Here its comes: awards season! That special time of year when the days get shorter and more famous people celebrate each other for doing all those things that made them rich while we pay for cable and become slightly less rich! It's the Primetime Emmys, and while the usual suspects have received their usual amount of nods (Mad Men, Modern Family, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock, The Good Wife), there were some surprises (Girls, American Horror Story, Game of Thrones, Sherlock, lots of Betty White), pleasant and otherwise. And after reading through the entire list of nominations, I can comfortably conclude the following things: the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is just as obsessed as everyone else is over Downton Abbey and NBC's Community is existing in another dimension than the people who nominate excellent shows for Emmys. (Yup — almost totally snubbed.)
Jimmy Kimmel and Kerry Washington announced the list of nominees this morning, and naturally, the consensus is in partial agreement with mostly everything while wondering about the head-scratchers, like if there is some deep, evil connection between the Academy and Two and a Half Men that manages to garner that show at least one nomination every year despite it being Two and a Half Men. (Congratulations, John Cryer.) Most believe that the shows that are up for awards are plenty deserving, like 30 Rock and Modern Family, Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire. And then there are the shows that people are relieved to see nominated, like Louie, Game of Thrones, and Homeland. Always good to see that happen, right?
And then people get their hate on. I give you the multiple nominations for shows like Harry's Law, Grey's Anatomy, and Saturday Night Live, because some people love to hate Saturday Night Live while simultaneously remaining a regular viewer. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, haters — why do you watch a show every week it's on and then spend your breath talking about it if it hasn't been good since "whatever year you feel it was good that was over 10 years ago"? Stop watching it if you don't like it, silly! Problem solved!) And shows that people generally aren't into, but they have excellent people on them (see: Mike & Molly and last year's Best Actress in a Comedy winner, Melissa McCarthy, who should win everything). But then there are the spaces filled by shows receiving multiple nominations in certain categories that many feel could have been filled by more deserving shows. Example: Modern Family, which has two nominees up for the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy (out of six) and four in the Supporting Actor category (also out of six). Really? Not trying to undermine the talents of the Modern Family ensemble, but there really wasn't anyone else on a different show worth honoring? Like, say, from Community?
Yeah, let's talk about Community. The Rodney Dangerfield of sitcoms. How many nominations does this show get? One. For writing, which it deserves, absolutely. (For the episode "Remedial Chaos Theory.") But that was it. Nothing for the actors, nothing for the directors, not even for art direction. (Congratulations, 2 Broke Girls.) Honestly, it's depressing, I tell ya — no respect. The Academy said to Community, "We wanna wish your mother a Happy Mother's Day Eve — because the day before she became your mother was the happiest day of her life!"
Also nearly left out completely was The Walking Dead. One nomination: for makeup. However, that first half of the season (which should have just been called "Waiting for Sophia") did drag, and despite some truly gut-wrenching and suspenseful moments later on, it's probably not a huge injustice that it missed out on other major nominations this year. Please, feel free to disagree with me. I am totally cool with it. I just think that the change in showrunners may have thrown it off its game, which means this upcoming third season may very well be amazing.
In other genre news, though, great to see Game of Thrones get the attention it deserves and another nomination for Peter Dinklage.
I think the biggest surprise, for me, was the 17 nods for American Horror Story, the same amount of nominations as Mad Men. (In related news, Ryan Murphy's other show, Glee, was shut out of all the major categories, but Glee had a weird year. Even die-hard fans will admit that.) This is one of the biggest examples of a "sleeper hit" that I've witnessed on TV, and as a horror fan, I'm just kinda tickled that this show got this kind of attention.
And then there's Downton Abbey, the show about British people that all the people you know on Twitter were talking about earlier this year nonstop. With 16 nominations, The Guardian has a laugh at our expense from across the pond: "Looking at this year's Emmy nominations, it's hard not to crack the old joke about Americans being rendered powerless by the sight of a stately home." Well played, The Guardian. Well played.
But hey, awesome to see Breaking Bad get accolades for heading into the most unsympathetic, dark territory that, in full disclosure, I've only seen glimpses of in the fourth season's premiere. (Season four just arrived on Netflix and I'm playing catch-up. Bear with me!) Meanwhile, its AMC compatriot Mad Men had one of its more uneven seasons in its entire run, though it was sprinkled with some excellent moments throughout; Jared Harris got his going-away present for playing the doomed Lane Pryce in the form of a Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nod, Christina Hendricks was rightly nominated for her work as Joan.
In summary, this is an unremarkable day in Emmy history. No big shockers, no bigger disappointments than usual. At least a lot of good TV was nominated. Like Robot Chicken and Children's Hospital. And Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristen Wiig (for SNL and for her voice work as Lola Bunny on The Looney Tunes Show), and Betty White.