My Reaction To This Year’s Emmys, Part 2

Comedies that are actually funny and different were nominated

I’m generally happier about the comedies, which is a rarity for me because I usually don’t agree with the Academy as to what is funny. I’m mainly glad with proportions. I expected Veep to get nominated, but it didn’t do nearly as well as it has before. I expected it to trail Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but Barry and Russian Doll? Both are exceptional comedies, thought they were to daring for the usually conventional academy.

I’m not stunned that Big Bang Theory isn’t here — it had its day in the sun. And I’m hardly shocked that Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were ignored — the Emmys will never acknowledge the CW, no matter how brilliant the programming.

However, I will comment on something I usually don’t — the writing nominations. The Emmys had the great sense to nominate two episodes that were among the best in television history last season — ronny/lily for Barry and ‘Janets’ for The Good Place. They might both end up losing to Veep’s series finale — after all, ‘Teddy Perkins’ didn’t win last year despite the raves, but at least they were acknowledged. I’m grateful for that, at least.

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Now, to the specifics.

BEST COMEDY SERIES

They nominated The Good Place! They showed some forking sense this time! Better late than never, but still, hurray! Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has cemented its position as the favorite with 20 nods (and that’s without anything for the writing) Did the Emmys overcompensate for Barry? Actually, no. The cast and writing were particularly outstanding. I’m also inclined, having seen the first few episodes, to say I was wrong to ignore Russian Doll in my original predictions. And now, clearly I have to see Fleabag, which frankly won’t take much of a commitment.

I’ve expressed my reservations about Veep, but they didn’t overcompensate. And admittedly, Schitt’s Creek has developed a huge following among audiences and critics alike, so I’m willing to give them a pass. I’m just a little surprised, considering that they had eight nominees in this category last year, they couldn’t find room for GLOW or The Kominsky Method. Still, a lot of new faces which is good.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Michael Douglas, Ted Danson, and Bill Hader, I all expected would be present. Ditto Don Cheadle. Anthony Anderson isn’t a huge surprise, and frankly black-ish deserves more nominations.

Eugene Levy deserved an Emmy nomination for something. He’s one of the most undervalued legends of comedy, and Schitt’s Creek has clearly been a family affair. I just wish the Academy could’ve found a way to acknowledge Jim Carrey or Kidding in some way. Perhaps his politics really did overshadow his superb performance.

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

This is an interesting group. Since we know it will come down to a showdown between Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the heavyweight champion, and Rachel Brosnahan, the reigning winner, who has taken every prize between here and the Emmys, its interesting to consider who else was nominated this year.

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Natasha Lyonne — in retrospect, she earned her nod, not just for creating the series, but also for falling down the stairs so many times. I know how brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge is just from her work on Killing Eve; I now have to give time to go through her work on Fleabag. And Catherine O’Hara has been one of my favorite actresses for a quarter of a century, so she deserved to get nominated for Schitt’s Creek.

It’s Christina Applegate’s nomination for Dead to Me that I have trouble with. Don’t get me wrong. I love Applegate. I’ve admired her work longer than O’Hara’s. But she seems a bizarre choice among the Netflix actresses. Lily Tomlin or Alison Brie would be a far better choice? And how the hell could the Emmys choose to completely ignore Pamela Adlon and Better Things which was one of the most remarkable television events this season? At least Rachel Bloom was nominated for musical Emmys, but completely shutting out Adlon? That seems unfair. I know some people will be ignored, but still.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Again, I’m happier with this group then with the last one. I predicted Tony Hale, Alan Arkin, Henry Winkler and Tony Shalhoub would all be deservedly nominated. But did they have to overcompensate for Barry so much? Don’t get wrong; Stephen Root did superb work this season on Barry, and I don’t think I gave nearly enough credit for Anthony Carrigan’s work as Hank. But couldn’t they have found room for Andre Braugher or William Jackson Harper? This just seems a little narrow.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Okay, I’m glad they managed to find room for eight nominees, just like last year. I’m equally impressed they managed to do so without overcompensated for SNL. But this is a strange bunch.

Alex Borstein and Marin Hinkle — marvelous. Kate McKinnon, hard to deny her talent. Betty Gilpin is a tower of strength on GLOW (another series that got shutout for some reason) And I can see the logic in nominating Anna Chlumsky isn’t of the other actresses.

I’ll withhold judgment on Olivia Colman and Sian Clifford for Fleabag until I see their work. But I am a little puzzled by Sarah Goldberg’s nomination for Barry. Don’t get me wrong — she was superb and much of her performance held up Barry’s actions throughout Season 2. But how can they justify ignoring D’Arcy Carden for The Good Place? They were wiling to nominate the episode she was in for Best Teleplay, so how can they justify ignoring her? Hell, she was in Barry, so it’s not like they could say they didn’t know who she was. I’m a little depressed that Mayim Bialik was shutout for the last time, but otherwise, I can live with most of them.

BEST GUEST ACTOR AND ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

As has been the status quo for the last three years, this category was dominated by host of SNL’s. I’m actually okay with John Mulaney and Robert DeNiro being nominated, and in words I never thought I’d say, I liked Adam Sandler on SNL. He was funny, and his tribute to his friend Chris Farley was very moving. I’m also alright with Emma Thompson taking a nod. I’m fine with Pete MacNicol’s nod for Veep (he’s actually the one actor on that series I hope will win), and it was good to see Maya Rudolph back for her work as The Judge on The Good Place. Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby are superb on Mrs. Maisel. I just wish they could’ve found room for Christine Baranski and Bob Newhart somewhere on this list, but they’ve won before.

I’ll wrap it up tomorrow with my remarks on Limited Series. This year, it’s going to be a doozy.

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