Pope Francis has earned the sobriquet “Cool Pope” through his cool deeds on Earth—focusing on the poor, encouraging environmental responsibility, cold-calling people to bless them, sort of saying “fuck” one time. It takes a lot of work to be cool, as cool people will tell you, leaving few hours in the day to waste on something like watching television. And the Cool Pope is so cool, he doesn’t even own a television—the mark of all cool people. In fact, he hasn’t seen a TV show in 25 years. He’s been a little too busy doing cool things.
“I have not watched TV since 1990,” the pontiff tells Argentine newspaper La Voz del Pueblo. “It’s a promise that I made the Virgin of Carmen on the night of 15 July 1990. I told myself: ‘It’s not for me.’”
Pope Francis didn’t elaborate on what happened the night of July 15, 1990 that made him swear off television before the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, patron of mariners and fishermen (besides the fact that she’d probably appreciate a non-fish-related prayer for once). But consider these possible timely scenarios:
- July 8, 1990: ABC airs the final Mr. Belvedere. Following a week of wandering the desert, petitioning the Lord to resurrect his favorite TV butler, a spurned Pope Francis gives up on television for good. He must accept that the Lord works in mysterious ways, much like the episode where Mr. Belvedere invites Robert Goulet over to talk George out of being a lounge singer.
- July 12, 1990: Northern Exposure premieres, unleashing an unholy amount of quirkiness, and depicting a fallen world where moose just stroll around, free of man’s dominion. Like so many others, Pope Francis decides it’s not for him.
- July 16, 1990: ABC premieres Into The Night Starring Rick Dees. Meanwhile, the newest version of the Match Game debuts with Gene Rayburn replaced by Ross Shafer. These affronts to God do not go unnoticed.
- All day: How long Pope Francis balls. How much time he spends at the mall: All day. How much time he spends not watching TV: All day.
Whatever the explanation, for the Pope, Seinfeld never improved beyond those awkward first-season episodes. He doesn’t know who killed Laura Palmer. Your references to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air are lost on him. Was it about a knight or something? Sorry, Pope Francis was too busy tending to the indigent.
Furthermore, Cool Pope Francis doesn’t even use the Internet. He gets his sports scores from the Swiss Guard, his news from the newspaper, and his daily dose of shaming and inexplicable cruelty toward men from being Catholic. The Pope is just into authentic, heritage things like that.
Still, even really, really cool people enjoy pizza, the great unifier between hip saint and TV-watching sinner, and the Pope sure loves his pizza. Maybe a little too much, according to decidedly uncool doctors. He loves it so much, he says the one thing he regrets most about his job—besides bearing the entire brunt of man’s wickedness on his shoulders—is it’s really hard to pop out to the pizzeria, because he’s the Pope.
“Take-away is not the same,” Pope Francis laments. Fortunately, God has heard his order, and sent His only begotten chef to deliver unto him a pizza, as He did recently in Naples:
Perhaps soon God will see fit to do the same with a DVD set of The Sopranos. But if not, that’s probably cool with the Pope.