Well well well, it’s Emmys time again. The 70th annual awards take place this coming Monday, September 17. We’ve already given you the list of nominees and the winners we’d like to see. Now, we’ll give you some highlights to look out for during the show. The biggies, the themes, etc. And I, your guide through this exercise, won’t even mention once how infuriating it is that The Good Place wasn’t nominated. Nope, won’t even bring it up. Because I am a professional. Kind of. I am kind of a professional.
Before we dive in, a reminder: This business of giving out awards to art and artists based on purely subjective criteria is all very silly. Important to the people involved, but silly as a whole enterprise. Our stance on it remains as follows: If we’re all going to insist on doing this, let’s try to do it right.
Away we go.
Potential Game of Thrones fatigue
Game of Thrones is nominated for a zillion things in a half-zillion categories, which is interesting because the most recent season of the show aired in mid-2014. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think four-year-old seasons of television should be allowed to compete agai-… hold on. I’m just looking this up again and it appears the most recent season ended in August 2017, not 2014. That’s only one year ago. That feels… impossible. It feels like it aired before the final season of Justified, somehow. And yet! It didn’t! It just barely missed the submission cutoff for 2017 Emmys. Which is how we ended up here, I guess.
And it’s weird! Last year’s Emmys took place three weeks after the finale of television’s biggest and most-lauded show but everyone had to more or less pretend the show didn’t exist. This year’s Emmys take place over a year since that last episode and a good 7-10 months before the next one and we’re all going to try to get hyped up about dragon-related things we barely remember. It’s going to be weird if the show does win Outstanding Drama because other shows on the list feel fresher. But it’s also going to be weird if it doesn’t because it will feel like the show got punished by the calendar.
There’s not really a great solution here, either. A line has to be drawn somewhere even if it makes things weird, like how in Little League you can have one kid who snuck in under the age cutoff and turned 13 midseasons and is shaving on the bench between innings. You just gotta grin and bear it and watch him mash dingers.
Do you like topical jokes? I hope you do! Because they are coming whether you like them or not!
This year’s ceremony is hosted by Weekend Update co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che, which breaks the recent tradition of just having your network’s late-night host do it by, uh, just having your weekend late-night hosts do it. The two are very used to making jokes about the news and there is a lot of news. Too much news, some would say. This week alone we’ve seen Les Moonves booted out of CBS and a former Weekend Update host go on an apology tour for saying things he shouldn’t have said. It’s going to be hard to avoid a lot of that and there’s a really fine line to tip-toe down if you choose to try.
And on that note: Jost and Che’s Update jokes have a bit of a sharper edge to them than jokes by a Seth Meyers or Jimmy Fallon or Conan, but the question is whether they’ll tweak that Saturday-at-midnight sensibility for a Monday-in-tuxedos type of event. And also why we don’t just make Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host all of these. Or swerve hard to left and get Desus and Mero to do it. We have options, is my point.
I don’t know. It will probably be fine. I’m sure it will be fine. Unless it isn’t. In which case, pitchforks at dawn, I guess?
Will The Americans win anything in its last chance?
The Americans is one of the best television shows of the last decade or so and it has won jack squat. This is its last chance and it has nominees in the big categories: Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress. I would very much like to see it take home at least one of those, in part because you could make the argument that it’s deserving in each category, and in part because that way we can look back 10 years from now and be on the right side of history. Let’s do it. Let’s give The Americans an Emmy.
Looking at the categories, I’d guess the best shot the show has is Matthew Rhys for Lead Actor. I doubt the Emmys are going to do an about-face and suddenly give Outstanding Drama to a show that’s been largely ignored for most of its run. And while Keri Russell freaking rules and should win dozens of awards just for being great, that Lead Actress category is stacked, man. Elisabeth Moss, Sandra Oh, Claire Foy… I mean, damn. The Lead Actor category just features two This Is Us stars (feels like that ship has sailed), two Westworld stars (God bless Jeffrey Wright but he has nothing to do on that show), and Jason Bateman from Ozark (more like No-zark).
We can give Matthew Rhys this Emmy.
LET’S GIVE MATTHEW RHYS THIS EMMY.
LET’S LET HIM BE HAPPY.