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The Cringiest Thing About 'Suits'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | August 18, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | August 18, 2023 |


Suits just broke its own record again on the Nielsen charts, racking up 3.9 billion minutes of viewing across Netflix and Peacock (but mostly Netflix). That’s three weeks in a row that it has broken its own record, as new audiences come aboard while existing audiences continue to plow their way through nine seasons. Peacock — who has exclusive rights to the 9th season — must be salivating over all the new subscribers that are going to flock to their service once they’re done with the first eight seasons on Netflix. Spoiler: Most people aren’t going to bother because their interest in the series will wane after five or six seasons, tops, and bottom out after Meghan Markle and Patrick Adams leave (a shame, though, because Dulé Hill and Katherine Heigl are excellent replacements).

Also, don’t watch the Jessica Pearson spin-off, Pearson. I wanted it to be good. Gina Torres deserved for it to be good. It was not.

But here’s where I talk about the most annoying part of Suits over all nine seasons: The movie references. And listen: I love a good pop-culture reference. It’s part of why we love shows like 30 Rock and Community. But a reference to a movie alone does not make for good TV; it has to be well-deployed, subtle, and appropriate to the context.

Suits is terrible at this. Suits’ tendency is not only to pull out the most obvious of movie references — The Godfather, Jerry Maguire, The Princess Bride — but they act cocky because of their ability to identify references that high schoolers could readily identify. But the worst part? Not only do they quote from obvious movies, but they always feel the need to identify the movie from which they are quoting, as though the viewer at home doesn’t know. They literally add insult to injury.

It’s not embeddable, but here’s a good example: “I’m not leaving my wingman,” Harvey tells Jessica, before insisting upon adding, “See, that’s funny because that’s from Top Gun.” Yes, we know, Harvey! Everyone knows, Harvey!

And then Jessica musters up a lot of swagger and spits a reference from the same movie back to him. “He’s a wildcard, flies by the seat of his pants,” she says. And just in case you weren’t 100 percent sure that it was another Top Gun quote, she adds, “You think I can’t quote Top Gun? Get the hell outta here!”

Here’s another excellent example that also includes the most frequent of Suits tropes: The manila envelope or, in this case, the Deus ex machina folder. Do we know the contents of the folder? We do not! The folder is a MacGuffin! The folder just allows them to deliver a lot of gibberish and viewers can’t call them on it because we have no idea what’s in the folder!

But also: The obvious references to The Silence of the Lambs delivered as though witty are bad enough, but after the quote-off, they make damn sure in the next scene to let everyone know what movie is being quoted, as though a viewer over the age of 25 — and that’s all viewers of Suits — couldn’t identify the chianti/fava beans quote. Get the hell outta here!

And they do this with every movie reference, and nearly every episode has at least one movie reference.

Louis: And if you value this friendship at all, you would stay out of it, because I’m going to the mattresses against Dana Scott.
Harvey: Mattresses? Have you been watching The Godfather?