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‘Succession’ Review: These Rich People are Different

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

From The White Lotus, to The Menu, to even Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it seems like we can’t get enough of watching rich people on our TV. And why wouldn’t we when it’s just so fun? It is delightful to watch the richest of the rich suffer through all their wealth and the problems that it directly causes for them. It is a pleasure to watch these people endure the tribulations of simply harboring too much time and money. It’s a feel-good experience for pretty much anyone. It’s even indulgent to imagine yourself in such a position and think of how you might act differently because you are morally superior, or because you have better, more progressive politics than those monsters you see on your television. It feels good to righteously shake your head at the baseline statements on racism or sexism that the show so gratuitously shoves in your face with clear political intention, even though such conversations are so “uneasy.” Hell, it’s even fun to study and gawk at the outfits and brands that you see your favorite characters wearing and wonder how the hell the production could afford to buy all those expensive products or shoot in such glamorous locations. This is why you watch. This is not to say that a show like The White Lotus doesn’t have any meaningful messages or compelling cultural commentary, it’s just to say that shows like that are very aware of why people watch and intentionally rely on these gimmicks in order to attract more viewership. In my opinion, Succession is different. 

Sure, it’s fun to point out that Kendall Roy is eating Erewhon, or viciously shake your head when your favorite characters work together to cover up sexual assault claims, but the show goes so far beyond all of that. A common criticism of “rich people,” or even “anti-hero” media is that none of the characters are likable, and Succession is no exception to this. I have had to beg so many friends to keep watching the show when they tell me they want to stop because they “hate all of the characters,” and while this has not become the case for me at all, I definitely understand the argument. However, I think that the reason why Succession forces you to keep watching is because the show works hard to showcase exactly what made the characters the way that they are. Even further, you grow to actually forgive the characters for their faults and more so, hate the system that made them this way. This makes it incredibly easier to sympathize and even empathize with the characters when you can take all of your hate for them back out on a greater, corrupt system. For example, every time you see Shiv abuse, lie to, or lead on Tom, you know it stems from her receiving the exact same treatment from her father, who probably went through the same and likely worse from his own father. This cycle of abuse is a prominent theme in the show that not only keeps the viewer engaged but also keeps them watching. Although you know that it logically won’t happen, there is a glimmer of hope that the characters could grow, change, and even make the right decisions. Having this as a (granted, very far-out) possibility, keeps a viewer compelled, even when it seems like the characters will never develop from their mistakes. 

As the fourth season of the show commences, many viewers are bitter at the announcement that it will be the last. However, if the show persists with no evolution coming from the characters, this flicker of hope that continues to keep the viewer so captivated will eventually diminish, and the show will lose the element that makes it so great. But the question remains: Is it feasible for the season to end on a triumphant note in which the characters ultimately make a good decision? Only time will tell, and this exact question will keep us coming back for more.

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Avery Becker

Kenyon '26

Avery is a first-year student at Kenyon College, originally from Los Angeles, California. When she is not watching a movie, she can be found running, playing drums, or listening to a podcast. Avery enjoys olive oil, Jason Bateman, and Nietzsche, and hates seed oils!