I Was Wrong About 'Succession'

Holding myself accountable.

Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO
personal faults

I pride myself on my incorrigible correctness. I do not tend to have wrong opinions, and it would be very unlike me to say something that did not portray the genuine state of things. Jumbo blueberries are gross; people who put emojis over their kids’ faces on social media should just not post photos of their kids; we should be allowed to see our passwords as we type them: these are just a few examples of many plainly correct opinions I’ve held and expressed publicly throughout my several hundred years on earth. And because of my near-flawless record I feel it is my duty to self-report a failing.

I was wrong about Succession.

Now, I did not commit my initial opinion of this show, which was negative, to the internet. I didn’t even tweet it. That would have been quite embarrassing indeed. But I did express it among friends, in group chats, at dinner. “That show is annoying,” I’d say. “And people who like it are wrong and annoying.”

And I wasn’t all wrong.

Yes, it is clear to you now that my habit of correctness was tough to kick, even in a moment of overall error. The people who like Succession are, in fact, annoying, specifically the people I know, which is specifically people who have jobs in digital media.

If you follow the social media accounts of those in digital media, you would not be faulted for assuming Succession was a show about a website called Vaulter. “Where I work is Vaulter,” people would say. “The best way to describe what is happening with the labor dispute within my company is: Vaulter.” “On Succession they said ‘pivot to video,’ and (although this may have gone over the heads of those not in media) as we in media know, that is a phrase from reality.” “‘Boar on the floor’ is literally what the corporate owner of our website makes us do.”

And can you believe the “boar on the floor” part wasn’t even about Vaulter? Upon watching it, I could not. Almost nothing in the show, in fact, is about Vaulter. And in the one episode of Succession that does focus on Vaulter, Vaulter is depicted as a website that both produced explicitly garbage content and made no money. Only the latter half of that is true for the workplaces of most of my beloved acquaintances. Please, friends … remember that you are better than Vaulter, at least in some ways.

Anyway, let’s not fall into the trap of talking too much about Vaulter. The point is that I overcame my annoyance at Succession and its fans, and I did so after instantly becoming enamored of Jeremy Strong after reading the New Yorker’s Jeremy Strong profile. Too many people are either actually weird and dishonest about being weird (Leonardo DiCaprio) or actually boring and dishonest about being boring (Lady Gaga), and it seems Jeremy Strong is actually weird and honest about it, which I love. I support you, Jeremy Strong.

So, to further support my husband Jeremy Strong, I figured I should watch Succession. And what do you know, it’s actually good. The first season was great: Jeremy Strong, Shiv, the wedding, Kieran Culkin, etc. The second season was a little less great, and the Democrat family version of the Roys were so obnoxious that it was hard not to think the show was trying to turn me into a Republican sympathizer. The third season was pretty bad: too many jokes about Greg, too many episodes where nothing happened, and too many quips about sucking on dicks or whatever. But overall that averages out to good, and that means I have to hand it to them: Succession is good.

Great performances. Some funny lines. Interesting uh … you know, twists and turns. I’m not sure how to write about television, but Jeremy Strong is incredible. And the most important thing is:

I was wrong.

Thank you.