At the time I’m writing this, I don’t know whether Lainey has written what we both agreed on when we debriefed after the show – even though it was pretty good as a broadcast, we just felt… you know, aware of our pandemic selves. It was a great show, but it didn’t exactly make us forget the state of the world.
I wonder, too, if that’s what made some of the ‘also-nominateds’ feel so sucky. You will not catch me being anything other than utterly delighted at the Schitt’s Creek wins, on a personal and a Canadian *and* a Canadian TV level, but I think that not only didn’t we get to see our other favourites, but there were a lot fewer ‘bits’ or nods to other shows than there are usually.
To that end, I know the Emmys aren’t the SAG awards, but it’s worth noting that more and more of the biggest shows are ensemble casts – Schitt’s, Insecure, The Good Place, Succession, The Crown, What We Do In The Shadows, Mrs. America, Watchmen (to an extent); it feels like the Emmys is overdue for an Outstanding Ensemble category. Give us the combinations of people we love, and a chance to point out how great their chemistries are, so that one person’s nomination doesn’t have to carry the plaudits and the enthusiasm for the whole show!
I’d say the main lament online – ‘happy for Schitt’s Creek but my showwww though’ – focused either on The Good Place or Insecure. As a whole, Twitter seemed happy that Mrs. Maisel was shut out, and I think people love Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini together more than they love Dead to Me per se, but those first two hurt, not least because it’s also the last year for The Good Place.
In particular, I feel sad there wasn’t more of a moment for D’Arcy Carden. She is so good, and The Good Place was so eternally offbeat (and so serialized) that it’s relatively easy to miss that Carden was doing Tatiana Maslany levels of nuance in a character who allegedly never changed, and who had insane platonic chemistry with Ted Danson – something we don’t get to acknowledge enough. Also, William Jackson Harper… I still meet people who are shocked at how hot he is because Chidi dresses like a dummy, and I assume that means they’re not sticking around to see how talented he is…?
The lack of Insecure last night was glaring too because, frankly, it’s wrong. The show should be more celebrated, not just because Issa Rae is a genius and we love Yvonne Orji, but because it’s sneakily pushing the boundaries of half-hour TV and ‘comedy’, and doesn’t get the credit for it. As Dan Levy pointed out when he won his first Emmy of the night, the writers of Insecure are writing “some of the funniest, most heartfelt television of the year” – despite not even being nominated in that category. I’ll take Dan’s thought a step further and point out that we wouldn’t know they were making such funny and heartfelt stuff if it didn’t come across that way, which is due to the show’s direction, which also didn’t get nominated.
It also sucks because it would have been so much fun to see the cast of Insecure get to accept! Yvonne Orji was done up to the NINES, and made sure the E! camera saw her incredible hair:
Meanwhile, Issa Rae looked stunning in an orange gown with cutouts that I really could have used a lot more of, but I’ll admit it wasn’t the first thing I thought, and it wasn’t the first thing you thought either, because how could you think anything other than… “Is she in a stadium? Why is she in a stadium?”
The answer is, she was at the new SoFi stadium in Inglewood for @sofistadium x @insecurehbo with a crew that included A Black Lady Sketch Show creator Robin Thede, and Jay Ellis (I’m team Lawrence and so is Gabrielle Union so I can’t be wrong) in an incredible green velvet suit that it is criminal we didn’t get to see on television.
Still, on the broadcast, Issa didn’t look that thrilled. I wondered if maybe she was originally going to be in a bit from the stadium (beyond appearing as a nominee) that got cut, which might explain her expression in this shot:
She’s a lot happier here, though, and LOOK AT HER HAIR. Why didn’t we get to see her hair on the live broadcast?
I’m choosing to believe this video was taken after they realized they were out for the night but just as they realized they were about to have a party… (maybe in the stadium = social distancing?)
If that’s the case, then the Insecure team didn’t stick around to watch the … what were they, exactly? Those mini-profiles of what it’s like to be a Person Of Colour in the entertainment business? Issa and Lena Waithe and America Ferrara talking about bumps and triumphs along the way were good in and of themselves, but… was it weird that they were all young, attractive women who could very well have all been born the same year? Where were Manny Jacinto or Ramy Youssef or hell, Louis Gosset, Junior in this endeavor? I’m not saying it wasn’t good to have, or that I don’t appreciate that the Emmys are trying to address the glaring inequality that’s still in the business. But if you’re only going to use people whose profiles are so incredibly similar (they’re all born within eight months of each other!), how much of a point are you proving?
Below: some of the cast of The Good Place in the outfits they wore on the broadcast (I foolishly squealed thinking WJH’s shirt was referencing the Freeform show of the same name before Kathleen reminded me it was in reference to the John Lewis doc, which is of course correct and also better.)