OK. Two things:
1. Last year was a watershed moment for the Internet television medium, which was why we opted to ooze and gush over the mere fact that “House Of Cards” received a bevy of Emmy nominations. It opened the doors wide open for what happened this year (way more on that below), and it was a moment that forced us to opt against the usual Emmy format, if only for a year.
And 2. Yes, I completely understand that the Emmy nominees were revealed six days ago. But this post is not designed to break news or list nominees or make predictions. Much like we did in 2012 and 2011, this is merely a silly reactionary set of words that came to mind only after perspective was/is considered. We know that you already know who the nominees are. We just have a few things to say about them. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Got all that? Good. Now, if you’ll allow us to return to our usual Emmy Award coverage/nonsense, after the break last year, that would be great. And because we are returning to form, we figured it’d be a great idea to up the ante: Rather than come back with our usual five things on the matter, we’re going to offer up 10 — 10! — things to take away from this year’s nominees. So strap in, grab a Cherry Coke, and feel free to consult these asinine comments again once the ceremony goes down on Aug. 25 on NBC.
Yes, that’s a Monday. Yes, that’s stupid. And yes, it’s even more moronic when you consider how the date was decided (due to a conflict with MTV’s Video Music Awards and NBC’s Sunday Night Football). Where are your priorities, America?!
All right. Let’s go.
1. Of course, we’re going to start with “House Of Cards” again. Duh. It landed 13 nominations, which was good enough for seventh-best in the field. It’s up for drama series again and it also helped Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright earn recognition for their roles as Washington D.C.’s most lovable ruthless couple (again, if the latter doesn’t bring home her trophy this time, I might begin a KickStarter campaign to try and take the Academy down). What does it mean? Well, it means the right people really, really like “House Of Cards.” But it also means that we can finally say the following with 100 percent assurance: Netflix isn’t going anywhere. Last year, Big Red was the shiny new toy, and when it offered up a television series that didn’t suck, it became everyone’s Object Of Affection. This year? Well, it’s not the new hot date anymore. In fact, at this point, it can and should be perceived in the same light as your ABCs and CBSs and certainly your HBOs and Showtimes. Year two of this means that even when the clock struck midnight, the chance of a long-term love affair still existed. And considering how the service’s flagship series beat out what many are calling the best season of “The Good Wife” ever … well, welcome back to the Big Boys Table, “House Of Cards.” Your membership card is officially in the mail.
2. More interesting than another set of weird Southern accents from Kevin Spacey, however, is the presence of “Orange Is The New Black.” Nominated for the first season, you have to wonder if it will be able to pull off the same trick its big brother did this year once next year comes around. That said, I’m utterly thrilled to see the amount of recognition the series received. Taylor Schilling for best actress. Kate Mulgrew for supporting actress. Laverne Cox, Natasha Lyonne and Uzo Aduba in the guest category. That’s a darn strong showing for the first time out (in total, the series received 12 nods). The most important element? We’ve seen “House Of Cards” before. Political dramas, ruthless or not, have been done and re-done over and over again (and, for that matter, don’t forget that this series in particular literally has been done before. In the ’90s. In Britain.). “Orange,” however, is almost unlike any other thing television has seen before. It breaks barriers every three episodes, it seems, and the more Emmy warms up to its fearlessness, the more you have to wonder about the general populous and its shameful attitude toward a lot of the topics dissected throughout the series. If the show is validated with a handful of Emmys by the end of the night, would the people who refused to watch it before because of their political or religious or whatever beliefs give it a real, honest-to-goodness chance? How much impact could the critical success of this series have on acceptance and its role in popular culture? Aug. 25 could be a far more important night than previously thought. Plus, hey, man: Who isn’t rooting for Laverne Cox to win?!
3. Without question, the most surprising announcement from the Netflix/Emmy saga this year came in the form of “Derek” and Ricky Gervais’ nomination for his lead role in a comedy series. It threw me for a loop for a few reasons. A) The show’s not designed to be funny. B) That first season made me cry not once, but twice. C) The series has been far more successful with its distribution pretty much anywhere but Netflix (cough, Channel 4, cough). And D) You mean to tell me one of those “Silicon Valley” boys aren’t funnier (remember, because funny is the category) than Gervais’ Derek Noakes? Look, you can’t find a bigger lover of all things Ricky Gervais than me and if you read this blog for any long period of time, you already know that. But to throw him into that category, in that role, at this time … boy, I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong: I like the show a lot. And it’s great that it garners Netflix another nomination. But … whoa, there.
4. It’s worth noting that again Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” managed to earn a nod (especially when you read how unhappy I was with the run it’s nominated for). Last year, it was Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Nonfiction Program. This year, it’s Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program. See what they did there? No Special Class. The world is changing, friends. The world is changing. Despite my disappointment, though, it would be awfully nice to see the show win something. It started out as brilliant TV and has since morphed into … not-so-brilliant TV … but I still have hope that it can reclaim its glory days. Maybe winning an Emmy would be the first step toward that.
5. Is Jon Hamm ever going to win? Because I’ll be honest: I’d really like to see him win. That wasn’t always the case — and God knows there’s been a few years that “Mad Men” didn’t deserve any accolades at all — but this year? This year, I think he deserves it. As that thing gets ready to wind down, and the full Don Draper picture comes into place, I think it would be kind of sad to see him forever be a loser in the actor-drama series category, no? Plus, that character has been forced to struggle in recent seasons, so we’ve been forced to accept a different Don, which is useful for someone trying to prove he doesn’t play a one-note character. I mean, who’s supposed to beat him? Oh, that’s right …
6. … This is the final year for “Breaking Bad,” isn’t it? I can’t imagine that show not cleaning up next month. Why? Well, for starters, that last half of the final season was the best the series ever got, in my stupid, little opinion. As for any other reason … well, we could just reduce it down to the mere fact that Emmy loves her some “Breaking Bad,” and if this is her last opportunity to honor it, she’s darn sure going to take advantage of as much. That said, if Matthew McConaughey ends up winning an Emmy and an Oscar in the same calendar year … I might as well spoon my eyeballs out of my head.
7. “The Good Wife.” I need to reserve a place for this show because this show is the best show on television right now. It had what most consider to be its best season ever and while its actors received their fare share of nominations, the series itself was passed over for, I’m going to guess, “True Detective,” which is a joke because “True Detective” is a mini-series. AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY. Anyway, here’s my point: Of all the series up for the best drama trophy, a grand total of zero of them run any longer than 13 episodes a season. “The Good Wife” nearly doubles that! I understand that the trend of novel-live TV series is taking over the world and I understand that cable can get away with more than CBS can and I understand that blah blah blah blah blah. It’s so hard to make consistently great television, and it’s even harder to do it over 22 episodes. “The Good Wife” got robbed.
8. Who doesn’t want numbers? Yeah. That’s what we thought. So, let’s get to them. HBO led everybody with 99 nominations, though that number, if my memory serves correctly, is down from previous years. CBS came in second with … haha … 47 (the laugh is the distance between one and two. Obviously.). Netflix, in perhaps an even bigger twist than its “House Of Cards” joy, beat AMC (31 nods to 26). And who says NBC is down? It finished third, earning only one nomination less than CBS. “Fargo,” everyone’s New Favorite TV Show (I haven’t seen a second of it), landed 18 while “The Normal Heart,” on HBO, was the TV movie that ended up with the most nominations of them all, 16. Eat that, Lifetime.
9. Who doesn’t want quotes? Yeah. That’s what we thought. So, let’s get to them.
- “I am over the moon. I cannot wait to fly to LA to see Louis CK win.” — Ricky Gervais, being humble about his “Derek” nomination.
- “It’s a wonderful acknowledgement, a beautiful recognition, but what they’re really saying is Jenji Kohan is a genius, and Kate Mulgrew fell in love with that character and they all got married!” – Kate Mulgrew, and despite how much I love Red, I have absolutely no idea what any of that meant.
- “I played princesses all day long. That was my morning.” — Colin Hanks, of “Fargo,” because really: What else would Colin Hanks say?
- “I was lying in bed with my son and I was thinking I shouldn’t scream and wake him up but I need to scream and wake him up. So I did and he put the pillow over his head.” – Minnie Driver, who is nominated for her work on “Return To Zero,” making me wonder exactly how old her son is.
10. A two for one: 1. We better be talking about “Halt And Catch Fire” next year. 2. If Kate McKinnon, the funniest woman on television, wins for her SNL work, I will rage for a week while dressed up as Angela Merkel.