The year is 2017 and popes are hot hot hot. Look around. You’ve got HBO’s big fancy series The Young Pope, which just ended its first season after setting the internet on fire and introducing us to a disobedient kangaroo who roamed the Vatican gardens. You’ve got the real pope, who has, in the not so distant past, blessed thousands of Harleys and ripped off maybe the single best and most accurate tweet ever.
And you’ve got… some other things. I don’t know. That’s probably enough anyway. Once you have Jude Law playing the pope on a premium cable network, you have crossed the threshold. Popes are in. And this, conveniently, brings me to my point: The time has come for a TV series starring Jeffrey Tambor as the pope.
In a way, it’s kind of shocking that this hasn’t happened already. Jeffrey Tambor has been acting for a long time. You’d think he would have accidentally played a pope by now. I know he’s a busy man, what with his run on Arrested Development and his Emmy-winning performance in Transparent and a not-unsubstantial film career, but, like, come on. We can free him up to play the pope. Transparent only does 10-episode seasons. If we really put our minds to it, I’m sure we could figure out the schedule.
Now, I hear you. You’re saying “I know popes are all the rage right now, but… why Jeffrey Tambor?” I get that. If The Young Pope has taught us anything, it’s that anyone can play the pope. I mean, the pope on that show was a New Yorker named Lenny Belardo, and he was played by a British actor. Throw the rule book out the window. It’s a whole new world here. We could cast, like, The Rock as the pope if we wanted to. And we should. After Tambor. Priorities.
But let me make my case. I’ve been thinking this through for a while now, and I’ve narrowed it down to three points.
1. I think people will like it
Who wouldn’t want to see Jeffrey Tambor play the pope? I bet you’re thinking about it right now. I bet you hadn’t even considered it until this moment, but now that you have, it’s all you can think about. It just makes so much sense.
2. I think Jeffrey Tambor would be good on a show that stars him as the pope
Of course he would. Jeffrey Tambor is always good. It could be any kind of show, too. Wacky comedy, possibly about man who became pope by accident? Done. Heartfelt series about a pope coming to terms with the church’s place in the world, and learning lessons about himself in the process? Sold. The Young Pope 2: It Is The Future And The Pope Is Older Now? One hundred percent. He’s got this and, quite frankly, it’s a little rude for you to think he might not.
3. Who would you rather see play the pope?
I know I just said The Rock would also be a fun pope, but put that aside for a second. (Actually, wait. First picture The Rock in the robe. Then put it aside.) And also put aside the thing where Ian McShane would make a great TV pope, too, which I just considered right now and will also accept, possibly after Tambor but before The Rock. We’ll figure it out. And we’re getting woefully off-track. What I’m getting at is that Jeffrey Tambor would be perfect as a pope. I’ve got this mental image of him sitting in a golden chair inside the Vatican, surrounded by cardinals and nuns, but he’s very, very bored. Leaning over, resting his head on his fist, possibly rolling his eyes. Deep sigh. The Tambor sigh. I’m sure you can see it now, too. He even has a good head for a pope hat. Here, look at this dramatic re-creation.
Admittedly, if I’m being truly honest, I’m a little biased here. I have wanted to see Jeffrey Tambor play the pope for a long time. If you click on that link about the Pope blessing Harleys in the first paragraph, you’ll see that I brought it up then, too, as part of my pitch for a movie called Pope Swap, which is about a pope who wants to have fun and a rock star who wants to be taken seriously wishing on the same shooting star and swapping bodies. You wouldn’t be entirely out of line if you accused me of writing this whole post as way to tell people about it again. (Worth it.) It’s just that now, with everyone all excited about The Young Pope, it feels like we can make this happen. We can will a TV series into existence that stars Jeffrey Tambor as the pope. And we should. The world needs it now more than ever.
Let’s get McShane’s people on the phone, too, though. Just to be safe.