Month: September 2018

Speaking of the Emmys…

I’ve been watching Succession (late to the party) and I truly hope Emmy voters don’t forget this summer show for next year’s awards. I particularly hope they recognize Matthew Macfadyen in the weirdest, yet thoughtfully fleshed-out performance as Tom and Nicholas Braun as innocent and well-intentioned Greg (who will also answer to Craig). And when the two of them are in a scene together, they make one another shine.

The 70th Annual Emmys

Just as the telecast opened with a tepid show tune-style number poking fun about how the most-diverse body of Emmy nominees ever had fixed racism and prejudice in the television business, we were then made witness to white person after white person winning the first several categories—yes, we clearly have a long way to go. It says one thing when diversity can be recognized, but it says something more when a voting body is still afraid to actually vote for those voices and negates the nominations in the first place. We get it, Academy—you love Jeff Daniels! It wasn’t until Regina King won—deservedly so—as we got into the Limited Series portion of the night that a person of color received an award. And after that only RuPaul and Thandie Newton went home with statues. I don’t say this to take away from those who did win tonight (Yay, Henry Winkler!), and there was indeed more diversity in the winners at the Creative Emmys last week (including Tiffany Haddish and the cast of Queer Eye) and tonight there was some LGBTQ representation and a woman (Amy Sherman-Palladino) won for writing and directing in comedy. However, the opening song ended up being way too accurate in its satire. And this just set the course for a weird vibe all night. Let’s go through the lows and few highs that were able to cut through the “NBC legacy”-laden ceremony.

Hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che


Michael Che’s prerecorded “Reparations Emmys,” which gave some familiar faces of African-American TV history recognition and credit for their contributions to pop culture.


The opening monologue was the equivalent of a shrug. Not terrible, but nothing exceptional.

Their bit with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. I adore both, and here we had a major SNL mash-up, but it fell flat from the beginning. Fred saying “we good?” made me chuckle at first, but it wore on. I like the idea on paper, but not in execution.




Will Ferrell walking. He committed to the bit and it worked.


Hannah Gadsby made me laugh more than anyone else in this entire show and I think she was on stage for maybe thirty seconds. Gotta love an awkward exit!

I don’t know why Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, and Benicio del Toro presented together, but Benicio’s line delivery and I-don’t-give-a-fuck-I’m-just-here-for-the-gift-basket vibe was oddly funny. We are all Benicio in that moment.

Blink and you miss it: Mozart played as Sarah Paulson strutted to the microphone and her dress billowed in the wind and it was three seconds of perfection.

Did not expect Aidy Bryant and Bob Odenkirk to present together, nor did I expect the tongue-and-cheek banter to be that funny.



Henry Winkler wins his first primetime Emmy for what I think is the best part of the entire season of Barry.


The Americans’ Matthew Rhys finally wins for playing quite possibly the saddest man to ever exist in a television show or real life.

Thandie Newton being real and admitting she doesn’t believe in god (but if she did god is a she), plus just the fact that she won. I don’t watch Westworld but love Thandie Newton and she looked genuinely shocked to win. Legend.


Atlanta not winning anything. Two words: Florida man. Two more words: Teddy Perkins.


How do you not give this an Emmy? I’m starting my #JusticeForKeri campaign now.

A mediocre season of Game of Thrones won over the stellar last season of The Americans. People love them some dragons, I guess. I’ll just count my blessings that This Is Us didn’t win instead.

Overall Lowlights

That this was on a Monday night (or late afternoon if, like me, you’re on the West Coast). Thanks a lot, NBC. I hope I don’t get fired when work finds out I was live streaming the red carpet from my desk!

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.33.33 AM

This tweet is a real mood. And yes, I’m still not over Keri Russell not winning.

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ is Strong as Ever

Typically you might expect the fifteenth season of a show to be worn out and overdone, but that hasn’t been the case for the fifteenth season of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). The show has had its ups and downs—its downs mostly being the changes in judges and formatting and the best-to-forget “junior” season—but this year it is busting at the sequined seams with a stellar roster of contestants and choreographers (the latter including returning favorites and exciting newcomers). What blows me away most though, is how reliably entertaining and pure it is. More than other dance-based reality shows, there is something very genuine about SYTYCD in its love of this art form. Yes, it’s a competition, but most if not all of the dancers competing audition for this show because of their love of dance. Nearly all of them are bound to be professional dancers, usually by the mere fact that they are talented enough to be selected for the show, but it never seems that anyone here is for money or fame per se—it’s for the love of dance. And because of this, the show soars in bringing unique dance styles to a national stage and giving creative freedom (or at least it appears this way) to the choreographers. Sometimes the routines are simply fun and entertaining, other times so emotionally raw it can give you literal chills. Here a just a few examples of the breadth of what is delivered, often found in a single episode:

Cerebral Creativity

Sure, season in and season out SYTYCD needs to present fresh ideas. Props and concepts can run the risk of being gimmicky, but a simple idea or storyline executed in the right way can do wonders.

Art for Change

Dance with a social message, especially something you haven’t seen done before, can be breathtaking when you have the care and respect that choreographer Travis Wall and contestant Darius bring to this piece. When is the last time you can say you saw representation like this on broadcast TV?

Good Ol’ Fashioned Fun

The personalities of this group number shine through, and the result is a highly infectious hip-hop number.

Emotional Therapy

There are many moving contemporary pieces every week of the show, but then you get something like this group number that is simply joyful. Props to choreographer Mia Michaels for sneaking some Vivaldi into primetime television.

From krumping and contemporary to African jazz and Broadway, the dance styles are as diverse as the dancers dancing them. I suppose that’s the other thing—while the contestants all have dance as their common interest, they come from such different backgrounds and life experiences. Luckily for the viewers, this is reflected in what we see on stage, bringing a welcome display of unique perspectives for all of us to enjoy and learn from.