If you haven’t seen The Young Pope on HBO, I strongly recommend that you check it out. The series, directed by the Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino, will forever change the way you look at the Catholic Church.
Personally, the show didn’t rub as well with me, as it did with most. I loved the subtle commentary on religion and the hypocrisy of the Vatican. However, I didn’t enjoy the weird sex scenes and the less than stellar character attributes of Pope Pius.
For a little taste, check out the trailer below.
The opening credits are my favorite part of the show. It illustrates the history of the Roman Catholic Church in a short but impactful sequence. Jude Law walks down the hallway of the Vatican, filled of vibrant religious paintings. The opening credits are so impressive because they chronologically picture important moments in the history of Christianity.
A shooting star picks up pace during the pope’s walk, leaping from painting to painting. In a sense, the star breathes life into the art. The opening sequence ends with a comet striking the old pope. The sequence makes so much sense when we break it down: the meteorite crashes down on a old pope, making room for a young pope to take the wheel.
“The paintings of the opening scene are a quick chronological overview, with obvious shortcomings, of the most significant moments in the history and art of the entire arch of Christianity and the church,” showrunner Paolo Sorrentino explained to Vulture.
The Young Pope attacks the hypocrisy of the Vatican and the position of the Church on delicate matters like abortion and homosexuality. It even makes fun of the influence the pope has on Italian government. The show does a lot of things right: with stellar costumes, music, and production. However, it is also lacking because it sets us up to dislike Pope Pius.
Despite its flaws, it is definitely one of the most daring shows of 2017.
My first reaction to the opening scenes: I am so rooting for this show. I thought there was no way that I couldn’t love this show.
A pope this amazing? This was exactly the kind of pope I was hoping the show would portray.
My second reaction: I felt a little duped figuring out that this speech was only a dream.
After taking a closer look, I realized there were many clues that it wasn’t real; like the ominous weather and the fainting priests.
The Young Pope gets a thumbs up from me for showing how devious Pope Pius is and how the Vatican is no different. With sex, power, and deceit as its major influences, The Young Pope shows us that the Vatican is a religious hierarchy no different from a political hierarchy. It is filled with people climbing to the top, and eschewing morals to do so.
The Young Pope also shows us how competitive and duplicitous humans can be and Pope Pius uses this to his advantage. He knows secrets are very useful to him.
So far, The Young Pope feels like Jude Law playing a long game of chess with the Vatican. It becomes obvious that it is run by blackmail and that Pope Pius is the cruel puppeteer.
I don't think #YoungPope is fiction. I think HBO tricked Jude Law into thinking he's the real Pope and it's the best hidden camera show.
— Erik Tait (@ErikTait) February 5, 2017
Shoutout to the strong Sisters in this show, though. Diane Keaton’s character is amazing for calling the shots in a religious community that constantly favors men.
I feel like I may be one of the only people with a negative opinion of this show, but I stand by it.
The biggest fault that I have with the show is that it makes no effort to make the audience empathize with Pope Pius. His expert prodding isn’t enough to make me empathize with him.
Needless to say, this new HBO show hasn’t failed to grab the attention of its audience.
Seriously, though, what is up with those weird sex scenes?
Like all HBO shows, we probably won’t know what’s really going on in The Young Pope until the season finale. We can only hope that HBO has something up their sleeve for this show – and that things get better.