Those who think that the key to success lies in the need to break the ceremonial to propose something never seen before at all costs has probably never seen an episode of You’ve Got Mail which, like the jadeite cups and the fiandra bedspreads, continues to reap acclaim for having had the courage to remain faithful to what it has always been by rising to the role of classic, strong piece, collector’s item. The program, born twenty-four years ago thanks to the intuition of Maria De Filippi, through the decades without changing a comma, recording plays as if it had been proposed yesterday: the fifth episode, aired on Canale 5 on February 6, reaches 6,132,000 spectators and a 29.2% share pulverizing not only the competition, but also monopolizing the discussion of social networks.
The extraordinary thing about You’ve Got Mail is, in fact, the transversality of its audience who, from the ladies sunk in damask armchairs to the young men armed with smartphones, continue to remain glued to the television every Saturday night not to be amazed, but to be heartened. In a year in which we have had too many upheavals, finding comfort in rituals and traditions is something that reassures us and which, in some way, protects us from the threats of the world. Although the signs left by the pandemic are slightly reflected in the program, from the plexiglass that divide the audience in the studio to the absence of the stars who dominated in past editions, Maria De Filippi goes like a train and always proposes the same scheme, from the surprise with the children – actors who sprinkle rose petals on the floor at the family feuds that smell more of the South and of lizard resentment and more passionate, for some reason, the average viewer.
No surprises, no upheavals that upset the balance of habit: You’ve Got Mail continues confident of his formula and plays on a series of tricks – like Maria who looks behind the scenes for whole minutes without the director thinking of intervening with a montage or background music – that the public has learned to appreciate, being amazed every time at how they have the same temper as they used to be, not even a chip, nothing. In the last episode, the only novelty is that Maria found herself in the position of having to convince the sender to open the envelope to the recipient – it happened to Giovanna, thirty-two years old in search of a relationship with her father Luigi who, in the light of the revelations and justifications put forward by the man to explain the absence of that bond, thought for a moment to pack her bags and leave – , which aroused curiosity, but certainly did not confuse the public who, precisely because they know what to expect, look You’ve Got Mail with the same tenderness with which one looks at the teapots in the cupboard, motionless and intact, which have survived who knows how many legacies but still there in the background.