‘Succession’ star J. Smith-Cameron reveals she improvised her iconic ‘slime puppy’ line: ‘I don’t even know what it means’

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J. Smith Cameron and Kieran Culkin costar as Gerri Kellman and Roman Roy, respectively, on ‘Succession.’ Peter Kramer/HBO
  • “Succession” actress J. Smith-Cameron came up with her viral “slime puppy” line on the spot.
  • She uses the term on Kieran Culkin’s Roman Roy during the fourth episode of season two.
  • “I don’t even know what it means,” Smith-Cameron, who plays Gerri Kellman, told Los Angeles Times.

On season two of HBO’s “Succession,” J. Smith-Cameron’s Gerri Kellman rattles off an impressive array of derogatory insults during her illicit, twistedly sexual conversations with the youngest Roy sibling, Roman (Kieran Culkin).

The running list includes (but is not limited to): “over-excited little boy,” “spoiled brat,” “disgusting little pig,” and “revolting little worm,” all of which work Roman into a heated frenzy.

The phrase that stuck with fans, however, is “little slime puppy.”

“Succession” viewers have banded together to form a “slime puppy hive,” or a group of online users that roots for Gerri and Roman’s unlikely romance. The term has also been used to more broadly refer to Culkin as a strange-yet-affectionate nickname of sorts.

On Friday, Smith-Cameron told Los Angeles Times that she improvised the viral line while on the “Succession” set.

“I made up slime puppy,” the 64-year-old explained, continuing, “I’m proud of slime puppy. It’s my contribution to American literature.”

Smith-Cameron added: “I don’t even know what it means, but it suits him.”

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Kieran Culkin and J. Smith Cameron on ‘Succession.’ Peter Kramer/HBO

Before Smith-Cameron and Culkin’s characters fell into their routine of having late-night kinky phone calls, the actors had a long history of working together. They costarred in “Margaret” and “The Starry Messenger,” both projects led by Smith-Cameron’s husband Kenneth Lonergan. Naturally, the duo developed a rapport.

So when the “Succession” crew kept cameras rolling after scenes wrapped to capture the actors’ improvisations, they caught onto Gerri and Roman’s chemistry.

While filming the season-one finale “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” centered around Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) and Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen)’s wedding, Smith-Cameron and Culkin both turned around to check out each other’s butts, the actress previously told The Hollywood Reporter.

“I remember the writers all laughing,” Smith-Cameron said. “But it never occurred to me that it would inform anything they wrote.”

Culkin added that their flirtatious dynamic was intentionally overt, at least on his end.

He said he would “flirt with J. in the most obnoxious way, just to fuck around.” In season two, his long-standing hope of seeing a Gerri-Roman entanglement was realized, though the characters have yet to actually touch.

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J. Smith-Cameron plays Gerri Kellman on ‘Succession.’ Graeme Hunter/HBO

Their odd banter exists off-camera as well.

On the “Succession” set, Culkin calls Smith-Cameron “Mommy Girlfriend,” the actor told Los Angeles Times, while she refers to him as “Baby Man.”

And at the “Succession” season three premiere, held at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the costars had several playful interactions on the red carpet.

Season three of HBO’s “Succession” premieres on October 17.