Weeks before the premiere of the so-hellish-it’s‑heavenly final season of Succession, HBO’s high-stakes family dramedy that brilliantly embodies rich-eat-rich sentiment, cultish TikTokers were already posting impassioned fancams of the show.
But this wasn’t because they were eager for more scathing toxicity, or curious to see who finally ascends the throne of Waystar Royco. Instead, these loyalists were counting down the days until they could go back to defending the internet’s favourite poor little rich kid, Kendall Roy, Logan Roy’s heir un-apparent.
A chunky subset of the always-online world loves and nurtures the media mogul’s second eldest, hopeful inheritor of dad’s “dinosaur” media empire. To them, Kendall (played by Jeremy Strong) is a misunderstood teenage girl – a baby girl or Kendoll, whichever feels cringiest to you. They stan him with the ferocity of the BTS Army, making viral edits of him to Mitski and Taylor Swift songs.
Picture a montage of Kendall’s most vulnerable moments on the show, each one embodying the overwhelming “please, just love me” mood of a volatile teen girl. The nervous, needy cheek kisses to daddy dearest. The sickly-faced staredowns with sister Shiv. The melodramatic moments of reflection while floating face up (and face down) in plush pools.
Now imagine this golden, pity-me fodder set to sad girl teen queen Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal. The undebatable banger about the complex anxieties of a 13-year-old girl wouldn’t typically be associated with middle-aged millionaires. But with Kendall, it works.
“Any other women heavily relate to Kendall? Just wondering,” asked one sheepish Reddit user. “My feminine side feels so connected to him and his struggles.” The post has 579 upvotes, with validating responses from female fans that liken Kendall to the wronged “eldest daughter” trope. As another user wrote: “Watching Kendall is like watching 20s me failing to live up to the “Cool Girl Monologue” from Gone Girl.”
There’s even “Team Kendall” merch: tote bags printed with his face, edited to look like he’s in Twilight, and tees with the words “I can fix him” next to Kendall’s face shaped in a heart. Classic collectables.
It is a little unsettling to know that ket-high, waiter-killer Kendall – the same person who coerced a homeless man into tattooing his disgusting initials across his forehead – has found so much endearment among young women online. But if you peel back the layers of misogyny, arrogance, privilege, entitlement, egotism and every other negative personality trait, you may be able to see what the Kendall Girls do: a lost, lovelorn teenage girl who is constantly set up to fail.
Cast your mind back to Succession’s very first episode, when Kendall really, truly believes he will be inheriting his dad’s multi-billion dollar company – until he arrives at a family lunch to find out that, well, he isn’t.
When his timid protests fail, our pained antihero heads to the bathroom for a meltdown. Kendall stomps on potpourri, tears newspapers apart, snaps Q‑tips in rage and screams into an ugly beige bathrobe to release his anger. Soon after, he tidies up the floor, fixes his suit and steps out like nothing ever happened.
Just like an insecure babygirl, Kendall’s emotions oscillate between extreme highs and lows. He plans an extravagant 40th birthday party, hoping to feel cool and accepted only to find himself isolated. He even bursts into tears because his girlfriend didn’t inscribe the Rolex she gifted him. Nothing screams confused, hormonal teenage girl more than crying at your birthday party.
The irony of it all doesn’t escape the Kendall Girls. He’s far from a wronged young woman, and the fandom is wildly aware that the worlds of Mitski and TayTay rarely intersect with white male politics and right-wing media. But his disruptive character still makes them feel seen. In fact, it’s deeply satisfying to subvert a grown man into an identity that is typically reserved for insecure teen girlies.
The Kendoll community doesn’t watch Succession to find out who wins the Roy riches. The Kendall Girls tune in to watch their baby girl relentlessly lust after love from his family. And, on very lucky days, to sing L to the OG.