The Young Pope Doesn’t take Itself too Seriously, and Neither Should You


Don’t be like Cardinal Voiello – let Lenny into your heart

If you’ve been keeping up date with The Young Pope so far, you’ve seen some strange things. A kangaroo, a Pope who likes to toy with his subjects, and strange dream sequences. Not to mention some offbeat visual jokes and the political pettiness of the Vatican. And then there is the  serious side, about a mysterious man elected as Pope and his dark vision of the future that he see as hopeful. All throughout, however, The Young Pope is careful not to take itself too seriously, and if are, you’ve been doing it wrong.

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There is a serious story at the heart of The Young Pope, but really it’s an allegory. As such, it does better to think of the show more abstractly. We’ve used the word camp a few times to describe the series, and that’s because it fits so well. Things Lenny does and says are over the top, couple that with what we’re actually talking about is a bad-apple Pope, and it’s almost impossible to not smile at the ridiculous nature of it of it. But that is exactly why it works, at least most of the time.

We are absolutely not going to tell you that The Young Pope is perfect. Sometimes its mixture of tones lands flat, like with several scenes involving Sister Mary in the previous episode. It can’t work all the time. This can rob the show of some of its dramatic impact, like when Michael calls Lenny the worst Pope of modern times. That’s such an outrageous sentence that it’s difficult not to scoff at it. When it really hits it off, however, like with Lenny’s first public address, it feels electric and exciting.

Next: Watch a new in-season preview for The Young Pope.

There’s not exactly a right way to watch The Young Pope, but there is most definitely a wrong way.  If the outrageousness of the whole thing makes you cringe, well, maybe it’s just not for you. We urge those that were turned off by The Young Pope to try to keep an open mind. Lenny, surely, wouldn’t want you to just look away.