Tear Along the Dotted Line

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Tear Along the Dotted Line
Strappare lungo i bordi
Created byZerocalcare
Written byZerocalcare
Directed byZerocalcare
Creative directorErika De Nicola
Voices of
Opening theme"Strappati lungo i bordi"
Country of originItaly
Original languages
  • Italian
  • Romanesco
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
  • Michele Foschini
  • (BAO Publishing)
  • Fancesca Ettorre
  • (Movimenti Production)
  • Magali Fuzellier
  • (Movimenti Production)
  • Giovanna Bo
  • (DogHead Animation Studio)
  • Davide Rosio
  • Giorgio Scorza
Running time16-22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
Release19 November 2021 (2021-11-19)
This World Can't Tear Me Down

Tear Along the Dotted Line (Italian: Strappare lungo i bordi) is a 2021 Italian adult animated comedy drama series written and directed by Italian cartoonist Zerocalcare.[1] It follows Zero, a fictionalized version of Zerocalcare, who reflects on his path in life and a would-be love as he travel outside Rome with his friends Secco and Sara and his armadillo-for-a-conscience. The series is inspired by actual experiences lived by Zerocalcare, who voices most of the characters in the original version.[2] It was released internationally on Netflix on 17 November 2021 to generally positive reviews from critics.[3]

A second series featuring the same characters, titled This World Can't Tear Me Down, was released on 9 June 2023.


The series follows Zero, an anxious and socially awkward cartoonist from Rome who reflects on his path in life and a would-be love as he travels to the city of Biella with his friends Sarah and Secco and his armadillo-for-a-conscience. In the initial episodes, Zero imitates the voices of his friends since he himself acts as the narrator and plays all the main roles. Initially Sarah and Zero meet in a seemingly casual way, and as they progress, Zero begins to remember different episodes of his life and his personal relationships with his close friends, especially Alice, on whom he had a crush when he was younger. However, they ultimately never began a romantic relationship with each other, instead maintaining a true friendship. Zero and Sarah reunite with Secco to decide how they will travel to Biella. Once they arrive at their destination, they are greeted by a couple of elders who host them in their home. The trio make it clear that they are not entirely comfortable with the situation, but agreed to come to Biella partly out of a need to save money, and partly as a courtesy to the elderly couple, who are revealed to be Alice's parents. At the end of the fifth episode, Secco finally reveals that Alice has died and they are attending her funeral.

The final episode is the only one in which each character speaks with their real voice, since the events are now happening in real time. Zero realizes that Alice also had a crush on him, but their relationship never moved beyond friendship. Alice's parents, Sarah and Zero reflect on what could have motivated a lively and optimistic person like Alice to commit suicide for no clear reason and invite the public to pay more attention to the people around them.


Zerocalcare, the show's creator and voice of many characters in the original Italian version
  • Zerocalcare as himself, nicknamed "Zero." He also dubs all other voices in the first 5 episodes, except Armadillo. He often breaks the fourth wall, directly addressing to the audience, interrupting his own flashbacks to clarify or justify his own mistakes.
  • Valerio Mastandrea as Armadillo, a giant orange creature that only exists in Zero's mind. He acts as his conscience and criticizes almost everything Zero does.
  • Chiara Gioncardi as Sarah (episode 6), Zero's best friend since primary school. She dreams of becoming a teacher.
  • Paolo Vivio as Secco (episode 6), Zero's close friend who dropped out of school to become an online poker player. He is deadpan compared to Zero and Sarah and is seemingly indifferent to the world; however, he has a passion for ice cream, as he suggests going to get some at every opportunity.
  • Veronica Puccio as Alice (episode 6), Sarah's friend and Zero's crush. A girl who moved to Rome to pursue her dreams of becoming a child educator.
  • Ambrogio Colombo as Alice's father (episode 6)
  • Michele Foschini as Guy (episode 6)
  • Ezio Conenna and Alessandra Sani as additional voices (episode 6)

English cast:

  • Adam Rhys Dee as Zerocalcare. Like Zerocalcare in the Italian version, he dubs the voices of every character besides Armadillo in the first 5 episodes.
  • Wayne Forester as Armadillo
  • Becky Wright, Ben Elliot, Robert Wilfort as additional voices


On 21 December 2020, Zerocalcare announced that he would be creating an animated series for Netflix titled Tear Along the Dotted Line, his first animated series after having experimented with animation for years. The series is produced by Movimenti Production (A Banijay company)[4] in collaboration with BAO Publishing,[5][6] DogHead Animation is charged for the animation production[7] while Massimo Cherubin from Rain Frog is sound designer and mixer. Ten months later, on 8 October 2021, Netflix released a teaser trailer for the show.[8] The show premiered on 18 October at the Rome Film Festival and was internationally released via Netflix on 17 November.[9]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Bacterial Steppe of Pluto"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
Zero introduces himself and his close friends, and begins to remember his relationship with Alice in a series of flashbacks.
2"Like a blade of grass"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
Sarah and Zero meet at the park and head to a coffee shop for breakfast while reviewing important events from their childhood.
3"Working construction is worse"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
Zero and Sarah head to Secco's apartment to reunite with him and begin traveling to Biella. Zero recaps his nightmarish experience of tutoring kids, including a lizard boy he unknowingly made into a nazi and an inseparable pair of mischievous mouse girls named Valentina and Ludovica.
4"Broken Compasses"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
On their way to the train station, Zero gives some hindsight on his relationship with his closest friends along with Alice’s troubled love life.
5"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
On the train, Zero remembers the last time he saw Alice along with the realization that he wasted his life when encountering a more mature and successful Valentina. Zero and his friends soon arrive at the home of Alice’s parents and spent the night before attending their friend’s funeral.
6"Catharsis"ZerocalcareZerocalcare17 November 2021 (2021-11-17)
At Alice's funeral, Zero struggles with how to grieve as Sarah blasts him for making this more about himself than their friend. Alice’s parents conclude the funeral with a remembrance of their daughter’s life.


The original soundtrack was composed by Giancane and collected in the album Strappati lungo i bordi, released along with the series.[10] Other tracks were chosen by Zerocalcare, including tracks by Billy Idol, Jonathan Lloyd & Clif Norrell, Manu Chao, Band of Horses, Ron, Tiziano Ferro, M83, Max Brodie, Fauve, Gli Ultimi, Klaxon, and Generation X.[11]


In May 2022, BAO Publishing announced on their Instagram account the current production of a new animated Netflix series, titled This World Can't Tear Me Down,[4] featuring the same staff.[12] The series was released on 9 June 2023.[13]


Turkish newspaper Sabah wrote an article about the series having the People Defense Units flag in the trailer, as well as flags of the Kurdistan Workers Party displayed in an episode.[14][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Steve Greene (18 November 2021). "'Tear Along the Dotted Line' Is One of the Year's Most Personal Animated Series". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 25 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  2. ^ Giorgia Terranova (21 November 2021). "Strappare lungo i bordi: chi è Alice? La storia vera dietro la serie di Zerocalcare". Cinematographe (in Italian). Archived from the original on 24 August 2023. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  3. ^ "Strappare lungo i bordi è la più bella sorpresa dell'anno". CiakClub (in Italian). 17 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b Shows editorial staff (17 November 2022). "Zerocalcare, la nuova serie ha un titolo e una data di uscita". la Repubblica (in Italian). Archived from the original on 19 December 2022. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  5. ^ "Zerocalcare's animated series coming soon on Netflix". Collateral. 21 December 2020. Archived from the original on 17 November 2021. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  6. ^ Franco Giubilei (21 December 2020). "Il mondo di Zerocalcare diventa una serie d'animazione per Netflix". La Stampa (in Italian). Archived from the original on 19 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  7. ^ Fulvio Paloscia (19 November 2021). "Zerocalcare: viaggio nello studio alle Cascine di Firenze dove è nata la serie Netflix". la Repubblica (in Italian). Archived from the original on 25 January 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  8. ^ Tear Along The Dotted Line Official Teaser Netflix on YouTube
  9. ^ Emanuele Manta (8 October 2021). "Strappare lungo i bordi: La serie animata di Zerocalcare su Netflix dal 17 novembre, le prime immagini". Comingsoon.it (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  10. ^ Luca Scarselli (17 November 2021). "Strappati lungo i bordi di Giancane: la title track della serie animata di ZeroCalcare". Movieplayer.it (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  11. ^ Benedetta Minoliti (18 November 2021). "Zerocalcare, la colonna sonora di "Strappare lungo i bordi" non è da boomer". Billboard Italia (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  12. ^ Fumarola, Silvia (6 May 2022). "Zerocalcare su Netflix al lavoro sulla nuova serie: "Un progetto più lungo"". la Repubblica (in Italian). Archived from the original on 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  13. ^ "ZeroCalcare, il teaser di Questo mondo non mi renderà cattivo". Sky TG24 (in Italian). 6 April 2023. Archived from the original on 6 April 2023. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Zerocalcare, media turchi contro l'uso della bandiera curda nella serie" [Zerocalcare, Turkish media against the use of the Kurdish flag in the series] (in Italian). Italy: Comcast. Sky TG24. 23 November 2021. Archived from the original on 8 January 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  15. ^ "La Turchia contro Zerocalcare: "No all'uso della bandiera curda"" [Turkey versus Zerocalcare: "No to the use of the Kurdish flag"]. La Repubblica (in Italian). Italy: BuzzFeed. 23 November 2021. Archived from the original on 8 January 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  16. ^ Enrico Mentana (23 November 2021). Redazione (ed.). "Zerocalcare, l'ultima polemica sulla serie arriva dalla Turchia: "Mostra la bandiera del Pkk, è uno scandalo"" [Zerocalcare, the latest controversy comes from Turkey: «It shows the Pkk flag, it's outrageous»]. Open Online (in Italian). Italy. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.

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