The Young Pope — Why I find this show unsettling

I know I’m taking it too seriously, it’s just entertainment, not a true story. And much like someone who can’t laugh at a joke about a guy with no arms and no legs being named Mat, because I empathize with what it must be like to not have arms and legs, I can’t sit back an enjoy the surreal ride that is The Young Pope.

For some reason, I feel like this is what our leaders may really be like in private. It’s the same reason I couldn’t continue to watch House of Cards, because in my mind, it is very possible that this is how American government is really run.

In the Young Pope, I am struck by how this man lives. Everything being done for him, his every need being attended to, being addressed as Your Holiness, being told you are the leader of 1 billion faithful. How could he possibly see those faithful as the same as him. How could empathize with their everyday lives, when he is so far removed from how the rest of the world lives.

As the show progresses we find out just how vindictive, intolerant, unstable, narcissistic, and confused he is. And when he finally delivers his long awaited homily, it is violent and upsetting and leaves the faithful confused and fearful, so much so, that they are actually afraid to go to church. This is why I can’t enjoy it as entertainment.

I am painfully aware that the majority of people living everyday ordinary lives, look to their leaders for guidance and reassurance. Be they political or religious leaders, the common people are still looking for someone to tell them the rules to follow to live a happy life and feel safe in a world that has become increasingly unstable and violent.

But since there is nothing else on HBO right now, I will settle in and watch it just like I did Game of Thrones. I had to get used to that one too. Eventually my feelings of empathy for the masses will wear off, and I will enjoy it for the ridiculous fictional tale that it is. If that doesn’t happen soon, I might cancel my subscription to HBO and start reading more.