The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy time is here again! The joys of the big-time network-television awards show are to be rained down upon us! It’s time to gather around our televisions and listen to the people that make television tell us about the joys of television, as well as who made the best television!

They are, of course, wrong 1, because any decision made by committee about artistic endeavors is liable to be wrong at least twice as often as it is right, but that is, of course, a discussion for another time 2. For now I will take their consensus decisions and apply my own obviously-infallible judgment to them, to help you all understand what is Right, even if it is not necessarily what is correct.

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story was very well-received by the Emmy folks, which surprised me, and I’m even more surprised that it’s here in this category, given that the writing is absolutely not what impelled the show. Black Mirror: USS Callister and American Vandal are both reliant on a kind of twist, which is fine from a viewing perspective, but also which demeans the writing somewhat from an awards perspective 3Patrick Melrose is, mechanically speaking, a real interesting exercise, as it is the product of a novelist 4 adapting the work of another novelist 5. Too bad the show is terrible. Godless is probably well-written, but it is also a Western, which means most of the things it trucks in are things I have no use for, and little response to, so it’s not the winner here. That leaves us with Twin Peaks, and I must say, it’s probably much more difficult to write something that is non-linear and doesn’t seem to make much sense.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mark Frost and David Lynch, Twin Peaks

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special

The only one of these that isn’t a stand-up special is Samantha Bee’s Puerto Rico special, which is wonderful, but it was written by a room full of people to be taped in advance, and has a bunch of advantages in the “writing” sense over the ones that one person (or, in one case, two people) wrote alone to be performed all at once. Steve Martin & Martin Short made a fine special – they have both been among the funniest people on the planet at one time or another 6, but it’s not that good. John Mulaney and Michelle Wolf both made specials that were as good as you could want them to be – they’re very good comics, and their specials reflect that. There’s not much else to say about that. Patton Oswalt’s Annihilation deals with tragedies personal and global, and does so on the way to being one of his funniest hours yet 7, and one of the funniest anythings of the entire year.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Patton Oswalt, Annihilation

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

A television show’s first season is hard to do well. You have to establish your show and let people know what they’re in for, start a bunch of balls rolling and manage to do so in a way that also clues people in to who the characters are and where they’re going to be doing their interacting. That makes Killing Eve’s writing a real achievement. It’s also hard to keep the ball rolling on a series, and The Handmaid’s Tale managed it, more-or-less. The Crown has shown itself to be pretty reliable as well, and while I suppose it’s possible to win an Emmy for stolidity of craft, I don’t think this is the ideal position. Stranger Things wobbled pretty hard without the novelty of their presentation 8. Game of Thrones’ nomination for writing after their weakest, most-ridiculous season yet seems a bit like a joke. One of the things that’s harder to do well than a premiere is a series finale – you have to put a button on a story people have spent literally years following, and have grown attached to the characters in varying ways, and The Americans managed to pull that off, so I think the award probably goes there.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, The Americans (“START”)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

I should probably be careful not to come out too hard sounding like a broken record already. So I will acknowledge that Amy Sherman-Palladino has made a very good set of decisions in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the writing is lovely. Silicon Valley continues to be a very funny show, and tightening up the ensemble 9 has clearly done it some good, although that doesn’t have much to do with the writing itself. Barry is a very good show that has the unfortunate coincidence of coexisting at the same time as Atlanta. Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta 10.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Donald Glover, Atlanta (“Alligator Man”)

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

See what I mean about The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, though? It’s like it’s cracked some sort of code for being nominated for everything despite not being better than any of the other stuff particularly. I mean, it was good and I liked it, but I don’t think it was “a nomination in every category” good. Anyway, I’m still in the same boat w/r/t Godless as I was in the writing category, and you can throw biopics right in the same boat, so Paterno is right out. Patrick Melrose is still dumb and bad. The Looming Tower is definitely weirdly-timed, and is probably fine, but also is trying so very hard to say more than it does 11, or at least it seems that way. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert was the filmed adaptation of a stage musical. That leaves us, once again, with Twin Peaks, which was, in point of fact, directed by an actual literal genius.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: David Lynch, Twin Peaks

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special

The difficulty of directing stand-up specials is in the capturing of a live event in such a way that it makes the audience member – who is viewing an immersive experience at remove of both time and space – seem like they are watching the thing happen in front of them. The point of The Oscars and the Super Bowl halftime show are not exactly the same thing – the idea behind those is merely to get them on the screen. There’s no real way to transfer the experience of being at The Oscars, and there isn’t the time or space involved in the Super Bowl halftime show to do much more than get it up there. Of the three standup specials here, they’re all pretty staid as all that goes, but the Steve Martin and Martin Short special is necessarily more movement-oriented, and so seems like it a better job was done with the directing.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Marcus Raboy, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Never Forget for the Rest of Your Life

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

So all of the shows here are pretty bad, but they’re all well-directed. I don’t have the particular inclination to go back through and see how many times that’s happened 12. Ozark is beautiful and boring, and most of its good qualities are actually down to the cinematography 13, and neither episode here distinguishes itself for its directing. Game of Thrones abandoned all pretense of being anything other than a show of giant spectacle and soap-opera melodrama, and I think that that probably means the directing was not quite as good as it could have been. Also, it is awful. That said, even in a case like The Handmaid’s Tale, where most of the show is an interactional, people-oriented drama, they still end up nominating the giant setpiece episode, so I guess “huge spectacle” is what we’re doing here. That seems to set it up for Stranger Things, which at least had the most effective spectacle 14, but I’m feeling ornery today, and I think it should be The Crown. So there.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Stephen Daldry, The Crown (“Paterfamilias”)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Barry is very good. GLOW is very good. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is fine. The Big Bang Theory is a war crime, but I get it. Atlanta’s “FUBU” episode is wonderful. Only one of these things is “Teddy Perkins.”

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Hiro Murai, Atlanta (“Teddy Perkins”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

As previously mentioned in the Creative Arts Emmys, I thought Jesus Christ Superstar was ok, but not particularly great. I think that Sara Bareilles’s performance is sort of indicative of most of what it presented: she did an adequate job with some very familiar material that transformed nothing, but was distinguished by being On Television. Merritt Weaver and Letitia Wright are, as far as I can tell, great in everything, but I’m still not the guy who’s super-into Godless or Black Mirror. Adina Porter did a fine job (as she always does) in American Horror Story: Cult. I think that there are still too many nominations generally for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and I definitely don’t think that Penelope Cruz’s impression of her friend Donatella is any particular kind of award-worthy, but I do think that some of the acting was quite nice, and Judith Light really did a fantastic job with her part 15.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

So here’s some more Jesus Christ Superstar, although I will say I liked Brandon Victor Dixon a lot more than I liked Sara Bareilles, I still don’t think it was doing anything particularly award-worthy with the character or the performance 16. Jeff Daniels is occasionally-great, but Godless is still not the best showcase for any given actor’s talents. John Leguizamo did a great job playing against type in Waco. Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramirez and Michael Stuhlbarg all did admirable “real people” impressions, but since that was the bulk of the nominations, then it probably should go to the best one of them, and that was Finn Wittrock, who was so good at it that I didn’t get annoyed by his acting or the fact that he was playing a real person. Well, I didn’t get more than a little annoyed by the acting part.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Finn Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Surveying the drama series each time they come around makes me feel like the crankiest old person in the world. Game of Thrones has been chugging along for years now, and as much as Lena Headey is good in the role, and as much as she might be the person who is the most fun to watch in the role, it’s still the same damn role every year. Westworld is fine, and presents its acting challenges and whatever else to the people that act in it, but Thandie Newton isn’t giving us anything I think should be singled out, as such. I don’t have much to say about Millie Bobby Brown 17 on Stranger Things or Vanessa Kirby on The Crown, other than that I’m more-or-less glad they’re both there. Yvonne Strahovski is fine on The Handmaid’s Tale, but not as good as Ann Dowd, who was in turn not as good as Alexis Bledel.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

If it seemed like I was upset about the same people getting nominated for the same performances every year in the lady category, you can only imagine what I’m feeling about this one. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been baseline-acceptable the whole time, but what’s especially galling is that Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister has been Destiny-level phoned in, and getting worse, for the last couple of seasons now. So it’s probably not the time to give him an award. I’m OK skipping Mandy Patinkin and citing the “enough with the same people all the time” rule 18, and while David Harbour isn’t quite there (it’s only Stranger Things’ second season, after all), it still isn’t the kind of thing that rises out of the pack. Matt Smith did a fine job as real-live person Prince Phillip on The Crown. Good for him. Joseph Fiennes did a better job as the made-up-fictional person Fred Waterford on The Handmaid’s Tale.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

This was a particularly weak year for Saturday Night Live, and none of the women here were necessarily to blame for that, but none of them were particularly consistent enough to make their Emmy-receiving seem logical 19, so that’s Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones all out. Megan Mullally and Laurie Metcalf both create an interesting sort of loophole thingy in my aforestated frustration with people getting nominated for awards, as they are both revisiting characters that they played for many years prior. I think it’s fine that they are nominated 20, but I also don’t think they’re the best here, even though each is the best part of their respective shows, in a comedic performance sense. Alex Borstein is great in everything 21, and maybe in a less-competitive year she’d be up there. Betty Gilpin is also fantastic, and really does deserve praise for GLOW. Her only real fault is that she’s not on Atlanta. I mean, you all saw where this was going, right? There’s no D’Arcy Carden or Jameela Jamil here (The Good Place is shamefully left out of several categories), and they was the only real competition for Zazie Beetz in the first place.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Zazie Beetz, Atlanta 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

This is a much better field 22, especially once you discard Kenan Thompson, who, again, is fine 23, but also not doing much that he hasn’t already done and also doing that not very much on a subpar season of Saturday Night Live, and especially especially once you set Alec Baldwin’s weak-ass Donald Trump impression on fire and push it out to sea 24. Henry Winkler is as good as he always is on Barry, but he’s also just kind of doing what he’s done ever since Arrested Development, even if he is super-funny at doing that particular thing. Louie Anderson is terrific on Baskets, but he’s not quite in the same class as our last two. Bryan Tyree Henry is going to be the only person in the primary cast of Atlanta to not be the rightful winner of an Emmy because, although he is a better actor than Tituss Burgess (probably), he isn’t as funny, and this is the comedy Emmy, so it goes to what I think must be – second-for-second in terms of screen time – the funniest character on television.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Titiuss Burgess, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Bully for this dumbshit Law & Order spinoff for actually including the phrase “true crime” in its title. Truly Dick Wolf is a genius. Anyway, nobody on that stunt-cast ratings-bait 25 show gets an award, no matter if one of them is Edie Falco. I probably don’t have any more stuff to say about Godless, even if I do generally like Michelle Dockery. Sarah Paulson is definitely one of the reasons to keep watching American Horror Story every year, but I don’t think what she’s doing qualifies as “good acting.” The Tale is certain affecting, and it’s very hard to criticize, but it’s also sort of critic-proof: are you going to be the one to tell this documentarian that her real-life story about her real-life sexual abuse is not as good as, say, Seven Seconds 26, but here I am, the person saying it. Between being pretty good in The Sinner and absolutely brilliant as a guest star on Bojack Horseman, Jessica Biel is really turning me around on Jessica Biel, but even she just isn’t in the same league as Regina King, who I’m pretty sure has been the rightful winner of more of these than anyone else in the time I’ve been constructing these writeups.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Regina King, Seven Seconds 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

So Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t the reason why Patrick Melrose is dumb and I hate it, but he’s a part of it, and he’s not making it any better. Jeff Daniels did an ok job playing a real person in The Looming Tower, Darren Criss did a slightly more-good job playing a real person in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and Antonio Banderas did a better job playing an even more daunting real person in Genius: Picasso, but again, I’m still not into giving awards for that kind of thing. John Legend was pretty good as Jesus, but, again, not that good. That leaves us with Jesse Plemons by default, which is ok, but not where I wanted us to be at this point.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror: USS Callister

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Elisabeth Moss is probably going to be a contender in this category until The Handmaid’s Tale goes off the air 27, and rightfully so, but this year I don’t think he did the best job. Claire Foy is being nominated for Emmys for The Crown that she should have been nominated for for Wolf Hall, and I’m not into apology awards. Sandra Oh did a very good job (doesn’t she always?) with Killing Eve, and Evan Rachel Wood was perfectly fine in Westworld. But Orphan Black and The Americans both ended satisfyingly, and each of them required a number of unique acting challenges to be met by their actors 28. I’m going to go with Keri Russell here, but if Tatiana Maslany wins that’ll be fine.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Keri Russell, The Americans

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

I would genuinely be pretty happy to never have to think about This is Us again. Honestly, it would make me happy. Sorry, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown. At least one of you is liable to go on to better things. It’s true that Westworld isn’t old enough for me to cast it into the cornfield for its acting performances being the same, but it is also true that this is a pretty Ed-Harris-by-numbers acting performance, so what would the award be for? Jason Bateman is clearly reaching for something with Ozark, and I hope he doesn’t hurt himself doing so. Jeffrey Wright is the person I have the least to say about, except that he isn’t Matthew Rhys, and therefore he isn’t the rightful winner.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

This is a pretty strong field, but more than that, it’s quite possibly the tallest field of actresses in awards history. Except for the two people who are quite short. All or nothing, really. Am I stalling? I’m stalling a bit. These are all pretty good performances. Allison Janney is turning in the same job she always does on Mom, which is sort of the pinnacle of “adequate network sitcom.” Lily Tomlin is similarly hitting her own bar on Grace and Frankie, but nothing that stands out from normal. Issa Rae is playing a fictionalized version of herself, and her acting is good, but it’s also the least-noteworthy of her credits on Insecure. Tracee Ellis Ross actually dodges the “everything the same all the time” angle of being nominated for a character she’s played for years as the events of last season’s Black-ish really made a change to the way the character is played. Good job, Ms. Ross. Rachel Brosnahan is delightful, and may come into a better performance as her show goes on. Pamela Adlon certainly did, elevating Better Things to something really special.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Pamela Adlon, Better Things

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

I like Curb Your Enthusiasm. I like it a lot, in fact. But, of course, as I am dead-set against granting an Emmy for your foreverth year of playing him, I am doubly dead-set against it when that character is, y’know, a very very thinly-veiled version of yourself. Anthony Anderson gets the same pass as Tracee Ellis Ross (see above), and did a nice job. William H. Macy receives no such pass. Bill Hader is great, but he’s also overpowered. Ted Danson is the only person in the absolutely-flawless cast of The Good Place to be nominated for an Emmy, and that is a crime. Maybe next year it might even belong to him. But this is the year that “Teddy Perkins” happened, and that makes this an open-and-shut case.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Donald Glover, Atlanta

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Every year there is very little permutation in this category. Every year I give it to Top Chef, because even though it’s not as good as it used to be 29. This year it gets some competition for the surprisingly-effective American Ninja Warrior, but honestly, it’s still just Top Chef, guys.


Outstanding Limited Series

By the time we get to the series categories I generally have less to say about them. That means these things get really asymmetrical. But I don’t like Patrick Melrose, I don’t think Genius: Picasso did very much in terms of the genre, other than be tasteful 30. So it comes down to a western, a fictionalized true crime story, and a biopic. This is why I hate making these decisions. Well, Godless didn’t even have the decency to be any fun, and while I admire that The Alienist took plenty of liberties with its story and admitted it right up front, I don’t admire much else about it 31. So that leaves the bonkers, weirdly-paced, unfocused, but occasionally brilliant The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as the winner.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Portlandia finally ended 32, so it’s here, but it probably oughtn’t be. Saturday Night Live will almost certainly never end, but it shouldn’t be here either. I Love You, America never really seemed to get off the ground in a way that would explain its nomination here. Tracey Ullman’s Show, Drunk History and At Home With Amy Sedaris are all very entertaining shows, and I’d be happy to see any of them go home with it, although I think it’s kind of a weak category overall.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Drunk History, I guess?

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

This is a much stronger category, especially when you throw out The Late Late Show with James Corden. Actually, since Jimmy Kimmel also isn’t the rightful winner, it’s fair to say that this comes down entirely to The Daily Show and shows run by former Daily Show correspondents. What a thing The Daily Show was, y’know? That’s a long shadow. As much as as I like John Oliver, I think Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee made better shows, and honestly, I really think Samantha Bee did better, even if her show is much smaller.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Outstanding Comedy Series

You know, if The Good Place were nominated here where it belongs, this might be a contest. Black-Ish is good for a network sitcom. Silicon Valley is reliable if no-longer spectacular. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has a lot of promise. Curb Your Enthusiasm is wildly uneven, but worthwhile. GLOW is fantastic, but doesn’t have the same impact as our front-runners. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a tough one to turn down – it really is an all-time great show, and has a super-high batting average in terms of “things about that work.” It’s also purely a comedy, which seats it well in this category. But Atlanta is…well, it’s Atlanta. And it’s nearly untouchable.


  1.  although they didn’t do as badly with the Creative Arts Emmys 
  2.  a discussion I really should table for a future piece where I write about why awards shows are both a useful barometer of who is trying to sell me what, and why they are basically never right about anything, a thing I have talked about previously w/r/t The Oscars and The Grammys. Weirdly, the Emmys have largely avoided the kind of large-scale controversy of the other two. 
  3. it’s unavoidable, and I’m not always super-public about this opinion, but it means that you’re throwing away any chance that people would enjoy it again for the chance at getting people to react to it in the first place. While this is less of an issue for television than it is for other media, it’s still annoying. Note that later on I will praise The Good Place (and decry its relative lack of nominations), and it does twists all the time. So I’m not saying it can’t be done well or that it precludes good writing, just that it tends to lessen the writing somewhat. Also The Good Place isn’t built around its twists, it just contains them. 
  4.  David Nicholls, who wrote Starter for Ten and One Day, among others. 
  5.  Edward St. Aubyn, who wrote, well, the Patrick Melrose novels, which are, editorially, about how rich it is to be rich etc. and are awful, and who was, in all likelihood, a formative influence on David Nicholls from back there in FN4. 
  6.  although it’s true that they, respectively, got bored of comedy for several years and wandered off to write novels and play the banjo (Martin), and lost the plot of their own skillset and career for a while and are just now righting the ship (Short). 
  7.  It might actually be his funniest hour yet, but I’d have to spend some more time with it to give it the mental space over something like Werewolves and Lollipops, which I’ve spent years and years with. 
  8.  by which I mean when you get past “it’s kids! In the eighties!” it has a little bit more of a hard time generating momentum under its own power. 
  9.  by allowing TJ Miller to drift off into drug-fuelled insanity elsewhere 
  10.  although it was probably going to be Atlanta the whole time, I will say that it is a shame that the writing for The Good Place was not nominated, because it is also an incredibly well-written show, and it’s better than, well, everything in this category that isn’t Atlanta. 
  11.  it’s not really appropriate to anthropomorphize entire tv networks, but it also seems nakedly ambitious in a way that it doesn’t really live up to (NB: I normally think ambition is an unreservedly good thing, it’s the flavor of this ambition that I’m not super into) – it’s a Lawrence Wright adaptation, which worked out for HBO a few years back, it’s a Big Serious Topical Issue, which they kind of backed into with The Handmaid’s Tale, and it’s got a bunch of Big Serious Actors in it. 
  12.  I suspect, given that I don’t much care for television drama and it’s where a lot of the serious direction is done, that it happens quite often, to be honest. 
  13.  well, most of its good qualities are actually down to the naturally-occurring qualities of the setting, but it’s put on television by the cinematography. 
  14.  especially considering that these episodes of Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale are both trafficking in grief pornography and the shock of seeing a bunch of people dead. 
  15.  especially since I assumed, in admittedly bad faith, that it would just be some more Ryan Murphy stunt-casting. 
  16.  NB that I think this is more-or-less intentional: I don’t think anyone is meant to be broadening horizons or pursuing the audience to their furthest corners in these televised musical jobbers.   
  17.  well, I will say this: I think her performance in Stranger Things was probably the best part of the second season, so good on her for that I suppose. 
  18.  a quick reminder for anyone who might not remember – or hasn’t read long enough to know – why I feel this way, which is worth laying out here because it’s going to figure into the further proceedings: the performance is created initially, and if nothing materially or procedurally changes for the performance (as in the actor is, on paper, giving the same performance year in and year out), then I see no reason to keep nominating, given that it takes less work to maintain a performance than it does to just create one. This is a sort of “static point” argument, with the “floating point” argument being that the environment around the performance – the other shows in competition, and the actors on those shows and their performances, change every year, so maybe it’s re-nominated in light of the difference in those performances. I don’t think that washes, because acting is still acting, and it’s still about the job the person did under the circumstances, and managing to maintain the same job while the field moves on around you is still not the sort of things I feel awards for “outstanding”ness ought to be given out for. 
  19.  that said, their head writers – Colin Jost and Michael Che, recently confirmed to continue to be the head writers – are the hosts of the show, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of them receive it. 
  20.  meaning that the intervening years have created enough of a material change in the condition for the actress/character that it’s not the same thing as when they were both nominated all the time the first time around, which would have made me hop up and down like an upset person had I been writing in this space at that time. 
  21.  except Family Guy, but that’s ok, because no one is great in Family Guy because it’s a flaming garbage pile. She did, however, just win this year’s Creative Arts Emmy for her vocal performance in Family Guy, so good for her. 
  22.  this is not usually the case in the supporting actor/actress categories, actually. Usually it’s the supporting actresses who put up the better category. 
  23.  where would this writeup be without the word “fine,” I ask you? It would definitely be full of the world “acceptable” or something, that’s where. 
  24.  you’d think if SNL was going to reverse stream to get the PR benefit of going after the dude they fellated into hosting the show in the run-up to his eventual presidential election that they’d try a little hard to right the ship of that decision, but no, we’re just stuck with Alec Baldwin’s stupid mugging every week. I’d say it should’ve been Darrell Hammond, but I’m on the record as thinking that the problem with this last season of SNL lies squarely with the writers, so I don’t think a change of performer would have helped that much. I mean, Darrell Hammond would have been better than Alec Baldwin, just still not good, y’know what I mean? 
  25.  “But,” I hear you asking, “in what sense is television not awards-bait all the time?” Well, in the sense that some of it doesn’t feel like it was smooshed together algorithmically to take robotic advantage of a bunch of floating search terms. 
  26.  this, in a nutshell, is my problem with the fictionalization of real events, especially in this kind of autobiographical context: I get the need to tell your story, I really do, but I think that it’s manipulative to do so in this way, and it puts people that don’t like it in the position of saying “I don’t like you”. I’m not saying it should never happen, and I’m pretty sure I’m out here dying alone on this hill, but I still think they should be considered separately in stuff like this, because otherwise it’s tremendously difficult to evaluate. 
  27.  so expect some cranky yelling in this space about WHY IS SHE STILL BLAH BLAH BLAH that will last until, oh, 2024 or so. 
  28.  to wit: The Americans required a twisty-matryoshka set of personalities/acting performances form Keri Russell, and Orphan Black required Tatiana Maslany to play a bunch of clones. 
  29.  actually last season was awfully damn good, even with the weird John Besh thing that they kept having to cut around. 
  30.  I’ll concede that it did have its moments. 
  31.  it’s definitely not as good as the Psychic TV album of the same name, I’ll tell you that much for free. 
  32.  in true Fred Armisen fashion, it did so years after it should have.