2019 SAG Awards Viewing Guide: Part 2 – 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.

As I mentioned in the TV Drama viewing guide, we have a real problem with no Supporting awards. And while it was noticeable in the Dramas, it’s REALLY a problem here. Alex Borstein, Alan Arkin and Henry Winkler are wasted nominees, since they won’t win due to their presence in supporting roles. On the women’s side, these spots  could (and should) have been filled with Issa Rae, Kristin Bell, or Amy Landecker. And on the men’s side Hank Azaria (“Brockmire”), Andy Samberg (“Brooklyn Nine Nine”), Michael Dorman (“Patriot”), and the biggest snub of the year, Donald Glover (“Atlanta”). We could have honored so many wonderful supporting actors as well. Ugh.

Regardless…

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PART 2: TELEVISION COMEDY

The Women (or where the hell is Issa Rae?)

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (AmazonPrime) (…he gets my vote)

“Maizel” was even BETTER in season 2, and a large part of it, obviously goes to Ms. Borstein’s brilliance. I will never look at a toilet plunger the same way again. However, it is a supporting role. Had there been such a category, she would deservedly run away with it
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Alison Brie – GLOW (Netflix)

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. But it’s just not strong enough to compete with the likes of “Mrs. Maizel”, or “Insecure”, or “Patriot”, and on and on…
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Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

So, really, is there any doubt who deserves the award? Not even nominated last year, she should be a shoo-in for this years statuette. Her timing, commitment and emotional connection to both us and the world she lives in are extraordinary for a show this funny. “Maizel” will be in the discussion of the best of the best comedies for decades to come…and much of it is due to her performance.
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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 any season. We should all send apologies to Issa Rae.
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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 Donald Glover?! Hell, he deserves a statuette for Teddy Perkins alone!)

Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)

This is neither the funniest show about L.A. acting classes (“Barry”), nor wealthy Jews (“Maizel”). That said, ANYTHING Alan Arkin does is worth investing time in. Alas, again, he suffers from the supporting role blues here. He might have won had there been a supporting award.
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Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)

I don’t know…his performance is…fine? I always feel like he’s playing the joke instead of the moment or emotion. As a result, I often wonder how much better it would be with a  laugh track or a snare and cymbal. But compared to ” Barry”, “Atlanta”, “Bklyn99”, “Patriot” or “Silicon Valley”, it’s just not deep enough a show to bring out the best of his comic abilities.
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Bill Hader, “Barry” (HBO) (…he gets my vote)

Okay, now we’re talking. Hader is tremendous in a tremendously original and uniquely funny show. At once ultra dark and laugh-out-loud funny, and spot ON in its depiction of the LA acting class experience (much more so than “Kominsky”), it suits Bill Hader’s timing and delivery to perfection. I fear we’ll give it to Douglas, but in my mind, the only person here who should give him a run for his money, is Shalhoub.
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Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (AmazonPrime)

Well, I’ll say this…at least we seem to have finished nominating WH Macy. Not that he isn’t good, but it’s been several years in a row that we’ve nominated a person impersonating an addict. And the only thing that makes me more uncomfortable than watching him do his shtick, is knowing that we keep rewarding him for it. But THIS year, we have Tony Shalhoub (and his romper and tomato juice). This is such a nuanced character, with the best of best timing, taking advantage of brilliant writing. The only reason I’m NOT voting for him is that it’s a supporting role…but the only supporting role that I can’t find fault with a nomination!
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Henry Winkler, “Barry “ (HBO)

Michael Douglas should have watched Winkler’s Gene Cousineau. Totally sure of himself, disgustingly in love with his own voice, and always mining the smallest expression for laughs, it’s one of the best new characters to hit the television thingee…and one that will last in the memory for some time. Alas, it is ALSO a supporting role. I would have preferred to debate the worthier performer, Hader or Glover.

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Ensemble

“Atlanta” (FX)

Taking more chances than in the first season, plus having the advantage of familiarity with the characters, “Atlanta” was even better than in its first season. Featuring a cast that includes three possible winners in the category, I’d be quite happy if “Atlanta” wins. But it’s not the ensemble I’m voting for.
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“Barry” (HBO)

The cast of Barry is great…and unlike “Kominsky”, all the students in the class are utilized and hilarious. As such, it’s a much bigger and better cast than most of the other nominees. Sure, there’s Hader and Winkler, but there is also Sarah Goldberg, Paula Newsome, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, and, of course, the brilliant Stephen Root. I mean, come ON! And even with all this talent (and terrific writing), it doesn’t get my vote.
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“GLOW” (Netflix)

I still have no idea what the hulabaloo over this show is about. Everyone in it is fine. None better than Maron. But as ensembles go, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Silicon Valley” are much more consistent, funny, and addictive. And last I checked, they weren’t nominated.
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“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)

Again, this is a two-actor show with very little to offer in terms of ensemble. Even Graham Rogers, who’s pretty good on “Ray Donovan” is quite resolutely meh here. If it wins, then no one under the age of sixty is actually voting.
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“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” (AmazonPrime) (…they get my vote)

The only shows that comes close to the pace, hilarity and brilliance of “Maizel” are shows that can barely do it for thirty minutes. “Maizel” does it for an hour each episode thanks to the amaze-balls cast, which, in addition to its leads, includes the absolutely brilliant Marin Hinkle (who, had there been a supporting award, should most certainly have been nominated). This is “His Girl Friday”, “The Odd Couple” and “The Lucy Show” rolled in to one…and the cast is as important a piece as all the rest. A true no-brainer.
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Next up: Miniseries and TV films…

Written on 1/20/2019

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