Category Archives: Gilmore Girls

The 2007 Emmy Awards: The 12 Biggest Snubs

The good people at AOL Television have put together a photo gallery featuring various thoughts on who got snubbed for the 2007 Emmy Nominations, and I was lucky enough to be one of their featured commentators.

Emmys Blog Reactions – AOL Television

However, their list has admittedly got me thinking about some of the most frustrating snubs that could possibly have arisen out of the various Emmy nominations (Even the obscure ones). And so, I’ve created a list of what are my ten largest snubs of the nominations, individuals who deserved a chance to be recognized by their peers.

‘Lost’ for Best Drama Series

There is no question that Lost reached creative highs in its third season, it’s a pity that an arguable lowpoint in its opening episodes kept it from gaining enough traction to overcome lesser shows like Heroes or Boston Legal which skated by with newness and familiarity respectively. It’s hard to know what got it snubbed: a lack of voter interest, a poorly submitted episode, or the spread of the opinion that the show was past its prime. I don’t understand any of those options, but Lost will sit out another year regardless.

Michael C. Hall (Dexter) for Lead Actor in a Drama Series

It was the single worst snub of the Emmy season, greater than any of the other missing individuals. While James Spader and Kiefer Sutherland went through the pace, Michael C. Hall crafted a serial killer that we not only grew to empathize with but actually kind of liked in the end. His performance made the entire concept work; without some level of empathy, the show would collapse under an unlikable hero incapable of emotional contact with others. After the Hollywood Foreign Press and his Screen Actors Guild peers recognized him, it is unfortunate that the Academy members could not do the same. The fact that he won’t have a chance to challenge for this award is the season’s greatest travesty.

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Filed under 30 Rock, Award Shows, Dexter, Emmy Awards, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, NBC, Television, Weeds

The Highlights and Lowlights of the 2007 Emmy Nominations

The nominations for the 56th annual Primetime Emmy awards have been released, and the result is a whole lot of frustration. While there are certainly some attributes in these categories that certainly warrant some sort of positive feelings, the overall impact is limited with some rather vile mistakes made by the voters. Yes, I said mistakes. Let’s take a look at the Best and the Worst of the nominations.

Best Category

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

This one is simple, really. While there were some other categories that had either too many familiar faces or the wrong mix of people, Supporting Actor in a Comedy gets it just right. Jon Cryer is the token nominee for the popular vote, but then you’ve got four awesome comedic talents: last year’s winner Jeremy Piven along with new (And fantastic) fresh faces in Rainn Wilson, Kevin Dillon and Neil Patrick Harris. I really can’t argue with any of these selections. I would have liked to see Justin Kirk in there, but it’s still a great category.

Runner-Up: Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Worst Category

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Three Grey’s Anatomy actresses, two Sopranos actresses, and perennial Emmy favourite Rachel Griffiths. It is clear that the men are where the new talent is making an impact, because these nominees couldn’t be much more predictable. The lack of new talent (Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost, Hayden Panettiere for Heroes) is the biggest problem, and I really hope that this can change in the future.

Runner-Up: Outstanding Drama Series

Most Surprising Nominee

Michael Emerson (Lost) – Supporting Actor in a Drama

I had written off Michael Emerson, one of my early picks, after Elizabeth Mitchell failed to crack the Top 10. However, it appears that Emerson was able to make it in, and with 6 nominees in his category worked his way into the fold. This was likely supported by Terry O’Quinn’s tape, which featured Emerson heavily. It is most deserved, and the most pleasant surprise of the morning.

Runner-Up: Boston Legal – Outstanding Drama Series

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The 2007 Emmy Awards Nominations: Lost Snubbed, Sopranos Praised

After months of coverage and more than a little bit of analysis, it is has finally come down to this: this morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have officially announced their nominations for what their voters believed to be the best in television over the past year. Are they right on the money, or are they off the mark once again?

The Big Stories

– Lost and Friday Night Lights snubbed, although Lost dominates in Supporting Actor with Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson! Woo!

– The Sopranos leads with 15 nominations.

– Battlestar Galactica and Lost each garnered writing and directing nods on the Drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office dominated the categories in terms of Comedy series.

– There’s a lot of snubs all over the place, I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, but Michael C. Hall is the worst one. Yes, worse than Lost.

– Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer break through as supporting contenders for The Office, which garnered a whole lot of nominations once you factor in writing and directing.

And the Nominees Are…

Oustanding Drama Series

The Sopranos

Heroes

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy

House

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Entourage

Two and a Half Men

30 Rock

Ugly Betty

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For Your Consideration: Lead Actresses – Lauren Graham and Felicity Huffman

[In Week Four of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Lead Actress awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our first set of candidates. For complete listings for the Supporting and Lead Actor candidates from the past four weeks, check out our For Your Consideration index]

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Lauren Graham (Lorelai)

Gilmore Girls

There is little question that Lauren Graham is perhaps the individual most snubbed by the Emmys over the past decade. In an awards show dominated by the big four networks, and one where even cable champions like HBO have struggled to win the big trophies, there was little place for a lowly network like The WB. As a result, the deft handling of rapid fire dialogue and fabulous mother/daughter interaction being delivered by the Gilmore Girls star was basically left unnoticed. Not even last year’s rule changes allowed Graham a chance to sneak into the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category. And, well, chances are that this year she won’t make it either, being on a different network and in a different category. However, nonetheless, I cannot possibly ignore her performance. I shall stand on the side of optimism every year when it comes to Lauren Graham. Even next year, when the show is off the air? I’ll still sing her praises. Because her lack of recognition is one of the Academy’s biggest mistakes, and it is with no hesitation that I consider her worthy of an Emmy nomination.

This season has been a dramatic one for Graham, so it is perhaps fitting that she is submitting in drama this year (The show has submitted in comedy for the past number of years). After sleeping with Christopher, she basically screwed up what she had going for herself with Luke, and spiraled a tiny bit out of control in the process. She married Christopher and found herself swept up in wedding parties, family dinners, and realizing that Christopher doesn’t actually fit into her life. And that her life was about her daughter, about her family, about her friends in Stars Hollow. After being mired in a bit of a funk (Which coincided with new showrunner David S. Rosenthal finding his legs with the show’s dialogue), Graham hit her stride in the second half of the season. After breaking things off with Christopher and finding her feet again, her character’s journey of self-reflection brought her back to her daughter and to Luke…but not easily.

And that’s the thing: much like the show’s dialogue, Lorelai’s life was never simple. Financially, well, things were fine; but her complicated relationship with everyone around her was something very different. Graham always managed to balance the comedy and the drama in a way that always portrayed Lorelai as someone who could at any moment spin out of control. That balanced, intricate performance has been, is, and will be deserving of Emmy Awards consideration.

Episode Selection: “Farewell My Pet” (Aired February 13th, 2007)

Now, I am of two minds with this selection: on the one hand, I did not like this episode all that much. It was actually kind of borderline annoying, and did not feature many of the elements that I enjoy most about the show.

However, on the other hand, it is that final moment where Lorelai realizes that her marriage with Christopher is never going to work. As she has to balance holding a memorial for Michel’s deceased dog Chin-Chin, Lorelai slowly comes to terms with her reality, and the hard decision she has to make. When she ends her marriage at the end of the episode, it is an emotional moment no matter whether you’ve watched the season or not. I think she’s better in the finale, to be honest, but it’s much more of a fan-friendly as opposed to voter-friendly episode.

And this final scene is, perhaps, one of her strongest of the season. And it will likely give her one last shot at her nomination.

YouTube – “Farewell My Pet”

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Felicity Huffman (Lynette)

Desperate Housewives

While someone like Lauren Graham might be fighting for her spot, Felicity Huffman is in pretty good shape thanks to a number of factors outside of her own control. However, no matter what people may say about Desperate Housewives’ drop in quality, I honestly believe that Felicity Huffman has never stopped being an absolutely fabulous actress in the process. While her character may, at times, be infuriating, I think that Huffman always captures those problems without trying to cover them up. When Lynette says or does something insensitive, Huffman does it as well without making it over the top or trying to hides its true meaning. She is a flawed character, and yet Huffman allows that to happen in a way that always feels right. Over the span of a season I pretty well want to strangle Lynette, but within individual episodes it is hard not to sympathize with her. With Marcia Cross not around much this season, and with Teri Hatcher as annoying as ever, I think that this is Felicity Huffman’s year to be considered for an Emmy nomination.

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For Your Consideration: Supporting Actresses – Kelly Bishop and Cobie Smulders

[In Week Two of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Supporting Actress awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our fourth set of candidates. For last week’s Supporting Actor candidates, and an index of all candidates, Click Here]

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore)

Gilmore Girls

This year, for the first time, Gilmore Girls is submitting in the drama category. This decision will certainly benefit the series, I believe, as it more directly represents the show as a whole. However, at the same time, it will also directly benefit who is arguably the series’ most important supporting player. Kelly Bishop has portrayed the Gilmore matriarch for seven seasons with a sense of grace, but she was rarely given a chance to be “comic” by popular standards. Sure, Emily Gilmore can be hysterical, but it makes more sense for her to be considered as a dramatic performance. As a result, as the series shifts over, so too do Bishop’s chances of finally getting her due. In the show’s final season, Kelly Bishop portrayed Emily Gilmore as a powerful wife, mother and grandmother in a way that was always real despite her wealth and status. As a dramatic performance, Bishop deserves to be considered for an Emmy Award.

This past season has been an opportunity for Emily to come to terms with her own life, as opposed to that of her daughter. Her life changed when her husband suffered a heart attack, and all of a sudden she was alone in many things. That sense of loneliness sent the always on the edge Emily over the cliff, in a sense. Faced with a new reality, a change in her routine, it required a lot of dramatic range from Bishop. At that age, where retirement and everything else kicks in, people are faced with a change of lifestyle, and Bishop portrayed it with a subtlety and vulnerability that was in line with Emily’s past actions.

Perhaps most importantly, however, was that Emily’s journey felt complete. After seven seasons of tense relations with her daughter, the season ended with her attempting to ensure that her connection with Lorelai would continue even as Rory is graduating. Their strained relationship was always important to the core dynamic, and to see it resolved in the finale was perhaps the most important moment from my personal perspective. What Bishop always brought to the role was a sense that Emily held a grudge, but that she also very much loved and cherished her relationship with her family. In her finale season, Bishop lived up to that history and delivered a performance worthy of Emmy consideration.

Episode Selection: “I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia” (Aired February 6th, 2007)

A moment of crisis is always rife with drama: in this case, Emily is faced with her husband’s heart attack and struggles in the hospital to pull together. Her reaction is real, honest, and Bishop portrays her anguish with just the right amount of denial. While I think she had better performances, this is the one where she was placed in a tougher position. Remorse, anger, it’s all there. It wasn’t perhaps the most subtle of her performances, but I think it is certainly the one that might get a good amount of Emmy related attention.

YouTube“I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia”

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Cobie Smulders (Robin)

How I Met Your Mother

I watched the first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother in the span of a few weeks, and in the process I warmed up to Cobie Smulders in a big way. I was, for the most part, ambivalent towards her as the seasons progressed, but over time I began to come to terms with her contribution to the series. While Alyson Hannigan is perhaps the bigger star, Smulders often has the more difficult role to play. Her relationship with Ted needed to seem worthwhile, honest, and it always did. She brought to the role a sense of comic timing that was always somewhat offbeat, and she always played the role of the outsider in the right way. And really, I’ll be honest: while I believe that her performance as a whole is deserving of attention, I’m really only listing her for one reason: Robin Sparkles.

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The Results are In: Nielsen Ratings Data for 2006/2007 Season

This list is long. This list is extensive. And I really want to know what this list means. Nielsen (Via The Hollywood Reporter) has released their data for every single TV show that aired in America this past season. It tells us where our favourite shows ranked, where much maligned shows ranked, and how scripted drama did against reality programming.And, it raises a lot of questions about this data that I think Nielsen might not want to answer.

For instance, does this list include repeats in its viewers averages? Because that’s the only way CSI (#4) should be beating Grey’s Anatomy (#6) in total viewers by my calculations. If so, this gives a distinct advantage to shows without repeats (Reality Shows, Lost, Heroes, etc.) or those shows which repeat extremely well (House, CSIs, etc.)

The major thing to watch for in the list is the difference between 18-49 numbers and viewership rankings. It rises many shows into positions of being picked up, even with lacklustre performances in viewers. Some show, like 30 Rock, are in the doldrums in terms of total viewers but shoot up into the Top 75 with adults 18-49, which got it renewed for a second season.

After a few formatting errors, I’ve realized that getting it to highlight canceled shows would drive me crazy, so just refer to your memory. And, either way, some will seem a bit strange. However, remember that these are averages, and don’t reflect ratings dropoff in their later episodes.

This is the case for Jericho, which clearly performed better than many canceled shows. However, CBS did cancel the better rated Close to Home airing on Fridays, so it’s not as if Jericho was the only victim of CBS’ extremely highly place high bar. It might as well be a pole vault at this point.

With the 2006/2007 season over, the industry trades are going right for ratings as their barometer of success. Outside of this post, I’m unlikely to do so as I go into my own year in review season. For now, check out the ratings for all of the dirt, and stay tuned for less quantitative analysis at Cultural Learnings.

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Reviewing the Series Finale: ‘Gilmore Girls’ bids Bon Voyage with Style and Grace

I think we all had our doubts: Gilmore Girls was a show that was left in tatters just a season ago, and it has spent the last 21 episodes picking up the pieces. And then, at the last moment, the series apparently had the rug pulled out from under it when an attempt to gain an 8th season fell apart. Expectations couldn’t help but be low: a show past its prime, on its last legs, throwing together what was supposed to be a season finale that was suddenly the end of the road for the entire series. The verdict is in: while it might not be the finale we wish we’d gotten in a perfect world, David S. Rosenthal has delivered an absolute best case scenario. “Bon Voyage” was a finale with style, grace, and an understanding of how these characters tick. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best we were going to get, and a proper sendoff for the girls Gilmore.

There were certain things which felt a little forced, such as Christiane Amanpour’s cameo in the cold open, however the rest of the episode was subtle and meaningful. Rory is sent into a tailspin when she’s offered an unbelievable opportunity working on the campaign trail of one Barack Obama, and Lorelai steps into ultimate “Mom” mode with lists, shampoo bottles (Mini, not big) and fanny packs. The entire episode, up until the very end, is spent with these two riffing off one another, neither discussing the fact that their last months together (A Rollercoaster excursion was planned) had turned into just two days. The irony of the situation, as it parallels our own disappointment at losing a future season and ending up with only two episodes, is not lost on the creators, nor its audience.

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In Memorium: Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

It is with a sad heart that Cultural Learnings must say good-bye to Gilmore Girls today, May 15th. While its health has been ailing in past years and the writing was on the wall, it was still with some level of shock that its finale was announced a week and a half ago. Tonight, at 8pm EST, The CW will air its final episode, appropriately entitled “Bon Voyage”, and the era of the two Lorelais will come to an end.

The show came into being in the year 2000, ushering in a new century with a speed of dialogue befitting such a milestone. Amy Sherman-Palladino had worked on the writing staffs of Roseanne and Veronica’s Closet before creating Gilmore Girls, and it was clear that her own creation would have a decidedly different tone. It was youthful, it was vibrant, and yet most importantly it was FAST. The speed at which Lorelai, a single mother, and her teenage daughter, Rory, talk has been one of the series’ most divisive qualities, and yet it’s what gave it its charm. And, just as fast as the show’s dialogue, it is disappearing from the airwaves.

It is survived by fond memories of the people and places around Stars Hollow, even those we found hideously annoying half the time like Taylor. The eccentric townspeople gave the show much of its unique qualities; after the show leaves, there is no small town like Stars Hollow left on television.

However, the show is also survived by memories of a family who struggled through hard times. Lorelai’s strained relationship with her parents, specifically her mother, has been one of the show’s strongest qualities, a constant reminder of their past. It is regrettable that this rushed conclusion will not allow for their relationship to be reconciled, but perhaps it is best this way.

And yet, we would be remiss in discussing the passing of this drama to ignore its romantic overtones. As young Rory bounced from her puppy love Dean, to her badboy rebel Jess, back to her adulterous ex Dean (Part Two), and then into the arms of her mature (But not THAT mature) reformed badboy Logan, she was emotionally drained, struggling with a great deal of inner turmoil. It is perhaps fitting, then, that she finds herself not with a romantic conclusion but with an empowering one. Tonight, she does not need to have a boyfriend to succeed, but rather a future of any form.

However, perhaps most beloved of all, the relationship between Luke and Lorelai has been going on for seven seasons and reaches its conclusion this evening. Romantic tension finally turned into real romance two seasons ago, and after Amy Sherman-Palladino left their relationship in scrambles it has taken 22 episodes to get it back. Tonight, for better or for worse, their saga comes to an end but their romance is unlikely to die in the hearts of the world’s shippers.

As we say goodbye to this drama, I would suggest that in lieu of cards and flowers that people begin sending letters to members of the Academy of Television in support of Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop. In what is technically a very weak year for female-led dramas, Lauren Graham might well have a chance at achieving what she has yet to achieve: a lead actress in a comedy Emmy nomination. With three SAG noms and a Golden Globe nomination earlier in the series’ run, Graham has still gone unrecognized amongst the Academy, and I think she deserves it. Even as the show has fallen in terms of ratings and quality, she has nonetheless remained the show’s heart and soul. Similarly, Emily Bishop’s performance as Emily is biting and powerful, and as a veteran actress she should have been recognized by now. I can imagine a no better send off than to have these two actresses finally get their due.

Saying goodbye is never easy, but we lost Gilmore Girls too soon. With a show with so many characters, so many memories, it’s hard to just let go without proper time to cope. Although this season was somewhat of a swan song thanks to the depature of Sherman-Palladino over contract terms, it’s still not easy to say goodbye to these characters she created. Tonight, as Lorelai and Luke head towards a reconciliation and Rory plans her future, fans could cry, or weep, or become angry at it all. However, for the sake of moving on, I shall simply say:

“Bon Voyage.”

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Network Upfronts Extravaganza: ‘The CW’ Preview

 

UPDATE: Hey everyone! Final word is in: One Tree Hill was Renewed! Get up and celebrate!

That’s right:

One Tree Hill is Renewed

…so congratulations to everyone.

In their first year as a network, The CW has been forced to weather failure after failure. Between the failure of Veronica Mars to find an audience, the failure for 7th Heaven to turn its “Series” finale success into a final season of high-rated television, and the absolute decimation of its Comedy Lineup after being moved to Monday Nights, the network has struggled to define a new identity for itself . However, perhaps more than anything else, The CW’s largest failure is the fact that of its new pilots at the beginning of the season, none of them became anything even close to a success. So, they face a unique challenge this time around: they need to find pilots which give them an identity that will make them a successful network next season. Do they have what it takes?

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The Penultimate ‘Gilmore Girls’ – “Unto the Breach”

Well, last week came the tragic word that Gilmore Girls will be ending after this current season, which means that these final two episodes were filmed without knowing that it was the series finale. What does this mean? Well, it means that they won’t give us all the resolution we’re looking for.

However, I figure that these episodes are nonetheless important ones, so here at Cultural Learnings we’re going to recap both, and provide some coverage leading up to the finale next week. So, stay tuned for all of that.

In the meantime, “Unto the Breach” is the second last episode of Gilmore Girls ever. To find out how things went down after last week’s Karaoke Serenade, continue on. And read why, in the end, things appear to be heading towards a satisfying end, regardless of the premature nature of the proceedings. Also, learn who Milan Kundera is. Because I sure as heck didn’t know.

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