TV

Emmy Odds: In The Battle Of The Succession Bros, Who Comes Out On Top?

The 2020 Emmys are nearly upon us and the most cutthroat category this year might just be the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama race.

That’s because three members of the Roy family are vying for that statue and, like their Succession alter-egos, they’ll do anything to come out on top – or to top from the bottom, really, who knows with this show. Of course, the actual actors – Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfayden, and Nicholas Braun – seem like lovely gentlemen who would never debase themselves by giving in to the heady temptation of competition but their counterparts certainly would so we’re going to predict the winner of this dick-swinging contest the only way a Roy would respect: by indulging the fragile ego of our inner frat bro.

That’s right, we’re getting in the mud and deciding this thing Boar on the Floor-style. The only rule? There are no rules (though we do recommend chanting “Boar on the Floor” while reading the rest of this nonsense to really tap into the Stalin-esque spirit of it all).

Round 1

HBO

Tom Wambsgans / Matthew Macfayden

The first piggie to oink for his sausage is the “C*nt of Monte Cristo” himself. Mr. Shiv Roy had a rollercoaster of a season, negotiating an open-marriage with his wife on their honeymoon, learning Shiv had become Logan’s new heir apparent, ascending the ATN ranks only to walk his top news anchor through an awkward “Are You a Neo-Nazi” questionnaire – and that’s before company-wide lockdowns, embarrassing dinner party games, and a D.C. trial sucked his balls clean out of his sack. He’s not the most outwardly aggressive of his competitors, but Tom did eventually stand up for himself near the end of season two, and Macfayden played his gradual transformation quietly enough that the simple act of robbing Logan Roy of his fried chicken drumstick sent shockwaves through the fandom.

It’s a tricky magic act to pull off, especially when you’re trying to keep a sopping wet blanket like Tom afloat amidst a sea of vicious, bloodthirsty sharks like the Roy family. Out of everyone on the show, Tom might’ve shown the most growth in season two, even though he was constantly sh*t on by his wife and her siblings. And Macfayden managed to bring some much-needed awareness to forgotten STD’s with this zinger: “You don’t hear much about syphilis these days. Very much the Myspace of STDs.” And he did it with a straight face.

Current Position: On the floor, full-heartedly oinking. He’s murdered Carl, but no one really cares because he’s just so good at looking pathetic.

HBO

Cousin Greg Gregory / Nicholas Braun

The next Roy ready to claw his way out of this bag of live raccoons and to the Emmys (virtual) stage is the sweetest, most beautiful Ichabod Crane f*ck that’s ever graced our TV screens. Cousin Greg, or Gregory as he now wishes to be called, also went through a transformation in season two. He got a haircut and a promotion, he committed his first successful act of blackmail, he was pelted with water bottles during a tense moment of “executive-level business,” he became a cocaine dealer, then addict, and he performed word Jiu-jitsu during a Senate hearing. Greg, like Tom, is a social pariah but he so effectively hides his inner sleaze-ball that we’re normally left with the uncontrollable urge to stuff his beanstalk frame into our average-sized arms and shield him from the sh*t tornado that’s sure to destroy his chosen family.

Greg — and by extension, Braun — had a couple of things going for him this season. He’s beloved by the fans because he’s able to convince us he’s really just an aww-shucks guy who’d be happy with a $5 million inheritance unlike the rest of these greedy maggot-pies and he spends most of the season finding ways to fight back in his toxic relationship with Tom. He did manage to negotiate and then reluctantly blackmail his business boyfriend into an open relationship during the middle of a live-shooter situation, so that has to count for something, right?

Current position: This fungus-ridden piglet is hopped up on cocaine and the stretch of Braun’s limbs rivals Reed Richards. He’s here to play.

HBO

Roman Roy / Kieran Culkin

Our third and final contestant has entered the arena and you’re higher than Techno Gatsby pre-bed-shitting if you think this slime puppy isn’t going to risk it all for some recognition. Roman started this season – this show, really – as a bit of a train wreck. Well, a train wreck would imply something happened to make him go off the rails but we’re pretty sure “f*cked up little weasel” is in his actual DNA. No, Romulus is like a tiny dog, one of those constantly yapping kinds, who goes around humping everything in sight. It’s gross and funny at the same time, but eventually, after a few minutes of watching it rail a stuffed teddy bear in the face, the illusion that this cute, fluffy little being is anything more than an animal ruled by its base instincts shatters and you just want a shower.

That’s what it’s like watching Roman Roy inch his way closer to his father’s right hand this season. He makes a valiant effort at playing it straight, mingling with the common folk, dressing up in Dirk Turkey costumes, and pretending to give a sh*t about his dad’s company, but it’s all a show. What Roman really wants is love – I mean, more money and power wouldn’t hurt either, but yeah, love. He’s willing to do anything – sacrifice his brother, endure physical abuse from his dad, shrug off a failed space launch with some cringe-worthy rocket scientist jokes – in order to be accepted and respected by his family members. The problem, one that Culkin illustrates beautifully throughout the second season, is that Roman is hardwired to self-destruct. He can’t help but tie his own noose, so even when he’s making strides in terms of his career ambitions – like surviving a tense hostage situation – or his personal relationships – like his budding mommy kink exchange with Gerri – eventually, it’s all going to come crashing down.

Current position: Roman’s already accepted the fact that no amount of anti-bacterial gel will wipe the America off of him, so he’s not afraid to get dirty and because there is no line separating Kieran and his character, the two are now interchangeable.

Round 2

HBO

Wambsgans / Macfayden

You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking a few Gregs so Macfayden’s going for the jugular. Is Braun’s character really a supporting player in this game or is he just Matthew Macfayden’s glorified fluffer? Who deserves that gold-plated figurine? The man who says “Latte Me” or the boy who runs to get the latte?

HBO

Cousin Greg Gregory / Braun

The claws are out. Braun doesn’t want them to be. He hates to use this leverage, but he’s got principles guys and he’s starting to figure out the meaning of the term “self-respect” so here it goes: Toms Wambsgans swallowed his own load. Is that who you want representing you, Television Academy voters? An actor who can successfully convince you he swishes his own spunk like milky mouthwash?

HBO

Roman / Keiran

Kieran’s amped up on adrenaline and the knowledge that no one’s going to give a f*ck about how cute Macaulay was as a kid this holiday season because the pandemic will delay the release of Christmas. Worse, he actually believes he can win this. But not by sitting back and hoping Braun and Macfayden rip each other to shreds (or give in to their white-hot sexual tension). No, he’s a man of action, so here’s a list of all of the ways Roman was a good boy this season: He bought a sports team for his daddy (it wasn’t the team he liked but that really shouldn’t factor into this); he did some backdoor dealing to make the Pierce negotiation go through (turns out he torpedoed it by going off-script but again, no relevance here); he survived a hostage situation by playing a crude game of F*ck, Marry, Kill with his bros; he stood up for Kendall when he was on the chopping block; and he showed just a hint of vulnerability when he proposed to marry Gerri (or kidnap her, or consume her flesh, it’s really all the same). See what a good boy Roman was. A very good, very naughty, dirty boy. And didn’t Kieran play him so well? Don’t you secretly believe he jacked off in that bathroom scene? DON’T YOU?!

Round 3

HBO

Wamsbgans / Macfayden

Not only did Tom eat Logan’s fried chicken, he told Shiv he thinks he’s unhappy most of the time like two minutes before. Who else but Macfayden could pull off that kind of emotional whiplash in the same episode? Your move, Greg.

HBO

Cousin Greg Gregory / Braun

Gregory said he touched Bill Gates and Braun made us all believe that was actually worthy of a humblebrag. And that’s after we all collectively realized big tech was destroying our society. Braun could brainwash us into thinking Mark Zuckerberg was a chill dude to playing Animal Crossing with and we’d buy it hook, line, and sinker. He’s a talented, clever little minx and his body looks like the human equivalent of the Wacky Wavy Tube Man. It’s truly neck and neck.

HBO

Roman / Kieran

Roman emotionally matured enough throughout the season to recognize his own trauma and Kieran laughs like a hyena which is, oddly, adorable. He’s the perverted, vile, misbehaving sex symbol America deserves right now.

Final Round

HBO

Wambsgans / Macfayden

But Tom filibustered that Senate hearing with his sheer stupidity by refusing to acknowledge he even knew a Gregory Hirsch, and Macfayden pulled that off even though Braun was sitting right behind him in the scene. The cahones on this dude. And, he didn’t want to have to play this card, but you all know how horny you’ve been for Mr. Darcy during this quarantine, and it’s not the Colin Firth version that’s been tickling your naughty bits.

HBO

Cousin Greg Gregory / Braun

Gregory’s tired. The moral depths he’s sunk to in order to survive this cabal of baby-feasting jackals has left his oversized frame so fatigued, even “doin the old cocaine” won’t help. And Braun’s got another alt-rock ballad to perform. He reneges with a profound Grexit speech: “If it is to be said so it is.”

HBO

Roman / Kieran

Kieran lost interest in this game before it even began. He just stayed in it to facilitate the implosion of Tom and Greg’s bromance because he loves destroying things that are good and he wants to see Macfayden and Braun at each other’s throats. If he loses, he’ll claim the whole show was rigged. If he wins, he’ll brush it off as some circle-jerk door prize that doesn’t really mean anything before changing his Twitter bio to something unbearably pretentious and gifting the statue to the dude who plays Frank, telling him to use it as an anal dildo or something.

HBO

Wambsgans / Macfayden

Congratulations Macfayden, you play a blubbering, clay-brained codpiece so well, we’re hoping you win an Emmy for it.

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