EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE POPE DIES......I learned from the high-larious 2004 movie Eurotrip. Specifically, for those of you who have seen the film, the scene when they're all in Rome at the Vatican City and Scott (Scott Mechlowicz) and Cooper (Jacob Pitts) become separated from their fake tour group (which becomes a real tour group thanks to Jamie's (Travis Wester) encyclopedic knowledge of things he learned from travel guides) and wander off to a curiously unguarded private area of the Vatican where the Papal Apartment is.
Then Cooper, just for fun, pulls a rope in a glass case, just to see what happens, not knowing that he's ringing the bell of San Marco, which is, according to the film (and I don't know how accurate this is since a Google search for "Bell of San Marco" turned up little of relevance), is the name of the bell rung to signal the death of the Pontiff, surprising the masses of tourists in Saint Peter's Square and causing them to make the sign of the cross and prostrate themselves.
Then Scott and Cooper enter the Papal apartment. Scott knows that it's some place that they should not be, but Cooper just starts horsing around, putting on one of the Pope's peaked hat thingies and pretending that he is the Pope. He puts a golden peaked hat over Scott's head, and Scott can't see anything for a few seconds. Cooper does a victory dance, not noticing that the peaked hat he's wearing has caught on fire from a candelabra. Panicked, Cooper tries to hand the burning hat to Scott, but Scott doesn't want it, and points Cooper towards the fireplace. Just after Cooper puts the hat in the fireplace, the hat becomes engulfed in flames, flooding the room with white smoke, and sending some of that smoke up the chimney, which everyone in the square takes as a sign, the fumata bianca, that the College of Cardinals ignored the 15 day mourning period and elected a new Pope immediately after the death of the previous Pope.
Scott can't handle the smoke in the room, so he leaves the Papal apartment, forgetting that he's still wearing the gold peaked hat, and, out of a window, he thinks he sees Mieke (Jessica Boehrs), the penpal he came to Europe to find. He can't open the window to call her, so he goes to the next window, gets entangled in some gold curtains, which, when he gets his head free, somehow look like golden robes (and the railing for the curtains looks like a Pope's staff), and opens the window, which is on the balcony where the new Pope supposedly makes his first appearance, and everyone hails Scott as the new Pope.
Hmm... I wonder why HBO apparently pulled a scheduled showing of Eurotrip on Friday night? According to that "cha cha" person, HBO showed a Steven Segal movie instead, a choice of film I find highly inappropriate for the anti-solemn occasion of April Fool's Day, when you're only supposed to show comedies. Poor taste? So what? "Poor taste" is ultimately very subjective and I don't think it's in any more poor taste than the media-orchestrated public grief fest, following the "Princess Diana grief-fest machine template" to a T, that's been saturating the news channels for the past couple of days about an event I think is legitmately sad but I don't think is a tragedy as I suspect the Pope's various infirmities have been more severe than the Vatican would let on and you knew his death was coming soon. Don't get me wrong, I understand why the media does it, since they put on what people want to watch, but I personally have a "when he dies, he dies, stiff upper lip" attitude about all this and I do not feel the need to alter my schedule just so I can have my eyeballs fixed towards the cathode ray tube the exact moment that the blinders close, the "two lights" go out, and the bell is rung to indicate that the Pope has "assumed room temperature", as Rush Limbaugh would put it.
Not that I get HBO anyway, and, even if I did, my father saw Eurotrip on the Canadian equivalent, TMN (The Movie Network), and got the DVD of it so I can watch the Vatican scene to my heart's content today without fear of it offending more "sensitive" viewers.
I did a mini-review of Eurotrip in my Rotten Tomatoes journal, though most of it was about how I was impressed that Prague was able to substitute for so many other European cities with a few CGI landmarks added.