A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Many more negative messages here than positive. Negative: If I'm in political power, I can treat anyone any way I want. Positive: Even the most dreadful person in the most tense situations can probably find one friend to stand by him or her.
Positive Role Models
Sister Mary shows loyalty to Lenny, the child she raised in an orphanage, and yet she tells him sternly that he must rise to the occasion and become a good leader for the 1 billion Catholic followers. Unlike Lenny and the Vatican secretary of state, other nuns and some of the priests and cardinals in the Vatican appear sincere in their search for holiness and service.
Violence & Scariness
In the first episode, a cardinal attempts to cut his own wrists after Lenny is elected pope. Nuns restrain him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lenny sees a naked woman in a dream. Lenny is shown naked from the back twice. One cardinal is shown multiple times looking at an ancient fertility statue in the Vatican and has to confess that he's having sexual thoughts about the statue. In a dream scene, Lenny as pope tells the crowd that the church has forgotten how to "play" and embrace life through masturbation, premarital sex, abortion, and sex outside of procreation purposes.
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Products & Purchases
Near the beginning of the first episode, Lenny tells the Vatican staff that he only drinks a "Cherry Coke Zero" for breakfast every morning.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lenny is shown smoking cigarettes often and tells a cardinal that the ban on smoking in the Vatican is over now that he's pope.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Young Pope is a drama about the fictitious first American pope. Jude Law plays Lenny Belardo turned Pope Pius XIII. Despite the name change, Lenny's no saint. In a dream, Lenny rails against Catholic teaching and encourages all kinds of behavior (masturbation, premarital sex, abortion, priests being allowed to marry, euthanasia). In his waking hours, his abrasive personality and scheming for total power over the Vatican angers many, including the Vatican secretary of state. While the show is beautifully produced and teens may learn a little about the higher-ups of the Catholic Church, Lenny is such an unpleasant character that it sours the show.
Is It Any Good?
If there was only one thing -- anything -- to like about Jude Law's character, Lenny Boello, this series would be a lot more fun to watch. But Lenny turned Pope Pius XIII is such an ego-drenched, dreadful person that even the scenes of him as a child don't give him enough of a human side to make him a care-worthy character. The pace of the nearly hour-long-per-episode series feels quite slow. There's only so many discussions about church politics and policies that can sound interesting, especially when the pope just wants to talk about who's going to serve him and how he can insult them.
The plus sides of The Young Pope are definitely the beautiful shots of Rome, St. Peter's Square, and the rest of Vatican and the supporting cast, including Diane Keaton as Sister Mary, a nun from Lenny's childhood. Sister Mary seems like she may be the only one who not only can handle but find something to love in Lenny.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.