Emmy – The Afterglow

Lainey Posted by Lainey at July 14, 2011 12:51:00 July 14, 2011 12:51:00

Written by Duana

There’s a phrase that goes “good is the enemy of great”. Meaning that sometimes, when too many people get together and all put their two cents in - to anything – to make sure it’s ‘good’, it takes away that which is amazing.

Today I have a slightly different opinion. I’m going to say cynical is the enemy of great.

Too big a sentiment for the Emmy Nominations? Maybe. But I have been so surprised today – and happily and delightedly so – that I think it bears repeating. Cynical and hardened and thinking that nothing can take you by surprise anymore is something that can be worn as a badge of pride in the entertainment industry. When awards nominations are predictable, we whine that Academies never notice anything good.

But when you persevere – not for awards, but because you continue to think that you’re doing something that speaks to someone, that is great because it is of its own volition, not because you’re going to get awards for it or be celebrated or famous – that’s when you can really be proud when other people see what you’ve been able to do.

There’s a quote I’ve heard a lot that is attributed to Robert DeNiro, I think. It says “Don’t look left, don’t look right. Don’t look at what the other guys are doing. Just look straight ahead and do you.” And I feel like the Emmys this year are really rewarding people who just look straight ahead. It’s why I don’t have a problem with more Mad Men nods (yay Elisabeth Moss!) because what can you compare Mad Men to? That even if Big Bang Theory isn’t my thing, that they’re making it work consistently and are true to their vision and their characters.

You couldn’t have made Game Of Thrones five years ago. They would have said it was too weird. Too fringe. Even last year, to sell that show, you would’ve had to say “I believe there are enough people who want to see this play out and the ones who don’t know they do yet are gonna love it.” You have to believe that to make The Walking Dead. Justified. To create an entire Boardwalk Empire world and asking people to buy right in.

A few years ago, Louis C.K could have been cynical. He could have said not enough people ‘got’ him. He could have sulked. But instead he said “I still have something to say’

Of course I feel incredibly strongly about Friday Night Lights, the tiny show that somehow convinced the voters that now was the time – this was the year to reward them for all their long hard sweaty hours in Texas, the utter lack of press and paparazzi and acclaim for all this time. If they’d taken their toys and gone home, this wouldn’t be a celebrated moment, it would be a moment to sulk.

And of course on a personal level, I am incredibly, incredibly proud that a little ‘children’s’ show from Canada can be on the air for 10 seasons and defy all expectations and renew itself continually and have something to say that an international audience finds worthy of recognition. Degrassi's success is due to strong vision, great leadership, and never allowing anyone on your team to believe that young people are jaded and cynical and can’t still be surprised and delighted.

What I’m saying here isn’t new. Remember when Conan said it on his last night on air? But it’s one thing to say and another thing to put into practice, especially when nobody is looking at you and saying you’re doing a great job. The Emmy awards have chosen this year to reward those who step outside the box. Who don’t do what’s safe and predictable. It’s a movement in a fantastic direction – and rather than nitpick and complain (though you shall have your day, Community), we should celebrate that now, today, we all seem to be on the same, what-is-awesome-is-awesome, page.

Attached - Melissa McCarthy and Joshua Jackson announcing the Emmy nominations earlier today.

Photos from Wenn.com

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