what is real?

Will I Ever Watch ‘Succession’ the Same Way?

Photo: Christopher Polk/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

How much is too much? This is a question posed by a new profile of Jeremy Strong, which has made me rethink everything I knew about Succession and also the general concept of humor.

Personally, my main takeaway from the piece is that Strong and our very good hat boy Kendall Roy appear to be one and the same person. Accordingly, all the boundaries between fiction and reality have now collapsed, and I can no longer watch this show about dumb rich people without hearing the words “tensile strength” bounce around in the inner caverns of my head. (This is a phrase Strong uses in relation to the way Rupert Murdoch’s son ties his shoelaces, but you’ll have to ask him for further clarification, because it certainly eludes me.)

Where should we start? Maybe with Strong calling the end of a scene a “stay of execution”? Or the fact that he brought his own coffee grinder on a trip to Italy? Maybe we should begin with Matthew McConaughey calling the profile’s writer, Michael Schulman, out of the blue just to say of Strong, “This guy’s committed.” Or no, how about the revelation that Strong injured his tibia jumping off a stage in Gucci shoes for a cut that wasn’t even used in Kendall’s birthday episode?

No, I think actually the best place to start is toward the beginning of the profile, when it becomes clear that Strong does not think of Succession as a comedy at all. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the piece, over which various details of Strong’s unhinged acting methods come to light. Things like: He wanted to blast himself and his 200 scene partners with real tear gas on the set of The Trail of the Chicago 7. Or that he once showed up to the set of a movie without being on the call sheet just to sob off-camera while they filmed a funeral scene. To which I can only say: ?????

Not only does this new information make me see this horny photo shoot in an entirely different light, I also have trouble imagining how I can ever behold this baseball-hatted man the same way again. How can I see Kendall wear his brown jacket knowing Strong likes to steal it from set and wear it everywhere he goes? All I have to say is that I hope there are no bunnies in the real Kendall Roy’s life. Sorry, I mean the real Jeremy Strong. Or … do I … ?

Will I Ever Watch ‘Succession’ the Same Way?