Type keyword(s) to search


Dopesick showed the evil of the ultra-rich, while Succession lampoons their greed

  • Hulu limited series Dopesick, in exploring the pure evil behind the proliferation of OxyContin and the sweeping epidemic of addiction and death that followed, proved to be essential and educational as it wrapped its season this week, says Allison Keene. "For all of the murmurings most of us have heard about the Sacklers (or 'members of the Sackler family,' as their lawyers are fond of emailing me whenever we post a story), Dopesick clearly laid things out in no uncertain terms, never holding back on calling out the outrageous behavior at the heart of this horror," says Keene. "Yet no matter how cartoonish Purdue’s rotten cabal may have appeared onscreen, it was only reflecting a bitter truth. The phrase 'rotten cabal' is one I’ve cribbed from HBO’s Succession, used there to denote the cronies behind the fictional mega-corp Waystar Royco. But one of the things Succession has been able to do so well over its three season run is make us laugh at the bumbling exploits of the uber-rich, even at their most depraved. And yet, Dopesick reminds us that we shouldn’t laugh. We should be taking to the streets. There is a troubling trend in our current American society where regular people feel compelled to defend the rights and honor not only of the wealthy (Elon Musk or Donald Trump) but of giant corporations (Disney, Warner Brothers). It’s not just baffling, but sad. In this warped fan culture, many Americans are rooting for those whose interests are diametrically opposed to their own. It brings to mind thoughts of medieval serfs standing knee-deep in mud and covered in boils delighted to hear tell that the Lord and Lady have produced an heir who will one day also rule them. Surely we know better now? In its finale, Dopesick went beyond that exposure of corporate and personal greed to show how the influence of wealth led to our government’s own hand in this corruption, not only name-dropping Rudy Giuliani as a lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, but in the storyline where Main Justice attempts to shut down the case. As US Attorney John Brownlee (Jake McDorman) says, they took the case as far as they were allowed, stymied by political appointees. It’s similar to a plotline in Succession Season 3, where Waystar Royco—and by extension the Roy family—are being investigated by the Department of Justice, and using every possible political connection they have (including a call to an unnamed President) to try and stop it from happening. Again, in Succession we weirdly root for the Roys to worm their way out of prosecution, whereas Dopesick shows us how truly disgusting that result is."


    TOPICS: Dopesick, Hulu, Succession, Danny Strong, Michael Keaton, Rosario Dawson, Will Poulter