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WARNING: This article contains language that some readers may find offensive.
The hit HBO show Succession returns on 26 March for its highly anticipated fourth and final season.
The show has been dubbed one of the best series on television, and while many are wondering who will come out on top at the end of the day – will it be Logan, Shiv, or Cousin Greg perchance? – a great many viewers have been tuning in for not only the compelling performances and the riveting machinations, but for the writing. Specifically, the insults.
Yes, it’s very entertaining watching terrible people being awful to each other.
The profanities in Jesse Armstrong’s Emmy-winning show range from hilarious to uncomfortably bleak, savage one-liners to cruel diatribes, with the dysfunctional Roy family hurling meticulously written abuse at each other.
So, before the final showdown, Euronews Culture have taken the time to rewatch the first three seasons and compiled the best insults in this veritable goldmine of slicing slander, ranking them in order of greatness.
Brace yourselves – it doesn’t get more lacerating than some of these foul-mouthed gems.
“Romulus, when you laugh, please do it at the same volume as everyone else. We didn’t get you from a hyena farm.”– Logan to Roman – Season 2, Episode 5
In Episode 5 of Season 2, the Roy family spend a weekend with the Pierces at their family estate. They are determined to make a good impression so that Logan can purchase a rival company.
And when Roman ends up laughing too loud during the get-together, Logan savagely tells his son – in front of everyone and using Roman’s full name, which somehow makes it worse – to pipe down. And pipe down he did.
“What’s that, ‘Date Rape’ by Calvin Klein?” – Shiv to Roman – Season 1, Episode 1
We didn’t have to wait long for some of the show’s most brutal putdowns to make an appearance. At their father’s birthday bash, siblings Shiv and Roman start going for the jugular. Shiv emerges victorious when she gives her brother a hug and comments on his aftershave.
Roman does retort with a confusing comeback: “You wish”, to which Shiv replies “You wish?” in confusion. From the very first episode, we knew how dysfunctional this particular family unit was.
Start as you mean to go on…
“I think (Logan) meant to say he wished mom gave birth to a can opener, because at least then it would be useful.” – Roman to Kendall – Season 1, Episode 2
Early on in the first season, Logan is in a hospital bed after suffering a haemorrhagic stroke. The siblings bicker about who should run the company while Logan is unfit.
Roman addresses Kendall after Logan tells his son that the CEO position is several years off, and throws some savage shade. But then again, the title of the episode warned us that the gloves were off: “Sh*tshow at the F*ck Factory.”
“What are you waiting for? A kiss? F*ck off!” – Logan to Roman – Season 2, Episode 2
Logan shouts this at his son Roman, who doesn’t seem to want to leave his office.
Simple, effective and brutal. And the way Brian Cox delivers the many declinations of the f-bomb throughout the series is nothing short of inspiring.
“I’m going to grind his f*cking bones to make my bread.” – Logan about Kendall – Season 3, Episode 1
Regardless of the back-stabbing and animosity between patriarch Logan and his eldest son Kendall, there’s something uniquely graphic and jaw-droppingly violent about this comment.
Roman gets off easy, comparatively speaking.
“Forgive me, but are we talking to each other on the poop deck of a majestic schooner? Is the salty brine stinging my weather-beaten face? No? Then why the f*ck are you wearing a pair of deck shoes now?” – Tom to Greg (on his first day of work) – Season 1, Episode 3
Poetry, pure poetry.
Cousin Greg arrives at work for his first day and his shoes aren’t to Tom’s liking.
Most of the show’s main giggles come from the endearingly disturbing to-and-fro between Tom and Cousin Greg, his de facto protégé. Tom is a fan of punching down and is a classic example of a victim-bully: he’s harassed left, right and centre from just about everyone – most of all his wife, Shiv – and uses the naïve Greg as a homoerotic punching bag. After all, he did declare to his sidekick “I’d castrate you and marry you in a heartbeat” in Season 3…
And then there’s this next one…
“You can’t have a Tomelette without breaking some Greggs.” – Tom about Greg – Season 2, Episode 9
There’s nothing more to say here. Just let it sit with you.
“The Logan Roy School of Journalism? What’s next, the Jack the Ripper Women’s Health Clinic?” – Ewan Roy to his brother Logan – Season 2, Episode 10
Family… What can you do?
We gradually understand the long-simmering animosity between Logan and his estranged brother Ewan (James Cromwell), who believes Logan is essentially the devil. And he’s not shy about speaking his mind, criticizing Logan’s branding efforts – as you can tell by this doozy of a query.
“Someone send a telegram to Ilona telling her she’s no longer required and my best to her cancer.” – Logan dictating a memo – Season 1, Episode 6
Logan is rooting for cancer. Horrific but on brand.
He’s referring to Ilona Shinoy, a board member who’s largely absent due to the fact that she’s battling cancer. When she is asked to vote against him to kick him off the company board, he doesn’t take it well. Clearly.
“That’s about as choreographed as a dog getting f*cked on roller skates.” – Logan to his lieutenant Karl – Season 2, Episode 3
As a frustrated Logan struggles with his bid to buy out a rival news company, he reacts thusly to the news of a potential leak.
It’s a terrific line which paints quite the vivid picture, and it’s no surprise that this episode in Season 2 earned Cox an Emmy nomination.
“Oh, hello? Is this the replicant department? Yeah, my meat-puppet has stopped working.” – Shiv to her husband Tom – Season 2, Episode 3
The relationship between Shiv and Tom — the way they interact, the terms of their marriage – is uncomfortably fascinating and at times quite sad.
This made the Season 3 finale such a cathartic, gut-punch of an ending.
In this episode from Season 2, Shiv clearly tries to pass her comment off as a joke, but everyone knows that deep down, this is exactly how she sees her husband. She looks down on him in her entitled way, uses him when she can, and wants someone to be at her beck and call. Nothing more, nothing less.
And considering the morbid enjoyment we get out of it, we wouldn’t want it any different.
Bring on Season 4…