Of Emmys and Avarice

Dan Fielding
So, how ’bout those Emmys, huh? I was going to write a quick post about my thoughts on the Emmys 2014, and Seth Meyers’ completely competent, but boring and stiff turn as host in the grand tradition of Late Night Hosts before him. But I feel like after reading this Michelle Collins recap http://vnty.fr/1rBzYUg anything that I could write would be reductive. Suffice it to say Meyers did what Meyers always does, plays the straight man to funnier comedians like Billy Eichner (the best part of Monday night), Beyonce Amy Poehler, and Andy Samberg.But I’d like to make a suggestion to The Televison Academy and future winners of Emmys going forward: Follow John Larroquette’s Example.

Way back in 1984, John Larroquette played the role of Dan Fielding on what was, and still is, one of the funniest shows to ever be on NBC, Night Court. He won four Emmys for the role in 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1988. In 1989, he asked that he not be considered for the award. It was, at the time, a record for most consecutive wins by an actor in a regular role. As I watched Monday’s ceremony, I was struck by how actors like Jim Parsons and Ty Burrell continue to win awards year after year and act as if they are embarrassed by what they so clearly are not ashamed to receive. The same with shows like The Amazing Race, which has won 9 out of 10 times its been nominated. Or the completely inane Modern Family, which is four for four. Not that these shows and actors aren’t worthy! But it would seem to me that in a year of extraordinary television, it would only add to the excitement of the Emmys if equally deserving actors and shows were given a chance by removing those who’ve reached a certain limit. After say, four awards for the same role, or category, consideration will be removed. They could even name it the Larroquette rule. It’s not like Emmy doesn’t have convoluted rules. It does! How else do you think True Detective was considered a Drama Series and not a Mini Series, like American Horror Story?

To be sure, a lot of deserving shows this season were awarded in other categories. True Detective’s director, Cary Fukunaga, won for “Who Goes There” and FX’s Fargo won best directing for a miniseries with the episode “Buridan’s Ass”. Some interesting actors/choices were made: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman won for their roles in Sherlock, as did series showrunner Stephen Moffat. Kathy Bates winning for her role on American Horror Story: Coven was a complete surprise. In his acceptance speech, even Bryan Cranston remarked that he was tempted to vote for Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle. Breaking Bad’s final season gave Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn deserved final awards for their roles, and writer Moira Walley-Beckett won for perhaps the best hour of television ever, “Ozymandias.”

In a year that saw television like House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Game of Thrones, Masters of Sex, The Americans, etc, exceed the quality of storytelling in the movies, it’s truly a shame that the same handful of people were once again honored for their work. John Larroquette’s selfless example, and a few others I’m sure, should be followed to allow Emmys’ glow to be spread around to other well deserving actors and shows in television’s new golden age. It would benefit television as a whole by enticing more big name actors to topline limited-run series or specials, and make the Emmy broadcast more exciting, and viewers more likely to tune in live. As I get off my soapbox, I’ll share the longer version of the Billy on the Street segment, because it’s brilliant. Enjoy!

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