Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled John Paul III sits down for his first televised interview as iThe New Pope/i
Photo: Gianni Fiorito (HBO)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, February 17. All times are Eastern.


Top pick

The New Pope (HBO, 9 p.m.): Last week’s opener between John Paul III (John Malkovich) and Sharon Stone (as herself) perfectly epitomizes what makes The New Pope so wonderful. In Eric Thurm’s words from his recap of “Fifth Episode”:

This scene plays out as an extended Basic Instinct gag, in which Brannox repeatedly expresses anxiety about Stone crossing and uncrossing her legs—a bit that pays off handsomely when, with a turn of his hand, Brannox orders a line of priests to look away from the celebrity in the middle of the room. As in the Marilyn Manson scene, Brannox grasps at celebrity as a possible way forward for the church, asking Stone what they can do to be more “eloquent.”

But, unlike last week’s episode, Stone also has a real request for John Paul III: allow gay Catholics to get married. Brannox’s response indicates that, though he understands the moral rightness of eventually allowing gay Catholics to marry, he does not have the spine to push that type of reform through—especially considering the firm, unyielding nature of the Bible. This is the first of two times the Bible will be compared to an iPhone in this episode, comparison that sounds, and is likely intended to be, ridiculous. The church, and its members, occupy an entirely different world.

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This week, while Lenny stirs in the background, John Paul III sits down for a live televised interview that asks him to delve into his past.

Regular coverage

Wild card

McMillion$ (HBO, 10 p.m.): The docuseries from executive producer Mark Wahlberg continues tonight with Frank Columbo recounting his family’s involvement in the multi-million-dollar scam.

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