Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Dream Emmys


Look over there! It’s The Good Wife cast looking positively adequate! Ooh, there’s the Modern Family bloc dressed as, and apparently reenacting, The Aristocrats, clearly inspiring some delicious jokes from Dame Diana Rigg. Whoa, they invited Dr. Steve Brule! And he’s chewing up the placeholders for The Big Bang Theory? Up ahead Ken Cosgrove and the bunheads are dancing a wistful tap to “Getaway,” and some Julie loon just got on the loudspeaker desperately looking for a guy named Blaze? I don’t know what’s going on, but the 2013 dream Emmys are off to a great start.

If you missed the Creative Arts Dream Emmys, the highlight was probably Best Song From a Musical Based on a Kevin Grisham Novel going to Jenna Maroney’s “The Rural Juror,” the perfect sendoff for a great comedy. As for tonight’s festivities, there is no host, but the awards will be presented by an assortment of Arrow/Teen Wolf/Spartacus stars. I haven’t seen Rectify or Orphan Black yet, because, what, am I supposed to give up my HGTV time in the name of due diligence? This isn’t NewsNight. I also haven’t seen Behind The Candelabra, but I have thrown at least one low-rent Liberace-themed Christmas party and also get your own goddamn dream Emmys if it’s such a big deal. I have seen a lot, though, like Hannibal’s-food-presentation-budget a lot, and here are six nominees for performers and shows and maybe some extras at the end. Now pipe down. Bobby Five’s trying to lead the audience in something called “Father Abraham.”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Roger Allam - The Thick of It


Will Arnett - Arrested Development


Rob Huebel - Childrens Hospital


Jane Krakowski - 30 Rock


Alia Shawkat - Arrested Development


Eden Sher - The Middle


For most of the year, all of my Emmy hopes were riding on Jane Krakowski. In a just world, they’d play Jenna saying,
“Instead of losing a push-up contest to Julie Bowen to see who gets to play Kevin James’ mean wife who he’s sick of having sex with, I’m gonna skip ahead to being an amazing slut who wins Oscars!”
as Bowen ascends the stage to accept her third consecutive reflective surface. But then came Arrested Development. In a gender-segregated line-up, I’d still give Krakowski the win (sorry, Jessica Walter, but sorrier still to the perfecto Alia Shawkat), but this year, Will Arnett‘s awakening GOB bests all comers, as it were.

Best Actor in a Comedy:

Jason Bateman - Arrested Development


Peter Capaldi - The Thick of It


Tina Fey - 30 Rock


Lisa Kudrow - Web Therapy


Jane Levy - Suburgatory


Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep


I imagine the only surprise here is Jane Levy, but girl’s going places. She pulls off Daphne, she pulls off Carrie Mathison, she pulls off Veronica Mars, swinging from too-cool-for-school wise-ass to actual teenage girl who needs her daddy. I came up with a For Your Consideration campaign for Suburgatory (“Fuck Showtime”) but I haven’t heard back. I’m happy to let the Fey deniers keep missing the joke of those Lovitz sketches, but can you believe I have to defend Jason Bateman? Watch the airport scene on mute (i.e. it ain’t just that elaborate “four-person housing situation” joke). So much goes across his face: weary and despairing, but also a little snobbish having to explain himself and prideful about his not-very-fool-proof plan. He might read tired, but this is Michael Bluth without the happy ending of the Fox seasons. He’s as monstrously selfish as everyone else. Still, Peter Capaldi wins, and he’d win for the tribunal episode alone. That, Ricky Gervais, is how you do a didactic climax.

Best Comedy:

30 Rock - Season 7 (NBC)


Adventure Time - Seasons 4 & 5 (Cartoon Network)


Arrested Development - Season 4 (Netflix)


Bob’s Burgers - Season 3 (Fox)


Childrens Hospital - Season 4 (Adult Swim)


The Thick of It - Season 4 (BBC Two)


Apologies to The Middle, Web Therapy, and Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, because I honestly picked at random for the sixth slot, but I’ve already written capsules about those shows in a post to be completed and published as soon as, let’s face it, never. I picked screencaps very delicately so I should just let these speak for themselves, but newcomers might not know that that’s an experimental episode called “British Hospital,” that Dominic Monaghan is operating on a guy in a chicken suit, and that Jaime Murray is saying the line of the season: “I can’t talk right now, mummy. I’m doing medicine on a black girl from a council estate, and my hands are dripping with her poor, black blood.” 30 Rock pulled off a runway show without a single dud, Adventure Time showed us what all that loopiness really means, and Bob’s Burgers might just be challenging The Middle for this decade’s defining traditional family sitcom throne. But Arrested Development goes Synecdoche all the way to its identity confusion (George’s, uh, growth is so moving it makes up for his duller stretches). Finally the idle rich look like the blood-sucking gangies they are. Maybe it’s a crazy theory, but the GOB story completes the picture I had in mind back in 2006 about the entire cast pairing up romantically if they could just see past themselves. The more I look at it, the more intricate this labyrinth becomes.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama:

Jonathan Banks - Breaking Bad


Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - Game of Thrones


Michelle Fairley - Game of Thrones


Christina Hendricks - Mad Men


Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men


Mike White - Enlightened


Peter Mullan probably deserves to be among these nominees, but my Top Of The Lake viewing experience was colored by online screeners (which don’t exactly live up to the breathless reports of sensusous cinematography) and also everything else in the relentless misery spree. But I’m not that familiar with Jane Campion, so there are likely subtleties in this mandatory castration manifesto that I missed. Oh, and I’m going off intuition here (in the sense that I don’t know how I’d intellectually define the genres), but I wouldn’t classify Enlightened, Louie, or Girls as comedies (and I wouldn’t classify those strutting-and-fretting last two as much of anything this year, with apologies to Parker Posey, F. Murray Abraham, and David Lynch). I’m not going to complain about the Dinklage nomination, but does Tyrion really deserve a nomination for that chair scene? Yes, he does. It was a trick question. Still, here’s a partial list of Westerosi I’d nominate before him: Gwendoline Christie, Natalie Dormer, Dame Diana Rigg, Paul Kaye, Noah Taylor, Bart the bear, that leech that got to touch Gendry’s penis. Michelle Fairley has enough monologues that I hope she can eke out a nomination, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s impending snub is the reason nobody puts any stock in the Emmys. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but the guy has got a nice ass, I mean, he’s the spine of the season, the one thing to hold onto as the season spins off in some crazy directions. You don’t get much more supporting than that.

Best Actor in a Drama:

Andre Braugher - Last Resort


Laura Dern - Enlightened


Sutton Foster - Bunheads


Jon Hamm - Mad Men


Elisabeth Moss - Top of the Lake


Matthew Rhys - The Americans


The guys-and-guns state-of-nature show Last Resort is major even with the broadcast-network omniscience obliterating its game-theory genius, and Andre Braugher out-Adamas Edward James Olmos. I still have three or four episodes of The Americans to watch, but I find Rhys’ (traditionally) wifely turmoil more compelling than Keri Russell’s (traditionally) husbandly brooding. If I love anything in life, it’s the person who annoys the moody cable antihero. Plus he wears wigs and kicks ass. Oh, and Bunheads is a drama, too, and so is the unnominated (but occasionally inspired) Glee. Again, intuition, but how tonally different are those shows from a funny network drama like, well, I’m drawing a blank (thanks a lot Hannibal), but you get my drift. Enough small talk. The winner is all-timer Laura Dern, obviously, whom I just wrote about for Indiewire and before that for The A.V. Club and before that for this-a-here blog and before that for Inland Empi—uh-oh, they’re playing me off.

Best Drama:

Breaking Bad - Season 5 (AMC)


Enlightened - Season 2 (HBO)


Game of Thrones - Season 3 (HBO)


Hannibal - Season 1 (NBC)


Mad Men - Season 6 (AMC)


Treme - Season 6 (HBO)


Poured a couple hours into my Breaking Bad and Treme capsules for my end-of-year list that I never finished and published, so I’m too resentful to rehash, but I did post a Twitpic sneak peek recently so get off my back. You can also see my tweet barrage after I finished Hannibal last night.
From here I can actually quantify, starting with third place. Game of Thrones is my stories. Season two has such a complicated and furious focus on power (Sansa saving the jester in the opening scene, the Qarth tubs telling Dany about her claim to the throne, a military climax forged out of political alliances and magic, Theon at Winterfell and Tyrion in the hot seat) that season three would have trouble keeping up, but the soap has never been soapier. The back half of Mad Men is another run of greats building to the best finale partly about a gay Gatsby setting up a John Hodgman lookalike to murder a main character’s mother for insurance money since Nancy Grace. But Enlightened wins because duh. This is why they pay me the freelance bucks.

As for the actual Emmys, I flipped through those godforsaken ballots, and here’s my professional recommendation. Take with a heavy analgesic.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy:

Will Arnett - Arrested Development
Tony Hale - Veep
Rob Huebel - Childrens Hospital
Jack McBrayer - 30 Rock
Mike White - Enlightened
Luke Wilson - Enlightened

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy:

Anna Chlumsky - Veep
Ana Gasteyer - Suburgatory
Jane Krakowski - 30 Rock
Alia Shawkat - Arrested Development
Eden Sher - The Middle
Jessica Walter - Arrested Development

Best Actor in a Comedy:

Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Jason Bateman - 30 Rock
Peter Capaldi - The Thick of It
Louis CK - Louie
Neil Flynn - The Middle
*shrugs*
 Adam Scott - Parks and Recreation

Best Actress in a Comedy:

Laura Dern - Enlightened
Lena Dunham - Girls
Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Sutton Foster - Bunheads
Jane Levy - Suburgatory
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep

Best Comedy:

30 Rock
Arrested Development
Enlightened
The Middle
The Thick of It

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama:

Natalie Dormer - Game of Thrones
Michelle Fairley - Game of Thrones
Lena Headey - Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks - Mad Men
January Jones - Mad Men
Jessica Pare - Mad Men

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama:

Jonathan Banks - Breaking Bad
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
Jay R. Ferguson - Mad Men
Noah Emmerich - The Americans
John Slattery - Mad Men

Best Actress in a Drama:

Khandi Alexander - Treme
Claire Danes - Homeland
(Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black)
Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men
Emmy Rossum - Shameless
Keri Russell - The Americans

Best Actor in a Drama:

Andre Braugher - Last Resort
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Wendell Pierce - Treme
Matthew Rhys - The Americans
(Aden Young - Rectify)

Best Drama:

Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
Hannibal
Mad Men
Treme

Clearly I’m the kind of person who has no problem with a great show winning four of the five writing nominations each year. Or with nominating Tatiana Maslany and Aden Young just because I trust you people, and because I guess I have a bit of a prejudice against “crazy” acting (Danes & Dancy) and also maybe Danes (Danes and Skarsgard). Oh, wait, Claire Danes made the cut after all. That’s because the first five episodes of Homeland season two were the best it’s ever been, and everything else was 24 with a Walker, Texas Ranger interlude, but all the high-minded types kept trying to shame us for pointing that out. Sorry for being sick of sullen teens and throat-acting and ostensible analysts who get all their leads from either physical action or a sixth sense. Mental illness couldn’t come close to hobbling Carrie Mathison as much as the writers’ insistence on her junior-high infatuation with the cute boy who is also a terrorist. I don’t care how much y’all like facial hair and nicknames like “The Patink” for people you don’t hang out with. Homeland is all talk.

The best show I haven’t mentioned yet is Black Mirror, but you’ll be happy to know there’s a copy of season one in the gift bags, along with some Heisenberg blue crystal pop rocks and a 2 GB Cogentiva flash drive (sadly, our sponsors wouldn’t kick in for a third gig). Thanks for coming, and please remember to tip the caterers. This Party Down movie isn’t going to fund itself.

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