As an Italian-American, I have always felt a little imposter syndrome. Although most of my family have never been to Italy, we eat pasta instead of ham on Christmas, and we are addicted to the noisy Italian stereotype. When I was a kid, I liked the Italian characters I saw in TV shows, movies, and of course video games.I have always been proud this Mario, the video game mascot, is of Italian descent like me. But as I grew older and tried to figure out what it meant to me being an Italian American, I found that I had more in common with Wario than his inspiration.
It is not clear whether Mario is Italian or Italian-American. Although Mario lives in Brooklyn, no one seems to know whether he is an Italian immigrant who started learning pipe art before arriving in the Mushroom Kingdom, or whether he is a New York native with a surprisingly strong accent. Things get more complicated when you try to understand why little Mario wandered the Mushroom Kingdom with Yoshi before he became a Brooklyn plumber.
But no matter where Mario is from, he is a famous Italian character. His hyphenated way of speaking and heavy accents—it-a-mes and let-a-gos—are a common stereotype. He is a bit fat, not particularly tall, with a thick black beard and thick hair-just like me, my uncle, and every male relative I have ever met.
Mario’s appearance and language seem to be derived from Old Italian stereotypes, The kind of thing that shows Anti-Italian Political Cartoons in the Early 20th CenturyHowever, unlike those depictions, Mario is not Designed With malice. He has a calm and confident personality, which is easy to understand as completely lacking in personality. He did not take some of the rude and louder behaviors we sometimes see in the Italian stereotypes on TV. You will never associate him with the Mafia, which is the most popular brand in Italian-American novels. Today, considering the changing status of Italians in American culture and Mario’s persistence as a character, Mario’s stupid accent, bright blue eyes and chubby belly feel like affectionate features.
As a mirror of Mario, Wario took the opposite approach. Mario seemed polite and quiet, while Wario was loud and eye-catching. He is fat, he is greasy, he is loud, he is arrogant, he is fascinated by garlic. He is another Italian stereotype, but more severe than Mario.His situation comes from Jersey Shore Or basically every character comes from Good guy -An exaggerated and exaggerated version of a national identity. Wario has many of the same negative characteristics as thugs and other annoying “Italian” images in American culture.
But when I look at my own family, what I see is more noisy and annoying Wario charm than Mario’s quiet confidence. My family imitated Italian culture like Wario: loud and proud. Some of us are struggling with our weight, there will definitely be some bragging, and we are also fascinated by garlic (this is positive if you ask me, although people around us may disagree). As far as I’m concerned, my uncle who rides a motorcycle, farts, and swears is basically Wario.
It seems that the further away my family is from Italy, the more we can accept that excessive stereotype. For my family and many Italian-Americans that we see on TV, there seems to be a tendency to exaggerate—to exaggerate in order to be Italian. Not all Italians are like this-look at Mario-but for my family, this is how we establish ourselves.
My great-grandfather deliberately did not teach my grandfather to speak Italian because he was afraid of making him appear abnormal among American classmates. But where we have lost the culture brought about by language, we have retained some energetic behavior and the joy of yelling at each other and waving—maybe we have even exaggerated them even further to make up for our lost culture over the years.
When I think about Wario, I think he is doing the same thing: his exaggerated, exaggerated personality distinguishes him from Mario, making him more than just an evil twin or a copy. Nintendo used to describe Wario as the “evil Mario” and the unlovable Italian characteristics are the characteristics that make me feel blood related to him. These characteristics are not annoying to me, they are familiar; they remind me of someone I love.
Mario is a hero; Wario is a character I don’t think I should like. But for me, Wario captured more of the Italian personality that resonated with me. As my family mascot, Wario is better than Mario. He was born with a vital and related need that needs to be louder and bigger than life.