A Love Letter To Cousin Greg From HBO’s ‘Succession’


Succession is good. It is very good. I need to lead with that because the last time I wrote about the show I could not decide if I loved it or hated it. The episodes that have aired since then have been so good and the issues I had with the show — not enough fun and no reason to pull for any character — mostly melted away as the season progressed, to the point that I now enjoy it immensely and have many opinions about many of the people and events on the show. As you will see. But now we must move on, for two reasons. One, because my feelings on the show were already summed up almost perfectly by this tweet.

And two, because now I want to talk about Cousin Greg.

Everyone on Succession is a jackal or a scoundrel or both. Kendall is a disaster, careening all over the place from serious businessman to sneaker-clad tech investor, saying things like “business is my fucking” without a hint of irony. Roman is useless, albeit in an increasingly charming way, to the extent one finds the entitled antics of grown man acting like a teenage brat charming. Shiv is working on the political campaign of a man who wants to destroy her family, which is kind of noble until you examine her intentions. Tom is insane. Logan is a monster, in a way that mostly explains why everyone else on the show is the way they are. The show is filled with truly awful people.

Except Cousin Greg. My dear sweet Cousin Greg. Just wide-eyed and naive and standing around with a perpetually confused look on his face while wearing a suit that doesn’t fit him at all and never will. He’s like a goldfish in a piranha tank. I love him. I can’t decide if I want him to get out of Waystar Royco entirely and go be an accountant or repeatedly stammer and blubber his way through the power vacuum until he takes over the whole company.

Please do take a moment to picture that second thing, by the way. There’s a not entirely far-fetched scenario where it plays out someday. Logan is going to scratch and claw to maintain control as long as possible. Kendall and Roman will keep screwing up because Kendall and Roman screw up. Tom is a hilarious dork and I’m starting to love him but he wants it — the status, the money, the power, all of it — way too much and anyone who talks to him for more than 10 seconds can see through him like tissue paper. Shiv is easily the most competent but doesn’t seem to want it at all. And if Logan hangs on long enough and all the children fall away as competitors, then who does that leave?


My sweet gangly boy, that’s who, still standing in a conference room he’s not sure he’s supposed to be in, surrounded by the ghosts of challengers he disposed of by pure accident, surviving only because he’s not worldly enough to know how to die. The champion we need and deserve.