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So the Emmy ballots came out...

Someone explain to me how the flying flip "outstanding writing for a comedy" series has four nominations from 30 Rock alone, and "outstanding writing for a drama series" has four nominations from Mad Men alone? 

WTF!  Countless shows with anywhere from twelve to 20+ episodes EACH, and you feel that only ONE SERIES, with a single nod to a second, has material brilliant enough to be nominated in each category?  That's worse than "Best Original Song" at the Oscars!  I've never noticed quite how hard award shows fail.  Not that I don't still look forward to them for a night of running commentary (and this time, Neil Patrick Harris!), but I wish there was more hope sprinkled into the awards themselves. 

Arranged in no particular order as I read them from various sources, but!  Some categories that interested me, with my personal picks in bold, for easy self-reference & cross-checking purposes.

Outstanding Drama
Mad Men
Big Love
Breaking Bad
--OK, I only watch two of them, and Lost is my obvious choice. (By the way, this is not me saying "well, I can't judge the other five because I haven't seen them."  I judge everything!  This is me saying "the other five can't even entice me to watch them, so they must be automatically inferior.")

Outstanding Comedy
The Office
30 Rock
Family Guy
How I Met Your Mother
Flight of the Conchords

--HIMYM deserves it.  But I want Office to win...on principle, because 30 Rock is much worse and yet 30 Rock has swept it twice to TO's once.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)

--WHATEVER, SIMON BAKER.  I can name at least twelve actors who are not on this list whom I would rather see win, but of the options, it's gonna have to be Hugh.  Man is good at what he does, consistently and without pause.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Holly Hunter (Saving Grace)
Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU)

--None of them would be among my choices, but this is the only category in which I at least like and respect all the nominees, and would be all right with any of them.  Though per usual, I have to throw my hat in for Mariska because it's the only show of the pack I watch.  Even if I will never understand how flipping SVU catches people's attention over all the frankly far more amazing procedurals and their respective actresses on network TV.

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy
Steve Carell (The Office)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)
Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords)

--But, but, I hate everybody!  At this point I think I have to cheer on Steve Carell just for the show.

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Old Christine)
Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?)
Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program)
Toni Collette (The United States of Tara)
Mary Louise-Parker (Weeds)

--It saddens me how the Emmys consistently nominate the same stupid people every year. Especially when they AWARD the same people every year.  Still, faced with these choices, I'll be cheering for the ever-excellent Julia again, though would not be opposed to Christina Applegate since it's her last chance for the program.  I WOULD be opposed to anyone else.  Quite strongly.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
William Hurt (Damages)
Michael Emerson (Lost)

--*throws up hands*  Emerson, on the "shows I watch" principle, and the "he did make me sorta like Ben this year" sub-principle. 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Rose Byrne, 'Damages'
Sandra Oh, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Chandra Wilson, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment'
Hope Davis, 'In Treatment'
Cherry Jones, '24'
--So it's another year of the SANDRA OH!!! vs. CHANDRA WILSON WOULD BE ALL RIGHT ALSO, is it?  Fine with me.  Because you know what I just noticed?  FLIPPIN' KATHERINE HEIGL IS NOT AMONG THE NOMINEES.  REJOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Kevin Dillon (Entourage)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Rainn Wilson (The Office)
Jon Cryer (Two And A Half Men)
Tracy Morgan (30 Rock)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

--Neil Patrick Harris!  NPH, this is not even a choice!  I will not listen to any other options at all. 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live)
Kristin Wiig (Satruday Night Live)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)

--Has to be Cheno.  This is your last chance to honor Pushing Daisies in anything significant, people.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef

--Your limited options have forced me to pick American Idol.  Do you feel good about yourselves?

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race)
Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)
Tom Bergeron (Dancing With the Stars)
Heidi Klum (Project Runway)
Jeff Probst (Survivor)
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio (Top Chef)

--The thing is, Jeff Probst already won, and so while he is still perfectly awesome/my favorite, I feel now would be the appropriate time to reward Ryan Seacrest. Or Heidi Klum, either/or.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series

    * 30 Rock • Apollo, Apollo • Millicent Shelton
    * 30 Rock • Reunion • Beth McCarthy
    * 30 Rock • Generalissimo • Todd Holland
    * Entourage • Tree Trippers • Julian Farino
    * Flight Of The Conchords • The Tough Brets • James Bobin
    * The Office • Stress Relief • Jeff Blitz
OFFICE OFFICE OFFICE.  I hated at least half the season, but not this one.  This one was a thrilling love of a series highlight.  Of course, I am not really making distinctions between acting and writing and directing as far as what makes a particular episode good.  Whatever rewards a favorite ep works for me.

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
    * Battlestar Galactica • Daybreak (Part 2) • Michael Rymer
    * Boston Legal • Made In China/Last Call • Bill D’Elia
    * Damages • Trust Me • Todd A. Kessler
    * ER • And In The End • Rod Holcomb
    * Mad Men • The Jet Set • Phil Abraham

Think I'd be okay with BSG too, being as it's largely a War Of The Series Which Are Over and Boston Legal just isn't that great, but I have show loyalty.  Also my actual appreciation of that episode, possibly even specifically its direction.

Point of note: sure, I could rant all day long about which people/shows I'd rather see on my dream ballot, but that would just be pointless.  We all know that I'd replace 97% of the above list with my own personal favorites, and you also probably know what those favorites are if you're a regular reader.  I prefer not to torment myself by wishing of what-ifs.


All right...off to go read more Mansfield Park!   75% through and still LOVING IT.  Possibly loving it because I'm able to envision Fanny as Billie Piper in my head?  I don't know.  Maybe a little.

P.S. This new life in which I don't watch television...it is very calming and satisfying.  I can see why so many of you enjoy it!  Not in a way where I will actually lighten my TV chains come September, but in a way where I have a good 2 months of freedom left and I'm basking in the liberty it affords me.   She says, after a mere five days of not turning on the TV...


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
you feel that only ONE SERIES, with a single nod to a second, has material brilliant enough to be nominated in each category? Well... Yes. The Emmys don't have rules about limiting the amount of nominations (other than the maximum nominations possible in a category, lol) for any show in any given category. If the goal is to highlight the best aspects of television, you can't penalize people for being too good at their work. :P

I don't particularly give a shit about 30 Rock, but I love Mad Men and believe it deserved every single nomination it got (and actually, I would say that some of its actors who weren't nominated DID deserve to be). As a writer and not a fan girl, I can also say that I'm not surprised by its near sweep of the writing category either; because the show is set in the past, a LOT of research has to be done for each episode. Storylines have to be very well crafted and planned out well in advance not only for accuracy among the references in the scripts themselves but also so that the rest of the show - props, costumes, etc. - can prepare each episode in a historically accurate manner.
Jul. 18th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, except I'm pretty sure that two shows between them do not have all the best writers in the entire industry. Sheesh, even if it was my favorite show with 80% of the nominations, I'd still think that was ridiculous. Even my dream ballot would have more equally good scripts, without repeating a series, than I could fit on a nomination slip.

And I cannot imagine that Man Men is the only series that has to do historical research. What about Cold Case? Not that I think CC has any reason to be anywhere near a writing Emmy even on its best day, but still -- that alone cannot be enough to justify a sweep, no matter how talented at blending said research with the necessarily good writing. Nope, not budging on this issue.
Jul. 18th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
They may not have all the best writers in the industry, but they may have all the best writers currently on shows writing. They may also have the best team of writers, meaning the best combination of talent or the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, etc. Personally, I have stronger affinities for other writers, but I think at the moment, Matthew Weiner and company do the best job. *shrugs*

Anyway, I kind of doubt that Cold Case does the historical research that Mad Men does. First of all, Cold Case mainly takes place in the present, no? It's been a while since I've watched, so maybe I'm wrong about that. But Mad Men does not. It's entirely set in the 1960s, and more importantly, the show is deeply entwined with that time period. Something like Cold Case might have a few things set in the past, but the success of those scenes don't require the writers to have a total understanding of the milieu of that time. Maybe it has some knowledge of racism in the 50s or the lack of the cell phones and DNA in the 50s to explain the reason for the cold case, for instance. But it kind of ends there, where as it doesn't for Mad Men.

They not only have to get the physical aspects right, they have to know mindsets for a variety of groups from that era. What movie would a man in 1960 reference in conversation? What would a grocery store look like in January 1960 compared to June 1960? What kinds of trends were being set in advertising, and what kinds of things in advertising did really successful ad men dislike despite their popularity? And so far, each season has leaped ahead in time, so each season requires new research to be done. Comparing Cold Case's history research to Mad Men's is kind of comparing the history you learn in kindergarten to the kind you learn in college, LOL.

But my point was not so much that more research = better, as much as it is that, when you have to do much work just to even get a basic outline of what one character will do in an episode, when you really have to mine for that arc, you have more opportunities to realize what will or won't work dramatically in the script; you have more chances to think, "Oh, hey wouldn't this be cool to do?" It's kind of like how you're more likely to find mistakes in a paper that you spent a month writing and editing as opposed to the paper you wrote at 3 am the day it was due. :P

Besides, how many shows this year have seemingly been in the service of something other than the writing? How many actresses got knocked up and had to have a lame pregnancy written in (or a hastily constructed exit for the actress)? How many actors left shows or threatened to leave shows? How many shows had to change their format to fit a network-enforced six act structure (which Mad Men doesn't have to follow, I believe, because it's cable)? How many times did Mariska Hargitay collapse her lung or Katherine Heigl act like an annoying bitch or a network cancel a potentially good show before it really had a chance to hit its stride? How many strikes or threats of strikes have derailed the writing process by forcing writers to get enough things shot before the strike starts?
Jul. 18th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
Whoa long reply! o_O
Jul. 18th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
I like "30 Rock", but 22 nominations does feel like overkill, especially when you have four nominations in one category alone. Seriously, why do they do the writing by episode? Can't they just do an overview of the entire season?

I'm still reeling that NCIS didn't get any nominations. There was a petition to have Michael Weatherly nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama after his last few episodes. Meh. :(
Jul. 19th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Ooh...an overview of the entire season's worth of writing *would* be interesting. I was about to say "but how would you credit that?" when I realized they've got that whole "outstanding drama" category, which is just as general.

I'm surprised NCIS got shafted. They became visible for the first time this year and everything!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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