Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Always 'The Small Picture'"

 It is not news that I am not news.

But reading the paper this morning, I realized that – at least once, and in this case once is enough – I behaved exactly like news, when I…

Wait.  Lemme show you.  Instead of telling you what I am going to do, then doing it, and then telling you what I did.  Which is also “behaving like news.”

How shall I do this, forwards or backwards? 

Okay.  I shall unfold it as it this very morning tickled my “Brain Place” and said, “Write me.”  (Writer’s Revelatory Confession:  And then proceeded to do otherwise.)

This one goes back a while, but which of these stories do not?

Early in this blogatorial adventure, I wrote a post about how cable comedies – by which I meant “Premium” cable, like HBO – did not ever win Emmys.

This was not an entirely unbiased concern.  (It is important to come clean before being “outed” on Twitter.)  Not long before, in 1998, I, as part of the writing staff – I was technically not on the staff; I was a two-day-a-week “Consulting Producer” – received a “Best Comedy” Emmy nomination for The Larry Sanders Show, a truly groundbreaking series, which, without it – no Veep.  Or any other TV comedy that cuts straight to the bone.

Larry Sanders lost “Outstanding Comedy” to Frasier.  (As it had lost every season before that.  Not that the winners weren’t were great shows.  But Larry Sanders was on a whole different plane.  A plane that flew over the theater without once landing to pick up an Emmy.)

Years later, cable comedies were still consistently being ignored.  So I wrote a post about it, describing why exactly that was.  Though I am sure it was truly insightful, I cannot recall anything I said.  (I trust my stellar reputation, is all.) 

Summarizing what I no longer remember, it seemed that the broadcast networks were afraid of cable comedies, throwing their then powerful weight around in Emmy voting “circles”, whose conservative panels were imaginably personally offended by the new shows’ “adventuresome” approach.    

So there I am, “on the record”, saying the Emmys are essentially blackballing cable comedies.

Flip the pages of the calendar (make that numerous calendars)…

And today, I read that broadcast network comedies were shamefully shut out for “Outstanding Comedy” honoration, while “off-network” won everything.

Oh, how the “mighty” have vanished.  When once broadcast networks swept “Comedy”, they themselves have been heartily “swept” instead, a startling “one-eighty” in accolades, though today’s winners emerge not from “Premium” cable but from the King Kong next generation of “delivery”– streaming services.  Amazon Prime’s Fleabag won four comedy awards.  Network comedies won – CUE:  The whistling emptiness of the wind.

(The one exception was Saturday Night Live, which won for “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series”, besting shows I never heard of, airing on outlets I am unable to find.  Do you think they let Lorne Michaels create the categories?)

Here then is the point.

When I wrote about the Emmys “dissing” cable comedies, I was right.

And when they wrote today that non-network comedies are “running the table”, they’re right.

Do you see how easy that is?  You get two stories on the same subject.  (As, you will notice, did I.)

And both stories are right.

It’s like, whatever you write, it’s right.

The thing is,

It’s not right for that long.

Generating a third story:  “Things Change.”  You see?  The news never “runs out.”

If you don’t mind being right just for a while.

1 comment:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I would like to correct something because I think it really matters. FLEABAG was *not* Amazon Prime's. Amazon Prime showed it in the US...but it was first a one-woman show by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and *then* it was a co-production by Amazon Prime and the BBC. I think the BBC deserves credit however much PWB failed to thank them when she won.