A lot of popular fiction finds its influence in real-life counterparts. This is especially true for television shows, which often have the flexibility in filming and writing to adapt to scenarios from the real world as they occur. These kinds of influences can be most obvious in a formulaic serial like Law & Order, where a ripped-from-the-headline criminal case has clear connections to what’s unfolding on the screen.
Other shows, however, give more subtle nods to current events, and series like Veep (which drew character inspiration from real politicians) or 30 Rock (with lots of inspiration drawn from the creation of SNL) may not make direct reference to their influences.
When it comes to the TV show Succession, an unlikely scene about raccoons might have been taking a subtle dig at Donald Trump and the corruption of powerful family dynasties.
HBO’s ‘Succession’ tackles power structures
HBO is known for its ambitious dramatic series that often tackle societal issues in a way that keeps fans glued to their screens. From The Wire‘s exploration of Baltimore’s criminality to Oz‘s commentary on the prison industrial complex to The Sopranos‘ in-depth look at mob life, HBO has found a winning formula in using real-life complexities against a fictional backdrop.
In 2018, Succession premiered and joined those contenders for HBO’s top dramatic efforts. The series follows the Roy family, a powerfully connected group who owns the biggest media and entertainment company in the world. When the patriarch — Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox) — announces he’s stepping down, it throws the entire family into upheaval. His focus on his company over his four children has left the ties between him and his family tenuous to say the least, and the drama that plays out is high stakes.
Fans are anxiously awaiting Season 3 of ‘Succession’
Like many series, Succession‘s filming schedule was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For a while, fans worried that they might not get a return of the series at all, but those fears seem to be put to rest. Not only has HBO announced that filming is back on track, but they’ve also added Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody to the cast. This investment seems like a clear signal from HBO that they’re dedicated to the series and continuing it in a way that’s satisfying to fans.
Production has been tricky, however, as the show was going to move filming to Los Angeles to escape the outbreak in New York, but then the outbreak spread nationwide, making Los Angeles unsafe as well. Now, filming is back on in New York, and fans are very eager to see how the cliffhanger of Season 2 is resolved. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) had unequivocally thrown his father under the bus in the most public performance possible, and the aftermath is sure to be juicy.
Is ‘Succession’ raccoon scene about Donald Trump?
Obviously, a show about an aging media mogul and his political influence is going to draw some comparisons to the real-life dynasty of the Trump family, but fans are curious if the infamous raccoon scene was a more direct nod to the impeached President and his legacy.
In the Season 2 premiere, Logan is faced with having to pick one of his children to name as his successor in order to appease investors, and each comes with obvious problems. As the Roys head to the Hamptons to hash things out, they’re greeted by a horrible stench. It turns out to be a raccoon stuffed in a chimney, and Logan demands that the staff throw out all the expensive food for fear it has been tainted.
As Vanity Fair reports, there are plenty of Trumpian references in this episode alone, but the raccoon in the chimney is a not-so-subtle dig at Trump’s reputation for cheating contractors out of their pay. In the show, it’s suggested that a disgruntled construction crew planted the animal’s corpse after Logan stiffed them. In real life, “there are countless tales of the president being sued for refusing to pay his workers what they are owed.”
One such 2007 incident involved a man named Larry Walters, who — angry that Trump only paid him half of his promised pay — tried to hold the materials he was using to make Trump’s hotel curtains, pillows, and bedspreads hostage. The police got involved and confiscated the material on behalf of Trump, and Walters eventually went out of business.
In light of the now dozens of reported incidents where Trump refused to pay the promised wage, Walters looks much more sympathetic — and one might even forgive him stuffing a raccoon up Trump’s chimney.