On “Succession”, Kendall Roy is the perfect #Girlboss caricature – .

On “Succession”, Kendall Roy is the perfect #Girlboss caricature – .

“F ** k the patriarchy!” »

When Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) triumphantly shouts that rally cry to press in this week’s episode of “Succession”, we can’t help but back off – almost as loud as we did in Kendall’s delivery. of a particular birthday rap, apparently a lifetime since.

This week, Kendall continues her quest to oust her father Logan (Brian Cox) from the family empire, Waystar Roy Co., by exposing her father’s complicity in widespread sexual abuse, exploitation and even death among workers. of their cruise line. Of course, Kenny only committed this betrayal to protest that he was responsible for the cruise scandal, whereas previously he allegedly threw one of the abuse survivors under the bus, which he more or less did with his Senate testimony from season 2 quashing the charges against his family as a politically motivated attack.

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Since turning to the objectively evil family business, Kendall has been raised on his own supply – or rather, his own utter lack of self-awareness – even more than usual. He feels he’s ‘good’ now, and he’s adopted the language of social justice to prove it, cementing himself as the ultimate #GirlBoss. Her levels of delusion about her own goodness and how she is viewed reach new heights in Sunday’s episode, as Kendall firmly identifies with the very progressives who laugh at and despise him.

Social Justice Language Cooptation Can Only Get You So Far

Just last week, we got proof of Kendall’s commitment to her new ‘awakened’ branding.

Trying to get his siblings to help him overthrow their father, he talks about the mighty old white people who run the world as if he and his siblings aren’t like them. “Great whites, from politics to culture, they’re stepping off the stage – it’s our time,” says Kendall.

“Do you mean us?” That twenty-year-old multiethnic and transgender alliance of DREAMERS that we have here? Roman (Kieran Culkin) responds.

Kendall ignores Roman’s joke, either because he knows it’s true or because he just doesn’t get it. The following looks like a page from a 2020 Pete Buttigieg Iowa speech.

“Big picture? We are at the end of a long American century, ”says Kendall. “Our company is a declining empire within a declining Roman Empire. . . . American supremacy is declining. In this context, we can become omni-national and reposition ourselves. 20 year old Gates is an old man, detoxifies our brand and we can go supersonic. “

Uh, what?

Whether or not there is merit in Kendall’s vision for the rebranding Waystar might undergo if they remove Logan and take over, it’s clear that he doesn’t actually embody the values ​​he stammers out. . When Shiv (Sarah Snook) rejects his offer to team up, he growls back, “It’s only your pacifiers that give you value!” (But of course, F the patriarchy!)

Whatever language he uses, he is who he is, and he is where he is out of personal interest more than out of sympathy for the victimized women of his family. Of course, his progressive critics can see right through that no matter how pitifully he identifies as one of them.

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We see it again in Sunday’s episode when his entourage plays a bizarre and narcissistic game of “Good Tweet-Bad Tweet” in the back of a limousine, in which Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) and Comfry (Dasha Nekrasova) alternate between reading positive and critical tweets about Kendall.

A tweet that Naomi reads – “Allies don’t always come in the form we like, but what Kendall Roy did was important and courageous” – is the perfect ego-stroker that exemplifies exactly how Kendall sees himself and wants to be. seen. Others? Not really. Another “good” tweet comes from a surfer who admits “to want[ing] to f ** k Kendall Roy ”, but the others, read by Greg and then Comfry, hit Kendall where it hurts – or where it would hurt, if he had enough self-awareness.

“Kendall Roy is no hero, fam,” he reads, “It’s Ross bootleg with a daddy complex. ”

“He clearly has mental health issues and insane guilt coupled with addiction. That’s all it is, and it’s sad, ”reads Comfry.

Kendall seems to ignore these meaner tweets, leading the limo drivers to chant, “This one sucks!” This one sucks! We later learn that one of the main reasons he seems so unscathed by nasty (and deserved) criticism and mockery is that Kendall is truly a student of the ‘all press is good press’ school of thought. . If people are talking about him, no matter what they say, they love him!

Take his latest obsession, a John Oliver comedian masterfully played by Ziwe whose show “The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi” systematically targets him, nicknamed him an “Oedipussy”. During a segment of her show, Sophie diagnoses Kendall with a rich Caucasian brain.

“What is happening is that the genetically inherited richness and whiteness causes constriction of the neural pathways in the brain and makes the patient think he woke up when he was just a jerk.” , she explains.

Kendall is ecstatic, seeing it as a delicious roast. “It’s in the conversation. It’s really great, ”he told his team. He later even insisted on taking part in the show as a guest.

In a world of Jeff Bezoses, Elon Musks, and Mark Zuckerbergs, who can hire top communications and marketing teams to sell them as benefactors rather than soulless wealth grabbers, co-opting the language of social justice like Kendall does just don’t hit like before. People who are genuinely committed to progressive values ​​and actions can see through shallow progressive language like Kendall’s and see who he really is – something Kendall is still trying to figure out on his own.

Kendall’s true colors

The irony is that it’s the very women Kendall claims to be helping who call him out. At one point during the embarrassing journalism gala, he refuses to meet Shiv halfway when she asks to work to change Waystar from within, and she asks him point-blank: “Aren’t you. you don’t really give it and that’s all the ego? “

(For what it’s worth, Shiv isn’t exactly the “good guy” she thinks she is either, but at the very least, she doesn’t shout “F patriarchy” at the press.)

Later, the siblings’ inability to agree on a way forward intensifies when Kendall sabotages Shiv’s official public debut in Waystar. For her first speech as the president of the company, Shiv promises that Waystar is committed to listening to criticism and accountability – when she is quickly interrupted by “someone” amplifying Nirvana’s song “Rape Me,” chasing Shiv from the scene.

Of course, Kendall’s visit to Waystar does not coincide by coincidence with this astonishing display of callousness and cruelty, and one which mocks rather than aiding the victims of Waystar, and exemplifies more than anything Kendall – does. he’s responsible – cares more about petty revenge on the family who tried to fuck him, than standing with women. Even though his shot is meant to highlight the hypocrisy of the business, it’s done in such a public and empty manner that it accomplishes nothing other than causing embarrassment.

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Shiv, unwilling to endure the humiliation Kendall put him through, issues a statement that refers to Kendall’s “many attempts to re-educate Kendall of her multiple addictions,” her long history of misogyny, and her moments of “grand thought. and disorderly ”. before going on stage to join “The Disruption with Sophie Iwobi” as a guest.

The piercing statement finally takes Kendall on an ankle, forcing him to heed the truth of that – gasp! – not everyone likes him, or laughs with him, and that’s always how a lot of people perceive him, no matter what he tweets. As much as he would like to write Shiv’s statement as a simple power play, it’s there for the world to see, and his own sister no less, who carries weight. Kendall has something of a breakdown and abandons the show, giving Sophie free rein to tear it down. And as she calls him a few choice names, she recognizes that nothing could be as brutal as the letter Shiv had tossed.

Kendall’s pathetic blindness and her own hypocrisy reminds us of one of her tweets that Sophie previously highlighted: “We need to reverse the culture of corruption that silences women. “

Sophie points out that it’s like a dog saying, “We have to punish anyone who ate ground coffee and did bullshit on the couch #SofaJustice. (The pun “social justice” / # sofajustice is just a * boss’s kiss *.)

She’s not wrong – Kendall’s tragic clowning is his inability to understand that he is an integral part of the very systems and crises that he publicly criticizes with his refined social justice language and branding. It is not clear to what extent he knows this or is completely devoid of self-awareness.

‘Succession’ is full of characters who are either aware and proud of their own horror or exemplify the privileged ignorance of the 1% and the philanthropic economic elites, who will always see themselves as the good guys no matter how many people they fuck to keep their life going. opulent lifestyle. Where Kendall falls on this specter is ultimately to be seen. But the first episodes of this season certainly show that he leans more towards the latter and that he is the architect of his own Bad Tweets.

New episodes of “Succession” air on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.



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