A Baker’s Dozen…and Then Some
You should know by now from my ‘Chuck Seniorisms by the Dozen’ Part I and Part II that Charles Rhoades Senior is one of my favorite characters on Billions. He is played by the extraordinary actor Jeffrey DeMunn, who comes from a theatrical family no less! Buffalo News reported in March 2019 that DeMunn’s father Jim DeMunn and stepmother Betty Lutes DeMunn were two cardinal figures for many years in the local Buffalo theater.
Billions co-creators, writers, and showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien had a chance to discuss DeMunn’s work with Decider in April, 2019:
Decider: Speaking of fathers and sons, the relationship between Chuck and his dad is a constant reminder that Jeffrey DeMunn can play absolutely despicable character with the best of them.
David Levien: Jeff DeMunn is an incredible actor. He constantly blows the entire cast away. When we have table reads, everybody just stops and marvels at how amazingly he plays his scenes. That guy is incredible, and… You know, we don’t concern ourselves with award talk and all that stuff very much, but we do feel that he should be recognized. Several of the cast, we feel, should be recognized, and he’s chief among them.
And I couldn’t agree more! That should give you a sense of how wry and witty of an actor he is. Give the man his award.
A little bit of background in case you’re just now joining us – Senior is an Upper East Side grand master and epitome of the WASP elite who went to Yale and was a Whiffenpoof. He’s a member of the Yale Club of New York, stores his cigars at Nat Sherman Tobacco Lounge, and hangs around with the likes of pals named Tate Tappan and Stuckey Brown, and rubs elbows with Kingmakers like the late Black Jack Foley.
Senior oozes a noble, high-born conviction with not so subtle hints of a slime ball undercurrent, magnified by his Bob Barker mischievous grin. He is an opportunistic bastard, but regardless, we love him and his sarcastic puns. He can throw the best shade with his savage jabs and antiquated advice and Billions season 4 was proof he was up to his old shenanigans. So without further ado, here are my favorite Chuck Seniorisms by the dozen, and then some.
Number 13: “It’s the fucking porta parties! Whatever it is construction workers consume, their night soil is not fit for breathing. I’ve taken to putting Vicks under my nose to mask the stench.” – Episode 9, American Champion
The ointment of his generation.
Number 12: “Son, I’m surprised. You’ve worked alongside the Hebrews your entire career. You know, there was a nasty rumor once about my grandfather being of Ukrainian extraction… [No, Dad. The Cayuga Iroquois] MY casino Indians????? Couldn’t be better. What’s this about? [Indigenous people!] Like my Indians. For that, I will set up a meeting.” – Episode 8, Fight Night
Hello 1950’s, good-bye exonym. Like Junior said, a myriad of problems in a small, three-word sentence uttered by his dad.
Number 11: “You better fucking fix it!” – Episode 8, Fight Night
Nudge your children with threats.
Number 10: “Happy Birthday Kevin. It’s a fucking Slinky. Now leave us alone and make some fun out of that with your hands and some hardwood stairs, huh? If he’s still playing with it tomorrow, put all your energies into the girl.” – Episode 9, American Champion
Quality time with the grandchildren.
Number 9: “Well…there she is. Ah, look at that chin. I know that chin. Adorable. A champion. Don’t worry Sonny, you’ll always be my only child.” – Episode 8, Fight Night
Number 8: “They are trying to hang ya from the yardarm and you have not claimed the high ground from where you can repel the siege.” – Episode 1, Chucky Rhoades’s Greatest Game
Move to higher ground to strengthen your defenses so you can attack your enemy.
Number 7: “It’s time for Pericles to stroll the Parthenon. You smile, shake some hands. Like a Pol on the hustings, which you are. Make the important people feel important.” – Episode 3, Chickentown
Senior with his glad-handing advice. Wine them, dine them, 69 them.
Number 6: “Banks used to be set up by gentlemen, for gentlemen. But a couple of Keatings and Madoffs behave unscrupulously and now the personal touch, the respect, is gone. Banks have become businesses without souls.” – Episode 7, Infinite Game
Gentlemen is a strong word.
Number 5: “Save that falderal for someone with nothing better to do than to parse your Ivory Tower crap.” – Episode 3, Chickentown
You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.
Number 4: “Make the rounds, Sonny. Like Billy Phelan did in his city. You know exactly where all the people are who can help you. Use them the way a bathhouse piano player used poppers to give you that electric shock of power just when you need it most.” – Episode 1, Chucky Rhoades’s Greatest Game
Cattle prod the company you keep.
Number 3: “My little blue helper. I can’t send the girl to pick it up. Hard to explain when your mother confides in her that we haven’t coupled since Tony Orlando last charted.” – Episode 5, A Proper Sendoff
The way he describes sexy time was also last heard when Tony Orlando was on top 40 radio.
Number 2: “Is it dick? I’m betting DICK.” – Episode 11, Lamster
Gotta love Senior, making a wickedly sarcastic statement just to make you feel uncomfortable. Subtle.
Number 1: “I would slap your face and tell ya to act like a man if I didn’t think it’d turn ya on.” – Episode 1, Chucky Rhoades’s Greatest Game
Senior is not against physical discipline of his adult child if the moment strikes.
HONORABLE MENTION: “That does bring a grin.” – Episode 7, Infinite Game
Emotions stated, not elated.
BEST OF THE REST: “Aim higher!” – Episode 5, A Proper Sendoff
Get your shit together, Sonny!
And there you have it folks, a baker’s dozen of seniorisms and then some. We must bring this party to an end, but I certainly look forward to more seniorisms in season five!