The finale of Succession is Sunday night. Do you know why I know that? Not because I have watched this show for years and am on pins and needles waiting to find out who becomes CEO of Waystar RoyCo. (Is it Cousin Greg? Could Roman and Kendall split it? Will Logan’s ex-wife emerge as a dark horse a la what’s-his-face in Game of Thrones?) No, it’s because I’m a person on the internet who, every Sunday evening for the last nine weeks, has had every plot detail of this show revealed to me in real time, despite the fact that I watched three episodes during the pandemic lockdown and found them so boring that I couldn’t even watch the show when I had literally nothing else to do.
My problem is not entirely with the show itself. There are plenty of shows I do not watch, many of which, like Succession, are award-winning, well-acted, and beloved by many of my friends, and I have no problem with those. Not every show is for everybody! But there is just something about Succession that makes people unable to shut the fuck up about it. The Succession obsession among a certain type of television-watcher goes beyond making plans to watch with friends, or writing recaps and plot criticism, all of which are now standard parts of the entertainment media ecosystem (and genres of story my colleagues write frequently at Jezebel).
I just don’t understand why a dimly lit show about mean rich people making a shit ton of phone calls so they can become even more mean and rich has so deeply charmed millions of people. The color palette is almost exclusive beige and navy. As far as I can tell, 60% of the dialogue consists of variations of the words “fuck,” “shit,” “what,” and “yeah.” It is especially bizarre to me that so many of my industry colleagues—who believe in a free, functioning, and robust journalism industry—tune in every week to watch lightly fictionalized versions of the Murdochs (whose conservative media empire has arguably irreparably damaged the media ecosystems in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia) do terrible shit.
I hit my breaking point when patriarch Logan Roy died a few episodes into this season—a choice I love in terms of narrative pacing, by the way—and both Vulture and the Los Angeles Times ran “obituaries.” For a fake man!!! (These also inevitably prompted people to shout “uhh spoiler alert!!” which is one of the most annoying things you can say in response to what is widely known as appointment television.)
Tom Wambsgans’ infamous one-liner prompted multiple articles rounding up “ludicrously capacious bags” for sale. I now see TikToks that show Sarah Snook smiling and dancing outside her trailer, captioned “Shiv Roy is a whole mood.” (Isn’t Shiv Roy famously unhappy and cruel?, I ask myself as I swipe away.) A tweet praised the M3GAN and Avatar: The Way of the Water posters on cabs in the background of one recent shot of Kendall, as if this was some genius tip of the hat to cinéma vérité and not just the ads the city was plastered with when they happened to be filming in New York.
Perhaps all of my whining here is ultimately just a compliment to Succession, which has permeated a segment of the culture so effectively that even those of us who don’t watch it are forced to be intimately aware of its ups and downs. Maybe I secretly, desperately want to be in on this club, but I don’t get it, so instead I seethe.
I’m sure writing about how much I dislike the way people talk about Succession will just prompt more people to talk about this show at me—like the time in college I told my friends I hated “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, and so they proceeded to play it on a loop in the house we shared while I was trying to study. That, or I’ll be the subject of more derision from my media peers than I ever thought possible. In either case, I’m glad you all loved this show so much, and I’m also so, so selfishly glad it’s ending.