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Succession is a bracingly difficult watch because we are all Roys, really

We all have a manipulative shadow side, which is why Succession is a tough watch. But it's also why you really should give in to the Roys.

Succession

Succession: why you should watch Rich People Doing Things. Image: ©2023 HBO/Sky

Every family has its own power struggles. For example, I am currently in the midst of high-level negotiations with the Sink and Dishwasher division. At the moment we have some operational issues. An unnamed employee (OK, my husband) is going against process, thus creating two workstreams – namely he is handwashing items instead of putting them in the dishwasher, and then putting the dishwasher on half empty. 

As you can see, efficiencies will need to be made, and I will be calling him into my office (the sofa) to let him know that I plan to outsource this department and create a new role for him within Machine Washing and Hanging. And if he doesn’t like it he can, in the words of Logan Roy, “Fackoffff!”

If you find yourself becoming instantly weary when boring turds like me ask ‘HAVE YOU SEEN SUCCESSION?’ I understand. The ongoing tale of the family behind imaginary megacorp Waystar Royco is brutal. Everyone is rich and horrible, and each episode is an hour’s worth of blistering dialogue and constant Machiavellian power moves that make Game of Thrones look like Noddy.

Watching it is a commitment, but every scene pays out, whether that’s following Cousin Greg as he fumbles his way to the top via the very bottom, or marvelling at the sadistically petty schoolboy bullying and pathetic yearnings of Tom Wambsgans (Matthew McFadyen). And that’s before we get to the best thing of all, Roman and Gerri – the world’s least appropriate but also most curiously touching relationship. All set against a backdrop of New York skyscrapers, country house shooting weekends and dark, ornate rooms with crystal decanters where important deals are done. If that doesn’t do it for you, how about that theme tune? Not any old tinkly winkly nonsense, but a real bona-fide banger – like Chopin dropping a haunted piano onto your head.

“I’m not interested, Lucy,” you say. “You’re just saying names and words and I want to watch Married at First Sight Australia because life is hard enough as it is. Succession is for people who are trying to be clever and have an HBO subscription and a New Yorker tote bag.”   

I know, I know. This is also true. But I think Succession is a bracingly difficult watch because we are all Roys, really. Chances are we haven’t accidentally blown anyone’s thumbs off with an exploding Japanese satellite, but there’s a mean streak running through us all, and it gets even meaner when some members of our families are involved.

We all have a manipulative shadow side and secretly hanker after some kind of dominance, even if that’s becoming Head of Thermostat Control or CEO of The Remote. Also, everyone has met a cut-price version of Logan Roy, whether it was a teacher or someone’s strict and terrifying dad. And we all love a bit of Rich People Doing Things, don’t we? I think it has to be the best genre, because even if the action is getting a bit samey you can always admire their tailoring, stemware and choice of bathroom tiles. 

I’m getting ready to devour the next and final season, and have been preparing tirelessly by rewatching the first three, in the same way as someone who was actually fit would train for a triathlon. It’s brilliant, but if you’re still not convinced, that’s fine. I mean, I can’t make you watch it. But please know that my men will talk to your men and take action if and when it’s required. You’re also fired with immediate effect and barred in perpetuity from speaking to me or looking at me. You don’t mess with the head of the family, and you certainly don’t mess with a woman who is capable of restructuring entire household systems. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some dishes to do. 

Succession airs on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and Now

Lucy Sweet is a freelance journalist

@lucytweet1

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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