What's the Shape of Italy?
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What's the Shape of Italy? refers to a question commonly asked on Xbox Live when someone joins an online party. When asked the question, the person answers, "A Boot," which coincides with the other definition of "boot" which means "to kick out." Therefore, when they answer the question, they are kicked out of the Xbox party and labeled as someone who's gullible, uninvited and generally annoying to play with. The bait-and-switch question was referenced in memes in the 2010s and 2020s. Additionally, similar questions served the same purpose, such as What Do You Do With a Soccer Ball? and What Does a Cowboy Wear on His Feet?
On April 28th, 2009, YouTuber HLGDecoy posted a video titled, "what's the shape of italy," in which he and his Xbox friends had invited someone into their party and were asking them a few questions, eventually leading to them asking, "What's the shape of Italy?" The kid answered, "like a triangle," prompting them to ask another boot-related question, "What does a cowboy wear on his feet?" The kid answered, "a boot," resulting in him being kicked out of the party. Over the course of 14 years, the video received roughly 30,300 views and it is currently the first known piece of media to document the meme (shown below).
In the years that followed, more YouTubers uploaded clips of themselves asking the question while playing video games. For instance, on August 20th, 2011, YouTuber xXxred7headxXx posted an iteration, earning roughly 6,200 views in 12 years (shown below).
On May 16th, 2014, Twitter user @Facityy posted a tweet that is currently the first known tweet to reference the meme, reading, "'What's the shape of Italy?' *kicks player from game* *laughs* – Me, 2007." Over the course of nine years, the tweet received over 60 likes.
Going into the 2020s, the concept earned more viral posts, such as a tweet sent by Twitter user @Class on February 13th, 2020, that joked about being a victim to the question while playing Call of Duty as a kid. The tweet received roughly 22,600 likes in three years (shown below).
When you joined a COD party back in the day and the host asked you “what’s the shape of Italy” pic.twitter.com/iJfhTo5Cpq
— Classify 😼 (@Class) February 14, 2020
Various meme creators on TikTok also started to reference the concept in the 2020s. For instance, on November 1st, 2020, TikToker @c00kiek1ng posted a video that had text reading, "When you try and avoid getting kicked from the party." His sketch involved him working around the question, "What do you do with a soccer ball?" Over the course of three years, the video received roughly 2.1 million plays and 425,000 likes (shown below).
gamer</a> 👢c00kiek1ng👢 What’s the shape of Italy? 😭 #foryou #fyp #foryoupage #gaming #gamelancer ♬ original sound – COOKIE🦸🏻♂️
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/6795312082012130566 https://www.tiktok.com/embed/7179218182614306053 https://www.tiktok.com/embed/7169231615380475138
 YouTube – what's the shape of italy
 YouTube – so whats the shape of Italy?
 TikTok – @c00kiek1ng
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