NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: Cherry Jones attends HBO's "Succession" Season 3 Premiere at American Museum of Natural History on October 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Succession Is Full Of Horrible Rich People, But Nan Pierce Is The Worst
Spoiler Warning!
This story contains spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of “Succession.”
“Succession” creates a moral baseline for its characters that's lower than low, all while weaving a tangled psychological web that makes them intermittently sympathetic regardless. Characters like Nan Pierce also remind viewers that the wealthy aren't just capable of being funny-evil or puppy-dog-eyes-evil, but something much more obnoxious: fake-working-class-solidarity-evil.
While the Roy family either flaunts their wealth or treats it as a given, Nan clearly comes from the Martha Stewart school of elegant, aesthetics-focused, faux-relatable classiness. Nan never gets her hands dirty, but it seems very important to her that she appears to others as if she did and often acts as if her multi-billion-dollar company is a bespoke, family-run small business.
As seen in the Season 4 premiere, Nan is a shrewd negotiator but also upholds an illusion of home-grown values that contrasts with the Roy family's disarray — and her own grotesque wealth. With each of her lines, she aims to separate herself from the wealthy and cultivate an everywoman air that's outright hilarious given the ten billion dollar deal on the table.
No matter how hard Nan pretends she has “peasant taste” and no sense of money, she's clearly wheeling and dealing. From her well-timed headache to her insistence that she doesn't want to talk numbers, Nan's well-manicured Home & Country facade collides with the fact that she is a billionaire with billionaire problems — and her theatrical cognitive dissonance is comical.
With Nan, “Succession” portrays a blatant denial of privilege that's entirely unsympathetic and deeply entertaining. Cherry Jones commits to the role as Nan in the performance of her life, furiously waving away mentions of her multi-billion-dollar-dynasty to instead talk about the crappy wine she liked as a teenager. Everyone in "Succession" sucks, but none more than Nan.