The Emmys, 2015

I really don’t know why I watch these things. I’m rarely a fan of anything that’s nominated, and most of the speeches either bore me or make me cry. Nothing that I would normally sign up for, and yet? I will probably be a sucker for awards shows for the rest of my life.

Here are the notes I have for you today.

1. Andy Samberg? Eh. He made me laugh a few times, mostly during that first song, but a lot of his jokes felt kind of flat to me. I wasn’t a huge fan, but he wasn’t, like, the worst host I’ve ever seen. Frankly, I’m still of the opinion that we could save ourselves a whole lot of time and awkwardness by just eliminating the opening monologue from every award show all together and having the host just crack a few jokes between awards.

This, of course, will never happen, but I will continue to dream for it.

2. My favorite joke of the night probably came from John Oliver and, admittedly, I’m a little in love with John Oliver. But his mini-rant about Alex Trebek cracked me up because it’s so true — Trebek does passive aggressively insult all of the contestants’ hobbies. I love Jeopardy, but it’s a pretty rare episode where I watch it and don’t tell my television screen, “Trebek, you’re an asshole.”

3. My favorite category in the Emmys is Variety, simply because I’m actually familiar with most of the nominees. When Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series was presented, I was like, “Holy shit, I actually watch ALL of these! I don’t even care who wins. Everyone’s a winner! I’m a winner!” (Though I was pulling for Last Week Tonight over The Daily Show when it came to Outstanding Variety Talk Series — but I wasn’t going to begrudge Jon Stewart for his last Emmy win, either. Oh, Stewart. How I miss you.)

On the other hand, Limited Series/Miniseries? Man. No skin in that game at all. I didn’t watch a single thing nominated in this category, and my only takeaway from last night was that Olive Kitteridge? Apparently the only thing you’ll ever need to watch again.

4. As far as some specific winners go . . .

A. Ecstatic that Inside Amy Schumer won for Best Variety Sketch Show.

B. I don’t watch Mad Men, I don’t care about Mad Men, and even I was like, “Jesus, let Jon Hamm finally win one.” So, that was nice. I feel like there might have been a revolt, otherwise.

C. As an SF nerd, I was definitely pulling for Tatiana Maslany because I enjoy Orphan Black and Maslany’s performance is just incredible — but man, Viola Davis’s speech was eloquent, powerful, and deeply moving. I didn’t realize she was the first black woman to win a Best Lead Actress Emmy until I went on Twitter afterwards. At first I was like, “No, that can’t be right. Oh God, that can’t be right, can it?” And then I was reminded that until Scandal premiered in 2012, there hadn’t been any TV shows with a black female lead since the 1970’s. And then I was like, “Right, so that’s depressing. Fellow white people, let’s progress faster.”

Though that doesn’t seem super likely, as I’ve just read Nancy Lee Grahn’s tweets on the subject. Ugh.

5. Finally, I lied before. I know exactly why I keep coming back to these things, and you probably do too.

My Best Dressed of the Night?

Allison Janney – I haven’t seen much splash about her dress online, but I thought Allison Janney looked exquisite. It’s a beautiful design and fits her body perfectly, and guys, Allison Janney is 55. I didn’t have a body that impressive, you know, ever.

Runners Up:

Taraji P. Henson – Man, she worked this dress. Taraji almost took first place for me, actually. I really liked the chain straps (much more than the ones on Claire Danes’s dress) and the cute little cut-out. She looked fantastic.

Tatiana Maslany – This is something I kind of knew about myself before, but really confirmed this year: I like me a woman in menswear. This white suit is awesome. I feel like the jacket could be a touch tighter, but otherwise, I mean, damn.

Laverne Cox – The cut-outs on the side didn’t do much for me, but this is a stunning shade of blue, and she looks absolutely amazing in it.

Jane Lynch – Again with the menswear. I thought this looked really nice on Jane Lynch. I would totally wear something like this. Only I’d add a fedora because that’s just who I am as a person.

Mindy Kaling – That’s not a shade of yellow/orange that just anyone can pull off, but it looks absolutely beautiful on Mindy Kaling. I kind of wish the sleeves didn’t change color at the end, but I do really like the cut of the sleeves, and the dress fits her perfectly.

Teyonah Parris – I’m unfamiliar with this actress, but I’m a sucker for polka dots and her dress was so much fun. I absolutely adored it.

And finally a bonus shout-out to Fred Armisen who did FREDDY KRUEGER on the Red Carpet. Fred Armisen is my new favorite person.

Now Worst Dressed of the Night . . . well, there’s really no question in my mind who that goes to.

Heidi Klum – I don’t even know what to make of this. It’s like half ice skater, half shredded chicken mascot? I cannot imagine any sane person putting this dress on and going, “Yup. This is the one. I feel SO PRETTY.”

Runners Up:

Jaimie Alexander – Maybe I could have dealt with this if it had been a short dress, like cut above the knee or something? As is . . . nope. I don’t like the material, the colors, or pretty much anything else about it.

Joanna Newsom – I don’t like the weird giant oval thing on her chest, but I could probably deal with it . . . if I hadn’t seen the bottom of the dress too. Together? Nope. So much nope.

Maggie Gyllenhaal – Presumably, this is a very expensive dress by some super well known designer, but what it really reminds me of is a prom dress you might have bought in the mall in the mid-1990’s. Not good.

Kerry Washington – I know, I know. She’s going to make everyone’s Best Dressed list, and she’s easily the best of the worst dressed here. But I’m just really not a fan of that type of shoulder, and I actively can’t stand the bottom of the dress.

Tracee Ellis Ross – Yeah, that dress mostly reminds me of a tiered, pink wedding cake.

And finally Jane Krakowski – I don’t quite understand why people want to put a black sleep mask over their boobs, but it’s the gray sides that I especially don’t like. The skirt of the dress is fine, but I just don’t understand the top part at all.

Well, that’s it for this year. Feel free to comment with your own award winner dreams or fashion critiques.

Emmy Nominations, 2015

A few reactions:

1. I’m obviously never surprised when the Emmys choose to overlook Justified, but I’ll admit, there was a teeny-tiny sliver of hope in my heart, considering this was their last chance and their final season was so strong. But as Mad Max says, “Hope is a mistake.”

2. Except it’s totally not because holy shit, Tatiana Maslany FINALLY got nominated.

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Plot-wise, I don’t think Orphan Black’s third season is its strongest, but Tatiana Maslany continues to do some of the best godamn acting on television and I’m ecstatic that the Emmys have finally decided to acknowledge that. I’ve watched Orphan Black for years now and I’m still sometimes stunned when I remember that the same actress is playing all these roles. Like, it took me a minute to realize that Jordan Gavaris and Kristian Bruun and Evelyne Brochu are all playing off the same person.

3. Liev Schreiber is nominated for his work on Ray Donovan. I’m mostly noting this to point out that the only time I remember Ray Donovan is a thing is when the Emmys come around. I have no idea what this show’s about. I’ve seen maybe one commercial on TV promoting it, ever. I’ve never seen a recap or review of it online, and I know nobody that actually watches it. It is the strangest thing.

4. I love Game of Thrones and I generally enjoy Emilia Clarke, but I’m not at all convinced that she did anything particularly special this season to earn an Emmy nod. Her storyline was one of the worst, actually. This is similar to how I felt in Season 2 when Peter Dinklage got a nod over Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Not because Dinklage isn’t generally awesome — he totally is — but his work that season was limited and didn’t necessarily merit the attention he’d received in the first season. I wish that watching the Emmy’s didn’t sometimes feel like I’m back in Spanish class again with the teacher who played favorites.

On the upside, Lena Headey definitely deserved to get nominated this year, so I’m happy for her.

5. And, huh . . . Alan Alda got nominated for Best Guest Star for The Blacklist? He . . . well, he’s enjoyable enough in that, and I’m sure I know what scene he got nominated for, and I do like the actor, but still . . . my mind is a little boggled. It’s not that complex of a role, certainly not that complex of a show. Again, this feels a little old guard.

6. It kind of kills me that Tituss Burgess got a nod for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when Ellie Kemper didn’t.

Say what now?

Say what now?

Burgess has a few good moments, but mostly I think he’s one of the weakest parts of the show. I want to like him a lot more than I actually do. (To be fair, I’m not entirely convinced this is the actor’s fault.) Meanwhile, Ellie Kemper is what makes that show work. Actually . . . shit, is she the only main player that didn’t get nominated? This is ridiculous. EVEN TINA FEY GOT NOMINATED FOR HER STUPID TWO-EPISODE GUEST SPOT. Look, I like Tina Fey like every person on the planet, but her role wasn’t even that funny.

That’s it. I am officially outraged on the internet.

7. Excited to see Amy Schumer nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress, but a little surprised to see that Constance Wu and Gina Rodriguez were not. Mind you, I’ve never seen Fresh off the Boat or Jane the Virgin, but I’ve heard so much buzz about both of them that I thought they each had a pretty good chance, especially Rodriguez, who won a Golden Globe for the part. Then again, Jane the Virgin is on the CW, and no one takes that channel seriously but me.

Also . . . as much as I will always have a spot in my heart for Lily Tomlin . . . does anyone actually WATCH Grace & Frankie? Maybe this isn’t fair. She’s a hell of a comedian. But I haven’t heard anything good about that show yet, and it’s hard to shake the idea that she’s being nominated because she’s Lily Tomlin.

8. But hey — Key & Peele, YES! Although, poor Jordan Peele. It must suck to be judged just not quite as funny as your only other co-star. Still, delighted to see Keegan Michael Key’s nomination.

9. Also delighted to see Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I’ve been a fan of The Daily Show for years and with Jon Stewart leaving, I feel like it’s going to win for the umpteenth time, but . . . I’m still kind of pulling for Last Week Tonight here.

10. Finally, I actually watch three of the Outstanding Variety Sketch Shows: Drunk History, Inside Amy Schumer, and Key & Peele. This . . . is bizarre. And kind of fabulous.

Now, I just need to start watching shows that people actually take seriously.

A Month Early and a Day Late . . . The 2014 Emmys

1. Opinions may be divided, but I actually thought Seth Meyers was a fairly decent host. He doesn’t seem to have the natural energy and charisma that some other hosts have, but I actually enjoyed the majority of his opening monologue, which — outside Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — seems rare for me, these days. I liked that the emphasis was more on industry humor than roasting specific celebrities, for once. (Not that making fun of celebrities can’t be a good time — but the material is often several years old, and sometimes, the jokes are just unnecessarily mean.) I laughed especially hard at this: “That’s right, kids. Jesse Pinkman lived, Dexter lived, but your mother didn’t make it. Sleep tight.”

2. Truth be told, I didn’t much care about who won what, since I don’t actually watch the majority of the shows that were nominated. (I even dropped Scandal last season, although I’m considering trying to start fresh in Season Four and see if I can get back into the crazy soap I once loved.) I was surprised about the The Normal Heart, though — I’ve gotta admit, I kind of assumed it would sweep. But the only thing it took home, in the end, was Best TV Movie or Miniseries. (Admittedly, if you’re going to win only one, I suppose that’s the one to win, although I always think it’s weird when a program or movie wins the top prize if they didn’t win a single acting, writing, or direction award. Then again, who knows, maybe The Normal Heart won a whole bunch of Creative Emmys that I’m too lazy to look up right now.)

Anyway, I was happy to see Sherlock take as many awards as it did. Surprised, but happy. I enjoyed last season a lot more than the previous one, and I liked His Last Vow quite a bit. Up until the last thirty seconds anyway.

3. As you may or may not remember, awards shows are rarely ever scheduled for my convenience. Moving it to Monday didn’t help much, unfortunately, so I did my usual ‘tape the earlier broadcast and hastily watch the recorded version before I have to go to work’ method of Emmy-viewing. And by hastily, I mean I fast-forwarded past the commercials and anything else that looked totally boring. Apparently, I fast-forwarded past one of the better parts of the ceremony, actually, which was some pre-taped thing called Billy On the Street? Oh well, my regrets are limited.

Cause, yeah. I gave Weird Al about two songs before I gave up and moved on. It made me a little sad to do it, because Weird Al was my very first concert, but still. Those parody songs seemed almost painfully unfunny. I also skipped the Q&A session with the stars because that seemed pretty painful too.

4. Other Things That Didn’t Work:

4A: Stephen Colbert’s ‘invisible friend’ bit. Which kills me to say because I love Stephen Colbert, and he did, at least, commit to the whole joke. Still. It was awkward.

4B. Singling out Julia Roberts for a special highlight reel when none of the other supporting actress nominees got the same attention? Dude, that’s kind of bullshit. I don’t care if she’s a Big Time Movie Star. Who thought this was a good idea?

4C. The thing about Sofia Vergara . . . look. I didn’t feel particularly offended by the joke, but I also think it was ill-conceived. Like, I don’t mind someone doing a bit about how sex appeal livens up a boring speech. That’s fine. And Sofia Vergara is an incredibly sexy woman who seems totally confident in herself and her body. That’s great. But here’s the thing: I could be wrong, of course, but I’m going to take a stab and say that nobody suggested a man stand up there on a rotating platform and Just Be Sexy. Which is crap. There shouldn’t be a gender default for sex appeal. If you just want someone to stand around and look hot (and do absolutely nothing else), your go-to shouldn’t ALWAYS be a woman. Because that’s the kind of thing that leads people to think that’s all women should be valued for.

Others might feel differently, but I suspect I wouldn’t have minded this joke as much, or possibly at all, if we could just have some equal opportunity. There’s no reason a man and a woman couldn’t have been on stage together looking hot. I, personally, would have been okay with seeing Matt Bomer up there, or plenty of other actors in the audience. But you know if a man had been up there, they’d have made it a joke — like it’d be Sofia Vergara and some frumpy comedian dude making a lot of exaggerated and awful ‘I’m so sexy’ poses. I find that frustrating.

But in general, putting a live woman on a spinning platform like she’s a new car is probably not going to go over well with a lot of people. I’m a little surprised that needs to be said, but there you go.

5. I might have put the bit about Julia Louis-Dreyfuss forgetting that she made out with Bryan Cranston on Seinfeld in the Fail Section, too — just because it was such an obvious joke  — but it paid off pretty well when she won for Best Actress, and he attacked her with his lips, and she reciprocated in kind, basically all, “Yup, he was that guy on Seinfeld.”

Nicely played, you two. Nicely played.

6. I see that, since MORTAL KOMBAT was successfully averted last year, The Amazing Race has started its second shot at winning ten straight tournaments in a row. Let’s all agree to meet back here in a decade and see how they did, okay?

7. Finally, the most important part of the evening: fashion.

Since Mekaela is usually working during the pre-awards stuff, I usually watch the stars arriving on the red carpet without her and send emails every thirty minutes with updates on who’s wearing what godawful looking thing and why would you ever wear that, WHY, that dress should be burned and its ashes should be scattered so it doesn’t spontaneously resurrect.

Unfortunately, I slept through the majority of the red carpet yesterday — I needed the sleep to make up for the absolute ZERO sleep I’m currently getting right now — so I couldn’t fulfill my usual email commentary tradition, which made me sad. Thankfully, I could still look at the various internet galleries to get a good look at all the dresses I missed.

I think my Best Dressed would have to go to Lizzy Caplan, whose black and white dress I really liked. Honorable mentions, though, go to Sofia Vergara, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Robin Wright, and Christine Baranski.

But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed by the vast majority of dresses this year. Ugly ass dresses, though, were everywhere to be found. I’m afraid Worst Dressed would have to go to Sarah Paulson because what. The. HELL. But other contenders were Lena Dunham, Laura PreponAllison WilliamsClaire Danes, and Amanda Peet.

And let’s be clear, Lena Dunham. I don’t care that you’re almost certainly doing this on purpose — I would still put you as Worst Dressed if I didn’t hate Sarah Paulson’s dress so damn much that I’d like to attack it with garden shears.

Well, that’s it for the Emmys this year, folks. Return next year to see if John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight gets nominated for the first time, if Tatiana Maslany gets nominated ever, and who turns out to be the new Drama darling now that Breaking Bad is over.

My Annual Emmy Rant

It’s that time of the year again. The 2014 Emmy nominations were announced sometime this morning while I was asleep, and predictably, frustratingly, and stupidly — like mind-boggling stupidly — Tatiana Maslany was left out. Again.

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Now, I’m an adult. I understand that the people who decide these things have a hard job. There’s a lot of great TV out there, and I sure as hell don’t watch all of it, or maybe even most of it. I don’t anticipate the greater majority of the stuff I watch to make it on the Emmys. I adore Teen Wolf with all my fangirl heart, but I don’t expect Dylan O’Brien to get nominated for anything, even if he was particularly excellent last season. I think Sleepy Hollow was one of the most entertaining surprises of the 2013-2014 TV season, but I’m not outraged that Nicole Beharie wasn’t nominated for Best Actress, even though Abbie is a wonderfully strong female character, and Beharie did some truly awesome work.

But Tatiana Maslany, you guys. Her work on Orphan Black is OUTSTANDING. She doesn’t just play the lead character. She plays five lead characters, characters who all regularly interact with one another. And even though you know that, even though you know it’s all the same actress — it’s amazing how often you forget that Sarah and Helena and Rachel and Allison and Cosima are all brought to life by just one woman.

I’m not upset when my clearly silly science fiction and fantasy shows aren’t reflected in prestigious awards ceremonies. But when critically acclaimed performances in excellent genre programming are ignored, just because they’re genre, because someone somewhere has decided that because a show is science fiction and fantasy, it has to be silly? That’s maddening. I mean, it’s great that Lena Headey, at least, is finally getting recognition for her stellar work on Game of Thrones . . . but it still took four years for that recognition, despite GoT being on HBO and, like, the most watched show on the PLANET. Maslany has won Best Actress two years running in the Critics Choice Awards, but the Emmys can’t even get it together to nominate her?

Of course, the Emmys has a history of ignoring superb performances from women in genre television — Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica, Anna Torv from Fringe, Michelle Fairley from Game of Thrones — but this snub just seems to particularly sting.

I’d like to say I’m going to boycott the Emmys in protest, but that would just be a big lie. I’m one of the rare people who enjoys watching award shows, and I’m a huge sucker for all the pretty dresses. Still, I plan to sit on my couch and grumble a lot because this is bullshit, people.

You have no idea who I am, Tatiana Maslany, and we will almost certainly never meet, but let it be said that I know you deserve an Emmy, even if they Emmys themselves do not.