We have reached the final 90 minutes of the campaign, which in TV series terms would be called the season finale. Many of the major plot points have been tied up, such as the Scudetto winners, second place and relegation. Only the three tickets to Europe are still up for grabs in various permutations, which will also set up an intriguing storyline going into the one-off Coppa Italia special on May 26.
Fans will be switching off their phones and pulling the blinds so they can sit down to watch the events unfold, rooting for their favourite characters to get the happy ending. Others will be live-tweeting furiously to feel in touch with the rest of the watching world, coming together to share their emotions and theories on what develops on screen. Unlike most TV series, everyone has their own idea of who is ‘The Baddie’ and who represents the hero, but each person is rooting for someone.
Of course, a good finale must also leave you on a cliffhanger to set up the next season. Will Napoli and Walter Mazzarri stay together or opt for divorce after four years? Can Roma keep searching for Mr Right? Has Andrea Stramaccioni done enough to earn Inter’s trust despite all the bad luck that dogged their relationship? Has Max Allegri finally had enough of being disrespected by Silvio Berlusconi?
However, some shows clearly know the rules and try to create cliffhangers just for the sake of getting media attention. Napoli have already secured second place and the last two games make no real difference to their season, so why doesn’t Mazzarri just spit it out already? Are you staying or going? He evidently knows his decision, that much was obvious from Saturday’s Press conference, so if he does end up remaining in Naples then it’ll be a massive anti-climax. It’s as if the Coach has taken another television trope, the quiz show host who pauses mid-sentence for what feels like an hour to give you a one-word answer that is written right in front of them. The audience and contestants bite their lips, fighting the urge to shout: “Just get on with it!”
Allegri has more reason to keep his cliffhanger going, as he is not in complete control of the situation. President Berlusconi made his fortune with television companies, so he knows how to play out a scene. Pulling out of the promised visit to the training ground just 10 minutes before he was due to fly in by helicopter. Dropping clues in various interviews, then backtracking so you don’t know which version to believe. The Milan job saga is like the series Lost – they’re dragging this out because none of the writers or stars really know where this is going. If the mystery man turns out to be Clarence Seedorf, then that’s just taking stunt casting too far.