Look At That: The Emmys Happened

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

How could you not like Weird Al? Like, really. (Photo courtesy The Associated Press)

How could you not like Weird Al? Like, really. (Photo courtesy The Associated Press)

Because this is what happens when you move the show from a Sunday to a Monday: We can’t get to it until Friday. So, yes. I’m fully aware that nobody reads this thing anyway. But commenting on something that happened four days ago? That’s taking our version of pathetic to a new level.

I mean, what is this? 2003?

Yet I just can’t help myself from adhering to tradition. And because we have yet to miss a year in our Emmy recap series, behold the fourth go-around, even if we are nearly a week late. You can’t run a blog with TV in its title twice and not address the trophy show in some way.

So, forgive my tardiness. Forgive my annoying writing style. And forgive the Academy for giving the same people the same awards every damn year.

Or, wait. Don’t forgive them for that.

Anyway, let’s get to it:

1. Much Ado About … Something?
Welp. For the second year in a row, Netflix was adequately represented at the ceremony. And for the second year in a row … Big Red essentially walked away with the Big Squadoosh. It was the first year “Orange Is The New Black” and “Derek” could be considered, and it didn’t make a darn bit of difference. Forget all the Ricky Gervais dialogue. Forget all the Crazy Eyes superlatives. Forget the devotion to Robin Wright.

All of these series may have turned heads when the nominees were announced months ago. But by the time the 11 o’clock news came on NBC Monday night, those heads were turned back into their normal position, gawking even more at “The Big Bang Theory” or “Modern Family” Or “Breaking Bad.”

So, what does it mean? Well, it’s not great. It’s one thing to get invited to the party; it’s another to leave with your future wife or husband. Yet that’s where Netflix stands in the context of Emmy success now: The shiny new thing isn’t shiny and new anymore. But does that mean it shouldn’t matter? Does going winless actually have an adverse effect on the growth in popularity of the streaming service? Or, at the end of the day, does it just not matter all that much? Because the people who love Netflix or “House Of Cards” or “Orange Is The New Black” or “Derek” are going to love it no matter what, can we say that Big Red has hit the peak of its breakthrough?

Those are questions that need to be asked now, in the wake of two consecutive years of failure. If our society is widely accepted as moving quicker than it ever has in the history of time – and if we have all become obsessed with the notion of Instant Gratification – it’s fair to wonder about how frustrating the absence of those trophies has become for those of us who champion the TV Without A TV lifestyle. Yes, the mere fact that nominations were doled out to something like Netflix is/was a big deal. But considering how forward-thinknig the medium is in the first place, you just have to think that the people behind the scenes are already starting to mumble about how nominations simply aren’t enough.

Or, in other words, it’s great to sit at the cool table. But how cool is the cool table if nobody sees you sitting there?

That’s something Netflix is going to have to think about as it moves forward. Are “House Of Cards” and “Orange” just not good enough? Or is the Academy subliminally resistant to this brand new platform for television consumption? Either way, you can’t imagine the feeling being good if everybody gets shut out again next year … year three. At that point, the phrase “drawing board” will probably be thrown around much more than we could have predicted last year around this time. We won’t say it’s going to be a must-win … but the team probably won’t make the playoffs if they can’t walk away with something – anything – in 2015.

Frank Underwood. Or no Frank Underwood.

2. The Better Than Good Wife
Well, this made me happy: Julianna Margulies took home the best lead actress in a drama series award and despite the fact that I’m only midway into season three of “The Good Wife,” I’m going to go ahead and say that she deserved the award for her season five performance (mostly because I at least know that this happened during the show’s latest run, and it ruined my life).

Even so – and because really; do we honestly need to retread the “Breaking Bad” or “Modern Family” or “Mad Men Got Snubbed” waters again? – I’m going to use that victory as a jumping off point for this, just in case you needed to be reminded: “The Good Wife” is the best show on television today and it’s not close. Why? Because it’s not on HBO. It’s not on AMC. It’s not on Showtime. It’s not on FX. It’s not on any of the hip networks that only win awards anymore (enter Seth Meyers’ quip about the VMAs the night before: “That’s like network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix. That would be crazy.”).

Instead, you find the series each week on CBS (not ABC, which the Associated Press wrote in its story wrapping up the night’s festivities. NO RESPECT, I TELL YOU. NO RESPECT). Yet through the very real and very now-subconscious limitations that a television series on one of the Big Four networks has to deal with, “The Good Wife” continues to churn out smart, dramatic stories. The performances are to die for, especially considering how the actors can’t use specific words, and the twisty-turny nature of the narrative never feels too cheap or even predictable (again, return to that link I shared a couple paragraphs ago).

If we are lauding series on AMC and HBO because they can be darker and grittier and more suggestive-ier, then why can’t we laud something that accomplishes all those same goals on a network that won’t even allow you to say the S-word? I know a lot of people seem to think that where I’m currently at in the viewing process (seasons three and four) were so-called down years, but the scuttlebutt from the series’ most recent run is that it’s never been better. And that’s five seasons into the thing. The American version of “The Office” didn’t even make it past its second run before people started jumping ship. Shoot, even “Mad Men” has taken a continuous, gradual hit in recent years when it comes to public perception.

Thus, the following can’t be ignored: “The Good Wife” needs to be considered among its network peers and I don’t know that it always is. Margulies’ win might have been a good reminder for some that the thing still exists and even thrives, but the next time you feel like turning on “Homeland” or “The Walking Dead” or (God forbid) “Better Call Saul,” remind yourself about what it’s like to do good drama on censored television these days. It’s not easy. But “The Good Wife” makes it look like it is.

3. Look. It’s The Greatest Writer In The World
So. Did you notice that my favorite writer in the history of words, Ms. Lisa De Moraes, was live-blogging the telecast? Oh. You didn’t? That’s OK, because I did. And much like we do every year, here’s a compilation of her greatest hits, the first one of which made me laugh very much, and very out loud:

– 4:28 p.m. “I’m wearing the mask right now, hiding my true self — I can fake it,” host Seth Meyers tells E!’s Giuliana Rancic on the red carpet. She wants to know what he has up his sleeve for tonight. “Telling some good jokes,” he reveals, to the relief of all. She wonders what shows are going to get jabbed. “We’re not going after shows. People who get nominated worked really hard,” he says, explaining that in his opening he’s going to “go after what’s happening in the world of television as opposed to individual shows or actors.” Rancic, who wasn’t listening, asked if he was going to take jabs at E! shows in particular, reminding him, “We’re in the NBC family.”

– 4:08 p.m. Why Giuliana Rancic is paid the big bucks (reported $1 mil per year) E! pays her: “Your boobs are very perfect! ” she says to Sarah Silverman on the red carpet, after which she and Silverman go through the contents of Silverman’s evening bag.

– 3:02 p.m. Will ‘Orange is the New Black’ put an end to ‘Modern Family’s’ best-comedy winning streak, and drive the final nail in the coffin for the broadcast networks in the glam genre categories — broadcasters having already conceded longform and drama-series races? This year’s Emmy host, NBC, for instance, has no nominees for best comedy series, drama series, movie, or miniseries, continuing a trend of decreasing broadcast presence across the glam categories — which we wouldn’t DREAM of suggesting played any part in scheduling discussions at NBC as the network worked to figure out how to get the ceremony out of the way of its NFL Sunday contract and the 800-pound gorilla that was Miley-Cyrus-Might-Twerk-At-The-VMAs-Again.

As always, you’re going to want to pick through it. Nobody does it better.

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