Successions Jesse Armstrong talks running a Trump-era show in 2021 – The A.V. Club

Succession

Succession
Image: HBO

Succession’s Logan Roy isn’t Donald Trump, for all that he’s a tantrum-prone egomaniac loaded down with a thick crop of semi-loyal failsons. (If anybody, he’s Rupert Murdoch, complete with a long narrative of open warfare with his overly-privileged kids.) But that hasn’t stopped the HBO Emmy winner from being a distinctly Trump-era show—something creator Jesse Armstrong now suggests isn’t likely to change any time soon, despite its third season airing soon in the first year of the Biden presidency.

That’s per a new interview Armstrong just gave to Variety, which touches on the show’s frequent dalliances in the world of politics, which only heighten as Succession World undergoes its own U.S. election in its third season. Partly, that’s just because of COVID-based delays, which pushed the series further and further from 2020. But Armstrong also says 2021 audiences are primed to see the parallels. “I know from watching the first episode with an audience last night, there’s an alchemy that happens when the rubber hits the road, “ Armstrong said. “When the episode is transmitted that means you get a different sense of how it’s connecting with the world.”

Elaborating, he added:

I guess Trump is gone, but the shape that he gave to the American political and social environmentthat still resonates. There’s a certain amount of post-traumatic stress in America about the possibilities of what could have happened, and what people still feel did happen. So I think this show has been formed by the Trump era. And I think now even though we’re past the Trump presidency, we’re not really past that era until normal, democratic politics where people accept the outcomes of elections resumes.

In addition to politics, Armstrong touched on how aware he is of the show’s success, which exploded in its second season—somewhat, but he tries not to think about it—and whether Logan Roy loves his kids: I have no hesitation in saying that [he does]. It doesn’t mean that he can’t behave in unusual ways that might seem cruel or perverse from the outside.”

Armstrong also touches on the issues of writing a character like Kendall Roy, who so frequently veers from one emotional extreme to the other. “I don’t find enjoyment in the idea of putting him through his paces, or his suffering. It’s like, ‘What would happen to him, and how would that feel?’”

Succession’s third season arrives on HBO this Sunday, October 17, almost exactly two years after its second season finale originally aired.

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