Last week, Katie posted her list of TV superlatives, and today it’s my turn. Even though we watch a lot of the same shows, I will try to pick some new ones (or at least find something new to say).
My favorite shows this year included Fargo, Better Call Saul, and the final season of Mad Men (SOBSSSSSS!!). Mostly I’m not going to talk about those, because I’ve done it enough and it would also be fucking boring. So let’s get to the stupid awards.
Most Likely to Make Me Spit Beer All Over My Coffee Table on a Friday Night
I only watch Billy on the Street alone and while intoxicated. It is funnier that way. I am a very loud laugher and PJ could probably hear me, even with headphones on. I guess truTV has more money than fuse because this season has even bigger celebrities and he’s doing even crazier stunts, like fly a Rooney Mara balloon in a staged Thanksgiving Day parade co-hosted by Katie Couric.
Most Hilarious Bit Character
Thom (Cornelius Peter) leads a focus group on Silicon Valley. Overtime he reels off the list of participants, I die.
Most Underrated Performances
Alison Wright (Martha), The Americans
Hypothesis: Martha is the hippest character on The Americans. They made her seem so lonely at first, but she has an awesome apartment filled with mid century furniture and smartly questions Clark’s (Phillip’s) actions. But her redemption would not be possible without Wright’s performance–she could have easily played the “clueless secretary” with Martha, but you can see in her eyes that there is more going on.
Michaela Watkins (Valerie), Casual
It’s funny to me, that in this age of praising great comedic performances by women, that Michaela Watkins flies under the radar. She is fantastic in every single thing she’s in (RIP Trophy Wife), especially hulu’s Casual (nominated for a Golden Globe! It’s good!), where she plays a recently divorced psychologist who moves into her brother’s house with her smartass teenage daughter.
Everyone in Orange is the New Black that’s not Uzo Aduba
She’s wonderful, but she has won two Emmys. This season, Taylor Schilling (Piper) brought the funny (finally) and gave one of my favorite speeches ever to her network of black market panty-wearers. Adrienne Moore (Black Cindy) went on a beautiful, emotional journey when she converted to Judaism. Kimiko Glenn (Soso) had a great arc where she explored political activism and became very lonely before finally being accepted by another group. And Pablo Schreiber deserves a guest actor Emmy for making Pornstache both loathsome and sympathetic. I love the supporting actors enough on this show to be able to ignore all the Stella or Alex nonsense.
Bill Hader, Documentary Now!
This show has not gotten its due–maybe because it’s on IFC or was released in the summer or stars Fred Armisen, who people are tired of. But Hader, man. He’s other level.
Mary Steenburgen, every show you watch (Justified/Orange is the New Black/Last Man on Earth/7 Days in Hell/Togetherness)
I think Mary Steenburgen is a robot. A very funny robot, but how else does she have time to star in everything and give such varied and wonderful performances? So she played a sassy mob boss, Pornstache’s mom who had some WONDERFUL scenes with Dascha Polanko, an oft-drunk chef stuck with two Phil Millers, the mother of a tennis pro, and a truly weird hippie. All of those in ONE YEAR and I cannot pick a favorite performance.
Jonathan Tucker, Justified
I hadn’t heard of this actor before he played Boon on the final season of one of my favorite shows but he brought a steely-eyed intensity that none of the Raylan Givens’ foes had ever had. Tucker played it so we felt Boon could do anything at any time, even kill our hero.
Favorite Performance on a Show I Quit Watching
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline & Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
I wish I could have finished either of these shows, but zzzzzzzzz… they were both magnetic and amazing and deserving of all the awards in the few hours I spent with them.
Master of None
Aziz Ansari’s comedy has always included elements of technology, food, and music–all things that he is passionate about. I am so thankful that he brought those things, as well as fascinating takes on gender, parenting and other topics, to Master of None.
To borrow a phrase Ryan Murphy would actually use, everything about Scream Queens is soooo five years ago. Sure, there are a ton of pop culture references (though honestly, Difficult People does it better), but the having a character be racist/sexist/ableist/etc as a way to poke fun at those who are? It should be done really fucking well, or risk being seen as outdated, which, sadly, Murphy’s work totally is. He seems out of touch with the conversation happening every day on Twitter, on sites like The Atlantic, or even in real life. Satire is tough, and Murphy does not have the skills to pull it off.
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Anthony Mendez on Jane the Virgin, well, he’s been nominated for an Emmy, so he’s old news. I’m really interested in what Mr. Robot is doing with narration, which is done from the point of view of the main character Elliot (Rami Malek). As an unreliable narrator with mental illness, Elliot adds another layer to the story: is this really happening? Can we even TRUST Elliot?
Boyd Holbrook, Narcos
Narcos is not exactly the buzziest new show, and for good reason: lead white person Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) shares every singles detail of the plotline in the narration. TELLING and not showing. Also, having the narration go through a person that is NOT Pablo Escobar just puts us further away from the most fascinating character on the show.
Hayley Atwell, Agent Carter
This is kind of a bullshit category so I could talk about this show, which I absolutely loved. I lived in fear of Agent Carter being another Ben & Kate, cancelled after one glorious season where it burned so bright. But we get another season, which starts next month! I hope Ms. Atwell keeps the lip color, even as the show moves to L.A.
Tommy and Tuppence, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime
Tommy and Tuppence are Nick and Nora in more fun hats (let’s face it, Tuppence could also win Best Lipstick). Runners up: Sidney and Geordie from Grantchester, who argue over beers in the pub.
Adam and Blake, The Voice
I really hope that everyone in America is tired of the repetitive, dried-up barbs that Adam Levine and Blake Shelton barely toss at each other on The Voice.
Best Used 80s Icon
Bernadette Peters, Mozart in the Jungle
How wonderful is Bernadette Peters on this show?? I love that she is introduced as the enemy (she’s the president), the red tape affecting the benefits of the symphony employees. But after the sixth episode, she becomes so sympathetic–she’s dealing with some shit too–and she is just as passionate about art as the strange conductor Rodrigo. The second season dropped yesterday, so you can watch her in 20 glorious episodes RIGHT NOW on Amazon Prime!
Worst Used 80s Icon
Carol Kane, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Carol Kane is wacky and cute, but she is a strange choice for the landlord -I don’t feel her energy is being harnessed well enough. She doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the cast, who really need someone to balance out all their issues.
Least Disappointing AKA I Knew What I Was Getting Into, Yet I Still Watched
True Detective Season 2
When I reflected back on season one, I remember three things: the friendship between Rusty and Marty, the direction, and the horrible treatment of women. The mystery was dumb and the hype surrounding the show was insane. Season two included a philosophical Vince Vaughn (generally, he could not pull it off), a romance no one cared about, the death of every single lead character except 1.5 (Kelly Reilly was mostly tertiary), and a mystery so convoluted that even the smartest TV writer had trouble explaining it.
X Factor UK
I was so excited about this season but all my faves were sent home early, and the three finalists were as follows: a girl that was pimped to the high heavens despite having no personality, a typical white male oversinger who favors soul and shit that was released 30 years ago, and a super fun duo who are not great singers but I could see them as huge international one hit wonders. Still, YAWN.