A few years ago, a woman I was working with on a show for the History Channel mentioned she had won an Emmy (a local one.) I thought this was cool and said, “You have an Emmy?” Her response was, “Yeah, but who doesn’t?”
I guess it’s true that if you work in local television long enough, eventually you’ll be honored. It’s definitely an industry that likes to pat itself on the back. (My downfall here is from working only on national shows (brag) so I guess I’ll have to wait a while for my Emmy.) Tonight, the annual prime time Emmys are settling in for a brag-fest of their own.
Here’s the thing – this year, they deserve it. The last couple of years have produced, in my opinion, some of the best, most compelling television ever. All right, fine, hyperbole aside, the best that I can remember. Don’t get me wrong…Proportionally, the amount of utter crap has increased as well, but it’s really easy to avoid with all of the choices out there.
The top two nominees this year are 30 Rock and Mad Men, with 30 and 16 nominations respectively. Mad Men, as you should already know, is my favorite program on the planet, ever, the best thing television has ever seen. (No hyperbole intended.) 30 Rock is definitely the funniest show out there at the moment. Both shows won last year and they’ll win again this year.
But I have a few questions. For instance, Family Guy, for best comedy? I know the Emmys have increased the number of programs that will compete for the top prizes, but Family Guy, really? My husband watches this show so I’ve seen it more times than I care to admit, but that allows me to tell you that while it does have the occasionally funny line, usually delivered by the baby in that amusing voice, it mostly ranges from dull to downright offensive. Its absurdity fails where 30 Rock’s succeeds.
Also, is Neil Patrick Harris (this year’s Emmy host) the luckiest man in show business? I don’t know how he turned himself around from washed up child actor to most-wanted comedic talent, and I don’t see it myself, but kudos to him.
I’m glad that HBO’s Big Love is getting some big love. It won’t and shouldn’t win against Mad Men, but it is to me an inexplicably entertaining show that had its best season this year (its third.) I’m REALLY glad that Elisabeth Moss who plays Peggy Olson on Mad Men is nominated, though I hear amongst the likes of Glenn Close and Holly Hunter she won’t win. It’s too bad because this woman is so pitch perfect in that role. Peggy, you are my hero.
Anyway, despite the influx of entertainment coming to a living room near you, the thing that really bothers me about American television is its insistence on driving our favorite programs into the ground, until they become but a shell of what they were in their glory days. This happens to every show without fail. Nobody knows when to call it quits. I used to adore Scrubs, which was both funny and insightful for its first three, maybe four seasons. Then it quickly turned into the dumbest situation comedy this side of Three’s Company, and, of course, became a bona fide hit, cruising now into its tenth season. Ridiculous. Devastated as I will be when Mad Men ends, I hope it does so gracefully and while still on top.
Thus concludes my Emmy post. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about awards, but I did want to spend some time talking about television shows. Well, really just Mad Men. As I stated in a paper I did for a class this summer on Mad Men (which earned me a 4.0), I’m not exactly sure why the show resonates with me so personally. I wasn’t alive in the ‘60s, I’m not in advertising, I don’t smoke or drink or wish I could do these things at work, and I’m not relegated to life as a secretary or housewife. Nor do I usually like stories that are unrelentlessly unhappy. Yet like a Nick Hornby novel, I find everything about Mad Men resonates with my soul and I want to inhale it like the pregnant ladies do their Luckies.
But that’s just my opinion. I invite you to share yours. What’s your favorite program now or from years past, and why? (Really, I want to know! Tell me!)