Blood Transfusion Is the Next Great American Show (and…

Last night I watched the Emmys and immediately felt accomplished because I had seen almost all the shows referenced in the opening dance number by homeless-man’s Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg.  Ten seconds later I felt shame realizing that my studio apartment really is a binge watching bunker.  Samberg went through his monologue, which although full of bombs, did have the gem, that based on new classifications in the nominating categories “Orange is the New Black is now a drama, and Louie is now considered jazz.”  I laughed out loud when I heard that.  But then it was time for the awards.  I gave a detailed preview score sheet on Facebook that proved mostly correct, except for a few pleasant surprises and a bunch of losses to something called Olive Kitteridge.  So here is my Emmy recap and a quick preview of what I think will win Best Drama at the 2018 Emmys.

Veep scores the most important win of the night. Veep is a great comedy that scored its finest season this year (the addition of Hugh Laurie aka House was tremendous – like if the Golden State Warriors had added Lamarcus Aldridge this off season). I believe Veep was the 2nd best comedy of the year (after Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), but more important than who won, was who lost, namely Transparent.  I had a genuine fear that the hip, politically timely, offensively hipster led (look up director/creator Jill Soloway at last night’s ceremony – all that was missing was a bonnet made out of kale), and incredibly unfunny (though Jeffrey Tambour is an excellent actor and gave a good, mostly dramatic performance in the show) show would score a victory for politics over actual humor.  With Veep crushing it in most comedy categories, the Emmy voters (which were recently expanded from its usually high brow “blue ribbon panel” voters) send a resounding message that comedy actually matters more than political winds in the comedy category.

Game of Thrones and Peter Dinklage get rewarded for Season 4 by winning for Season 5.  Game of Thrones is a masterpiece of film making on TV screens and Peter Dinklage is tremendous.  I believe that Better Call Saul and Jonathan Banks should have won these awards, but Game of Thrones and Dinklage were both my 2nd place choices in their respective categories.  However, I really think Game of Thrones and Dinklage hit their high water marks in season 4, so this may have been a make-up call for when Breaking Bad is not eligible (Hi also to Jon Hamm – the Hakeem Olajuwon of the Emmys – winning his titles in the absence of the GOAT – i.e. Bryan Cranston)

Olive Kitteridge.  Fine HBO – I will watch it. Thanks for keeping it On Demand.

Inside Amy Schumer  hit its peak at the right time. SNL has been in a low not seen since the Goat Boy era and IAS is both qualitatively good (though the last couple of episodes ran out of steam in season 3), as well as politically well suited to spearhead the “women in comedy” cacophony/movement.  Cool to see someone I did bringer shows with a decade ago get an Emmy.

Kimmy Schmidt Gets Nothing.  I was stunned that Titus Burgess did not win for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Legitimately shocked (though Tony Hale is great on Veep, and he gave a shout out to the creator of Arrested Development in his acceptance speech, which always gets my respect).  Also Jane Krakowski continues to go home empty handed.  Then it dawned on me that the lead actress was not even nominated.  I hope the show gets more respect for its second season next year.  On a tangential note – I do not believe shock and tears from winners who already won a year ago for the same exact role – I am talking to you Uzo from Orange is the New Black.

Viola Davis gave a great speech and inspired the next great American show.  Inspired by the Emmys, the speeches and the winners I began feverishly writing the pilot for my new series that will be a diverse tapestry of all things gritty and progressive.  It is about a member of the Bloods gang in LA who is a ruthless killer and has 5 kids by 4 different women, but is really acting like the world’s worst inner city nightmare because he is transgendered and is merely overcompensating for his crippling fear,  The show will be called Blood Transfusion and I expect it to get a 2 season pick-up from Netflix or Amazon.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!


2015 Emmys: The Righteous Prick Reactions

Obviously you should have already listened to this week’s Righteous Prick Podcast thoroughly and hilariously making Emmy predictions, but if you have not now is the time to do it because the Emmy nominations are out and there are some successes (where they agreed with me) and some abject failures (where they disagreed).

The Good:

The usual suspects were nominated in drama, but good on AMC and the Emmys for getting Better Call Saul several significant nominations, including drama, actor and supporting actor.

In comedy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes its rightful place among the nominees and Girls is nowhere to be found.

In best TV movie, I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see Hello Ladies: The Movie, get nominated, as it gave a beautiful and hilarious 90 minute finale to the most underrated and under-appreciated show of the previous nominating cycle.


Wil Forte for best actor in a comedy in The Last Man on Earth (see my blog praising Wil Forte HERE). The show was overlooked unjustly, but not its star

The Bad:

Netflix – shame on you. You almost certainly played politics (pun intended) and the Emmy voters fell for it. Both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black got best drama nominations after bad seasons.  Meanwhile, Daredevil, which ranks up there with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Dark Knight as the most inventive and surprisingly excellent comic book adaptations of my life is completely ignored (and I am not a comic book nerd type who thinks everything that is remotely enjoyable from a comic book deserves to be in the Library of Congress). Netflix clearly sold out Daredevil and is content to use it like a hot slutty escort that turns heads at a club, while taking House of Cards and OITNB to classy wife functions with dignitaries.

Louie and Transparent – Granted I am biased because Louis CK killed a character that may have been more than loosely based on me, but neither of these shows has been particularly funny.  I think some Emmy voters just recycle their ballots from year to year.  I quit Louie a season ago, so I must admit ignorance, but it never struck me as very funny.  And Transparent is absolutely not funny (here is a post I wrote about “the rise of unfunny comedies” that got some traffic).  I cannot remember a show or movie winning such undeserved praise solely for the political and social climate but get ready for the least funny nominee by a wide margin to somehow walk away with best comedy, so Hollywood can pat itself on the back (I am left of center on most things, but with awards I am all about merit).

Key from Key & Peele for best supporting actor in a comedy?  How can your name be the show and then you sneak in with a “supporting” actor nod?  At least Peele didn’t get nominated (my east favorite of the two) – that should be awkward at the next writers’ meeting.

Based on nominees (and the seasons eligible) here is who I would pick:

Drama – Better Call Saul (Mad Men will win probably, for a subpar season)

Comedy – Kimmy Schmidt (Transparent will win, proving the best way to defeat a 5 time champ – Modern Family – is to have a comedy with no laughs – BOLD!)

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!


The Rise of the TV Comedy Without Laughter

Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I was very disappointed when I saw the almost entirely humorless Transparent won Best TV Comedy at this year’s Golden Globe Awards.  Anyone that I am friends with on Facebook know that I find the more bizzare-than-LOL homage to Woody Allen named Louie on FX to be more a testament to Louis CK’s work ethic and enjoyment of Allen’s films than actually funny.  And then there is HBO’s 800 lb Gorilla (no not Lena Dunham, but Girls, the show that generates more smirks and whimsy than laughter).  All that seems left for critics and comedy awards to gush over is if Wes Anderson decides to bring his quirky, critically acclaimed nonsense to a Showtime series before television comedy can finally usher in the apocalypse.  It is really time for some of these “comedies” to start getting a new category saved for people who are occasionally humorous, but cannot compete in the realm of full comedy: spoken word shows.

To put this in perspective, imagine that there were stand up comedy awards and the nominees were Bill Burr, Dave Chappelle, Henry Rollins and a Steve Martin art discussion.  Two of those are comedians. One is a guy who rants for an hour and occasionally throws in a joke to amuse a crowd while they are not in awe of his re-telling of adventures that show how open minded and worldly he is.  And the last is a comedian who is not doing comedic things.   Well this appears to be happening in TV, as shows that are not particularly funny (I deem funny by the ancient test of “does it generate laughter”), but clearly cannot compete in the age of incredibly great dramas, are being allowed to hog some of the spots for best comedies.

For example HBO – Veep has lots of laughs and gets critical and award recognition.  But Hello Ladies or the 1st season of Eastbound and Down got nothing.  Can anyone reasonably tell me that they laugh more at an episode of Girls than at Hello Ladies or Eastbound and Down?  To say nothing of the fact that those shows are actually just better shows, they are certainly better at generating laughs.  I understand that there are reasons why Ace Ventura: Pet Detective did not get nominated for Golden Globes for Best Comedy – it is funny, but it is obviously not a “good” movie.  Tone Loc and Dan Marino are rarely going to have large speaking roles in high quality entertainment. So I understand that there needs to be a quality threshold to be considered.  But once a show meets that threshold then humor should be the deciding factor.

HBO is not alone.  I just recently mowed through 4 seasons of a long running comedy on FX It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  The show is absolutely hilarious.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think it has ever been nominated for a Best Comedy Emmy.  Perhaps the network is ignored?  Well, that is not true because Louie continues to compile nominations (as well as wins – hey if Louis CK can win for playing himself then why didn’t Eminem win for 8 Mile?) for best comedy even as the show continues to generate fewer and fewer laughs (and viewers).   But on a humor scale it is not even close as to which show is funnier.

Workaholics on Comedy Central also stands out for me.  Admittedly I have found the show inconsistently funny over the last 2.5 seasons, but when it hits, it hits huge, which you would think might generate a writing nomination (for an episode), but not when Girls is generating at least 4 smirks per episode!


And then we arrive at Transparent, which may be the apex (or nadir) of this humorless comedy movement. The show is a critical (and I would say Hollywood liberal) darling because it stars a usually hilarious Jeffrey Tambour and is the first show to have a transgender character driving the narrative.  I laughed 3 times during the 10 episodes of Transparent‘s first season.  What makes it even more bizarre is that Transparent is the 3rd comedy on Amazon’s video service and it is overwhelmingly the least funny of the three (I strongly recommend Alpha House and also recommend Mozart in the Jungle).  Despite my critiques of stand up I am actually a relatively easy laugh, especially by the standard of stand up comics.  But that show, which I watched half of the weekend it went up on-line (so I was not biased by any awards) and found it annoying.  But even allowing for difference in tastes, it just was not very funny.  Even half of the people I have engaged with on social media over the show who like it admit that they don’t think it really qualifies as a comedy.  But once again, what is easier to challenge for awards – Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones or Girls and The Big Bang Theory?

So now we live in a world of comedies that don’t make people laugh, but rather think and smirk?  The question is why?  When did laughter, even in awards that have categories to honor comedy, become a handicap instead of a strength?  I would argue it is what happens when a culture begins to cater to hipsters and nerds. Comedy is not jazz!!!  It is not the laughter you cannot hear that makes it fun!  But I think the need to create your own sense of cool and to reject the mainstream and “know more” or have inside knowledge has given rise to these comedies that are the laughter equivalent of The Emperor’s New Clothes.  In an effort to cater to the cool kids of the day shows that are unfunny except to people who hate the sound of out loud laughter, these shows have cut a far too large slice of the comedy award pie.  So hopefully the pendulum swings back soon. It is bad enough the Oscars tend to not honor comedies (though seriously shut the fu*k up if you thought Bridesmaids deserved Oscar recognition) but in awards like the Emmys and Golden Globes it is time to give actual laughter more weight in determining what makes a worthy comedy.

For more opinions, comedy and bridge burning check out the Righteous Prick Podcast on iTunes and/or STITCHER. New Every Tuesday so subscribe for free!