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Series / Boris

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Top row, left to right: Stanis, Corinnanote , Biascica, Duccio, Arianna, Alessandro, and Lopez. Bottom row, left to right: René and Boris.

Boris is an Italian comedic TV series produced by FOX. It's a Dilbert-esque satire of the Italian TV series production process revolving around an awful melodrama named ''The Eyes of the Heart 2'' (the sequel of another equally awful series which was cut off after only two episodes, but which the network execs believe was only penalized due to its time slot) and the unlucky, disfunctional troupe of the same — a neurotic director, self-serving and self-centered stars, an incompetent and coke-addicted photography director, a dishonest executive producer, slave interns and more. It parodies much that's wrong with the production process of the mainstream networks: politics, blatantly dishonest product placement, cut-and-paste cliché plots, extreme Executive Meddling and worse, but even when it's not actively making fun of something, the quirky cast manages to keep the funny coming.

Not entirely unlike 30 Rock, but exquisitely Italian.

The show has had three seasons so far, having followed the production of the two seasons of Eyes of the Heart 2 and later of Medical Dimension, a blatant ripoff of American Medical Dramas. There is also a movie, concerning the same crew involved in the production of the In-Universe movie La Casta.

Some of the characters involved with the production are:

The series is named after director René's lucky charm goldfish — the last of a long line of such. It's, in what some may see as a fit of Irony, produced by Rupert Murdoch's Fox Italia/Sky.

In February 2021, as the Star (Disney+) prepares to debut in Italy, a fourth season of the show was officially announced to be in production as an original production for the service. The fourth series, themed around a production of Life of Jesus with Stanis in the title role, has been released on Disney+ on October 26th, 2022.

The Italian side of The Other Wiki has quite a bit more about it.


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  • Affably Evil: Claudio, the young, nice and enthusiast network delegate that keeps supporting Renè and his idea of quality for Medical Dimension. However, it was chosen by Cane to lure Renè into it and making him just do another The Eyes of the Heart. Or so it looks like, but in the end we find out it's subverted: Cane was playing both Claudio and Renè, since he plans to sabotage Medical Dimension. Claudio leaves as soon as he finds out.
  • Ambiguously Gay: While gossiping about Orlando Serpentieri, René mentions there are rumours about him being gay or at least bisexual, although Orlando hasn't shown any hint of his sexuality or attraction to anyone (René recalls the rumours when seeing Orlando alone with Alessandro, though that was because Orlando was secretly tasking him with discovering the plot of the show). After learning Orlando has been recommended by a senator, René thinks said senator might be bisexual as well.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mariano gets sick of playing The Count because he's a one-dimensional villain without any redeeming trait, and lists the bad things he does in the show: killing, raping (or sending people to rape) and being obsessed with a share package; Mariano's anger then remains concentrated on the last detail.
  • As Himself:
    • In "Stopper", former football player Sergio Brio appears as himself, as he was supposed to be a Special Guest on "Medical Dimension". He spends the episode being annoyed by other characters's reactions to him: René pretends to be an enthusiastic fanboy even if he clearly didn't know anything about football, Stanis goes into a narcissistic rant about actors being superior to football players, and Biascica still holds a grudge against Brio for a controversial football game played 30 years ago.
    • In "Nella rete", famous director Paolo Sorrentino appears as himself. He wants Fabiana to play a role in his new movie and tries to convince her to leave "Medical Dimension".
    • Famous dramatic actor Fabrizio Gifuni appears in the last episode of season 4 in front of a starstruck Martellone. Subverted when he claims not to be Gifuni but Pierfrancesco Favino under heavy prosthetics.
  • Ass Pull: A staple of the plots of the In-Universe shows since The Writers are lazy ones and write the show on a whim.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mariano Giusti, a (In-Universe) recurring guest star who has the villain role of The Count in Eyes of the Heart, is certifiably insane and destructively violent (a fact the troupe tries to defuse by leaving Alessandro to keep him calm — a thing he does under Mariano's threat of death by baseball bat mauling).
    Mariano: "No, no, no! It seems to me like the only one between you and me who's trying not to get me to beat you up is me- the one that, eventually, will end up beating you up!
  • Back for the Finale: Karin and Cristina do not appear in season three, until they are brought back for the pilot of The Eyes of Heart 3. Corinna and Glauco also come back, as does the In-Universe character of the homosexual social worker played by René.
  • Bad "Bad Acting":
    • Stanis and especially Corinna are not very good actors.
    • Ada De Silvestri, who plays Giorgio's mother for two episodes, is even worse than Corinna, and is only hired because she is the senator's wife.
    • Alessandro tries to play a gay character in one scene, replacing another actor at the last minute. His acting is so awful that René tells him he's no better than Stanis and Corinna. To be fair, Alessandro is not an actor.
    • At the end of season 2, Samantha, a Ms. Fanservice with political connections, is called to appear on the Wham Episode of the soap... She wasn't even able to say one line.
    • The original actress who was supposed to play the female lead in Medical Dimension was terrible. René is forced to replace her with his own daughter Fabiana, even if he didn't want to be accused of Nepotism, despite Fabiana being actually a good actress.
  • Bathos: Itala's funeral in the first episode of the fourth season, especially when René mentions that Duccio was unable to come because he's stuck "thinking" in India because of work commitments. Cut to loud Bollywood music playing while Duccio's hands prepare a rail of cocaine. Onto which a tear falls.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Cane might count as this. He doesn't want to stop the protagonists, but causes all the meddling that troubles them. Fits the trope in season three, when he's actively planning to make Renè's work a disaster, see Screwed by the Network below.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The fourth season arguably has two main antagonists:
    • The first one is technically the Platform's Algorithm, but it has a human face in Allison Daltman, the European manager of the Platform. Like Dr. Cane before her, she's not actively antagonising the protagonists but keeps requiring edits and additions to ensure that their show is a worldwide streaming success.
    • The second one is Stanis himself, who as co-producer of Life of Jesus keeps dictating his "vision" against René's wishes, until he straight up usurpes the director chair from him.
  • The Bus Came Back: Season 4 features the return of almost the entire main and guest characters from the previous seasons, but an unexpected one is Guido, the actor playing St. Peter. He reveals he's the same hopeless actor who was supposed to portray the cyclist in The Climber of the Andes when René accidentally gives him the same exact "The Reason You Suck" Speech as he did thirteen years previously.
  • The Cameo: In the Season 1 episode where René briefly leaves the studio to film a toothpaste commercial, the gorilla mascot character from commercials for the bitter drink Crodino pops out in a brief scene to ask René where's the bar.
  • Casting Gag: Stanis is known for playing Corelli in The Eyes of the Heart. His actor, Pietro Sermonti, is known for playing a doctor in another Italian series, Un Medico In Famiglia.
  • Catchphrase: Stanis's "very italian", his way to complain about anything he doesn't like, and "not italian" (for a short while, in season two, "anglosaxon") is how he says something is good. It gives us the hylarious line
    Stanis: I don't know, I think that Shakespeare... Is a bit too much italian...
  • Chekhov's Gun: And gunman, used constantly in The Eyes of the Heart 2. The truth is that the scriptwriters prefer looking at the previous episodes to find something they can use instead of actual writing. These don't stop them (to praise themselves) and the director (to avoid further questions) to pass them as this trope.
  • Cliché Storm: Everything ever written by the In-Universe series scriptwriters, who even have text macros for certain actor expressions (especially "astonished", tied to F4 on their word processor's keyboard and used liberally).
  • Comically Missing the Point: When football player Sergio Brio guest stars on Medical Dimension and is confronted with the chaos and incompetence on set, he announces to the crew that he finally understands what's going on... he's on Scherzi a parte.note 
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Machiavelli, a fiction directors are assigned to when producers just want them out. Subverted, however, since Renè gets quite fond of the idea and leaves The Eyes of the Heart 2 of his own will to do Machiavelli.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: At the end of season 4 René gets in trouble with the Platform because he illegally used the footage shot for Life of Jesus to turn it into a self-released film. Faced with a super-solid case on their part, how does he decide to act? By redoing the audition scene from Flashdance in front of them. And it works.
  • Darkest Hour: 3x12, "Into the Network", Renè is utterly destroyed and can't do anything anymore, not even keep the actors, and by the end of the episode he leaves the set himself.
  • Deconstructed Trope: The show takes apart many tropes, sometimes even on a meta level, showing what causes these tropes to happen in a show, usually in a much more humorous way than the typical deconstruction.
    • Cliché Storm: For the sake of satire, The Eyes of the Heart represents every Italian TV show that aired during the 2000's and has all of the soap opera cliches one can think. In-Universe, it's because The Writers are so lazy they don't even bother to come up with something new, and the show is so clitchéd they often rely on the function keys with pre-composed lines of script. It's later revealed this trope is reinforced by the executives, who want to keep producing shows that are essentially the same thing to keep making easy money, such as when The Writers send René the rewritten script for Machiavelli and he realizes it's identical to The Eyes of the Heart except for the setting and the characters.
    • Creator Backlash: In-Universe. Most of the crew hate working on the Soap Within a Show The Eyes of the Heart, especially the director Renè, though he's good at pretending otherwise. Many of the actors (Cristina, Mariano, Orlando Serpentieri, Remo Arcangeli) also hate the soap and end up leaving.
    • Development Hell: In-Universe. There's the series Machiavelli, which has been stuck in pre-productionsfor decades and no director assigned to the project could take it out of development. This is because Machiavelli is designed to be forever stuck in Development Hell and get rid of directors by assigning them to the project, in which they will be stuck for the rest of their career without bringing it to fruition. However, René is so passionate about this project, he manages to take it out of Development Hell.. until he reads the new script, which is as awful as The Eyes of the Heart's.
    • Harpo Does Something Funny: In-Universe. The notary, the comic relief of the show, doesn't have any lines in the script, and instead the actor has to improvise them, along with Stanis (Giorgio's actor), who also turns into comic relief whenever he interacts with him. This is not because they are good at improvising (Stanis is not even a comedy actor), but because The Writers can't come up with anything actually funny and decide to leave the work to the actors, resulting in ridiculously unfunny scenes and very clumsy jokes.
    • Heel–Faith Turn: When he comes back to the set, Mariano, who once burned the entire set, claims to have met Jesus and since then to have become a new person. Unfortunately, Mariano is just as crazy and dangerous as ever, and he simply becomes more obsessed with Christianity.
    • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Arianna is well aware of being the only competent person in a highly dysfunctional TV crew. However, this leaves her to be taken for granted by everyone leading her to repress her feelings and needs.
    • Plucky Comic Relief: In-Universe. Martellone plays "the notary", whose role is to provide comic relief for the show. However, this means that nobody of the troupe takes the character seriously, even during a tragic scene like his death.
    • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Every troupe member got the job thanks to recommendation, this mean that, when they have to fire someone to "remedy" of the show's bad rating, Gloria loses the job because she's the only one without someone to back her up, while the official excuse is that she was fired because the bad makeup was worsening the show.
    • Took the Bad Film Seriously: In-Universe. Orlando Serpentieri is a famous theatre actor who, despite being aware of the low quality of the series, plays his role very well. However, this make the two lead actors, who are terrible, look bad by comparison, and René suggests Orlando tone down his acting to Stanis and Corinna's level.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Being a series about a troupe making a TV series, it criticizes and mocks in a very humouristic way Italian fictional works of the 90's and the 2000's and all their associated tropes, often on a meta level, showing why said tropes happen in these kind of fictional works, as well as the entire Italian television industry. Season 4 adds the large, international streaming platforms to the list of its targets.
  • Demoted to Extra: Sergio in season 4 appears only in a few brief scenes when René or Lopez visit him in prison, the latter having taken over his role as executive producer.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: While not endorsing it, the showrunners of Boris have acknowledged the role played by illegal streaming websites in elevating a limited release series into a cult phenomenon via word of mouth.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Fabio, a paraplegic fan of the show, who uses pity and manipulation to get away with his actions. At the end of the day, they kick him out of the set.
  • Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas: When the screenwriters are plagiarizing a Korean series, they are unsure whether a specific word translates as "juggle the ball" or "orange". They decide to insert a scene of a football player juggling an orange.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Lopez's speech in "Stopper" about how nobody in Italy wants "modern TV" and the public only cares about the old and traditional is set in front of the ruins of the Roman Forum.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The three scriptwriters are never referred by name.
    • The Network is just called like that. Likewise in season 4 with the Platform.
  • Executive Meddling: It happens a lot In-Universe. Many episodes are about a change demanded by the executives (more often Dr. Cane), like the introduction of a comic relief, the re-shooting of a scene, or firing the makeup worker since the series was in decline because of the makeup(in truth, she was simply the only employee not recommended by someone).
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dr. Cane, once he finally appears. He acts cheerfully with Renè, but he's just kicking the dog.
  • Le Film Artistique: The educational short René creates in "Exit Strategy", The Red Ant: filmed during breaks in a side-roominvoked, with voice-over narration by René himself, the Faux Symbolism of the card game, and a Downer Ending.
  • Foil: Dimension Six, a show created to rival Medical Dimension. We find out, however, that they were never supposed to air together, they made both as quality fiction to show one at random and make it fail, to cancel the other.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Dimension Six, a show created to rival Medical Dimension. We find out, however, that they were never supposed to air together; they were made both as "quality fiction" to show one chosen at random so to make it fail, and then cancel the other before broadcast.
    • The opening of Season two (and three) shows the characters in an aquarium, with Lorenzo unwillingly breaking the glass in the end. In season three Lorenzo unwillingly breaks Renè's aquarium.
    • Which is in itself another brilliant foreshadowing: Federer (the goldfish Renè bought for the new series) is lost and replaced with another random one as Medical Dimension, we will find out, loses is purpose and becomes just a series like any other. That the replacement turns out to be Boris, the fish bought for The Eyes of the Heart, only makes it more brilliant, since Renè will end actually turning it in The Eyes of the Heart 3.
    • A quite lighter one: in season three a repented scriptwriter advises, to do a good job, to never make more than three season. It hinted that it would the series' last season (may count as Leaning on the Fourth Wall).
    • The opening says "I'll use the eyes of the heart/ As the blind doctor says/ when he operates on patients" The Eyes of the Heart 3 has the main character becoming blind but resolving to operate nonetheless. Cue Title Drop.
    • As Lopez drops The Reveal about the true nature of Medical Dimension to René in "Stopper", the camera focuses on the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in the background. Two episodes later, Dr. Cane uses the Colosseum as a metaphor — old, in ruins, and yet permanent and admired by everyone — to describe The Eyes of the Heart.
  • Gilligan Cut: Whenever René, Stanis or someone else is praising the scriptwriters' work (it must be noted that, in the first case, said praises are Blatant Lies), we immediately get to see how they actually work.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: René, after finding out the truth about Medical Dimension and losing the last bit of faith in television he had, decides to purposefully go back to The Eyes of the Heart.
    Renè: We are fucking done with quality! We want shit!
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Mariano, between season one and two, have some kind of epiphany that makes him a nicer and softer person. The quote above takes place after that epiphany. We only see a glimpse of him before it, and it's him burning down the stage.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Constantly.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Played for Laughs regarding Biascica in season 3, when Lorenzo gets a Rank Up and is replaced as the photography intern. Biascica lamenting that Lorenzo was the "perfect slave" is very much intentionally played as someone pining over an ex lover.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Curiously, when it looks like Renè will lose the job. Not being tied to The Eyes of the Heart 2 makes him consider doing some quality work again, but in the end the show is succesful, so he keeps the job and the money. He eventually leaves for Machiavelli, but season three shows it's just another one of those. The season itself turns in yet another one with Medical Dimension.
    • The whole season three is one for Renè.
  • How We Got Here: In a Shout-Out to the Lost pilot, season two opens with Alessandro lying on the ground in an African setting, muttering "cold milk" and with a tiger beside him. The rest of the episode gives away the context: the "African village" is actually a set just outside the studio, Alessandro was shocked by an electic cable, the tiger was rented by Sergio to save money, and a glass of cold milk is what Corinna asked him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The scriptwriters claim they really need an holiday while sunbathing, or fishing, or doing anything but working.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: René closes a call with Allison by shouting his usual "dai, dai, dai!" of encouragement. Allison appears taken aback. Lopez explains René that she likely understood it in English as "die, die, die!"
  • Insufferable Imbecile: Both lead actors Stanis and Corinna are this. They are the opposite of the smart, humble, and heroic characters they play (badly) on the Soap Within a Show.
  • Kick the Dog: When Renè meets at last Dr. Cane, after being told the Evil Plan. He cheerfully tells Renè that, since Dimension Six failed like Medical Dimension was supposed to, Renè's series will never be aired at all. He ends it with a gift, a little box containing "the future". The box is empty.
  • Large Ham:
    • René. Pannofino is good at doing that sort of characters.
    • With his overly pretentious and flamboyant ways, Stanis is this both on and off camera.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Season 3 finale, Alessandro tells Arianna he's been keeping a diary of his experience on set and that it could be fun to develop a series on it. She shuts him down immediately, noting that it would be of zero interest for people outside of the industry.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe.
    • Orlando Serpentieri, a renowned actor, joins the cast. When Alessandro asks him why, after playing Shakespeare, would he do that, he answers honestly that between Shakespeare and The Eyes of the Heart 2 there's something called "mortgage".
    • René himself: he started The Eyes of the Heart believing it would be something good, but then kept working on it only because he was payed to. However, he keeps feeling guilty about it and dreaming of doing something good again, and eventually moves out of it at the end of season two.
    • Duccio was like René, except he's perfectly okay with it and doesn't move out.
    • Unusually, averted by Lopez, who seems to sincerely like The Eyes of the Heart 2
  • Made of Iron: In-Universe. While averted in The Eyes of the Heart, it's been played straight in many works Stanis has worked on previously, since his contract says his characters can never die and they therefore have survived being stabbed multiple times or a one hundred meter fall.
  • Nepotism: Averted, then played straight. René refuses to let Fabiana be the star of Medical Dimension as she's secretly his daughter and he doesn't want to be accused of this, but he later has to ask them to take the role as the network's designated replacement proves to be utterly incompetent.
  • Meaningful Name: Biascica's last name literally means 'slurs' (as in 'to slur', the speech impediment) — a thing he does liberally.
    • "Cane" (as in dr. Cane) literally means "dog", but it's also used as an insult meaning "despicable person".
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: The Algorithm, in Lorenzo's LSD-fueled visions, appears as a chimpanzee typing on a laptop.
  • Music Video Credits Sequence: The main characters are shown around the set (or, starting with the second season, swimming around in Boris' bowl), with their name and job next to them, lip-syncing to Elio e le Storie Tese's song. In season 4 they're walking through a desert instead (which may be both the set and Boris's bowl at the same time), with a new version of the song to match.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In the season one episode "Like Lars von Trier", everyone is forced to work naked on-set to assuage Corinna's insecurities during the shooting of a sex scene.
  • No Ending:
    • In the end we don't know if Arianna and Alessandro stayed in touch, or if he followed the scriptwriters' trail or started working on something better, we don't know where all the main characters went, except Duccio and Renè. The last shot has him pondering about answering a phone call (Lopez calling him to work on The Eyes of the Heart 3, but he doesn't know it), but it ends before showing us if he does.
    • Although played straight in the series, the trope is ultimately averted overall, as we do get a proper conclusion in Boris - The Film
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Stanis and Corinna are blind to the fact that most of their co-workers can't stand them. They are treated well just because they are the stars of the show, so everyone is forced to put up with them. Even in the movie, when Corinna finally learns about René's infamous hatred for her and calls him out on it, René denies everything and still pretends to adore her.
  • The Prima Donna:
    • Most of the actors in all of the In-Universe series, but it's mostly prominent in Stanis and Corinna, the two main stars of the Soap Within a Show. Both are incredibly stuck-up and demanding Attention Whores, often complaining when they have to shoot a scene they don't like. Additionally, they are not nearly as famous and talented as they think they are. In one episode, Stanis refers to the extras as "the underclass of the show business" in front of them.
    • Subverted with Cristina, the actress who replaces Corinna in season 2. She's a rich Spoiled Brat who often shows up late on the set, but this is only due to her Upper-Class Twit lifestyle. She's not self-centered when it comes to her acting career and is not even interested in being famous, in fact she hates being part of the show.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In-Universe with Medical Dimension. One of the scriptwriters hears random sentences from the other two talking about anything (except, of course, Medical Dimension) and writes them verbatim. The plot is litterally whatever was happening in their life at that point.
  • Recycled Premise: Season 3, the film, and season 4 use variations on the same twist at their climax: René is trying to make a serious entertainment product, but something happens to make production stop in its tracks. He then repurposes the shot footage into a different, successful product. Glauco is even involved all three times in a key role.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Literally: Boris is the last one of a long line of lucky charm goldfishes René insists on bringing on set. Additionally, the last episode of season one involves Boris's apparent death (after being fed a piece of lard) and the frantic search for a replacement so that René won't notice the death. Boris gets better in the end, though.
  • Revival: Season 4 is effectively this, being set a decade after the events of Season 3 and the movie (just like in real life) and with the characters working on a new Show Within a Show.
  • Running Gag:
    • The earl's ring is a main plot point in The Eyes of the Heart 2. Despite no one knowing exactly why.
    • Specific to Paolo Sorrentino's guest appearance in "Into the Network", people mixing his work with the one of rival director Matteo Garrone.
  • Sadist Show: Boris is a cynical represention of the Italian world of television, where nearly everyone is corrupt and sociopathic, and the extreme abuse of the subordinates is Played for Laughs. Whenever a character shows good intentions, it rarely ends well and he/she learns that Being Good Sucks and Hard Work Hardly Works.
  • Screwed by the Network:
    • Invoked by Lopez as the reason The Eyes of the Heart was so poorly received and cancelled. It might or might not be true: it was that bad, however the sequel is just as bad and it's however quite succesfull.
    • It's also Dr. Cane's Evil Plan in season three: he leaves Renè free to work on a fiction following actual criteria of quality (or the nearest thing he can get), but Medical Dimension is planned to air the same night the champions' league's on, so no one will watch it and it'll prove that "a new television isn't only possible, but not even desirable".
    • In season 4, Life of Jesus is dead on arrival once Alessandro reveals that the Platform's Spanish branch has just finished producing a series with same exact premise.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Manuela, the script supervisor in season 4, quits immediately after witnessing Mariano coming on set with a loaded gun, Stanis accidentally shooting a monitor with said gun (narrowly missing her) and Alfredo acting blasé in front of the whole ordeal.
  • Secondary Character Title: The eponymous Boris is René's pet goldfish, a Living Prop at best and just part of the scenery at worst.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The Eyes of the Heart 2 (supposedly the first one too) and Medical Dimention have three male scriptwriters, just like Boris. They do not come out in a good light, let's put it this way.
    • In the first episode of season 4, a character declares that Hell "is full of seasons 4".
  • Shout-Out: Numerous (all of these from The Other Wiki's page).
    • My Africa (part 1) includes a parody of Lost's iconic eye-opening season 1 shoot.
    • Again in My Africa (part 1), Corinna's arrival on the set has numerous elements that recall Kate Winslet's arrival on the titular ship of Titanic (1997).
    • The beating of Lorenzo in The Daughter of Mazinga is a recreation of "Gomer Pyle"'s beating in Full Metal Jacket.
    • In Caught by the Network, the network exec gives Lopez an empty blue box, recreating the same scene and subsequent fadeout from Mulholland Dr..
    • In The Deaf-mute, the Senator and the Future of Our Country, the ghosts of René's mentors appear in much the same way as the Force ghosts do in Return of the Jedi.
    • Split-screen cuts in the episode Use the Force, Ferretti are an homage to 24. Also obviously the name of he episode.
    • On that note, a ton of episode titles are obvious or less-than-obvious citations from movies and other works, such as The Sky over Stanis (a pun on the original title of Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, "The Sky over Berlin"); No Logo; Use the Force, Ferretti; The Importance of Being Well-Liked by Lawyers; Back to the Future; Stanis Must Not Die (riffing over the Italian title for Misery, "Misery Must Not Die"); My Africa (the Italian title for Out of Africa).
    • Also, in the last episode, characters tell Alessandro "wax on, wax off" to remember his role as a slave (a case of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, since the phrase used, "metti la cera, togli la cera", is not the actual translation in the movies, "dai la cera, togli la cera").
    • The last episode of season 4 climaxes with René reenacting the audition scene from Flashdance.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Season three, in the last episodes, becomes a steep one for René.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Played with: Stanis actually is the biggest name in the cast, but that still makes him not even nearly as important as he thinks he is.
  • Soap Within a Show: The in-universe series The Eyes of the Heart is the embodiment of all the worst Italian Soap Opera clichés. Hardly anyone working on it (except the lead actors and Itala) enjoys the final product.
  • Spoiler Title: The Climber of the Andes gives away the resolution of the episode's plot, namely a guest actor unsuitable to portray a formerly-addicted cyclist and a Peruvian extra equally unsuitable to portray a drug addict. The two roles are swapped, with the cyclist being rewritten into a Peruvian rock climber.
  • Stock Scream: Used to shot a suicide scene.
  • Stylistic Suck: From the trivial dialogue to the melodramatic Bad "Bad Acting", this soap is hilariously bad to highlight how terrible the actual Italian series are.
  • Take That, Audience!: The producers need to cut everything even slightly ethically complex or ambiguos, also the whole fact that they don't want anything new just, at the very best, something that looks new but is the same story all over again.
  • Title Drop:
    • "Use the Force, Ferretti" in season two.
    • Every episode in season three.
    • In-universe in The Eyes of the Heart 3, Corelli is blind but says he will keep doing his job using "the eyes of the heart... 3". Renè thinks Stanis adding the number is overdoing it, but they haven't time for another one.
  • Title Theme Tune: A curious case: the theme song is titled after the soap-within-a-show Gli occhi del cuore, though the background vocalists do sing the proper title "Boris".
  • Twofer Token Minority: In the last episode of season 4 Lopez introduces a new script supervisor who's non-binary, vegan and multiracial. Lopez cheers at having found the "diversity" the Platform was asking.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Almost everyone has it, as literally everyone on the set is protected by (and is there because of) some politician or other person-in-power. This becomes later a plot point as Lopez and Sergio force René to pick someone to fire to cut costs, and he has to pick the one with the "least" protection.
  • Wham Episode: 3X11, "Stopper", when we find out Medical Dimension is just Dr. Cane's Evil Plan.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Claudio telling Renè he's leaving and that "Medical Dimension is a trap."
    • 3x13 ("Back to the Future- Part 1"). We already saw Renè asking the screenwriters for "their usual shit", but we only get the true extent of his Heel–Face Turn when he tells what they are about to shot: The Eyes of the Heart 3.
    • At the end of the first episode of season 4, one of the three screenwriters disappearing into thin air, revealing he was Dead All Along.
  • World of Ham: Although averted in The Eyes of the Heart, where the acting is just very melodramatic, this is played straight with the entire TV crew, who are all very quirky and loud.

    The Eyes of the Heart 
Tropes that happen in the Soap Within a Show and its "sequel" Medical Dimension.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The Count is a typical soap villain. He doesn't even have a name, we only know he's greedy and commits all sorts of villainous acts For the Evulz.
  • Asshole Victim: Part of the main story arc is about the mysterious murder of the Count, the Big Bad of the soap.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: Giorgio goes blind after the Wham Episode and starts wearing sunglasses. His actor (Stanis) tries to protest because he doesn't want to play a blind character, until the writers tell him they intend to make Giorgio a Handicapped Badass, who is still able to be the best doctor in town, despite his blindness.
  • Character Shilling: Giorgio (Stanis's character) is occasionally referred to as "the best doctor in Italy".
  • Clear My Name: Giorgio in the second season, after being falsely accused of the Count's murder.
    Sandra: I knew you were innocent.
    Giorgio: Wrong, I am guilty. Guilty... of loving you. (they kiss)
  • Cool Old Guy: Medical Dimension has a badly written example, to keep old people "young in spirit". The show has a character oddly named Grandpa Joe (for some unknown reason), an old man who is also a Badass Biker, wears a leather jacket, talks in an obnoxious Totally Radical speech, and has a hot girlfriend 40 years younger than him. His actor even complained to the director because he didn't want to play such a ridiculous character.
  • Darker and Edgier: Medical Dimension in season 3 was supposed to be a realistic, edgy counterpart to The Eyes of the Heart, with dirty, poorly managed hospitals, evidencing the real problems of Italian health care system. It didn't work and the show turned out to be another The Eyes of the Heart with more swearing. And then René learns the truth about Dr. Cane's Evil Plan...
  • Death Is Cheap: All the time, including characters who are apparently killed off but then they are seen perfectly alive in later episodes with no explanation.
  • Descended Creator: Unintentionally In-Universe: Arianna reveals that crew members routinely have to portray roles, because the contracted actors are either unavailable or unsuitable. Since even Duccio and Biascica have already appeared in front of the cameras in different roles, Alessandro is forced to portray a homosexual social worker, but when his acting proves atrocious it's René who plays the part.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The main villain of The Eyes of the Heart is The Count, who is always referred as such, presumably to make him more mysterious and less sympathetic to the audience.
    • Martellone's comic relief character is only referred to as "The Notary", never by name.
  • Evil Twin: The heroic doctor Giorgio has an evil twin named Eric, played by Stanis, who later becomes useful to the plot.
  • Fair Cop: Sandra Gusberti, the sexy police officer who attracts Giorgio in season 2.
  • Fat Comic Relief: To raise the rating of the series, Dr. Cane demands to hire someone to make the series more funny, and they hire the fat comedian Martellone for the role of the notary.
  • Flat Character:
    • The protagonists of the series, Giorgio and Giulia, are just bland good guys with no distinctive traits other than being doctors, and Giulia's actress can't even find a word to describe her. This doesn't stop Stanis from describing his character Giorgio as a "three-dimensional Anglo-Saxon hero" in an interview.
    • This also applies to Sofia, Giulia's Suspiciously Similar Substitute in season 2, to the point that her actress, reading the script, doesn't even understand why her character would say such lines. In fact, when Cristina (Sofia's actress) joins the cast, she asks the assistant director what kind of character Sofia is, and the only answer she got is "Well... she's the main character".
    • Even the evil Count is seen this way by his actor Mariano Giusti. When Mariano accepted the role, he was told that the Count would have evolved into a complex villain with Hidden Depths... but after playing the character for years, he notices that the Count is still a stereotypical baddie who is evil for the sake of being evil, with no depths at all.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's mentioned in the script that Eric is evil because the Count raped his mom and his sister.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • When the comedian Martellone tries to use his Catchphrase as the notary, it's immediately censored because it contains a swear word. His line was later dubbed over by someone else and replaced with a family-friendly "how lucky!" (causing Lip Lock).
    • Averted with Medical Dimension, where profanity is allowed and even encouraged, because it was supposed to be sort of a Ruder and Cruder sequel to The Eyes of the Heart.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: In-Universe. The notary, the comic relief of the show, doesn't have any lines in the script, and instead the actor has to improvise them, along with Stanis (Giorgio's actor), who also turns into comic relief whenever he interacts with him. This is not because they are good at improvising (Stanis is not even a comedy actor), but because The Writers can't come up with anything actually funny and decide to leave the work to the actors, resulting in ridiculously unfunny scenes and very clumsy jokes.
  • Hate Sink: The Count is the main villain of the series and doesn't have any sympathetic trait, which is the main reason his actor (Mariano) doesn't want to play the character anymore, since he was promised to play a deep and layered character.
  • Hospital Hottie: Giorgio, Giulia, Sofia, and all the main characters who work in the hospital are all meant to be good-looking.
  • Love Triangle: In season 2, Giorgio is in a triangle between his wholesome co-worker Sofia and sexy Fair Cop Sandra Gusberti. It seems like he chose the latter.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In the episode set in an African village, there is a cage that contains a tiger, despite tigers being from Asia. This is because Sergio wanted to spare money and bought the first wild animal he found.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The entire purpose of Sandra's character (played by "Thighs" Karin), due to In-Universe Executive Meddling.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The notary is supposed to be the only comic relief of this otherwise "dramatic" soap. He's played by Nando Martellone, a talentless comedian who is only famous for a very lame Catchphrase.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: To emphasize how bad The Count is, whenever there's something evil that he's made to the characters, it always include rape. In the end, The Writers have relied on this trope so much that it becomes hard to take seriously and René jokes that, by this point, The Count has basically raped the entire cast.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: At some point, the screenwriters are working on the script of an episode and can't think of anything to advance the plot involving Giorgio and Giulia, until one of them suggests to let them have sex, out of nowhere.
    Screenwriter: Wait… I've got an idea. Let's make them have sex, all of a sudden, out of nowhere!
    Other screenwriters: Genius!
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After the female lead character Giulia is killed off (due to the actress leaving the series), the show introduces Giulia's cousin Sofia, another good-hearted, generic Hospital Hottie who serves as a Love Interest and co-worker to the male lead doctor Giorgio. In her second appearance, a jealous Sofia dramatically tells Giorgio "I will never be Giulia for you!", despite the fact that the character barely knows Giorgio in the story, as pointed out by Sofia's actress.
  • Title Drop: From the season 1 finale: "Don't look at me with the eyes of a surgeon, look at me with the eyes... of the heart".
  • Translator Buddy: The Notary is the only character who can communicate with a little girl in a coma, one of the patients. It becomes a problem when the Notary's actor is involved in a scandal behind the scenes, and the writers don't know what to do with the character for this reason. They eventually find a way to write the Notary out of the show without killing him: putting him in a coma as well.
  • Unseen No More: The show's Big Bad, the Count, is mentioned several times before we actually get to see him on the soap.
  • Vague Age: When Giulia, Corinna's character, says how old she is, she says "I am as old as I am", leaving her age unclear, since Corinna refuses to say that her character is 34 years old because her teen fans could be turned off if they hear that she's too old.

    Life of Jesus 
Tropes that appear in Life of Jesus, the series being produced during season 4.
  • Adaptational Diversity: One change that Alessandro requires on behalf of the Platform is to make the main characters ethnically diverse (in an obvious parody of said real-life practice, it's not to genuinely include representation, but to make the product as successful as possible worldwide). The screenwriters decide to Race Lift one Apostle to Black and another to Chinese, basing themselves on a far-fetched theory that there was a pocket of ethnic Chinese people living in Palestine.
  • Darker and Edgier: Allison is initially skeptical of Life of Jesus because she cannot see the "ghost", or the main character's trauma, in order to make the story more engaging. René and the screenwriters are initially left scratching their heads because they cannot find Hidden Depths in the character of Jesus. The solution? Invent that Jesus had inherited Generational Trauma from Joseph about the Massacre of the Innocents.
  • Descended Creator: In-Universe once again, because after all it's a René Ferretti production. Most of the crew is involved in a crowd scene when the extras don't show up, René plays Pontius Pilate, and Fabio and Biascica are the two thieves crucified next to Jesus.
  • Exposition: When faced with particularly complex scenes, the screenwriters's solution is to completely renounce Show, Don't Tell and insert this ("we say it, we don't do it"). It comes to the point where Arianna shoots sequentially a bunch of scenes of gossipy townfolk discussing the main events of Jesus's life instead of, you know, properly shooting said events instead.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Likewise, another one of the Platform's request is a "teen" sub-plot. They answer by plagiarising a story René previously proposed to the Platform, making Jesus and Judas into childhood friends who are romantic rivals over Mary Magdalene and who idolise Judas's older brother Yohanaan (a Canon Foreigner), an armed rebel.
  • I, Noun: I, Judas, the film René makes in the Season 4 finale from the footage shot for Life of Jesus.
  • Incestuous Casting: In-Universe, married couple Stanis and Corinna play Jesus and his mother Mary.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Alfredo and the production spend a lot of time and effort looking for a good actor to play the role of a young St. Mark who was Race Lifted to Chinese. When they find one, the boy says he's actually of Vietnamese origin. They just give up and roll with it.
  • Perspective Flip: The final product of René's work, the film I, Judas, is this on Jesus's story.