Kieran Culkin's Favorite Roman Insult In Succession Is One Of His Most Brutal

Roman (Kieran Culkin) is probably the most evil of the Roy siblings, but that hasn't stopped him from being a fan favorite. The "Succession" writers understand that if a character can make the audience laugh, we'll forgive them for anything, and Roman usually gets the funniest lines of the episode. Granted, he also typically gets some of the grossest lines of the episode, and your mileage with those might vary. The consensus is clear, though: on a show where everyone's flinging insults left and right, Roman has always been the insult king.

During his recent appearance in an episode of Hot Ones, the talk show where celebrities are interviewed while eating increasingly spicy hot wings, Culkin gave his take on what his favorite Roman line was, and it's a mean one. It's from the season 3 episode, "Retired Janitors of Idaho," in the scene after Roman and Shiv go to talk to Sandy, Stewie, and Sandy's daughter Sandi, who has to speak on behalf of her now very ill, speech-impaired father. As Culkin put it:

"A recent one we're talking about Sandy Furness whose health is waning, not doing too well, and I said — totally forgot about this line and that it existed and was in the show, I say like, 'Sandy is barely alive, you can tell him to go f**kin' eat his own diaper and his only response would be,' [pantomiming Sandy]. I'm like, 'Damn that's brutal!'"

Like most of Roman's insults, Culkin successfully makes it feel like the character's coming up with it all on the spot. As he added, "I love the way it's written to be like he doesn't know what he's gonna say." It's especially impressive when the insults are horrifically offensive.

More than just an insult

Roman's off-the-cuff delivery might take the sting out of some of his lines, as nobody's unfiltered thoughts are going to be tactful, but it also might make Roman's insults hit even harder because we know there's an element of truth to them whether Roman realizes it or not. 

The element of truth to Roman's diss on Sandy is that Roman has zero respect or empathy for the sick, disabled, and elderly, which makes his behavior throughout the rest of the episode all the more interesting. The Logan of this episode ends up in an even worse position than Sandy; whereas Sandy's at least aware of what's happening around him, a bad UTI leads to Logan losing his grasp on the situation entirely.

But even as it becomes clear that Logan is not well, that his usual business savviness can't be trusted, Roman keeps defending him. "He's trusted his gut before, it's always worked out," he says, not long before one of Logan's men has to carry an imaginary cat out of the room to keep Logan calm. Roman's cruel dismissal of the ill and elderly is nothing compared to the fear and awe he has of his father. Even when Logan's out of it, Roman's terrified of disobeying his wishes.

"Succession" has always been fascinated with Logan's questionable health, as it's one of the only things the all-powerful Logan can't buy his way out of. But this episode in particular shows just how much control Logan still has over Roman, even as he's physically weaker than ever. Roman's dig on Sandy might be one of his most brutal lines, but in the larger context of the episode, the line also emphasizes just how sad Roman's relationship with his father truly is.