Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Required reading: pop culture for the Pope

Michael Hatchett

A&E Editor

Dear Pope,

What’s good? How ya been? I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay in the United States. I know you’ve been tirelessly schlepping around this great country, comforting the sick and making speeches. Good for you.

No offense, Frank, but you do have more important stuff to be doing. It’s my understanding that you haven’t watched TV since promising the Virgin Mary that you wouldn’t 25 years ago. While I know that promises to the Virgin Mary are, like, super important, the last 25 years have been very good to American television. You literally don’t know what you’ve been missing.

I’m not saying that you should break your promise to the Virgin Mary buuuuut … you didn’t say anything about a Netflix subscription, right? Anyway, without further ado, here’s the most important American TV from the last 25 years.

Twin Peaks — Okay, you may have seen the first season of this (I’m not sure when exactly in 1990 you stopped watching), but if you have, how did you stop watching? I know you’re super concerned with global warming and stuff like that, but how can you tell me that you never wondered who killed Laura Palmer? How do you live not knowing? Did you just ask God? Did he tell you? Does God watch American TV? He has to watch football, right? I digress. The point is that David Lynch’s bizarre, wonderful cult TV show will be the perfect thing for you to start your journey with. The time period is close to when you stopped watching TV, so it’ll have a familiar feel to you.

Gilmore Girls — Okay, I’ll be honest, Frank. I haven’t even seen all of Gilmore Girls. But  everything I have seen has been great. It’s smart and funny and feminist (all three things that people are calling you! Coincidence? I think not.) What more could you want?

Catfish — Look, I didn’t say this was the “best” American TV; I said it was the “most important.” If you want to understand and connect with millennials, you’re gonna have to understand what it’s like to have a fake MySpace relationship with a 66 year-old woman posing as 22 year-old man.

Arrested Development — Do you like to laugh? I bet you do, Frank. Please, watch this show. You can ignore everything else on this list, but please watch Arrested Development. I know you don’t have kids, and after watching this, you’ll definitely be glad you didn’t. Also Jeffrey Tambor kinda looks like you. In a good way though. You look good, dude. What’s your workout routine?

Cavemen — Back in 2007, GEICO (a car insurance company that has a lizard as CEO) had a series of popular commercials centered around cavemen. For some inexplicable reason, these commercials ended up getting their own sitcom (situational comedy). It ran for six episodes, nobody watched it, and it wasn’t funny. But there is no better introduction to American capitalism than an entire work of art based on ancient Neanderthals selling car insurance.

Breaking Bad — Everyone’s probably already told you to watch Breaking Bad, and it’s worth the hype. As a Catholic, you’d really relate to its themes of guilt, sin and judgment.

Listen, Mr. Pope, here’s the bottom line. Someone once  said that “We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods.” I agree. I also think we need Popes who have Twitter accounts, Popes who get excited about Taco Bell’s breakfast menu and Popes who watch too much TV. You can be the first.

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