If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend watching HBO’s four season drama “Succession.” It is about the Roy family, who are horrible, out-of-touch, people who run a global media empire, and is based loosely on the Rupert Murdoch family. It features outstanding performances and writing and has been nominated for tons of awards.
Minor plot summary with no spoilers follows: In one episode, the patriarch Logan Roy finds out that someone has been talking to the media about the family. The fallout is portrayed in one of the most memorable scenes of the entire series, where Logan invents a game called Boar on the Floor.
I have to wonder if that was based on Rupert’s reaction after someone was discovered talking to Succession writers.
Boar on the Floor scene is below. Stunning acting and directing. Strong language and not safe for work.
It is absolutely a Greek tragedy. Also a Shakespearean tragedy. A reason why Shakespeare has endured all these centuries is because his characters are neither fully good or fully evil, and the good and evil struggle with each other. And what seemingly fulfils a character’s destiny is actually the thing that destroys him. Like the hero in a Greek tragedy, it appears it is Kendall’s destiny to succeed, but the fates keep preventing him.
An example of why I like the show. Foreshadowing of each of their fates was slipped in when they give Logan’s eulogies in the penultimate episode. Spoilers below:
Each of the children’s eulogies show how they viewed their father. But that viewpoint actually predicts and explains the fate of each character. Roman masterfully prepares his eulogy but again shows he’s not ready by flubbing it and is last seen drinking a martini alone. Shiv states her father almost always kept them out but it was wonderful when he let them in. Shiv is last seen keeping her affection away from Tom. Kendall nails his eulogy (winning Mencken’s approval and saving the deal), saying he hopes has what it takes to be like Logan. But ultimately he doesn’t and he fails again.
And that’s why I think the writing is so great. The eulogies themselves advanced the plot, but I didn’t understand what the eulogies were really telling me until after the show was over. I’m definitely going to watch the whole thing again.
I never have been one for literature. By far my worst subject in high school.
It’s not that I didn’t like reading. I read voraciously. Just not the stuff high school lit teachers assigned. At least most of it. Old man and the sea wasn’t bad. I finally read Catcher in the Rye a couple years ago and enjoyed it. But all these things that lit teachers want you to find (meanings in Holden Caufield’s hat, for example) just go right past me.
Back to Succession - this clip showed me an arrogant jerk of a man mistreating and humiliating his family (adult children, I think). There seems to be nothing redeeming in him. And I see other adults around the table too cowed to the power-drunk man — or so desirous of being around his wealth and power — to stand up to him or simply say no and walk away. Their self esteem is completely gone, if it was ever there in the first place. I can perhaps muster up a bit of pity for them if I really try. But not much. Again, nothing terribly redeeming or inspiring about them, either.
Granted, this is just a few minutes out of a multi-season TV show. So I’m missing a whole lot. But it doesn’t make me want to watch more.
Frankly, this plot is happening in more than one place in real life. I’d like to get away from that for a bit by watching some entertainment. I don’t need more of it in entertainment.
The real tragedy of the show’s plot (which I found frustratingly unwatchable because so well done and so damn ugly), is not the tragedies of the individuals but of our entire society kowtowing to their ilk ever more every year.