‘The Young Pope’ Premiere Recap: Butts, Boobs, Babies And Big Questions
Give me a show that is gritty. Deliver me a series full to bursting with complicated men and uncomplicated women and moral quandaries that stir my soul with 2am panic questions that I dare not answer. Remind me of the evil of the world, have the devil himself unsettle me with a wash of handsome faces, minimalistic music and bad deeds that thrill me.
Give me a Pope. A Pope who is young.
The Young Pope started last night in the US so let me tell you exactly what you missed (alternatively, Matt Roden wrote a very clever article about it — I’m not here for analysis, just to recap and break down exactly what happened/memes). I was raised Catholic and once watched the movie version of The Da Vinci Code during a heatwave when my DVD player broke, thus have a perfect understanding of everything that happens in The Young Pope. The first thing you need to understand is that he is young, at least compared to old people. He is probably still older than you.
Anyway, the first scene of this show is a baby climbing a pyramid of other babies. The Young Pope is the baby. Or maybe we are the baby. Like, the crawling baby not the pyramid of wriggling babies. Then Yung Pope crawls out of the baby pyramid like a child crawling out of the birth canal (how does labour work, please don’t tell me) if that canal was made out of other babies.
The baby crawling on the pyramid of babies is the greatest televised metaphor of our lifetime, and if someone can explain to me what it is a metaphor for I would greatly appreciate it, cheers.
If you’ve been to the Vatican once, you’re probably like ‘yo, I think I would have remembered if there was a baby pyramid there’ and you’re right because OF COURSE, IT IS A DREAM! Yung Pope wakes up and remembers that in real life he doesn’t crawl out of structures built of babies, he just thinks about Jesus Christ a lot.
Yung Pope has an iPhone. We see his butt exactly twice in the first five minutes of the show, because he is young. Do you think old people have butts? The don’t. At the age of 70, their butts actually seal and just become a lumpy seat cushion. True story, Google it.
Anyway Yung Pope has this eerie scene where he walks into a room and all these nuns look at him like he’s Justin Bieber, and then there’s this flash of a naked girl and then all the people are replaced with a water cooler? If you don’t understand it then you are too dumb to understand prestige TV, I’m sorry!!
Yung Pope then addresses a crowd of thousands and they scream like he’s a one-man One Direction or Evita, and he says that he will be the pope for the “forgotten people” which is the way to win presidential elections/pope elections.
He’s like “what about the women and children?” and everyone is like, “yeah what ABOUT them” and they cheer some more. Then he talks about how good abortion, contraception and gay marriage are and oh, what do you know, IT’S ANOTHER GODDAMN DREAM.
Two dream sequences in a row is too much, I’m sorry.
Anyway, now Yung Pope is actually awake and everyone is like, falling over themselves to make him happy. Yung Pope — whose actual name is Lenny — says things like “I’m a contradiction” without a trace of irony and demands to have a Cherry Coke Zero for breakfast, the most obnoxious and metaphorical drink in existence. He is a contradiction who doesn’t care about nutrition, and tells an elderly nun off for being too friendly while saying that she should be more like “spring water” or something?
“This pope is young,” everyone thinks.
If at this point you’re like, ‘Yeah okay, Cherry Coke Zero, whatever. But who even is this guy’ I swear to God (sorry) that I am not leaving any plot details out. All you need to know about Lenny is that he is the pope. Don’t ask why he is American or how he possibly got to this high position when everyone around him seems to be consumed with plotting his downfall. This is not important.
There’s a very weird scene in which a bunch of cardinals make jokes about the Holy Spirit and make fun of the African priest for being naive, which seemingly is a joke they consider so fire that they refer to it again before the scene is done, and they all get excited by how easy it’s going to be to manipulate the Yung Pope. Which makes me think, have they even met Yung Pope? Yung Pope ain’t nothing to fuck with.
The only person who seems to have any influence over Yung Pope is Diane Keaton, which same. Diane Keaton is a nun who raised Yung Pope in an orphanage in Brooklyn, and to reward her for this, Yung Pope gives her a super plush apartment in the Vatican. She’s all, “Lenny you have to lead the Church, put your terrible, horrible past that we won’t explain in this episode behind you” and he only half listens because he’s mostly trying to figure out if he likes his new hat or not.
Diane Keaton gives up, because when in (literal) Rome I guess! Yung Pope has made a lot of enemies already, including his mentor Cardinal Michael Spencer who we only see considering suicide and then later drinking whiskey. So. Really excited to see what terrible thing is happening there!
Yung Pope’s number one enemy is an Italian man named Cardinal Angelo Voiello. Cardinal Angelo thinks that Yung Pope will be putty in his hands (have you seen how young he is??) and then quickly realises that this Pope likes to humiliate people for amusement. Yung Pope makes Cardinal Angelo pour him some coffee, which is a very pass agg move and causes everyone to make “sheeeeeiiitttttt” faces at each other.
Yung Pope does not hide the fact that he things Cardinal Angelo is deeply boring and annoying. “Are you sleeping, my Father?” Cardinal Angelo says tentatively. “No, I’m praying for you,” Yung Pope says, his eyes closed. The Vatican is savage.
Yung Pope hates admin, because he is a man of action. He likes to say confusing things that make no sense, like “the present is only a narrow opening with room for one pair of eyes” while everyone around him nods and pretends that this is a very profound thing to say. “I would like a warehouse for all Pope presents and a Pope tiara from the olden days sent from Washington so I may wear it, ta,” he says to Cardinal Angelo. “Waaa!?” Cardinal Angelo says.
“There’s a new pope now,” he says, while smoking an illegal durry.
The real victim of Yung Pope is a poor, balding priest called Don Tommaso who is being pressured by Yung Pope into telling him the confessions of everyone in the Vatican. Yung Pope rarely makes sense (“My mind is a gap,” — Yung Pope, “Ah… I understand” — Don Tommaso) so it takes a while to convey that he wants to secretly get all the goss on his enemies. Yung Pope doesn’t like people to feel comfortable in his presence, so constantly tries to shock them.
Yung Pope: “GOD DOES NOT EXIST.”
Don Tommaso: “Wait, what?”
Yung Pope: “Just clowning, how good is God.”
Don Tommaso: “Oh lol, you had me there.”
Read more about The Young Pope here.