Well, today kicks off awards show season with the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations being announced at 6am (PST), followed tomorrow by the Golden Globe nominations. Are you excited? Of course you are.
This right here, is the part of my article where I should be giving you a list of my predictions (the same shit that was nominated at the Emmys), or go on about my dream nominations list (Amy P, Wendi MC) but instead I’m gonna give you a pre-noms rant about categories.
CATEGORY – a class or division of people or things regarded as having particular shared characteristics.
The shared characteristics in this instance is the genre of the show. Comedy shows in the comedy category, drama shows in the drama category. Sounds easy enough, right? Yes, it should be. In fact it has been for many, many years until shows like Shameless, and Orange Is The New Black started blurring the lines between comedy and drama (Or before their PR teams started making you think they blurred the line).
Yes, I know. I’m very pro comedy, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti drama, and I’m certainly not against bringing the two together. It can be done, and it should be done. HOWEVER – even in shows that tout themselves as “dramedies” – and please can we stop using that word, I hate it – there is always a dominant genre, and yes it’s always drama. ALWAYS. As funny as a few throw away lines in OITNB can be, they do not make it a comedy. Hell, The Sopranos had comedic moments – but that sure as hell wasn’t a comedy, or even a dramedy.
Every show in essence has, or should have, both dramatic and comedic elements to it. Every drama, no matter how intense the subject matter, needs that comedic relief, a moment that allows the audience to exhale, and take in what has just happened – or is about to happen. It’s the same in the comedy world a show needs that dramatic overtone, something to make you care about the characters that you are watching on screen. Those elements aside, the shows are either a comedy or a drama so what happens when shows start trying to play the game based off their comedic moments? (Or dramatic moments, if they’re a comedy – but that’s not happened yet). Well, you get this years’ Emmy Award nominations.
OITNB dominated in the COMEDY category getting, among others, Best Actress and Best Comedy nominations. They didn’t win either of them – thankfully. But I have to wonder why they were even in contention in the first place.
A little back story…
Last year at the Golden Globes OITNB submitted themselves in the drama category, but to no avail, so this year they decided to play their cards and went for comedy. Shameless did the same thing. After years of competing in the drama category, and not getting very far with it, they threw their hats into the comedy cavalcade ring. Do they have the right to do that? Sure. Actually you can be nominated in whatever category you want to submit it – unless the Academy overrules you – which to my knowledge doesn’t happen very often. However, just because it’s open season in the category submission department doesn’t mean you should be able to pick and choose where you think you have the best chance of winning. How fair is that?
Yes, I know what you’re going to say – how fair is it that shows have to define themselves to one category. It isn’t but how else can we do it? There has been thoughts about making it Best Hour Long and Best Half Hour shows instead of Best Drama and Comedy… but truth be told shows like Shameless and Orange will just be thrown back into the world of dramas that they couldn’t compete hard enough in in previous years. I mean, apart from Jane The Virgin (which I love BTW) what comedy is an hour long? Nice try.
This all probably comes across as a comedy snob trying to keep the drama trash out of their way, and yes I guess it could be that way but only because comedy is hard. And I mean hard. It’s hard to write a clever show, assemble a cast with great comedic timing, and keep a show funny and entertaining every week. The kind of shows that succeed at that, and there are very few at the moment, don’t need the bullshit of dramas taking their potential spots for recognition. There already is a snobbery in Hollywood that drama is better/harder/more important than comedy – so obviously those ‘dramedies’ will always overshadow a sitcom. And that’s not fair!
If awards shows want to continue to have an open season for categories I propose we just put the name of all possible shows, actors, writers, producers, etc in a hat – then as a presenter names the category they pull out a winner.
“Best Cinemetography for A Non-Musical Special That Aired On A Monday…………………….*pick a name out of hat* And the award goes to…..*dramatic pause*… Allison Janey.”
See how fair that was? Awesome. Roll out the red carpet, I’m ready for this shit.