I grew up watching Dynasty and Dallas and Falcon Crest with my mom, and I remember curling up at the bottom of her bed, like a dog, while she watched those shows on her little 24-inch TV. I was eight or nine, and I can’t imagine I really had a sense of what was happening. But there’s something oddly nostalgic for me about the idea of a big, sweeping family drama, and Succession, to me, is like the most premium version of that. They’re in Italy; their helicopters are taking off over New York City. And yet, at its core, there’s something very familiar.
This article appears in the Winter 2022 issue of Alta Journal.
There’s a piece of the show that’s a little bit like lifestyle porn. They’re the richest of the rich. Their lives are so much fancier than ours. Yet you see the deep, dark cost of that. It operates on these two levels: you see the joys of the extreme wealth, but then it’s also like Long Day’s Journey into Night or a Tennessee Williams play, where there’s this hunger in all of these characters that just makes them so intriguing.
I think the show speaks to this time we’re in, where there’s such a disparity between people who have so much and people who have so little. The wealth that this family has is wealth beyond the scope of what most people could ever imagine, and there’s something fascinating about seeing what that really looks like, when everything is at your whim. When a character is sick in a hospital, they get the whole floor.
You know, it’s funny, because as I’m talking about it, it sounds like I’m just obsessed with being rich, which I’m really not! I think the thing that really resonates for me is the family drama. I mean, my own family squabbles are not nearly as interesting or epic as theirs. We have no media empire on the line that my brothers and I are jockeying for. But we all have that sense of family history. You get a sense of what the dad’s life was like, and now the kids’ lives are so much different, and you see how that informs their relationship. I think it’s something that’s very real and very relatable.•
—As told to Robert Ito
Succession streams on HBO Max.