I wish I could run a sound effect along with this sentence – and the effect I would play you is the piano tinkling. You know it: the theme song to Succession. Because those assholes are coming back, and we finally know when.
October. pic.twitter.com/1kNnfr13Wa— Succession (@succession) August 23, 2021
So basically Succession is picking up (on a different network) when Ted Lasso is over, and we’re chasing a show about kindness with a show that is…the opposite of kind. I love this description of it from the recent profile of showrunner Jesse Armstrong in The New Yorker:
The uneasy simultaneity of comedy and drama that â€œSuccessionâ€ depends on comes from its creatorâ€™s unwillingness to save his characters from themselves. â€œIt is basically like a cat playing with a mouse and not killing it,â€ one fellow writer said. https://t.co/mJzV3BB3Y8— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) August 23, 2021
That’s exactly right. Succession isn’t here to serve redemption. Rather, its point is to interrogate the corrosive consequences of wealth and power on what we all pay lip service to as the core of our social fabric: family. And for families who are obscenely wealthy, even if it makes them miserable, the whole point of their existence is the drama. Jesse Armstrong explains it much better:
“One of the things that strikes me when I’ve read about these families—whether it be the Maxwells or the Redstones or the Julio-Claudians—is that, when you get that combination of money, power, and family relations, things get so complicated that you can justify actions to yourself that are pretty unhealthy to your well-being as a human being. Or you don’t even need to justify them, because the actions are baked into your being.” The infighting can become so darkly satisfying that it consumes one’s life: “For people who come from powerful families, there is nothing in life quite as interesting as being at court.” Indeed, almost nobody in a rich family steps away from the drama. “For these people to be excluded from the flame of money and power, I think, would feel a bit like death,” Armstrong said.
“There is nothing in life quite as interesting as being at court”… “to be excluded from the flame of money and power… would feel a bit like death.”
Where does your mind go there? To a real British court and a member of a toxic family who actually did make the move to leave? So few of them do, because those games of betrayal played at court can be its own addiction, as Jesse says. Choosing a different timeline, and exiting from that f-cksh-t, is an act not only of self-preservation but an indictment of that family dynamic. And that may be part of the ensuing bitterness. It’s as if the ones left behind are saying, how dare you quit the game, we’re still playing, no one gets to leave until we bury each other one by one.
That’s Succession…and, maybe, also the Crown in real life.
Yours in gossip,