• James Kunovski

2020 Emmys: Thoughts on Comedy

This year’s selection of comedy nominees proves to be less dynamic than last year’s, which saw four killer seasons — the sophomore seasons of Fleabag, Barry and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel along with the final season of Veep going head-to-head. However, this year's shortlist is good enough. Insecure, the third season of Maisel (which I happened to like), and newfound favourite, Schitt’s Creek make their foray into this very different lineup. How will this play out?



Comedy

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dead to Me

The Good Place

Insecure

The Kominsky Method

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Schitt’s Creek

What We Do in the Shadows



Will Win: Schitt’s Creek

Should Win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Insecure or Schitt’s Creek

Snubbed: The Great



Recently, this category has welcomed newcomers. Schitt’s Creek is likely to follow the trend set by Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The lineup omitted heavyweights The Great, High Maintenance, Grace and Frankie, GLOW and Better Things. Never mind the snubs because there is enough competition to be found between Schitt’s Creek, Maisel and Insecure.


 

Lead Actor

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Ramy Youssef, Ramy



Will Win: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Should Win: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Snubbed: Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance



Eugene Levy would pocket his first Emmy since 1983, which he won for his writing work on SCTV Network. Levy is the Rose patriarch and happens to be the most well-adjusted and least flamboyant of the off-kilter family. He calculates this with great effect; usually grounding the series when it sways toward the more boisterous side.


 

Lead Actress

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Linda Cardellini, Dead to Me

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Issa Rae, Insecure

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish



Will Win: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Should Win: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Snubbed: Elle Fanning, The Great



Like Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara will rightfully win. It’s a decision that could double as a “legacy award.” O’Hara’s last Emmy was also for SCTV Network, this time in 1982. I figured Rachel Brosnahan would become the new Julia Louis-Dreyfus, winning countless times for her impressive and showy performance but that seems unlikely at this stage. O’Hara is Schitt’s Creek in pill form. Most references, or passing thoughts about the show, especially by voters will seemingly lead back to Moira Rose. She has some of the show’s most iconic lines, most immortalised gifs, wardrobe (oh, the wigs) and a whole feast of scenery to chew.



 

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Ramy

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sterling K. Brown, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

William Jackson Harper, The Good Place

Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live



Will Win: Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Should Win: Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Snubbed: Nicholas Hoult, The Great



If the Academy decides to go all out in awarding Schitt’s Creek final season, Dan Levy who writes, directs, produces and acts will surely get his due in the most “visible” of those platforms. Like his company, Levy (jr.) taps into the Rose’s true-to-character freak outs while also counter-weighing that with doses of tenderness and warmth. I point out Shalhoub, who won last year because he is doing God’s work on Maisel. If you know, you know, but Shalhoub’s ability to mix Abe’s no-nonsense approach with withered impatience is, well, Emmy-worthy.


 

Supporting Actress

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek

Yvonne Orji, Insecure

Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live



Will Win: Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Should Win: Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Snubbed: Rita Moreno, One Day at a Time



If Alex Borstein wins her third consecutive Emmy for portraying Susie Myerson, she will join two other actresses (Valerie Harper for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Laurie Metcalf for Roseanne) who have also pulled it off. Borstein has the headstrong commitment and Susie Myerson is the type of character that could help achieve that (tied) record. She is effectively like Emmy-darling Rhea Perlman’s Carla from Cheers… quick, a little bad-tempered but dialled up to one-hundred. If we’re staying with Maisel, Marin Hinkle deserves her due as Midge’s mother, Rose — always surely composed and unintentionally hilarious.



 

Directing

The Great for “The Great”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for “Marvelous Radio”

Modern Family for “Finale, Part 2”

Ramy for “Miakhalifa.mov”

Schitt’s Creek for “Happy Ending”

Will & Grace for “We Love Lucy”



Will Win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”

Should Win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”

Snubbed: GLOW for “Freaky Tuesday”



Maisel has some of comedy’s most vibrant direction. Sherman-Palladino paints with broad strokes, giving the patterned dialogue chance to breathe and flourish in long-takes. The show’s breakneck rhythm ignites on screen with due credit to the whip-smart actors and highly-stylised writing. The “three-dimensional” and stage-y approach shapes the series into one of the most unique comedies currently on air.


 

Writing

The Good Place for “Whenever You’re Ready”

The Great for “The Great”

Schitt’s Creek for “Happy Ending”

Schitt’s Creek for “The Presidential Suite”

What We Do in the Shadows for “Collaboration”

What We Do in the Shadows for “Ghosts”

What We Do in the Shadows for “On the Run”



Will Win: Schitt’s Creek for “Happy Ending”

Should Win: Schitt’s Creek for “The Presidential Suite”

Snubbed: Better Things for “Batceñera”



Schitt’s Creek’s finale will win, even if it doesn’t have the best writing — my choice is “The Presidential Suite”.


It is the most recognisable of the season’s episodes, thanks to its title which conveniently reminds voters of its place. That reminder will serve a quick jog of memory for eager fans among the Academy. For your consideration, “The Presidential Suite,” which has one of the season’s strongest Moira-ism: “lest you suffer vertigo from the dizzying heights of your moral ground” — just brilliant.