Jul. 19th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
“Seriously, primetime Emmys, what does #clonewars have to do?” said the cri de coeur Tweet from executive producer Cary Silver after the show got snubbed for the fifth time in today’s nominations.

I wonder the same thing myself and maybe, as speculated before, the awards people felt they owed Clone Wars no more after the microseries won a couple of times, even though it’s a completely different program.

But I strongly suspect it’s another issue and it’s one that’s more noticeable when you see what does get nominated and what doesn’t, in spite of quality or popularity.

You see, in t.v. there’s the cool kids table with all of the programs that are “sexy,” “hot,” “edgy,” and “buzzworthy.” These are the shows that get written about a lot, the stars become celebrities, other celebrities follow the program and issue commentary via Twitter, professional geeks give the stamp of approval, that get upfront treatment from the folks at Television Without Pity, and critics largely based in L.A. and Manhattan give their hosannas to. Those shows include “Modern Family,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game Of Thrones,” “Family Guy,” “Girls,” “Adventure Time,” “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead,” etc..

Then there are the quality shows or longtime favorites that get none of this attention, like Clone Wars. Why? Clone Wars isn’t quirky, weird, overly violent, sexual, or full of vulgarity. It doesn’t boast a fan base that includes Rhianna or Katy Perry. “Downton Abbey” managed to acquire a big A-list fan base even though it’s about as edgy as a butter knife. It’s a glaring exception. Otherwise, I’ll put it plainly; critics like things that push the envelope when it comes to sex, violence, and cursing. They and the Emmy people like shows that reflect their value system and the way they see the world, and it’s very different from how most of regular folks (not pop culture junkies) see things.

Take “NCIS,” the most popular drama on t.v.. Way more people watch that show than anything on AMC or HBO. I read last year that the t.v. actress with the highest Q score (Q scores measure a personality’s likability with the public) was Pauley Perrette, who plays audience favorite Abby Scuitto. The top 10 had three other stars from the show. Yet somebody like Sofia Vegara is way more visible in ads, celebrity media, etc.. “NCIS” has never been nominated for anything as far as I know. Now I realize popular doesn’t always mean quality but the fact it’s been popular for a pretty long period of time might indicate some level of quality, wouldn’t you think? But it doesn’t matter. “NCIS” isn’t popular with hipsters or Upper West Side types. A good portion of its audience is outside of the coveted 18-35 market, it attracts a lot of eyeballs in Middle America, and it’s just a little too pro-military/pro-law enforcement for the t.v. critics. So it gets ignored.

For my money, “The Middle” is the funniest sitcom on t.v.. But it’s as though the Emmy people figure there’s room for only one family-related sitcom and they loooove “Modern Family.” I think “Modern Family” is funny, though it’s mostly the chubby gay fella and the blonde who provide the laughs. Vegara’s voice and exaggerated Latinaisms annoy the CRAP out of me. “Modern Family” finds favor with the critics, the media, and the awards people because it reflects their world. The “family” lives in a wealthy L.A. neighborhood and consists of a grandpa who’s married to a much younger “hot babe” with a young son, a gay couple with an adopted Asian daughter, and a “regular” couple with a spoilt bratty princess and a Lisa Simpson for daughters. That’s pretty much everybody in the upper echelons of the entertainment industry circle with a nice dollop of “diversity.” On the other hand “The Middle” takes place in nowheresville Indiana, the (intact) family lives in a perpetually messy house with grossly outdated “décor,” they love junk food and fancy is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, and the kids are more like actual people I’ve known than the usual kids/teens you see on t.v.. Hey, I’ve been friends with girls like the delightfully dorky Sue Heck. For people who say they’re with the 99%, they sure don’t relate very well to a show that really does depict how 99% of us live or have lived at one point or another. “The Middle” was totally ignored again like Clone Wars even though the young gal who plays Sue, Eden Sher, is probably the best comedic actress on t.v. right now.

Getting back to Clone Wars, it is true that it has picked up a little more press in the past couple of years but it’s not a show that Vogue or Us Weekly is telling its readers it needs to be watching. It’s barely on the geek/nerd radar—its faves are “Thrones,” “Walking Dead,” “Adventure Time,” and the McFarlane library. Kids love the show but Emmy voters don’t poll them. And you know they certainly don’t care about Star Wars fans.

It is possible there’s animosity toward Lucas mixed in there and it may very well be a reason why The Right People aren’t boosting the show. If that’s the case, well, there’s nothing we can do to change that.

December 2012

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