Tear Along the Dotted Line – the first Italian animated Netflix series is now out. Based on Italy’s best-selling graphic novel artist Zerocalcare, who has also voiced his character Zero. The series also features Valerio Mastandrea, Paolo Vivio, Chiara Gioncardi, and Veronica Puccio. Giancane has composed the theme song for the series. There are 6 episodes of 18-22 minutes each. The series is strictly for adults. Before watching the show, I read about the cartoonish and learned that he is quite popular in Italy. He runs a comic blog that is widely read in the country.
The synopsis reads, “A cartoonist in Rome with his armadillo-for-a-conscience reflects on his path in life and a would-be love as he and his friends travel outside the city.”
Cartoonist and Tear Along the Dotted Line Creator Zerocalcare shared an interesting post about his show on his Instagram page. He writes, “It is a collective work, there were 200 people with it, unfortunately, they are all names that end up in a funnel from which only “the series of zerocalcare” often comes out. I swear that I do my best to acknowledge the work that everyone has done and I always repeat it. Thanks to everybody and everybody, I hope that the final result and the reactions will not make you ashamed of having worked on it and that, on the contrary, you have completed other jobs.”
Netflix’s Tear Along the Dotted Line Contains No Spoilers
The lines we see first in Zerocalcare’s Tear Along the Dotted Line are – “It’s pointless to be alive on the outside if you are dead on the inside.” As the episode begins, we understand why Zero chose to use these lines to start his show. In the animated series, cartoonist Zero narrates his story to us from childhood to present life. We learn about his school days, him being a teacher’s pet, his crush Sarah since the age of 17 and his work struggles. He’s trying his best to feel lively on the surface, but is he really feeling that way on the inside? Sadly, no.
Zero has always lived his life by ‘following the dotted line’, which means to live in a particular order. Yet things don’t always or never work in his favour. He’s socially awkward, has only 2 friends, and cannot tell the girl he loves that he has loved her since 17. His socially challenged nature from childhood leads to an imaginary friend, a talking Armadillo. It’s the imaginary Armadillo that has more control over Zero’s life. Armadillo’s advice to Zero is often questionable.
Netflix’s Tear Along the Dotted Line has a humourous tone with deep and meaningful conclusions. The humour is dark, self-deprecating and reminds me of BoJack Horseman. Every episode has subtle historical, societal and political references. With only six short episodes, Netflix has presented an interesting animated series that’s gripping, enjoyable and quite relatable. The music, dialogues, conclusions to every episode and the ending have left me impressed. The animation is incredible and the non-animated pics/shots in-between add a good effect to the narrative.
There are no direct jokes or hilarious scenarios created to make us chuckle. We are made to feel funny about Zero’s misery because that’s what Zero wants us to do. For example, in one episode, Zero can’t decide what he wants on Netflix. He feels hours scrolling through hundreds of titles and yet can’t pick up. It’s time to sleep, and he is disappointed in himself. I’ve been there and done that!
Netflix’s Tear Along the Dotted Line Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, Netflix describes the show as ‘offbeat’ and I agree. It’s a compelling and realistic series with stories/anecdotes that keeps you hooked till the end.
The series is now streaming on Netflix.