2017 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 show actually…y’know…comic. I don’t quite understand how we consistently reward unfunny shows and fail to recognize the funny ones. It seems so lazy to just re-nominate the same ensembles year after year. Oy.

So this may be of less use to you as a guide than the others…or maybe you totally agree with me…in which case we need to get different nominators on the committee! Regardless…

PART 3: TELEVISION COMEDY

Women (…or…AGAIN…Where the Hell is Amy Landecker?!)

Uzo Aduba – “Orange is the New Black”

Four years in and I still don’t see the humor in this show. 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. But, I’m constantly told she is…so, maybe she is…
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Jane Fonda – “Grace & Frankie”

I wonder what the average age of a typical nominating committee member was this year. How else to explain this nomination. This is not a very good show and Ms. Fonda wasn’t even the best person in the two-person piece.
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Ellie Kemper – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

“Kimmy Schmidt” was much better this past season…or…weirder…more subversive. They took more risks and it mostly paid off. It still didn’t necessarily make me laugh out loud, but it’s very unique and filled with interesting characters. But, in terms of this specific award, the reason to watch the show is Mr. Burgess, not Ms. Kemper.
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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.
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Lily Tomlin – “Grace & Frankie”

Well, she’s better than Ms. Fonda, I’ll give you that. Enjoy you Lifetime Achievement Award, Ms. Tomlin! That, at least, is well deserved!


Men

Anthony Anderson – “Black-ish”

The show is unique, clever, important and, occasionally funny. But I don’t necessarily feel Mr. Anderson is uniquely responsible for its success. The writing is where its strengths lie…
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Titus Burgess – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

One of three worthy nominees, Mr. Burgess is fantastic in “Schmidt”. A risk taker, a well-defined character, and a perfect sense of timing. Really great. Too bad Jeffrey Tambor is a nominee.
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Ty Burrell – “Modern Family”

What I wrote LAST year is still appropriate:
“Okay. I love this show and I love Burrell in it, but enough is enough. They are all doing the exact same shtick at this point. It’s still hilarious, but at this point, I think it’s obvious that we want some reality with our funny.”
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William H. Macy – “Shameless”

What I wrote LAST year is still appropriate:
“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.”
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Jeffrey Tambor – “Transparent” (HE GETS MY VOTE)

Even though the evolution of its characters has finally branched out beyond his character, his evolution is still mesmerizing, heartbreaking, funny, and beautiful. He, obviously, deserves the award. But, I’m curious, why ISN’T Amy Landecker ever considered? Or Judith Light for this third season?! Her performance of “Hand in My Pocket” was simply one of the bravest and most emotive things I saw on the small screen this year. Ah well…


Ensemble
(…or…Where the Hell is “Atlanta”?!)

veep-hugh-laurie-julia-louis-dreyfus.jpgOkay…uh…with the exception of “Veep”, these are NOT the best comedy ensembles…not by a long shot. Here is a partial list of better ensembles:

  • “Atlanta”
  • “Better Things”
  • “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
  • “Insecure”
  • “New Girl”
  • “Silicon Valley”
  • “Transparent”

Hell, even “Ballers” had a more consistent cast than some of the nominees…
Smart, clever, witty and spit-take inducing, they all more than deserved to be recognized by our Union. But, alas, we are stuck with the same, tired “Big Bang”, “Modern Family” and “Orange”…so let’s just give it to “Veep” right now, please.

Okay…rant over…here are the nominees for BEST Ensemble in a Comedy:

“Big Bang Theory”

I know some of these actors and am extremely fond of them. But…punchlines you can smell ten minutes before they arrive, communicated by what are now two-dimensional characters. Occasionally still funny…but, really…haven’t we all had enough?
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“Black-ish”

The cast certainly isn’t bad, but neither is it great…and anybody in the cast, other than Anderson and Tracee Ellis-Ross, could be replaced without anyone noticing. That does not make for an ensemble…it’s not even a quarter of a minion (ask your Jewish friends).
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“Modern Family”

The geriatric entry of the bunch. However, because of the individual talents of the cast, I suppose a case can be made that it still belongs here. Maybe. Or maybe meh.
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“Orange is the New Black”

I’m on an island here, but the show has jumped the shark and it sure feels like the cast was sleep-walking through this latest season. I mean, really…can you tell me this show has a better ensemble moment to moment than any of the shows I listed above? You can? Well, then you must have been on the nominating committee.
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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 John Slattery, Hugh Laurie, and J. P. Manoux?! A very funny show and a brilliant ensemble seems to get better – never standing still.
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Next up: Miniseries and TV films…

Written on 1/13/2017

3 thoughts on “2017 SAG Awards Viewing Guide: Part 3 – Television Comedy Awards

  1. Hate this category because other than Silicon Valley and Veep, I think they are either not funny or have run their course. I do like Speechless…can be very funny.

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