In Italy, a cartoon set in Rome is the most watched series on Netflix

Tear Along the Dotted Line is more popular in Italy than Squid Game.

Netflix Italy is celebrating its gamble on Rome cartoonist Michele Rech, better known as Zerocalcare, whose new animated mini-series has become the nation’s most watched show on the streaming platform.

The offbeat series Tear Along the Dotted Line (Strappare lungo i bordi in Italian) was launched last week in 190 countries around the world, in various languages including English.

  • Tear Along the Dotted Line: Netflix Italy’s new Zerocalcare series set in Rome

It includes anecdotes, reflections and flashbacks by Zerocalcare who has an “armadillo-for-a-conscience” and who narrates the six-part series in his proud Roman dialect.

The linguistics have caused problems for some Italians outside Rome, however, amid claims the show verges on incomprehensible at times, leading to a heated debate on social media.

  • Romanesco: a guide to Roman dialect

Zerocalcare, from the Rebibbia suburb, is not perturbed by the controversy, responding with irony on Twitter.

“For me, Romanesco is the language of the comfort zone”, he said in an interview with Fanpage at the show’s recent premiere at the Rome Film Fest.

“I speak more Romanesco in interviews than with my mother” – he said – “not because I have to flaunt it but because it’s a question of my identity, it makes me feel entrenched in my fort.”