Monday, 16 January 2016: It appears to be Twitter’s favorite show, especially since the trailer debuted, giving us a first look at Lenny, the first American pope who also happens to be the youngest pope, and the smokingest pope, and probably the hottest pope to have ever graced the Vatican. The internet has already embraced the limited series with a passion, unleashing a storm of memes that make it hard to even think about taking the drama seriously.
Some have compared Lenny to Amy Poehler’s “cool mom” from Mean Girls, while others started changing the lyrics to popular songs to reflect what it might be like to be a young pope.
Luckily, The Young Pope knows it’s a little silly, and that it’s premise is a little ridiculous, and so does its star, Jude Law.
Law was joined by creator and director Paolo Sorrentino on stage at the TV Critics’ Association winter press tour to discuss the series, and was asked if he was aware of the internet’s response to the show.
“Having spent the last week both in New York and here [in LA] doing lots of press, I’ve become very aware,” Law said. “But I was also, at the beginning of the week, completely unaware of what a meme was. Having been educated and shown them, I’ve become very aware. I love them, they’re very funny. They’re very imaginative.”
Asked if he feared that the memes would overshadow the show itself, Law said, “Obviously I hope not.”
“It will, I hope, provoke and prompt interest and intrigue,” he continued. “Something Paolo told me just this week was that one of the most exciting facts of the screening in Europe was the high level of young people who got involved. I don’t know that meme trends are reflective of young people’s interest, but if it is, I’m very excited.”
While the show seems to know it’s a tad ridiculous, the concept is based in reality—or at least a realistic future for the church.
When asked why he set the show in a world that seems so far off from the current public face of the Catholic church, Sorrentino explained, “Because it would be possible that after Pope Francis, the next pope could be somebody like the character of Jude Law. This is the thing that many experts in the church told me, so the idea was to do a project of the next pope, the future pope.”
As for the future of the show, Law has one great suggestion for a title: “Middle Aged Pope.”