long after we see him print the file he is working on, and also put a dedication on it for the blondie, put it on the first sheet, the one on which there is the title, a sheet that you and I would have been smart enough not to print to save on cartridge.
And instead. And instead he prints it. And so when the wife, who is not exactly killing herself with work, goes to the blondie’s house and sees the novel that her husband has not let her read but has instead hastened to give to one whose panties he does not have. not even had access to someone who is twenty years old and let’s imagine the refined literary advice he will be able to give him, when his wife sees the manuscript it will be worse than arriving home and finding Nino Sarratore humping the maid.
At the last episode suddenly we stop with the premises, we let the characters change, and the story takes some life. Which is the same thing that happens in Inventing Anna (eight hours of premise there, five here). It must be a precise industrial choice: stock for three quarters, and the meat at the bottom. If you resist, Netflix rewards you.
It must be that “life is what remains after every crossroads”, as a novel to the presentation of which the idiot and the blondie go, a novel probably written by Bentivoglio of Remember me. It must be a model studied by the best neurologists, because I went to see Fidelity at ten in the evening and at two I was still there saying “just one more episode, just to see if the grit returns.” You have won, you fools.