The Young Pope – A Review

The Young Pope is a new show on HBO, directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Lenny Berardo (Jude Law), a former cardinal, is elected to be the next pope. A big importance of his being pope is that he is American.

The title “The Young Pope” may be semi deceiving. Although Lenny is 47, he is not the youngest Pope to ever reign. There have been many other popes that were younger than him, so I’m not sure if the title is meant to mean that he is the youngest or if he is just young in general.

Lenny was elected as pope because of some behind the scenes work done by a cardinal that was looking for a young and easily manipulated man. In other terms, he wanted someone that would be a puppet pope.

The series starts off quite slowly and in an odd manner. The first episode opening is a scene where a naked baby is crawling through a sea of dead babies, and Lenny then emerges from said babies in a dark and gloomy Vatican City.

This unsettling scene is followed by the pope’s first homily to a mass that has gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “What have we forgot? We have forgotten you!… Let me be very clear, I am here for one very simple reason. To not forget anyone. God does not leave anyone behind, that is what He told me when I decided to serve Him and it is what I say to you now. I serve God. I serve you… What else have we forgotten? We have forgotten to masturbate, to use contraceptives, to get abortions, to celebrate gay marriages, to allow priests to love each other and even to get married. We have forgotten that we can decide to die if you detest living, we have forgotten to have sexual relations for purposes other than procreation without feeling guilty, to divorce…”

The scene then cuts to Lenny waking up. It then becomes clear that this homily scene was just a dream or perhaps a nightmare.

Throughout the whole first episode, I found no real sense of plot or humor or anything that was interesting. The soundtrack is also weird. It doesn’t help the show in any way.

As I got through half of the second episode I became rather bored with everything. There were no big dramatic events, it was an extremely steady show with nothing interesting or special. Honestly, I found it to be distasteful.

Another turn off of this show is that literally every single character smokes. Not only is it unrealistic in regards to whom the characters are and what the Vatican portrays, but also in that it is the only thing these characters do. Every scene has someone smoking a cigarette.

Another downside to this show is that the accents tend to be very thick and somewhat difficult to understand. There is also a fair share of subtitles, which isn’t so much of a problem, just something the audience should be aware of. Lastly, a major fault I found, is that characters are poorly introduced. Watchers may have a difficult time keeping up with who is who and what role they play.

Overall, The Young Pope is full of somewhat dry and/or crude humor, if you really listen to what people are saying or you read back on the transcript of the episodes. It is a flat show with no emotion.

I wouldn’t recommend this show. But if for some reason, you decide to watch it, just know there is not one bit of this show that is even close to reality.

xoxo Christina Cecilia

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