July 19, 2013

Emmy Nominations: Rabbit Ear Reactions

Emmy nominees were annouced this week, and I can't let this momentous television occasion pass without sharing my two cents. I'll try to avoid reiterating what you've probably already heard. Here are some Rabbit Ear Reactions: First, two disappointments. Then, a program I was thrilled to see nominated - one you might have overlooked.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read my grief tweets about Survivor, which was not among the nominees for Reality Competition. Nor was Jeff Probst nominated as host. This was particularly sad because Survivor had one of its best seasons this year with Caramoan's Fans vs. Favorites. Not to mention the fact that episode 5 of that season was a landmark in the history of reality TV. That said, those who write that the show was "snubbed" aren't quite right. It did receive nominations in some of the less-hyped categories.

Another show that received little recognition in the major categories is The Office. I was surprised to see how differently 30 Rock and The Office - both departing NBC comedies - fared in the nominations. 30 Rock received 9 nominations in major categories: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, 2 Guest stars, 2 for Writing, 1 for Directing, and Outstanding Comedy. The Office got only 1: Greg Daniels for Writing for the finale. Even though I'm sad The Office didn't receive more, I'm pleased that the finale was recognized. It was perfect. Daniels should win. But chances are, he'll be beat out by Tina Fey, nominated in the same category for the 30 Rock finale.

So far I've just been talking about the "major" categories. The ones listed here. But it's worth downloading the complete list of nominees

If you just glanced through those major categories on Emmys.com, you may not have noticed that Live from Lincoln Center received three nominations for "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel." I was thrilled to see that this New York Philharmonic stage production of the classic musical was nominated for Musical Direction, Choreography, and  in a category called Special Class Programs, where it's up against award show broadcasts and the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. You can (and should) watch highlights from this phenomenal musical production at PBS.org. Or right here!

I can't remember a televised stage production this well done. It was technically masterful and emotionally powerful. Carousel can be a frustrating play. Its storyline - with outdated gender roles and domestic violence - is troubling. But these actors brought the characters to life so authentically that I watched Carousel in a totally new way. I think I understand it better now than I ever have. (By the way, that's saying something, as I was once in a production of this musical!)

Reading through the list of nominations this year - and seeing Carousel recognized in particular - made me realize something about these awards: No matter how much the Emmy broadcast itself will focus on the big-budget, popular, and mostly cable television series, the awards are for gems like Live from Lincoln Center, too. There are wonderful things happening on TV that you just might be missing. So, tune to PBS every once in awhile.

Special shout out this post to my father and my grandparents. The day after Carousel aired, I got phone calls from all of them, telling me I had to check my local listings and catch it the next time it came on. Thanks, guys. 

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