ROME (Reuters) - Two teenagers from the suburbs of Rome have become Italy’s newest media heroines after their slang-filled account of a day at the beach shot from a minor item on the local news to become a YouTube sensation.
Debora and Romina have featured in TV news bulletins and newspapers, delighting some with their cheerful talk of enjoying “a beer and a Calippo” (a kind of iced lolly), but eliciting despairing comments from others over the state of Italy’s youth.
“Stamo a fa la colla” (“We’re turning into glue”), they say in a Roman dialect so thick that SkyTG24, which first broadcast the comments as part of a story about the heatwave over Italy, put subtitles under the report.
Hundreds of thousands have clicked on the clip on YouTube and other video-sharing sites, a remixed disco version has been produced and heavyweight commentators have joined the debate about the working class culture of the Roman suburbs.
The two girls, who regularly travel to the beach after a long trip on public transport from their homes south of the city and who joke about not doing well at school, have been seen by some as dire examples of a failing and vulgar underclass.
“These two trashy girls can’t even put two words in Italian together, unless it’s to look even more ridiculous than they are already,” sniffed one commentator on the YouTube website, where critics and supporters of the pair battled it out.
But mostly, they have been hailed as the latest exponents of an age-old tradition of irreverent Roman wit and modern equivalents of the heroes of classic film directors like Pier Paolo Pasolini, the poet of the Roman proletariat.
“For a moment, you took me back to when I was a boy of your age and I too used expressions that weren’t really orthodox and which unfortunately don’t exist any more,” wrote Rome comedian Maurizio Battista in the daily Il Messaggero.
“These kind of expressions should be put in an encyclopedia,” he wrote.
Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Steve Addison