Timothy Simons on Jonah Ryan’s Unlikely Path to Political Office

Over six seasons, Jonah Ryan has stumbled his way from infuriating White House aide to ill-equipped Congressman. Actor Timothy Simons explains Jonah’s lack of political morals, his awkward attempt at dating and his enduring friendship with Richard Splett.


HBO: Jonah has made some significant strides in his career. Is he becoming more likeable?

Timothy Simons: I don’t know that he’s becoming more likeable because he’s doing all the same things he usually does. In the past there have been moments where his humanity does shine through, but he will always make you pay for it. He’ll ultimately do something that will make you regret having any feelings of empathy for him. One of the things I like about him is that he can’t win, but every time he loses, he just changes the standards of what he considers a win. So he always wins. To him, he’s always doing fine.

HBO: Do you think he’s grown up at all since Season 1?

Timothy Simons: I think he has become much more politically-savvy. Before, he was sort of just happy to be in the White House. He enjoyed the proximity to power and now I think he’s enjoying having power himself.

HBO: Does Jonah actually have political aspirations?

Timothy Simons: I don’t think he’s prepared for the job; he enjoys the power, attention and respect he gets. He’ll do whatever it takes ‒ he has no political morals and doesn’t follow any specific ideology. He does whatever the people around him tell him will keep him in office.

HBO: This season, Jonah tries increase his political leverage with his relationship. Do Jonah and Shawnee work well as a couple?

Timothy Simons: I think they do. Despite Jonah’s terrible ideas towards women, I think he is a rather doting boyfriend and is willing to recede all power to her simply if she continues being his girlfriend. I think he’s happy with that arrangement. He doesn’t get a lot of attention from women and has sort of covered it up with his bravado. Now that he has someone that actually wants to be around him, he will do anything to make that person stay around.

HBO: Jonah and Richard have an interesting dynamic, why do you think their friendship has lasted?

Timothy Simons: One, Richard can actually stand to be around him. Two, like any great relationship, they make each other laugh. I don’t think either one of them sees any fault in the other person. In the sort of opposites-attract way, Jonah’s acidic negativity is balanced by Richard’s buoyant positivity. They’re perfect for one another.