Emmy Voter Simons Lays Bare His Soul for THR

Veep‘s Jonah Ryan laments the plight of the Emmy voter in The Hollywood Reporter

Oscar voters thought they had it bad. Try talking to an Emmy voter this time of year.

Television critics, Emmy watchers, or Emmy prognosticators lament the absence of their favorite series after the Emmy nominations announcement. It’s inevitable. There are only seven slots for series nominations, six for the performance races. Something is left out. Why is that? Over 400 scripted series are eligible for Emmy consideration. That means over 400 series that a serious Emmy voter should consume before casting their vote, currently due next Monday, June 27.

As such, Veep co-star Timothy Simons penned a comic essay about the plight of the Emmy voter for The Hollywood Reporter. Use “plight” loosely here as the essay is purely comic. Here’s a taste:

It started simply, as a virus would, and spread quickly. Historically we might remember such firsts as Typhoid Mary, the baby in the Lewis house during the Broad Street Pump cholera outbreak or whoever returned from the Rio Olympics with that antibiotic-resistant superbacterium. In my case it was the UnREAL screener…

So, yes, the essay is very funny. And, yes, the essay is cleverly timed during the midst of the Emmy voting window. Simons’s campaign this year seems to be constructed mostly of clever social media quirks. The undercurrent of the piece, however, is the truly ridiculous situation thrust upon Emmy voters this time of year. No one can expect the Television Academy to absorb that much great content over the span of a month. Remember, these are (mostly) all working professionals. Watching an entire TV season – or enough of it to get an understanding of its quality – is a far greater undertaking than simply watching a 2-hour film.

This is probably why The Americans or The Affair or Bates Motel aren’t getting nominated. All shows are widely acclaimed, award-winning series. Yet, for some reason, the shows aren’t making it to the top of the Emmy pile. The Americans in particular is a buzzy series, but only in certain circles: critics and fans. Game of ThronesBetter Call SaulVeepOrange Is the New Black. These shows catch the zeitgeist. They’re on everyone’s lips, and they’re in all television conversations. The Americans, by contrast, is most famous at this point for being that show the Emmys never nominate. It’s not particularly a winning platform.

And why is that? Well, a gluttony of great television four years ago most likely made it difficult for the show to gain attention, and The Americans failed to get in. Three seasons later, Emmy voters aren’t going to pick it up and all of a sudden decide it’s “the best show on television.” They have so many other series to watch. They’re going to look at what they know. They’re going to vote for either the show with heat (Game of Thrones) or the comfortably known quantity (House of Cards). Television series face uphill battles to break into serious Emmy wins if their first seasons failed to ignite.

Maybe asking 18,500 members of the Television Academy to get through 400-plus dramatic series is too big of an undertaking? Maybe the method of nomination-by-committee is really the best method? Maybe series should only submit a single episode rather than ask viewers to consider entire seasons? Or maybe the Television Academy should just own up to the widespread quality out there and allow for ten nomination slots in the Drama and Comedy Series races. Perhaps then previously ignored series could finally get their chance at Emmy glory.

Maybe then they’ll get to the top of Timothy Simons’ (and others’) Emmy screener pile.

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