Hi, I’m C.D. Reiss and I’m Obsessed with ‘Succession’ (aka Bad People Porn)


Have you seen Succession on HBO?

I know a few people who won’t watch it because it’s about a half-mad (as a fox) business tycoon and his three children. Two sons and one daughter. This casts it close enough to the current occupant of the White House to make people say, “I’ll just read the news, thank you.”

I’m not squeamish. I love rich people drama. I was around for the escapism of Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon’s Crest, so I was on board for Succession.

Let’s just say, I felt like I wandered into a dump restaurant in a strip mall and got served the best meal of my life. It’s like Dallas, but EVERYONE is J.R. Ewing. There’s no Sue Ellen to feel sorry for. No Bobby holding the moral high ground.

Nothing. All J.R. All evil, power-hungry monsters. Every damn single one of them. If you’re looking for a show that’s going to make you feel good about the strength of the human spirit and the healing effect of kindness you should watch This is Us. Trust me. Succession is about bad people hurting and humiliating other bad people for power and profit.

As an illustration, here’s an excerpt from a conversation with author, Kayti McGee as I was in the middle of season one….

KAYTI: At first Greg was the moral center. But now idk!

ME: Kendall is the moral center. He’s the only one who ever said “That’s not RIGHT,” when something happened in the sex club. He drew a line. (then snorted it – but whatever)

That’s exactly what it takes to be the moral center in Succession. Three words that are ignored. No one else ever uttered a word of objection to the cover-ups, conniving tactical maneuvers, or power grabs.

And Greg? The previously mentioned moral center?

He destroys proof that the Roy family has covered murders and rapes, and saves just enough of the documents to blackmail Kendall into giving him a pay raise.

The sister, Siobhan, says she watching out for the less fortunate by campaigning for a Bernie Sanders-style left-of-center candidate. She tells her husband on their wedding night that she’s not really into monogamy. How much you wanna bet that at the first bump in the road she loses interest in social justice and will be using her campaigning skills to support the swamp?

They have everything. They’re heartless and awful. They’re riveting.

I mean, these people are gross, and I love it.

It’s power porn. Amoral, anti-social, poor example, leadership-free television. It’s the TV you watch when you feel like you’re the only person in the world who gives a damn about anything and you want to know how the world can be so full of craven weasels.

Turns out, craven weaselhood is pretty fun, because the show is money porn, too.

Need a great venue for a wedding? There’s a castle in the family.

Need to get somewhere quick? Take a helicopter.

Need drugs? Every dirtbag in town is at your disposal.

Sex? Please.

Speaking of disposal – with enough money, things—bad things—can just disappear.

The easy acquisition of pleasure makes it so hard to be pleased. One of the brothers doesn’t seem to like sex even though he can get it by snapping his fingers. Only one thing matters, and it’s impossible to attain.

All the kids want it. 

Their father’s love.

But he’s incapable of loving anyone, so they get more and more awful, because where love doesn’t exist, respect will do.

I’m not waiting around for them to become good people or do the right thing. They’re totally in their own little bubble. Make no mistake. They hurt the “little people” around them in ways that are both devastating and humiliating…but mostly, they hurt each other and it’s delicious.

I’ve written about a family so rich their moral center is…well…left of center.


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