This Is the ‘Righteous Gemstones’ Line That Was Too Filthy for Edi Patterson to Deliver
HBO’s Succession (RIP) was, in its day, celebrated for the eloquence of its profanity — of which there was so much that an official supercut of its “coldest insults” is more than 10 minutes long. The Righteous Gemstones, which became its HBO sibling a year after Succession’s premiere, has been compared to it for years, and it makes sense. Not only do both shows revolve around a stern, self-made patriarch unsure whether to pass down his empire to his two feckless sons and equally imbecilic daughter, but both are absolutely redolent with potty mouths.
Fans of the show will know that the foulest is Judy Gemstone, played by Edi Patterson. For example: “I have regular woman panties where the string goes up my crack. I have tits. I do sex. I’m carvin’ my own path.” Or: “Let’s see that snowy white dick.” Or: “Guess I’ll just get someone from the crowd to finger me.” I could go on, but you’re also on the internet right now: Google “judy gemstone quotes” sometime when you have two to five hours to kill.
So while it might seem like there’s no (punch) line Patterson won’t cross to bring Judy to life in all her glory (?), the audience at the ATX Festival this weekend learned otherwise. The festival’s closing-night event was a screening of the two-part Season Three premiere, followed by a panel with the actors who play all four extant Gemstones — Danny McBride (who created the series, and plays Jesse), Adam Devine (Kelvin), John Goodman (Eli) and Patterson — as well as producer-directors Jody Hill and David Gordon Green. (Actually, the screening was preceded by a performance by the musical act Jane Leo; Goodman, visible to this commentator on an aisle seat, rocked out to the band’s first two numbers, before they ended on a tremendous cover of “Misbehavin’.”)
In the Q&A, moderator Ben Travers of IndieWire read a question submitted by an audience member: Was there ever a scripted line someone refused to perform because it was “too far out”? Everyone seemed to have the same one in mind, and after going through a significant amount of inner turmoil, Patterson recalled a Season Two episode in which it falls to Judy to look after her new aunt, the much younger and possibly mentally compromised Tiffany (Valyn Hall). Judy is supposed to prepare Tiffany for a bath, but could not bring herself to deliver the line, “You need to make sure you scrape the white stuff out of your coochie.”
“I can’t fucking say this,” Patterson recalls telling her co-stars, adding that the replacement found Judy reminding Tiffany to clean her “ABCs”: “Ankles, butthole, coochie.”
“I don’t know if anyone can top that, but were there other lines? Please go, someone else!” Patterson begged.
“That was a direct lift from Romeo & Juliet,” Goodman responded drily.
A few more questions later, the audience was released into a torrential downpour that coincided exactly with the end of the panel. A rainstorm of biblical proportions, even. It would seem as though God didn’t approve of the line either.