MEDICI – THE NETFLIX BOB SERIES THE WORLD KINDA SLEPT ON
“The Medici made me, and the Medici destroyed me.”
In case you have never heard of the Italian banking family that knew how to make it rain faster than you can say internet banking; You need to check out the Netflix TV series about the Florentine dynasty from hell. To paraphrase Leonardo da Vinci himself, it can either captivate you or leave you feeling lukewarm.
If you thought that the Borgias were the OG badasses, think again. Long before their meteoric rise to power, art patronage, and money-piling, there was another clan of feisty Italians with no moral compass other than profit. Gaining their wealth from the textile trade, the Medicis immersed themselves into the local government and soon hoarded enough funds to establish the largest bank in Europe of the 15th century.
The series follows Dustin Hoffman (Kramer v Kramer) as the head of the family Giovanni de Medici, and his son Richard Madden (Rocketman) as Cosimo de Medici, whose expertise in scheming elevated the Medicis to the most powerful and trusted bankers of that era. But don't you despair, romance gluttons, there's plenty of looove, too. And angst. Lots of angst. Before the much-anticipated launch of season 3 on Netflix sparks our history engines, let's revisit all the binge-watchable qualities of the Medici saga.
1. Richard Madden can inject charisma even into a cabbage patch doll.
Not saying his role in this thing is anything remotely near a Nightmare on Patch Street that is the cabbage patch dolls boulevard.
However, Cosimo de Medici is acting like a twentieth-century Instagram douchebag from minute one of screen time, and you pretty much want to just punch him in the face the whole time. He's whiney and spoilt, and frequently confusing his wife for a doormat. That being said, you cannot help but root for him.
He was thrown into the political machinations by his ruthless father, thrown into an arranged marriage, and thrown into governing family members that have a knack for strangling people when they get upset. Injecting a superficially one-dimensional character with humanity is a rare talent found only in the most organic actors. Bravo, Richard Madden, we stan.
2. Speaking of wives who refuse to be doormats, Annabel Scholey, you mind-blowing human
Not only outliving but succeeding the powerful men of her time? Kudos to Contessina de Bardi for sticking up for herself in freaking fourteen-hundreds. As you probably may have heard, women with opinions who act as their conscious and common sense dictates, were not popular back then. I know, shocker.
Joan of Arc and Anne Boleyn certainly deserves all the praise, fame, and sob stories about their dramatic and tragic encounters with men. Still, the one thing these two intelligent women have in common – they died because they out-performed themselves.
Contessina de Bardi, Cosimo de Medici's arranged betrothed, managed to slay AND stay alive. Much like Anne Boleyn or Joan of Arc, her life was manipulated and her fate decided by a bunch of powerful men that held a superior position over her back in the fifteenth century. We clap in the background like a happy-go-lucky sea lion. At the same time, Contessina de Bardi manages to deal with her husband's resentment, and the political storms the Medici family endured.
3. Stern hearts thaw when hale and a heartwarming love story is involved.
Although the list states the most binge-watchable reasons, it goes without saying that the show is not picture-perfect. The story may seem disconnected at times with a few enhralling characters for you to do research on the Medicis.
However, we do not fawn over Paris' and Romeo's ghetto brawl. It is the love story at the heart of a plot that draws in curious eyeballs of audiences. In this case, a non-love story. Contessina and Cosimo are forced to marry each other and become Michele and Barack of Florence. Even though both of them would rather jump into the nearest quicksand and suffocate than go through with a loveless marriage, Contessina is the one tirelessly tolling away her days to make the marriage work.
Cosimo, on the other side of the coin that displays his face, spends twenty years barking insults at her. It takes an institutional family crisis for him to appreciate her loyalty and grow to love her. We love proper character development.