Billionaire Roy’s Club: The Estate Makes Being Rich Ridiculous – And We Love Them For It


Im The white lotus, Mike White’s wacky satire on the rich and vaguely New Age, there’s an interesting scene around the breakfast table in the titular resort involving a wealthy, all-American, nominally forward-thinking family, the Mossbacher. Nicole, the matriarch, is of the Gwyneth Paltrow type, a little buoyant and soft-spoken, but obviously sharp enough to have made a small fortune. Mark, the patriarch, earns less money than Nicole in a nonspecific job, I think, in finance – but he’s still rich enough to have once bought his wife a pair of $ 75,000 Cartier bracelets as a pretty mea culpa for an extramarital affair. Their daughter, Olivia, is a downtown girl with vocal fry who reads theory on her lounge chair, speaks loudly about her leftist politics, and almost certainly uses Twitter.

In this particular scene, the Mossbachers wonder, about the fresh melon and Bellinis, if it was ethical for the hotel to employ native families to perform traditional Hawaiian rituals like a dinner theater. Olivia and her like-minded best friend Paula have enough common sense to realize how bad the optics of this particular form of entertainment are; Mark, who for various reasons felt completely emasculated for most of the family’s trip, takes it upon himself to teach his Gen Z charges something about how a wealthy person’s life works. .

“Look, imperialism was obviously bad,” he begins, his eyebrows raised and his hands gesturing as if launching into a professional presentation, or delivering bad news to a particularly nervous customer. “You shouldn’t kill people, steal their land and make them dance. Everyone knows it. But, it is humanity. Welcome to the story. Welcome to America. But I mean, what are we going to do? No one is giving up their privilege, it’s absurd. It is against human nature. We are all trying to win the game of life. Suddenly he laughs – his tone, no longer pampering but mocking, switching to something less suggestive of persuasion at work, more of a grown man reasoning with a pocket dog who has just relieved himself on a white carpet. “Are we going to give all our money?” He asks Olivia, almost dismissively, pointing his finger. “Do you want that?”

When Olivia’s usual coolness, her superior aloof and trendy air, evaporates into nothingness, she pleases her so visibly that her pleasure borders on perversion. “Yeah,” he nods, sucking his teeth, “that’s what I thought. Maybe we should feel shit all the time for the crimes of the past? Wear a hair shirt and not go on vacation? The soundtrack of the show, with its boos, drums and gasps, swells to an almost deafening volume. Olivia’s silence is even more deafening.

The dynamic between what one might call (very, very loosely) rich “self-taught” people and their children – fascinating to a civilian viewer – creates a rich and anxious tension, so that every family reunion takes on a more fragrant. of a tense and dangerous thriller than a party. Fortunately, therefore, for those who get away with the serial humiliation of millionaires and billionaires, Succession, the intelligent, elegant and dramatic show par excellence, begins airing its third season this week via Sky Atlantic. Yes The white lotusThe occasional portrayal of family resentment between wealthy parents and their spoiled and ungrateful offspring provided a stroke of schadenfreude, Ssuccession – which follows the unscrupulous and unscrupulous Roy family through a series of power grabbers and feuds over their media empire – increases this pleasure tenfold. To see the four manipulative, neurotic and unhappy children of his patriarch Logan put their teeth in the jugular in the face of the promise of a CEO position is to experience two contradictory feelings at the same time: to hate them and to go into ecstasies in front of the pure and unwavering power. of their misery. Beside the Roys, the Mossbacher resemble the Waltons.

The Roys – unlike families like the Mossbacher – are not only wealthy, but what Roman Roy describes as “really ‘f *** you, f *** you, I-myself-myself. climate-change-record, I’m-in-New Zealand-with-my-own-private-army, ”which raises the stakes surrounding their respective legacy and trust funds even higher. Mark Mossbacher, a seemingly helpless man by center who has learned just enough social justice language from his welfare mogul wife to appear overall sympathetic, lets his mask slip off when it becomes clear to him that he is in danger. to be overthrown – politically, if not literally – by his daughter. In Succession, Logan Roy, the daddy of all rich assholes, rarely wears a mask. He is not gentle, polite or affectionate with his children, whom he sees either as pawns, disappointments or competitors depending on his mood. There is a certain level of wealth, Succession seems to pose, according to which pretending to be another man is no longer a necessity, nor a professional advantage.

What does the public know for sure about how Successionmedia mogul Logan Roy got his power? They know that he and his brother grew up working class in Scotland with an alcoholic mother, born just before World War II; that they were later transferred to live with an uncle Noah in Canada, a publicity young man who beat Logan savagely enough that he had deep red scars on his huge urchin back.

After that, there is a long period of his life – the period in which he transformed, improbably and presumably with great tension, from a broken and beaten boy to a billionaire tyrant – that doesn’t is never mentioned on Succession, with the exception of one or two allusions on his part to having seen or done the unthinkable, the infeasible and the unspeakable, in a way that his children have never seen and never will. The wild engine of the series therefore springs from this great gap between the life of the father and the life of his four spoiled children, who will never be able to win his love for the simple and ugly reason that he hates them for the education that he gave them – the vacations, the houses and the ponies, the expensive schooling and designer clothes, the permanent protective shield offered by net worth greater than that of some nations. “You know,” Kendall’s second son told Logan at the start of the first season. “I was born lucky, I am a lucky person. And you are so jealous, aren’t you? You are so jealous of what you gave to your own children.

Succession Season 3 UK Trailer

If Mark Mossbacher hated his pseudo-social justice warrior daughter for the easy ride he gave her during that breakfast dress-up session, he at least had enough humanity not to show it. fully. The white lotus, a beautiful sight in itself, resembles the gentle warning pinch of a domestic dog unlike Successionwolf bite. While White’s players generally claim to be extremely pleasant and liberal people, even as they treat the service workers around them like proverbial filth, the Roys have only gotten more heinous in the new season. Just as Olivia won’t give up luxury, no matter how many infographics she shares on Instagram, Logan Roy knows that her four children would rather destroy each other than give way to Waystar Royco’s pacifier. “[Dad’s] like fucking Moby Dick, ”Roman says casually, in the second episode of season three. “He could bring us all down with his harpoon-riddled back.” The younger Roy, even though he thinks he’s joking, is probably right about his father’s risk: New Yorker Interviewer Rebecca Mead reported last month, describing show creator and writer Jesse Armstrong, “I took a peek at… visual evidence of the group’s creative discussions. [that included] photocopied images of paintings by Goya and Rubens of Saturn devouring his son.

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In that same play, Armstrong reveals that in designing the show he was thinking about something Marx said in Louis Napoleon’s eighteenth brumaire: “Men make their history, but they do not do it as they please; they do not do so in circumstances chosen by themselves, but in circumstances already existing, given and transmitted from the past. It is a scholarly and historical reference for what is sometimes a scholarly and historical spectacle, its sensitivity very often closer to the Greek myth or Shakespeare than to prestigious contemporary comedy.

Much of this stems from his threats of violence between families, dynasties and houses, and his almost entirely theoretical obsession with the sexual act – every double cross is seen as “screwing up,” each character believes them. other characters should “fuck”, and so on – even though there is very little sex on the screen. Although every now and then there is an undertone of incest: “You might want to fuck your mother,” Logan growls at Roman, lashing out at him, “but I’m OK in this department.” (This Roman’s real name is “Romulus”, as in Romulus and Remus, is funny, because it’s hard to think of someone who could have more crippling mum issues than a man abandoned by his mother and then raised. and suckled by a wolf Funnier still: Romulus’ father in the myth is Mars, the god of war.)

Matthew Macfadyen, Brian Cox and Peter Friedman in the third season of “Succession”

(Macall B Polay / HBO)

Besides being as bawdy, atavistic and sometimes perverse as anything Shakespeare does, Succession also recalls the 1976 television broadcast me, Claude, which traversed the history of the Roman Empire from the perspective of its emperors, and which was also marked by power seizures, inter-family feuds and baroque double crosses of treason upon treason. The world of me, Claude was a matriarchy for Succession‘s patriarchy, and her evil mother, Livia, was played by Dame Sian Phillips with her tongue firmly in her cheek. “Just be evil,” she recalls hearing from the show’s director, Herbert Wise. “The meaner you are, the funnier it is and the more terrifying it is.”

One could easily imagine this quote pinned to Jesse Armstrong’s inspiration board alongside the Reubens and Goya. Yes The white lotus ended with an actual count – albeit a – Succession somehow feels more violent, or perhaps less merciful. Let’s not forget that its second season ended on one of the most exciting and spooky plans in television history, with Logan watching Kendall ruin her professional reputation on live television and reacting in the most exciting manner. more surprising, the scene so loaded that it landed like a sudden slap: the son devouring the father, and the smiling father, almost smug, as if he was experiencing for the first time something close to love.

Season three of “Succession” is available starting at 2 a.m. on Monday, October 18 via Sky Store and NOW, and will then air Mondays at 9 p.m. on Sky Atlantic.


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