Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jeff Daniels?!

This video basically sums up my opinion on perhaps the most inexplicable Emmy win of the night, Jeff Daniels taking down Best Drama Actor....(BREAKING BAD SPOILERS AHEAD, BE WARNED)

Now, I like Jeff Daniels.  Terrific, underrated actor.  On the face of it, Daniels winning "an acting contest" over Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville and BRYAN CRANSTON isn't a bad result at all.  Daniels winning for that particular unlikable, showy, hackneyed role on The Newsroom, however, is a bad result.

I gave up on "Newsroom" after four episodes.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  'The West Wing' was one of my favourite shows and even that had a few episodes where Sorkin's weaknesses (straw man foes, thinly-drawn/stereotypical female characters, hitting the same themes over and over) overtook himself.  'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' had arguably the best pilot episode of any show I've ever seen, which made the subsequent lackluster first season even most disappointing, especially when all of Sorkin's worst quirks just wouldn't stop interfering in every episode.  The fact that Sorkin also didn't seem to realize he was writing about a late-night sketch comedy show was also a wee bit of a problem.

"Newsroom" wasn't even kinda good, it was all just all Worst Quirks.  Waste of good actors, particularly Emily Mortimer who is beyond misused and embarrassed in a lousy role.  In fairness, maybe the show really picked up steam since my early departure and yet given the seemingly universal confused reaction to Daniels' victory, I'm not alone.

Daniels was the one possible Best Actor winner that I absolutely didn't want to see.  In reverse order, it went...

6. Daniels
5. Lewis, because he already won last year and while he's good in the role, two Emmys would've been one too many.  And, also because "Homeland" took enough of a nosedive in its second season that I didn't really care to see it overly-awarded.
4. Bonneville, just because I've never see "Downton Abbey" so I don't know how good the performance is or isn't.
3. Spacey, who I kind of expected to win since the Emmys love rewarding movie stars who appear in big TV roles.  I haven't seen "House of Cards" either, but going on track record, I would've been more okay with seeing Spacey win over Bonneville.
2. Cranston, since while I'd vote him as the best on sheer merit, he already has three Emmys and seems like the big favourite to win his fourth next year for this epic final "Breaking Bad" season
1. Hamm, who is now 0-for-6 playing Don Draper.  By this point I just have to throw my hands up and realize that it just isn't happening for Hamm at the Emmys.  It's a performance and character that looks effortless but is actually very tricky and layered, something that can only be appreciated by watching several episodes or even seasons to appreciate, rather than just clips-from-one-selected episode like how most Emmy voters get their screeners.  You could argue Hamm was just unlucky to run up against Cranston for the first three years, then unlucky to lose to Kyle Chandler for his going-away present for "Friday Night Lights," then unlucky to lose to Lewis for his big breakout role, and we're all unlucky for him losing to Daniels.  At least Chandler and Lewis deserved their Emmys, but Daniels?  In the words of one of those famous Sorkin straw man villains, boy, I don't know.

That's the pain of the Emmys in a nutshell.  For every inexplicable Daniels or Bobby Cannavale win, or every repetitive Modern Family or Jim Parsons win, they suck you in just enough to keep you coming back when they hand a trophy to an overlooked, deserving winner like Anna Gunn or Tony Hale or "Breaking Bad" itself finally winning a Best Drama trophy.  The alterna-Emmys are so much less stressful.  And with fewer dance numbers.

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