If you’ve seen any ads for the German travel agency Trivago, you’ve no doubt taken note of their oddly disheveled spokesperson, known in Internet circles simply as “Trivago Guy.”
While I’m supposed to be listening Trivago Guy’s pitch for finding the best price on a hotel room, I’m instead transfixed by his “sad divorced dad” vibe. I find myself asking questions not about how to find the best fleabag hotel room in Terre Haute, but more important things like, “Where did this guy come from?” “What unspeakable tragedy befell him to make him show up to an ad shoot dressed this way?” But most importantly, “What the hell happened to Trivago Guy’s belt?”
Turns out the answer was there all along, and it can be found in The Sopranos.
In the season one episode “Down Neck,” we find out that Trivago Guy did in fact have a former life and a clean-shaven face. He was once known as Mr. Meskimmin, gym teacher for Verbum Dei Catholic school in New Jersey.
It was Mr. Meskimmin who reported A.J. Soprano and his friends for showing up to gym class loaded on sacramental wine. While A.J. was only briefly suspended for his offense, Meskimmin’s life was effectively over.
Unbeknownst to Meskimmin, the chubby underachiever he reported was the son of DiMeo Family Capo Tony Soprano. In retaliation for getting his son into trouble, Soprano pressed Verbum Dei into firing Meskimmin with no severance benefits.
With no money and no job prospects, Meskimmin’s life collapsed. His wife of many years left him. He was forced to skimp on basic necessities like razor blades, shirt buttons, and belts (although he always found money for booze). He bounced from hotel to hotel, developing a keen sense of the cheapest place to stay in whatever town he happened to drift into.
Eventually, his misfortune became his salvation. Armed with this hard-earned knowledge of finding cheap accommodations, Meskimmin tried to find employment with companies like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz — to no avail.
Feeling that his life in America was going nowhere, and facing continual harassment from Soprano and his crew, Meskimmin decided to flee. Without the means to purchase a plane ticket, his desperation led him to stow aboard a Lufthansa flight to Germany — even the knowledge that he could die from sub-freezing temperatures was no deterrent.
Once in Germany, the details of how he ended up in the Düsseldorf offices of Trivago are still unknown. But something about this sad, empty husk of a man with a very particular skill caught the eye of Trivago executives.
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