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What TV to Watch Next – Justified

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I think I’m settling into binge watching Justified, a series that runs on the FX network in the U.S. and will be starting its 5th season soon.

Here’s why. Justified is based on a short story by the great Elmore Leonard, who served as one of the executive producers (and took an active interest) before he died earlier this year. The showrunner is Graham Yost, who wrote a couple of John Woo’s American films as well as working on Band of Brothers.

The set-up is simple.  Federal Marshall Raylen Givens is a throwback to the old American west. He wears a ten gallon hat and he gives bad guys 24 hours to get out of town or else. After killing one of those bad guys in Miami (“He pulled first. It was justified,” he tells Internal Affairs), he gets sent down to Lexington, Kentucky – a district that includes Harlan County, the place where he was born and thought he’d escaped. Givens is played by Timothy Olyphant – who starred in one of my all-time favorite series, Deadwood.

Here’s the thing. Hollywood mostly gets Elmore Leonard wrong. Very wrong. Which is a damned shame, because when they do get him right, you get some great entertainment. I’m thinking Out of Sight, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown – works from Steven Soderbergh, Barry Sonnenfeld and, of course, Quentin Tarantino (someone who was clearly influenced by Leonard in a big way).  I’m only 4 episodes into the first season of Justified so I can’t say that it’s up there in the ranks of those three films yet. And it’s no Breaking Bad/Sopranos level, but it’s pretty damned good.

Actually, it hit me midway through season 1 episode 4. It’s an episode called Long in the Tooth, written by Chris Provenzano (he worked on Mad Men) and directed by Adam Arkin (yes, that Adam Arkin). Guest stars are Alan Rucker (you’ll remember him from Ferris Bueller) and Clarence “Mod Squad” Williams III. Both are terrific here. But there’s this scene with two minor characters sitting in a car talking nonsense – and I realized that the dialogue I was hearing was really capturing the spirit of Elmore Leonard, even if he didn’t write it himself. Apparently they go around all the time saying WWED – What Would Elmore Do?

And, to make it even better, in that scene, they’re talking about a film. The film is never mentioned by name, but it’s not hard to guess – it’s Pulp Fiction. I understand that there’s lots of little meta references scattered throughout the series, and I think I’m gonna have fun searching them out.

So, will I end this blog post by saying that you’d be justified to watch Justified? Nah, I ain’t gonna sink that low. But here’s the first season trailer (actually the ad for season 1 on DVD), check it out.

 

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Breaking Bad – Done

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For most of its five year run, I knew about the TV series Breaking Bad but had never watched it. As the show wound down to its conclusion last month, I figured it was way past time to catch up and I watched all 62 episodes over the course of the past few weeks (mostly on my iPad on my commute to and from work).

I realized that while the show gets so much publicity in American media, 2 out of 3 people whom I’ve spoken to in the past week have never even heard of it, so let me digress and fill in some of the details.

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Here’s the basic premise. Walter White is a 50 year old high school science teacher living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After school he has a second job as a cashier in a local carwash and still can barely make ends meet. He has a 15 year old son with cerebral palsy and his 40 year old wife has just discovered she is pregnant again. And then White is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. His savings are nil, his insurance won’t cover the treatments he needs and he’ll have no money to leave his family when he dies.

White’s wife’s sister is a kleptomaniac nurse married to a DEA agent, Hank. One day Hank offers to put some excitement into Walter’s life by bringing him along on a bust. Walter recognizes one of his former students, Jesse, who eludes the police, and later tracks him down and suggests that he will “cook” crystal meth and Jesse can sell it for him.

But cooking and selling a little bit at a time doesn’t bring in the money fast enough. Walter and Jesse are soon working their way up the ladder of the illegal drug distribution network. And while the series initially has more than an expected bit of comedy in it, along the way the tone deepens and darkens as murder, betrayal and mayhem increase exponentially.

The series was the vision of Vince Gilligan, previously best known as a writer and producer of the X Files. It starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest rated TV series on Metacritic, with a score of 99 out of 100. So far it has won one Emmy for best series, 3 for Cranston for best actor, one for Anna Gun for supporting actress (as White’s wife), 2 for Aaron Paul for best supporting actor (as Jesse). The Writers Guild of America named this the 13th best written show of all time. And it recently got even more attention when actor Anthony Hopkins wrote a public love letter to Bryan Cranston, writing, “Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen – ever. You and all the cast are the best actors I’ve ever seen.”

One other thing I’d like to mention – Gilligan was especially adept at teasing the audience. The pre-credit sequence of many episodes was frequently something that wouldn’t be explained until ten or more episodes later, something so totally out of context and yet so totally captivating that one couldn’t wait for the secrets to be revealed.

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There may be a few spoilers ahead.

I would say that the show was amazingly well scripted and acted. Not every episode was a masterpiece (I’m thinking of one in particular that was mostly about White trying to catch a fly that had gotten into his lab) but overall the quality was amazingly consistent from episode to episode and from start to finish.

Walter White clearly becomes a monster over the course of the series. And yet I found it easy to empathize with him throughout the show. Here’s why:

One key subplot that they return to often was the fact that White was the most brilliant student in college. He partners with his best friend and girlfriend to start up a company after college. Something happens, it’s never entirely explained, and the girlfriend is with his best friend and his interest in the company is bought out for $5,000 – and in “modern times” the company is worth billions.

Throughout the series, White is consistently the smartest man in the room. Over the course of 5 years he will encounter perhaps only two others who can match him in the brains department – Gus Fring (brilliantly portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito) and Mike (Jonathan Banks) – and he gets the better of them. He gets the better of everyone.

Perhaps it’s egotistical of me to think of myself as like White – a really smart person who was never able to translate all that knowledge into anything worthwhile, someone who despite a nice home and a loving family feels like a failure – but to some extent I do, down to the fact that I was screwed out of my share of a start-up while the other founders became not billionaires but definitely well-off.

Throughout the series, White insists that everything he is doing, he is doing for his family. That was one bit I could see through pretty easily. Early on, we see him humiliated at the car wash, wiping down the wheels of one of his student’s expensive sports cars. Many episodes later, we see him make people tremble at the mere mention of his name (well, his alias, “Heisenberg”). It’s not until one of the final episodes where he finally admits that, no, he wasn’t doing this for his family, he was doing it for himself. That he enjoyed the success, the money and most especially the power. It leaves me almost wanting my own “hey, I can make $80 million in two years making drugs” moment.

So I knew exactly where he was coming from. And even though I had some idea of how things would end (it was impossible to avoid, no matter how hard I tried), I found the ending to be emotionally satisfying. I “lived” with these people for two months. It was so well written and acted that I felt that I knew them. If things had to end, and logically had to end in a certain way – well, the way they got there was exactly right. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Is it the best show of all time? There’s no such animal. Is it now one of my favorite shows of all time? Definitely yes.

Now that it’s over, and now that I’ve finished watching all of it, I find myself somewhat breathless and unable to start up watching another series. I need a bit more time to “come down” before I’m ready to give my attention to another world.

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On Being Jewish

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I’m writing this as I go and I think it’s not going to make much sense but I’m going with it.

I’m Jewish. I make no secret of that fact. I am, as Sigmund Freud described himself, “a godless Jew”. I do not believe in God whether it be Hashem or Jesus or Allah or Buddah or any of the other multitudes of supreme beings worshipped through the ages. I’m “culturally Jewish.” Over the years I have only half-jokingly referred to myself as an “oven Jew”, meaning by that that when the next Hitler comes along (and I have no doubt that he will), he won’t care that I don’t believe in God or don’t go to temple. “Your mother was Jewish, you’re Jewish. Get in the oven with the rest of them.”

I went to Hebrew School for six years. I no longer speak or understand Hebrew yet, oddly enough, I can still pretty much read the language, though I have no comprehension of what I’m reading. I was Bar Mitzvahed and spent a very brief period of my life – less than two years – trying to be religious. I went to services quite a bit when I was 13 or 14 years old but, after awhile, feeling nothing, I stopped.

My parents were both Jews. Neither of them were very religious. They didn’t keep kosher and they didn’t observe the Sabbath, though they did observe the major holidays. My father said it was because he was superstitious. While my father understood the religion very well, I think my mother knows next to nothing about it. However, over the course of decades, she raised thousands – if not millions – of dollars for Jewish and Israeli causes, and I went to a lot of luncheons and dinners held in her honor. I know she was trying to set an example for me, but it was one I did not follow.

Growing up, I knew a lot of people who had survived concentration camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms. I was too young to ask them any details of their experience – not that I’m sure they would have wanted to share them.

I don’t know too much of my family history going back more than 2 generations. One can check records to find out when people arrived in the U.S., but before that? Most of the records in Europe were destroyed. Much of my family came to the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century, mostly fleeing Russian pogroms.  There is the story of one aunt who somehow made it to the US alone at the age of six, presumably most of her family had been killed and there were people helping her along the way and waiting for her once she arrived. How many of my family never made it to the U.S.? How many were killed by Russians and eastern Europeans and Nazis? I will never know. I can only guess that it must be a signficant number.

My family name is not my family name. My father always claimed his father snuck into the U.S. and changed it to avoid being caught. I always figured he was joking and it was more like that scene in Godfather II – that he arrived at Ellis Island, didn’t speak English, was asked his name and perhaps thought he was being asked if he had a trade and that was the answer he gave and that was the name he got. (Curiously, in my paternal grandfather’s passport, he spells his name differently than my father and I do – but my father was dead when I found that passport, so I couldn’t ask him about it.) But the fact is that I don’t know for sure and probably never will know.

On my mother’s side, I have a cousin who is into genealogy. Her hobby has been tracing back the history of our family – though her work doesn’t help me much with my father’s side of things. Another of my cousins is currently working on a book and has shared an early draft with me – I won’t go into details since the book is still a year away from publication so I’ll just say that it concerns the Jewish experience in eastern Europe prior to WWII.

I have always lived with this spectre of death hovering in the background. I have lived my life knowing that for two thousand years the world has had this habit of killing Jews. Millions of them. Lenny Bruce would joke that he found a note in his parents’ basement that admitted that the Jews killed Jesus because he didn’t want to become a doctor or a lawyer. Mel Brooks reacted to centuries of mass murder by turning it into a several musical productions – The Producers, of course, and also the big musical dance number for the Inquisition in History of the World Part 1. Humor is one way we have always coped with unspeakable tragedy.

I can tell you that I have had to deal with anti-Semitism at various stages of my life. Growing up in a mostly Catholic neighborhood in The Bronx, there were a few times when I was chased down the street by people shouting “Jewboy” at me. It stays with you.

It’s perhaps difficult to put into words how one can be both Atheist and Jew and yet I believe I can be both. I think that trying to say, “I’m not a Jew, I’m an atheist,” would be a betrayal of the suffering of the millions who came before me. I know this probably makes little sense to others. I certainly can’t explain it. And yet I’m comfortable with the decisions that I’ve made.

What’s got me thinking this way? Why am I posting this?

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“The Jewish imagination is paranoia confirmed by history.”

 

Simon Schama is a British historian. His series “A History of Britain” has brought him much international acclaim.  The BBC has just aired a new 5 hour series by him, The Story of The Jews. It aired in the UK last month and was easy enough to find via “the usual sources.” So I brought that with me to the U.S. and showed it to my mother. Although I hadn’t watched it, I guessed correctly that it was something that she would like. Unexpectedly, I found it enormously moving as well.

It’s not a strict chronological history. And it doesn’t go through a checklist of who is or was Jewish, like Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song.”

David Lee Roth lights the menorrah,
So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and the late Dinah Shore-ah

Guess who eats together at the karnickey deli,
Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na, and Arthur Fonzerrelli.

Paul Newman’s half Jewish; Goldie Hawn’s half too,
Put them together–what a fine lookin’ Jew!

You don’t need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin the dreidl with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock–both Jewish!

Each of the five episodes has a distinct theme and each moves somewhat chronologically, but also impressionistically through that theme. Schama asks questions, many of which cannot be easily answered, some of which cannot be answered at all. But they are all worth asking and all worth thinking about.

While the reviews in major press outlets have been almost uniformly positive, I should mention that many pro-Palestinian groups have had serious issues with some of the things said in the fifth episode, which discusses Zionism and the State of Israel. (I should also mention that while I am a supporter of Israel, I am not a supporter of apartheid and so I have never been to Israel and have no plans to go. I don’t even have a glimmer of an idea as to what the answer is to all of this.)

One thing I took away from the series is just how much the American Jewish experience in the 20th century is an anomaly – the degree to which Jews were assimilated and the cultural influence they’ve had, through films and music. I guarantee that all of you know at least a few Yiddish words, even if you don’t realize that they’re Yiddish in origin.

Another thing I took away – something I always knew but learned in much greater detail – is about how Jews were treated over the last thousand years. The series is very Euro-centric, so there are very few details given about just how extremely well Jews and Muslims co-existed prior to Zionism. And nothing is mentioned about Jews in eastern Asia, a topic that would be well worth covering in some form. (China welcomed Jews prior to 1949 because, unlike Christian missionaries, they made no attempts to convert others to their faith. And I have one Indian friend who is Jewish – though I’ve never really asked him how that happened.)

Okay, I’ve got no idea where I’m going with all of this. The series has weighed heavily on my mind, that’s for sure. I believe I will watch it again, and soon. I’ll buy – and read – the book from the series when it’s published. Will my Catholic regular-church-going gf watch it with me? (I also just purchased Criterion’s blu-ray reissue of Shoah and will see if she has the patience to sit through that with me (it runs over 9 hours).

Beyond that? Do I have a renewed sense of Jewish identity? Will I rejoin HK’s JCC and start participating in their events? Will I attend Seders and fast on Yom Kippur? It’s all too soon to tell. The point is that Schama has got me thinking about this more deeply than I have in a very long time. I hope that others will also view this series and start thinking about it as well.

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Day Dreaming

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I made a quick trip up to Shenzhen this afternoon. Living in Tai Po, it’s really easy for me to get there – just 3 stops on the train, I almost don’t even have to think about it.

I was on my own and had a leisurely lunch in the Lo Wu mall – not at Laurel, which is probably the best place to eat in the mall, but almost always has a long line as a result. I went to the place on the 4th floor – is it called Lee Yuen? Something like that. I’ve eaten here a lot – it’s never going to be “great” but it’s always good enough.

I ordered three items off the dim sum menu and a pot of tea. They serve the tea nice here. A small pot, with the leaves and a strainer on top. A second pot of hot water, sitting on a stand, a candle underneath to keep the water warm.

I had my iPad with me – I almost always forget to take it with me when I head up there. I sat there eating slowly, taking my time. You can smoke in Shenzhen restaurants, something I definitely appreciate. So I read a few magazines on my iPad, sipped my tea, smoked my cigs, ate and it’s like I was in a bubble, in a good way. The world just slipped away, my cares and my woes and all the stress I’m carrying on my back lately along with it.

Since I work in Wanchai, I tend to eat lunch in the Wanchai bars every day. Delaney’s, Spicy, White Stag, Canny Man, Queen Vic, China Hand, those places. There’s always people there at lunch time drinking beer or wine. I’m not jealous of those people at all, but I suspect they’re pretty happy with the way their lives have turned out.

For me, I think I’d be pretty happy if I could do a two hour dim sum lunch every day, just sit there in my bubble, reading, not thinking about much of anything. My life hasn’t worked out in such a way that I can do that – but the fact that I can do it sometimes doesn’t exactly suck either.

And despite the heat and humidity today, I got home before 6 PM in a very good mood indeed.

Movies watched so far this weekend – Olympus Has Fallen (a blatant Die Hard rip-off with a blah Gerard Butler that still manages to be entertaining), The Great Gatsby (I hate to see a director I like stumble so badly, may write more on it later).

I’ve also been watching a new Showtime series – Ray Donovan. He’s a “fixer” for a Hollywood lawyer with two brothers with a lot of baggage and a very wicked father who just got out of the joint. It’s not terribly original. But it’s got Liev Schreiber, the always amazing Jon Voight and the always weird Elliott Gould. The first season’s half over and I don’t think it’s going to get where it wants to get, but it’s entertaining enough. (It also has a lot of cable TV series sex scenes, definitely NSFW, and I have to wonder about the reactions of people sitting next to me on the bus who might glance over at my screen at certain moments and think “this crazy gweilo is looking at porn on the bus!” So far at least no one has complained.)

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Family Tree – New Christopher Guest TV Series

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To me, Christopher Guest is a Comedy God. This is Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show,  A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration – Guest’s brand of improvisational comedy, the “mockumentary” – well, I’ve loved his work ever since he was one of the writers and cast of National Lampoon’s Lemmings (which I saw live) in the early 70s.

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If you haven’t already heard, he’s now directing and co-writing a new TV series called Family Tree. The first episode aired on HBO over the weekend. The basic premise is that Tom Chadwick is an out-of-work just-dumped-by-his-girlfriend 30 year old who inherits a chest full of crap from his recently deceased great aunt. He realizes that the items in the chest provide clues to his family history and, with nothing better to do, starts investigating them.  This being a Christopher Guest comedy, you’ve probably already guessed (sorry) that Chadwick will encounter a motley collection of oddball characters along his journey. There’s his father, a failed inventor – rather an old premise but nicely played here by Michael McKean – and his sister, who does a ventriloquism thing with a stuffed monkey that’s funnier than it probably sounds.

The lead in the series is played by Chris O’Dowd, who you’ll recognize from This is 40, Bridesmaids and others.  The writing is a collaboration between Guest and British actor Jim Piddock, who has a nice small role in the first episode.  I see that Fred Willard is going to be in two episodes and I can’t wait for those.

It’s hard to judge a sitcom from just a single episode, but for the most part this seems promising. My only problem? Guest’s work has been so influential, especially when you think about Larry David and Ricky Gervais.  Maybe it’s because of all of the British accents here (the show is set in London – btw Guest, though born in the U.S., was a member of the House of Lords until the system changed in 1999) but I kept thinking about The Office and Extras as I was watching this. This happens – you influence others and they in turn influence you.  And some of the humor seems a bit easy – the ventriloquism jokes, the failed inventions.

But I’ve always liked O’Dowd, I’ve always loved Guest, and I’m willing to continue watching this show to see where it goes.

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Spring Is Coming … And So Is Game of Thrones

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The start of season 3 of Game of Thrones is almost upon us.  If you want to remember where things left off with season 2 9 months ago, you could go back and re-watch all the episodes (recently released on Blu-Ray and DVD) or you could save some time and watch this 15 minute recap.

 

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Louis C.K. Does It Again

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Last year, Louis C.K.’s annual stand-up comedy special made history because he premiered it on his own website, selling it for 5 bucks for a DRM-free download.  And it had hundreds of thousands of paid downloads, making back its cost, earning a profit (some of which C.K. donated to charities) and had lots of imitators in its wake.

But this year, he’s gone back to the traditional route, with his special premiering on HBO.  No word on why the step backwards.  However, the promo for it is quite good.

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Golden Globe Winners

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Once again, the world pretends to care about awards handed out based on a poll of around 100 foreign reporters based in Hollywood.  The stars all turn out for this so it makes for good TV.

The winners:

MOVIES

Best Drama: “Argo”

Best Comedy or Musical: “Les Misérables”

Best Actress, Drama: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”

Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour”

Best Animated Film: “Brave”

Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”

Best Original Score: Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”

Best Original Song: “Skyfall” (music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth), “Skyfall”

TELEVISION

Best Series, Drama: “Homeland,” Showtime

Best Series, Musical or Comedy: “Girls,” HBO

Best Actress, Drama: Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Best Actor, Drama: Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Best Actor, Comedy or Musical: Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Best Miniseries or Movie: “Game Change”

Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julianne Moore, “Game Change”

Best Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys”

Best Supporting Actress: Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Best Supporting Actor: Ed Harris, “Game Change”

I suppose it’s vaguely interesting that Affleck won for direction as he wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar.

“Robert Downey Jr., an actor so versatile that he played Iron Man in 3 separate movies …”

 

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American Film Institute’s Best of 2012

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The American Film Institute has a list of their choices for the 10 best films of 2012.  In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

I’ve only seen two (!) of the films on the list so far, Dark Knight Rises and Moonrise Kingdom, and loved both of them.  At some point I expect I’ll catch up with the entire list – those I most want to see are Argo, Django Unchained, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.  (Zero Dark Thirty has also been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Boston Society of Film Critics.)

Along with films, they also listed what they see as the best American TV of the past year:

  • American Horror Story
  • Breaking Bad
  • Game Change
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girls
  • Homeland
  • Louie
  • Mad Men
  • Modern Family
  • The Walking Dead

I have no patience for Modern Family.  The situations and humor are just too traditional for me.  I thought Game of Thrones season 2 wasn’t as strong as season 1.  I’ve been unable to get into season 5 of Mad Men.  I would have happily substituted Boardwalk Empire season 3 for any of those; I think this past season was its strongest to date and I’m looking forward to season 4.  Overall, the winner for me this year was Louie.

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2012 Emmy Winners

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The Emmy Awards are the big deal for U.S. TV shows.  They’re a combination of politics and popularity, voted by the industry, which can sometimes lead to some unusual selections.  Here’s a partial list of this year’s winners:

  • Game Change – mini series or TV movie, actress in mini series or TV movie (Julianne Moore), directing in a mini series or TV movie, writing in a mini series or TV movie
  • Homeland – drama series, actor in a drama series (Damian Lewis), actress in a drama series (Claire Danes), writing in a drama series
  • Modern Family – comedy series, supporting actor in a comedy series (Eric Stonestreet), supporting actress in a comedy series (Julie Bowen), directing in a comedy series
  • Daily Show -variety series, writing in a variety series
  • Kennedy Center Honors – variety special
  • Undercover Boss – reality program
  • Amazing Race – reality competition
  • Veep – actress in a comedy series (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss)
  • Two and a Half Men – actor in a comedy series (Jon Cryer)(and the whole world says WTF?)
  • Breaking Bad – supporting actor in a drama series (Aaron Paul)
  • Downton Abbey – supporting actress in a drama series (Maggie Smith)
  • Hatfields and McCoys – actor in mini series or TV movie (Kevin Costner), supporting actor in mini series or TV movie (Tom Berenger)
  • American Horror Story – supporting actress in mini series or TV movie (Jessica Lange)
  • Dancing With the Stars – reality host (Tom Bergeron)
  • Boardwalk Empire – directing in a drama series
  • Saturday Night Live – directing in a variety series
  • Tony Awards – directing in a variety special, writing in a variety special (tie?)
  • Louie – writing in a comedy series
  • Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theater – writing in a variety special (tie? it won something for writing, not sure which category)

Immediately noted – no awards for Game of Thrones (2 nominations) or Mad Men (9 nominations).  Breaking Bad shut out from the major categories (6 nominations, 1 win).  Homeland is the new king, Modern Family retains its crown.

But how do you explain comedy series best actor Jon Cryer over Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Louis C.K., Don Cheadle, Larry David?  Okay, Larry David for acting is a stretch.  Parsons and Big Bang Theory have been going on for way too long.  Almost no one liked Cheadle’s House of Lies series. Louis C.K. is probably seen as not “acting” and besides he won two writing awards.  Cryer’s award is perhaps the industry saying Fuck You! to Charlie Sheen?

And Louis C.K. wins a writing award for a TV special that was really initially distributed only on the internet but then picked up by a cable TV network.

Out of the 30 awards listed above, roughly 2/3rds went to cable networks.

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