What's Up Ancient Grains? & More Food-Themed Succession Insults
Image Credit: All's fair in the Roys' food wars, on Succession. HBO

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SUCCESSION — HBO’s other Game Of Thrones — has ended its four-season run on a triumphant note. In India, the final season’s premiere was preceded by twists and turns and boardroom deals that would have made the Roys proud. First, Disney+ Hotstar dropped the title, among a slew of other HBO ones. Then, amid the general wailing and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackcloth and ashes by the Succession-denied, Jio Cinema swooped in and scooped up the rights (like the IPL before it). 

It’s a good thing too, because quite apart from missing out on the Grade-A scheming and backstabbing that the Roys excel in, we would have also lost access to some of the most compelling food-themed messaging in the history of modern television.

Plenty of more academically-minded folks than us have carefully plotted graphs depicting the powerplay quotient of each of the significant Succession meals — including “Boar on the Floor”; Lady Caroline’s pigeon pie (made with freshly hunted bird); the “Serious Scandi spread” laid out by business adversaries GoJo; Tom’s grab-and-go chicken (the grabbing occurring, unwisely, from Logan’s plate); and the making of the Roy siblings’ anointment-ceremony-special in the finale (‘Meal Fit For A King’).

There’s probably also a sub-category of analysis devoted exclusively to birds that met grisly fates in order to grace the Roys’ plates — though nothing is likely to top Tom and Greg’s ortolan-chomping date.

(Allow us to briefly interrupt your reading for this PSA: Beyond this point, there is a liberal sprinkling of the Roys’ favourite F-word in this post. Please proceed at your own discretion.)

Then there are the numerous dissertations dissecting the symbolism of who eats and who doesn’t on Succession: TLDR; the one percenters are always surrounded by food but rarely eat it; the wannabes (like Tom-“put that fish taco down, you’re getting your melancholy everywhere”-Wambsgans) are more likely to stuff their faces with scant regard for their surroundings. Or Connor’s tantrums over frozen butter (“The butter’s all f**ked! You f**kwads, there are dinner rolls out there ripping as we speak!”) and “looney cake” aka Victoria Sponge (no offence to the departed monarch).

But we, of less pedantic persuasions, simply delight in the food-flavoured invective that the Succession characters lob at each other as per the demands of the occasion. Let’s revisit some of the best and file them away for our own future needs, shall we?

“Your brain’s a scrambled egg, look at you.” 

Made famous by: Kendall, addressed to Logan. 

Ideal occasions for use: If you’re feeling brave, then to someone who has forgotten the explicit instructions they gave you. If you’d prefer to punch in your own weight class, then to someone who has fed you a string of excuses that they themselves can’t keep track of.

“A jar of mayonnaise in a Prada suit.” 

Made famous by: Satirist Sophie Iwobi, describing Kendall.

Ideal occasions for use: To discredit an archrival and lifelong nemesis who has otherwise stymied you with their suaveness and cool.

“The man dying of thirst is suddenly a mineral water critic?” 

Made famous by: Tom, when speaking about Greg.

Ideal occasions for use: Anytime you think someone is ill-equipped to comment on your clearly awesome endeavours.

“You know who drinks milk? Kittens and perverts.”

Made famous by: Roman.

Ideal occasions for use: When you can’t cut the tetra packed milk carton well enough to pour the liquid without causing major spillage all over the kitchen counter and floor and then your siblings (or roommates) laugh at your lack of essential life skills/general clumsiness.

“My mom’s getting remarried to a bowl of porridge.”

Made famous by: Once again, Roman.

Ideal occasions for use: When you want to be casually scathing about an archrival and lifelong nemesis who has otherwise stymied you with their suaveness and cool is clearly the dullest person to have ever lived (and if only everyone else would just recognise this Essential Truth too).

“He ate my f**king chicken. What’s next? Stick his c*ck in my potato salad?”

Made famous by: Logan, expressing his disbelief over Tom’s aggressive grabbing of chicken from his dish.

Ideal occasions for use: When the friend who always says “no, don’t order any for me” — even when you’ve asked them *three times* if they want their own serving of fries — casually reaches over and picks up a fry from your tray.

“Your earlobes are thick and chewy, like barnacle meat.”

Made famous by: Tom, insulting Shiv.

Ideal occasions for use: When you encounter a vile human whose earlobes are also thick and chewy, like barnacle meat.

“I can’t have weevils in the f**king flour sack.”

Made famous by: Kendall.

Ideal occasions for use: When your archrival and lifelong nemesis suddenly finds themselves in your power, and is begging to be allowed to aid you in your plans for world domination, but you just let them know you have no use for them, and that your grand ambitions are better left untainted by their snivelling selves. Then you casually sidestep their blubbering form crouched at your feet, sip from your glass of Champagne, and walk away with nary a backward glance.

“The California F**kin’ Raisin.”

Made famous by: Logan, talking about the US President.

Ideal occasions for use: When you need a scathing epithet for an important personage with a peripheral presence in your life.

“‘Ooh, king of edible leaves, His Majesty, the spinach!’ Get over yourselves. You’re still billionaires with inherited fortunes! There’s no real moral high ground here!”

Made famous by: Tom, administering a dressing down to the Pierces. 

Ideal occasions for use: When your cohort of cousins — California F**kin’ Raisins the lot of them — act all high and mighty at the annual family get-together, and you want to remind them of their humiliating losses to you at hide-and-seek Every Single Time during your summer vacations growing up.

“The f**king belligerent zucchini over there.”

Made famous by: Stewie, indicating Logan’s business rival Sandy Furness. (A less impactful insult by Roman for Furness: “The meat puppet.”)

Ideal occasions for use: None. We never insult zucchinis by using them to describe those we despise.

“Yo, what’s up, ancient grains?”

Made famous by: Kendall, when greeting Frank.

Ideal occasions for use: When you need to greet your longtime buddies but have run out of all the other insults — entirely affectionate, of course! — that are part of your usual and ever-widening repertoire.

“A f**king muesli pit!”

Made famous by: Roman, describing a digital media start-up.

Ideal occasions for use: When you’re staging a hostile takeover of an archrival’s business and want to highlight just how worthless the enterprise is in your scheme of things.