Perhaps more than any other show on TV right now, Succession begs for psychoanalysis.
Jesse Armstrong’s scathing satire of the super-rich follows Logan Roy, the tyrannical patriarch of a media dynasty, and his family’s endless infighting for his throne. All of the characters, especially the siblings Kendall, Shiv, Roman and Connor, are dripping with dysfunction – “daddy issues” doesn’t even begin to cover it. But so rich and layered is the writing that the roots of the dysfunction lie deep in the subtext.
Leave it to Sara Barron and Geoff Lloyd to unearth them. The American comic and her husband, a veteran radio and podcast presenter, host what is, for my money, the best Succession podcast on the market in Firecrotch & Normcore.
At the time of writing, they are gearing up for the fourth and last season of the drama by dropping hour-long discussions of each season to date.
The first, Usury and Onanism: The S1 Rewatch, has all the keen insights we’ve come to expect. Not only do they ask the big questions, such as that concerning Roman’s reliability as a narrator of his abusive backstory, they also leave time for minor, but telling, observations such as the sidewalk-hogging size of Kendall’s umbrella (“because sharing space with others is not for him,” says Barron).
And then there’s Succession’s gloriously caustic dialogue, which the hosts rightfully recognise as worthy of a close read. There’s even a thorough deconstruction of a single line, which Barron calls “the great Tom and Shiv quote from season 1”. When laying down the ground rules for his bachelor party ahead of their wedding, Tom, ever submissive, suggests to Shiv: “If I touch a boob, you touch a dick.” “But is it like for like?” Lloyd wonders.
Firecrotch & Normcore, a reference to Roman’s perverted nickname for Shiv and Tom, invites the comparison between the presenters and the fictional couple. There is a very slight similarity in their dynamic – Barron is bold and brash, Lloyd more mellow – but what the self-referential title actually hints at is their willingness to talk openly about themselves and their relationships, which makes for some hilarious digressions.
The Roys should take note. Although, when discussing season 1, episode 7 – which sees the Roys gather for a family therapy session – Lloyd accuses Barron of wanting to do the same with her own family. She seems to channel her inner Logan Roy with the reply: “You know why? ’Cos I would fucking win.”