The Emmys have that same mix of minor emotional satisfaction and consistent frustration as the Academy Awards. The tendency to nominate the same or ‘prestige’ shows and ignore progressive and emerging talent, which would benefit from the exposure is particularly painful as the television landscape of recent years has become home to a number of wonderful actors (many female) who are struggling to find work in a film industry dominated by franchises and Comic Book Films. The ‘middle ground’ film that used to live somewhere between truly independent films and the blockbuster or Oscar Tent pole film, has packed up and moved to television.
This year’s Emmy nomination may be ripe for change as the academy have made several category and voting changes aimed to increase diversity of voting (online voting will finally occur) and one hour dramas that submit themselves in the comedy race, have to get approval from a panel just to name a few. For my predictions I’ve decided to embrace the (misguided) hope that we will have a lot of fresh blood nominees.
Television is a big deal to me, I’m reminded of a scene from The Simpsons, when Bart and Lisa are trying to coax Maggie to come to the one she loves the most, she sits sucking her pacifier between her two siblings and rather than move to either side, she stumbles forward and hugs the television. It’s not a secret that I have struggled with mental health issues in my life and one of the things I find strangely ‘comforting’ particularly when I’m feeling very anxious is to re-watch my favourite shows, so as you can imagine, I’m ALWAYS on the hunt for something new to watch, a cartoon band aid for the troubles that ail me. So before I link you to my predictions, I thought I’d give a well-deserved shout out to some of the MVP shows and actors from this eligible year. Perhaps you will agree, think I’ve no taste at all or hopefully find something new to add to your own TV roster.
**Sidenote: Hannibal did not air new episodes during the eligibility period so I won’t be mentioning it but if it were eligible this would just be one big Hannibal fest and I would demand that all the awards be brought in a wheel barrow to Mads Mikkelsen’s home in Denmark and then I’d jump out and he’d be pleased to see me.
YOU’RE THE WORST SEASON ONE
“You’re the Worst” isn’t your typical romantic comedy but it isn’t exactly not one either. Narcissist Jimmy Shive-Overly thinks all relationships are doomed from the start, while stubborn cynic Gretchen Cutler is certain that bonds aren’t her thing. When the two meet at a wedding, they begin to navigate sex, bonding and those eventual ‘relationship questions’
The pilot of You’re the Worst almost lost me, the premise was intriguing but when it started laying sex scene upon sex scene, I started thinking oh great another FX show that thinks this is the definition of ‘edgy’. I am so glad I kept watching because it has become one of my top five favourite comedies of the year. It is deliciously dark, these people truly are the worst but maybe they are the worst couple meant to be. As the season progresses the supporting characters also take more of a centre stage adding more eccentric dynamite to the mix. One particular episode has the two supporting characters realising and ‘debating’ that they indeed ‘secondary’ people in this tale. It’s the type of subtle self-referential humour I used to enjoy in Community before, well, I stopped enjoying it. You’re the Worst received a surprise Television Critics Award Nomination for Best Comedy this year but I doubt it’s the type of show the Emmy’s would embrace, in fact I think I’d fall off my chair.
TITUS BURGESS IN UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT SEASON ONE
Rescued after 15 years in a cult, Kimmy Schmidt decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm. On a whim, she rents a room from Titus, a gay wannabe Broadway actor, who makes ends meet as a street performer in Times Square. The unlikely pair find they’re well-suited to help each other out, with Titus reintroducing Kimmy to modern life, and her providing him with the inspiration that you should never give up. Together they’ll make it through whatever life throws at them.
Tituss Burgess is the best thing about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and really is the archetype of what a great comedy supporting actor should be. He has so many memorable moments throughout the show that I sometimes just skip through episodes to get to his parts… Pinot Noir anyone? Or when he thinks he is turning into an old man, or deciding to live life as a ‘wolf man’ because he gets treated better by New Yorkers as a monster than a black man. This is comedy gold. I also really enjoy the show but won’t give it my full endorsement because in my opinion it suffers in the last 3 episodes that involve the ‘trial’, the Tina Fey O.J lawyer impression might have been funny in the 90’s but in present day it’s just distracting me from the glorious humour and positivity of what I had come to love about Kimmy Schmidt. I understand it probably had to happen to close off that storyline, so here’s to season two, I can’t wait!
GETTING ON SEASON TWO
Based on the BBC series “Getting On” follows the daily lives of overworked nurses and doctors attending to the needs of elderly female patients at Mt. Palms Hospital in Long Beach, Calif. Even as they attempt to serve their charges in a rundown extended-care wing of a hospital mired in red tape, the staff members deal with life’s complications and conflicting agendas, both professional and personal. The ragtag crew includes Dr. Jenna James, whose dreams of becoming a famous medical researcher died at Mt. Palms; Nurse Dawn, who might excel at her job if she didn’t obsess over finding a boyfriend; Nurse DiDi, an example of how one’s easy rapport with patients should inspire co-workers but doesn’t; and Patsy De La Serda, a supervising nurse of ambiguous sexuality.
Getting On Season 2 is probably in my top 3 comedies of the year. It may be because I worked in an aged care facility for a year and currently work in the area of ‘governance’ for the public health system, that I find the show so raw, real and tragically funny. The acting is top notch and a great blend of emotionally dramatic moments and the type of awkward humour you might find on a show like Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nurse Dawn, reminds me of myself so much it actually hurts to watch sometimes. All I can say is do yourself a favour and seek the first two seasons out.
BROAD CITY SEASON TWO
Abbi and Ilana are 20-something best friends who are trying to navigate life in New York, despite that their adventures always seem to lead down unexpected and bizarre paths. They have very little money, but they are survivors who aren’t afraid to throw themselves into sticky situations, no matter how messy the end results may be.
There isn’t much I can say about Broad City that hasn’t already made its way across the web, the show is fucking funny there are no better words to describe their adventures. I’ve visited New York twice (by no means an expert on the place) but whenever I watch shows like Girls or Sex and the City it feels like a bit of a fantasy or elite New York that only a small percentage of people would ever experience. Broad City is broke balls to the wall, the best of NYC. One of the shows best feats is its presentation and even deconstruction of sexual humour from a female perspective, from casual female masturbation, porn preferences and ‘pegging’ with your dream partner. I Heart This Show. Imagine if it got Emmy love? I’d be happier than Abbi with a handful of expired Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons.
LAST MAN ON EARTH SEASON ONE
In 2022, a cataclysm strikes Earth, seemingly wiping out the population save for former family man and bank employee Phil Miller. Sad and very lonely, Phil travels the United States, Canada and Mexico in his RV searching for other survivors. Striving to hold onto hope that there is at least one other living person out there, he tries to make the best of circumstances until his path finally crosses with that hoped-for other survivor — and all the more comforting if that person happens to be a woman.
What a premise, the first episode is pretty much Wil Forte getting drunk, destroying stuff and creating a family of ‘Wilson’ type volleyballs at his local bar for company. I have to admit, I feel like that’s exactly what I’d do. Forte and particularly Kristen Schaal as Carol (the soon to be discovered last woman on earth.. at least for a while), have wonderful chemistry onscreen and I love that due to the uniqueness of the show I’m always a bit on the edge of my seat, what’s going to happen next, how many more characters will be introduced and how will that damage the fragile ecosystem ‘President’ Phil Miller has put together. Visual humour abounds in each episode which is also a treat when compared to staler sitcom type formats. I have predicted three nominations for Last Man on Earth, I bloody well hope I’m right but something tells me I’m living in a kiddie pool filled with tequila of dreams.
PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THE FINAL SEASON OF PARKS AND RECREATION
No Synopsis- It’s been on for seven seasons jerks.
If the Emmy Voters adhere to any type of god then I demand that their god instruct them to tick as many P&R boxes on their Emmy Ballots as possible. It is so hard to give a beloved show a worthy final season/episode but season 7 of Parks pretty much schooled EVERYONE on how to do it. Do you know Amy Poehler has been nominated something like 10 times for major categories and lost… LOST THEM ALL. The number may even be higher, I’m using my mind grapes because the internet did not immediately give me the answer I craved, playing hard to get I see. Episode 4 of season 7, entitled ‘Leslie and Ron’ will go down as one of my all-time favourite episodes of television and if voters watch that and can’t muster a nomination for the show, Poehler and the amazing Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), while the cast and creators of Moderately Adequate, I mean Modern Family, line their toilets with Emmy Awards, then I say there is no God.
AMY SCHUMER IN INSIDE AMY SCHUMER SEASON THREE
A topical sketch comedy series looking at relationships, sex, gender issues and just about anything that could be conceived as funny.
I have the same fear about a nomination for Schumer as I described in my Empire segment, Schumer is exploding now, she has Trainwreck coming out, press is all over her and most importantly the show is funny as hell, but does that equal Emmy nomination? I sue hope so but I’m not sure, one of the best sketches from this season was the 12 Angry Men ‘remake’ but Schumer isn’t in it, so while that may score her a nom and a victory for best variety series, I’m trying to think of the average ‘academy member’ watching her sketches and ticking her name. Let’s all hold hands and chant together, milk, milk lemonade, around the corner fudge is made.
THE MIDDLE SEASON SIX
The Heck family, middle-age, middle-class, middle-America
Let me start by saying if you aren’t watching The Middle, you’re a damn FOOL. Now don’t get mad, I was once like you, I saw the ads for this Middle show and thought, what is this Malcolm in the Middle, or Everybody Loves Raymond-Lite. So what did I do? I ignored it for years. Then one day when I was home suffering a bad case of the blues, stretched out on the couch unable to muster the strength to reach for the remote, I sat through an episode of The Middle that just so happened to be on the telly and I laughed out loud for the first time in a long time. The next time I visited my local DVD store (remember those kids?) I noticed they had season one and two for $15 dollars, a calculated risk I thought to myself, even if it turns out to only be falling asleep background noise material. After that day I fell in love with the Heck family, The Middle is a modern day Roseanne, it does for struggling families (financially and peace wise), what Modern Family does for wealthy white people problems, only about a thousand times better.
Let’s talk Sue Heck, how Eden Sher has never received an Emmy nomination is on par with the totally Emmy Shunning of the Gilmore Girls during its run. The Middle also did something miraculous, it made me like Patricia Heaton, oh lord how I hated Everybody Loves Raymond, and her character, while not the worst was like some sick poster child for my husband and his family treat me like garbage but I’m just going to stick around and waste my life moaning in a clench fisted resentful manner, cause that’s funny right? Frankie Heck is a force of nature, Mike and his ‘Quarry Cat’, Sue and Brad’s friendship, Axl’s milk guzzling, Brick’s friend from social club who thinks he’s a cat.
Oh the memories. The Middle is also one of those rare shows that has actually gotten better with age, 6 seasons in and the last two have been its best, perhaps because it gets to give its long term viewers those hilarious call backs to items, events and characters dating all the way back to the first season. My husband even loves The Middle and he and I have both laughed and cried in the same episode on NUMEROUS occasions, if that isn’t a seal of approval, I don’t know what is. The Middle treats its viewers with intelligence and knows we are a committed bunch, so come on, join us!
LISA KUDROW & THE COMEBACK SEASON 2
“The Comeback” tells the story of a B-list actress as she pitches a pilot and has a ‘camera crew’ follow her around to document the developments. Rather than the pilot, Ms Valerie Cherish lands the lead in a cable drama based loosely on the director’s experience working with Cherish on her last failed TV venture”
Listen up folks, The Comeback was so ahead of its time and great that after not renewing it for a second season back in 2005, they brought it back 10 bloody years later! Lisa Kudrow completely sheds her Friends persona and IS Valerie Cherish a woman struggling to reclaim the fame she once had. Valerie is fragile but quite fierce and though she appears to be the ‘butt of jokes’ at times, you always get the feeling she knows what is going on and is herself playing the game like the veteran that she is. The humour is again subtle, observant and particularly delightful for those with a knowledge or interest in the film/television industry. Seth Rogen has a great cameo and the final episode which is one of the best episodes of the year, is actually set at the Emmys so what more could voters want. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried my eyes out during the finale, this show has it all, laughs, tears, and a lot of hairspray.
I also wanted to mention that I haven’t covered some shows that I really love or admire for their quality which I believe have a significant shot at an Emmy e.g. Grace and Frankie, Transparent, Jane the Virgin and The Comedians.