Luckily, he has some of his own people around to help him. The curious nun who raised him (played by a stern but playful Diane Keaton) arrives to provide guidance. His mentor Cardinal Michael Spencer (James Cromwell) lurks in the background. If this sounds a bit like The West Wing set in the Vatican, rest assured that it's not. Besides a few scenes of Cardinals bickering, the show doesn't seem to be especially interested in explaining how exactly someone as young as Lenny became the Young Pope. He just did.
"I'm a contradiction like God," says Lenny, and the series around him is no less perplexing. Sorrentino, who directed every episode, knows how absurd some of this material is -- and so does Law -- and together they lean into the ridiculous pomp, garish pageantry, and winking excess of the Catholic Church with an often intoxicating swagger. Occasionally, they over-step -- a moment in the pilot where Lenny lights a cigarette and says, "There's a new pope now," feels like a bad Twitter joke brought to life -- but for the most part they keep from falling into self-parody. At the very least, there are no popemobile jokes in the first episode.