2018 SAG Awards Viewing Guide: Part 3 – Television Comedy Awards

Not that you shouldn’t watch all the performances, but it’s difficult, at best, to find the time. As a rule, I don’t sleep, so…here are my observations of the nominated performances.

Ah…the “comedies”. This is always a tricky race for me to comment on since I find so few of the shows actually…y’know…comic…certainly not with any consistency. I don’t quite understand how we seem to always reward unfunny shows over and over and fail to recognize the the new shows that take risks and are simply hilarious. It seems so lazy. Oy.

So this may be of less use to you as a guide than the others…or maybe you totally agree with me…
Regardless…

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PART 3: TELEVISION COMEDY

Women (or where the hell is Pamela Adlon, Rachel Brosnahan, Issa Rae or Frankie Shaw?!)

NO,  SERIOUSLY?!

  • Pamela Adlon “Better Things”
  • Rachel Brosnahan “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • Issa Rae “Insecure”
  • Frankie Shaw “SMILF”

These are groundbreaking, brave and brilliant comic performances in fantastic shows. All were easily available to watch during the nominating process. So I have to ask…DID ANYONE ON THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE EVEN WATCH A COMEDY THIS YEAR?! It’s embarrassing. Let’s break down how lazy our NomComm is (and if you are a NomComm member reading this, then feel free to tell me why I’m wrong. I’m not).
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Uzo Aduba – “Orange is the New Black”

FIVE years in, and not only has the show long since jumped the shark, I still don’t see the humor in it. And, having made a real effort to struggle through a few episodes, I also don’t really get why everyone thinks she’s so fantastic. It’s a safe choice. And since it is at the expense of the women listed above, a terrible choice.
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Alison Brie – GLOW

I love Alison Brie. From “Community”, to “Mad Men” to “GLOW”, she is given a specificity of character and sticks to it like glue all in the service of the script, yet maintains a real humanity. And in a show like “GLOW”, that could’ve been a disaster, but it’s not, thus we root hard for her. She and Maron make it a joy to watch…most of the time. Of this group, only she and Dreyfuss deserved a nomination. Not a bad choice.
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Jane Fonda – “Grace & Frankie”

I really dislike this show and I have no idea why we keep nominating her. It’s not funny. It’s not good. It’s WAAAAAY too cute, and, believe me, I’m closer in age to this show’s demographic than any of the shows mentioned above, so don’t say I’m too young to get it. I wouldn’t even put her performance in my top ten of the season. We should all send apologies to the four brilliant actors listed above.
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Julie Louis-Dreyfuss – “Veep” (SHE GETS MY VOTE)

She’s never not funny…and always spot on in context of the show. Truly, the only outstanding comic performance from this group. As ever. Well deserved and gets my vote by default. (on a side note: Go Cats!)
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Lily Tomlin – “Grace & Frankie”

Well, she’s better than Ms. Fonda, I’ll give you that.
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Men (or where the hell is Hank Azaria or Andy Samberg ?!)

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”

The show is unique, clever, important and, occasionally funny. And while the writing is where its strengths lie, he’s a very important piece of the puzzle.
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Aziz Ansari – “Master of None”

This is a terrific show, and he’s the reason it works. His character make us feel off guard, uncomfortable and wondering if we should be laughing at certain spots, even when we can’t help it. He’d be a good choice for winner…is something I would have said until yesterday.
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Larry David – “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Good for him. Do I need to tell you anything about this? He’s been on hiatus for so long, it was a real joy getting him back, and he, like Louis-Dreyfuss makes everyone around him funnier and more focused.
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Sean Hayes – “Will & Grace”

I thought it would be difficult for this reboot to succeed, given how much of what made “Will & Grace” so shocking back then is no longer so. But I shouldn’t have worried. These are very funny characters played by extremely talented performers and, somehow, they’ve managed to push the envelope even farther…when there isn’t a whole lot of space remaining to push. Brava!
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William H. Macy – “Shameless”

FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW:
“I’ve never been sure how I feel about laughing at an addict’s behavior. I’m not normally one of those guys who looks to closely to enjoy an uncomfortable situation, and his performance is always enjoyable. But I can never get past the incredible sadness of Frank Gallagher’s situation (which is probably Macy’s intent) so I never laugh with him. Thus it’s difficult to give it my vote. That may sound hypocritical, and I can live with that. And from a purely predictive point of view, I don’t think he has a shot to win.”
If we’re going to nominate SIX performers, why not make room for Hanz Azaria, whose “Brockmire” is one of the best new comedies of the year…or Andy Samberg who continues to make “Brooklyn Nine Nine” the Barney Miller of our times? Just a thought. Grrr…..
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Marc Maron -“GLOW” (HE GETS MY VOTE)

As stated about Alison Brie, this funny show about a bizarre piece of our cultural past would be pretty damned pedestrian if not for the work of Mr. Maron. The most grounded character, he anchors the humor while still getting most of the laughs. It’s great work and I’m happy we rewarded him with a nomination. Simply because it’s SOMETHING new, he gets my vote.

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Ensemble

Again with the “Orange”. Here is a partial list of better ensembles:

  • “Better Things”
  • “Brockmire”
  • “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
  • “Episodes”
  • “Insecure”
  • “Loudermilk”
  • “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • “Silicon Valley”
  • “SMILF”

Hell, even “Ballers” had a more consistent cast than “Orange”, and I hate that show.
Smart, clever, witty and spit-take inducing, they all more than deserved to be recognized by our Union. But, alas, we are stuck with “Orange”…so let’s just give it to “Veep” right now, please.

I’m giving my vote to “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. I know, I know – I knew nothing of this show until a week ago, but that’s how strong the cast is…in the meantime, here are the rest:
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“Black-ish”

It is much better this year than last year…as they’ve found a way to make the punchlines come from someplace other than typical sitcom setups. Still, the ENSEMBLE is not what makes the show.
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“Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Okay…if I have to vote for what has been presented in front of me, and I don’t give it to “Veep”, I’ll place my vote here. Still brilliant after all these years, Larry David, Cheryl HInes, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman(!), J.B. Smoove, F. Murray Abraham, Ted Danson, Bobn Einstein, Richard Lewis and on and on. Truly soda-through-your-nose funny. (okay, this gets my vote in the non-protest world)
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“GLOW”

I didn’t LOVE the show, but certainly not because of the performances. It just, for my taste, got old fast. That said, the cast pulls off the humor and the style successfully. But, truth be told, the show relies so heavily on Maron, Brie and Betty Gilpin, that it’s hard to see rewarding the entire ensemble (although Britney Young and Sydelle Noel are terrific).
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“Orange is the New Black”

Don’t get me started.
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“Veep”

Talent will out…and this cast still has some of the “best of the best” comic chops among its very talented crew. And THEN they add Patton Oswalt?! A very funny show and a brilliant ensemble seems to get better – never standing still. The ONLY reason I won’t vote for it is because it’s become too painful to watch knowing that our ACTUAL administration is just as comical.
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Next up: Miniseries and TV films…

Written on 1/15/2018

2 thoughts on “2018 SAG Awards Viewing Guide: Part 3 – Television Comedy Awards

  1. Leaving Pamela Adlon out, and the show out (reaction to Louis CK??) is absurd. For the full cast, Silicon Valley and Episodes are not better than Orange??????? Have you seen Detour? Sometimes over the top but can be hilarious.

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