As a kid growing up in Italy, I remember watching the American TV series Happy Days, which chronicled the 1950s-era Midwestern adventures of the Fonz, Richie Cunningham, and other local teenagers.
Happy Days was a product of Hollywood, which is arguably still the epicenter of the global entertainment industry. So recent news that the streaming service Netflix is opening an Italian office and will begin massively funding original local content with the intent of distributing it globally on its platform—following a strategy already launched in other European countries—struck me.
The show, combined with other American entertainment widely available in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s, shaped my perception of the United States long before I ever set foot in the country. Today, I call the U.S. home, and I have developed my own understanding of its complexities. I am able to see Happy Days as a nostalgic revival of an ideal, conflict-free American small town.
This could be a potentially…