Emmy Categories

I was texting my mom during the Emmys and we were pleased to see Breaking Bad sweeping most of the drama awards. She’s not caught up, but I got her to watch the show and she fell in love. I sent her a text after Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul won saying “Don’t worry. Cranston will still lose.” I was sure of it. The narrative of Hollywood made me forget the feeling I got when I watched “Ozymandias” and had to re-watch it 3 times that week because Bryan Cranston’s performance was unlike any I’d ever seen. I fell under the spell of “alright, alright, alright.”

When Cranston won, I backtracked. I texted my mom again, “I told you the only person that could upset Matthew McConaughey was Bryan Cranston.” I’ll admit that I was wrong. And I remembered what I thought back in January: Good thing Cranston doesn’t have to compete against McConaughey. That was before True Detective declared as a drama.

The Emmys allow shows to self-categorize if they straddle the line between genres, which is like if baseball didn’t separate Cy Young by league. How can you compare greatness if they’re not playing by the same rules? One has to face a DH, the other doesn’t. It’s not fair.

In this case, the DH is long-term commitment in casting. Matthew McConaughey is a huge movie star. He won’t commit 6 years of his life to a role because there’s bigger money for him on the bigger screen. Bryan Cranston was just Hal from Malcolm in the Middle when Breaking Bad started. He didn’t have agents telling him to avoid the commitment because he was just happy for quality work. True Detective gets to pack heavy hitters in because it’s only a single season commitment. Single season and series are mutually exclusive terms, which is why the miniseries category exists. The Emmys act like miniseries are allowed to declare as a drama as a step up from miniseries and play with the big boys, which is not true. They are separate because they play by different rules.

Bryan Cranston deserved the Emmy. But I think that his win was also justice for Nic Pizzolatto (aka Big Pizza) and friends trying to take advantage of a loophole in the rules to gain more positive press. They had to give Cary Fukunaga an Emmy for that awe-inspiring tracking shot, but McConaughey lost as punishment for not submitting in the correct category. Sorry to Sherlock and Watson, but Marty and Rust could have swept the miniseries awards.

I also want to note the biggest snub of the Emmys this season and it’s directly caused by this stupid rule. Shameless is a drama. Emmy Rossum (who deserves an award to match her name) had a heart-breaking downward spiral this season that was worthy of a Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy. But she was submitted as an actress in a comedy. Her performance was not comedic. It”s not good comedy acting to be dramatic. Which proves that the show is not a comedy because the actors are trying to be dramatic. Even Rectify makes jokes. It’s not a comedy. And I’m still mad about the Golden Globes calling The Tourist a comedy and even nominating that garbage.

Play by the rules. Be what you are. If your story is one season, it’s not a series. A series needs at least two seasons. That’s just the definition of the word. Otherwise, you’re a miniseries. And don’t argue that True Detective is two seasons. Season 2 will have nothing to do with season 1. The only thing in common is the name brand that Matthew McConaughey established and then immediately left.


Theme Songs

I know every single lyric to the theme song of Dexter’s Laboratory to this day. It was great. There was doom and gloom while things went boom. It was also short. Theme songs and opening credits are the least interesting part of a show. They usually come after a teaser too, which means a long open can really test your attention to the point where you may enter Act 1 with less than full attention.

Here’s the deal. We watch things on our computers. We can exit fullscreen and open a new tab at any time. Giving me a minute and a half of boring theme music that I’ve seen already 10 times before will spark my ADD.

Who am I really talking about? The Leftovers, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, True Blood (although I guess not anymore), Masters of Sex, Bojack Horseman, and any other show that has theme music longer than 30 seconds. Bojack might be 30 seconds, but it is a boring 30. I’ll also admit the Game of Thrones score is epic and True Blood’s “Bad Things” is still worth a bunch of listens. However, I started skipping them both after about 4 times. The Leftovers is especially stupid because it’s like a run across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with boring, instrumental music. I watched it once and thought it was a waste of time.

I’m sure that the data on skipping the opening credits is collected, at the very least by Netflix. They have to know that Regina Spektor’s theme song is tiresome on OITNB. I would just like to reinforce the notion that people skip it if it is too long.

I’m done complaining. At least for now. Now, it’s time to give some awards for short, but sweet openings. The Walking Dead, The Strain, Satisfaction (what a sweet cover of the Stones), Suits, Royal Pains, Garfunkel & Oates (they better), New Girl, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, South Park, The Simpsons, Shameless, Archer, Louie, and Community. There’s more that I left out, but those ones are all succinct and memorable. You’ll notice it starts of with shows that have aired in the summer and then I just started brainstorming. As an added note, True Detective’s was great. That song is so good.

Back to complaining. Here are a few that could use work. They’re not auto-skips, but they’re close. Undateable (WTF is going on there), About a Boy, It’s Always Sunny, Catfish, SNL (too many peeps), and I’m getting sick of Family Guy. Other than Undateable, everything else is just my personal taste. You can probably ignore it. Undateable’s is shit though. Chris D’Elia doing DVD commentary does not make for an interesting opening.

So get it together TV. Keep it short and try to make it unique to the show if you can. We need more Charles in Charges or even just taking ownership of a song like Veronica Mars and “We Used To Be Friends” or The OC and “California”. Don’t be The Leftovers. It is currently in the top spot of the “Horrible Opening Power Rankings”.

Actors Hall of Fame

In honor of the Emmys, I wanted to take a chance to talk about awards. As a lover of TV characters, I want to see my favorites beat the loser characters on other shows. It’s the same feeling I get when I want Adam Jones to win MVP of MLB. I want my Orioles to shine bright.

It’s pretty easy to pick an MVP in sports. You look at the stats, team record, situations, and your gut and make a pick. It’s much tougher for TV. How do you judge Bryan Cranston’s last 8 episodes as Walter White against Rust Cohle against Don Draper? It’s not easy. Hopefully, you look at the individual seasons and compare how they made you feel. The one that made you feel the most wins.

There are a lot of amazing characters on TV that actors never won awards for. Steve Carrell as Michael Scott. Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Josh Charles as what’s his face on The Good Wife. It’s a shame. I’ve seen a lot of people argue that Josh Charles should win this year because it’s his last chance. Not because he was a better actor.

This is an issue that plagues the Oscars as well. Samuel L. Jackson still moans to this day about how he should have won the Oscar for Pulp Fiction over Martin Landau, but lost because they wanted to honor Martin Landau’s legacy. The issue is there is no honor in Hollywood for the breadth of someone’s work.

Michael Scott may not be an Emmy-winning character, but he is one of the funniest, most memorable characters in TV history. He deserves a spot in an Actors Hall of Fame (that walk of fame nonsense doesn’t count). Let’s make a Michael Scott bust and put it up in Silver Lake, the new Cooperstown of the West. It doesn’t have to be Silver Lake.

How do we pick the inductees? The first thing to look at is the stats. Awards wins, award nominations, and anything else that is quantifiable. Then, you can try to look at the most representative ratings available for the show (Live+30 years?). It doesn’t mean the performance is great, but the number of people that watch matters. It just doesn’t matter when they watch. Situations are also important. That might mean watching the top highlights of the character. Finally, it’s the gut call. Who makes you want to tune in every week?

Recognition will help clean up the voting process because more performances are recognized and they deserve to be. Jon Hamm has 7 Emmy nominations. He has 0 wins. Is Don Draper not one of the most special characters in history? Are we really going to let Jeff Daniels have an Emmy for The Newsroom and give nothing to the Hamm? Let’s fight the injustice. Actors Hall of Fame. Get at it.