Once upon a time, the ‘limited series’ category at the Emmys was known as “TV Movies and Miniseries” and it was code for ‘get a snack’, because almost nobody got the channels where said miniseries were, nobody saw them, and they were generally stultifying. Now ‘limited series’ create some of the most overstuffed, impossible-to-navigate categories in the game…but why?
Take Mare of Easttown, for example. A Kate Winslet accent-heavy grump drama wherein the worst parts of a detective’s job aren’t the murders or the liars, but the people close to home. Or take WandaVision, a show that deftly-but-determinedly walks our main character, utterly crippled by pain and loss, into holding a whole town of people hostage – and, like in Mare, the only person who will tell her the truth is her closest friend.
So. Kate Winslet wins? Breathless and proud, which is rare at this point in her game, she deserves this - Mare is really good (however, I really didn’t buy the cheering about handholding with her husband. We all remember when he was called Ned Rocknroll, K?) and delighted to share with her equally talented, complicated co-star, Julianne Nicholson, whose black floral dress I would never, ever, ever have chosen for her and which delights me as a result.
But now we’re in this place where if you’re a Mare fan you can’t be a Wanda fan? That’s got to be people who didn’t watch Wanda at all, because if you get six minutes in you get walloped with the other complicated female friendship in this category, whereby Kathryn Hahn will charm the f-ck out of you so much you’ll let her do her worst, most evil tricks, and you won’t even mind when she wears a belt buckle the size of her own skull to the Emmys, even though sitting while wearing that gigantic fastener definitely means one end of it jamming you in the pelvis while another one jams into your chest – trust me and certain 2005 trends on this one.
The point is, you can’t even enjoy these two shows alongside one another, as different takes on the same thing, because all Mare’s wins mean losses for WandaVision, with no opportunity to share the wealth – to say nothing of The Queen’s Gambit or Aretha or of course I May Destroy You, which we’ll discuss more later. Why are we just putting shows in a grab bag and deciding only one can win!?
In fact, Evan Peters? Who won the corresponding award for male actors? (Another thing we could do away with, by the way, gender binary awards are very pre-pandemic.) He had a significant role on both shows, but they were completely different. More categories, fewer catch-alls – or no categories! “Best Performance”, no qualifiers, done. Maybe then we’d have time or opportunity to see Elizabeth Olsen’s white dress moving around like the architecture it’s meant to be…