I have already confessed my guilty pleasure of dramas depicting the dark side of religion. The Borgias is one of my favorites, and I eagerly awaited the premiere of the second season on Sunday evening. Bravo ran the entire first season before airing the new episode, so I re-watched the last two episodes to refresh my memory. (This was more than enough Borgias for hubby to watch in one sitting!)
Jeremy Irons is as brilliant as ever. He effortlessly sinks his butter-smooth baritone voice into the sonorous depths of evil, delivering many lines with a gleeful campiness,
What would Rome be without a good plot?
The Pope must be seen as being chaste!
He skillfully molds his handsome cragginess into a wide range of emotions from the tender, loving father and grand-father to tyrannical ruler. Irons is a master of over-dramatized exasperation with long, deep sighs and rolling eyes. Sitting on his grand papal throne, cuddling his grand-baby, the French Ambassador is announced.
Oh God. Isn’t he dead yet?
His aid responds, “He isn’t even sick!” The child starts to fuss,
Now you’ve woken the child! Shhhh, that’s all right….he’s a nasty ambassador!
History helps us to look to the past to judge our present. Sometimes we can look with relief, realizing that lessons have been learned and we have progressed. Thankfully, the Vatican no longer partakes in blood-thirsty papal wars for power and territory. In the midst of today’s violence and political turmoil, our Popes speak out for peace and justice in the world.
History also exposes how little we have learned. Weakness, sin and failure is revisited over and over. Sadly, over the top opulence is still associated with the papacy and the upper echelons of the hierarchy. Even more sadly, lechery still exists as witnessed in the growing sexual abuse scandal around the world. And, recent news stories have exposed high-ranking clerics with secret and not so secret wives and children – showing to the world a life of celibacy while enjoying the fruits of family life in private.
Watching The Borgias may be a guilty pleasure. Watching the real life antics unfold of modern day, Borgia-like characters in our church breaks my heart.