On this week’s Water Cooler Podcast, we take on something of a tricky subject for those of us around the water cooler: Ryan Murphy. So, for long time listeners of the Water Cooler Podcast, this topic may feel slightly redundant. We’ve talked about him before, so why rehash him now? Well, there’s method to our madness. This Emmy season, Ryan Murphy amassed a whopping 29 Emmy nominations when considering his American Crime Story and American Horror Story franchises. That’s his highest haul to date, and it made us think about Murphy’s overall legacy. When we look back at this point in history, how will academics regard Ryan Murphy and his cultural impact? Be sure you take a look at this excellent New Yorker article by Emily Nussbaum.
To consider his reputation, we take a look at three different phases in Ryan Murphy’s career: his humble (so to speak) beginnings, his current renaissance, and his future projects. We also look at the attention Emmy paid to each property. Then, as if that’s not enough, we debate the frontrunners in the 2016 Reality and Variety Emmy categories. (Podcast)
Robert Schenkkan grew up in Austin, Texas, close to Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch. Schenkkan’s father at the time was a key figure in bringing public media, TV, and radio to the southwest. His father sought permission from then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson to bring public media to the area. LBJ backed a bill that created a corporation for public broadcast. He was a respected figure in the Schenkkan household, and Robert felt a connection to LBJ and wrote about him.
All The Way was originally commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 with Jack Willis originating the role of LBJ. In 2014, All The Way opened on Broadway with Bryan Cranston in the role and won the Tony Award for Outstanding Play and Best Actor.
In an on-going series, Jazz Tangcay makes the Emmy® case for All the Way to win the Outstanding TV Movie Emmy with a little help from writer Robert Schenkkan. (All the Way)
Melora Hardin has done it all. She’s been involved with more movies and television shows that you can probably recall, but she’s one of the most consistent actresses working today. This year, Hardin earned her first Emmy® nomination for playing the confident Tammy on Amazon’s beloved Transparent. In the show’s second episode, Tammy crashes a party while the scars of her recently dissolved marriage to Sarah Pfefferman (Amy Landecker) haven’t even healed yet. In the hands of a less experienced actress, the appearance in the episode probably wouldn’t have had the emotional heft that Hardin brings to the brief moment.
When ADTV’s Joey Moser spoke to Hardin about her work on the second season, she talked about the filming process of Transparent with such openness and heart that you could tell the nomination was a welcome addition to an already extraordinary experience. (Melora Hardin)
She’s an addict in season two and has to get herself back together. She’s very clear in her sexuality and who she is. She’s been a lesbian since she was five—knew that since she was born. I don’t think that’s what drove her drink. It was more of other insecurities of being out in the world.
Emmy nominee Melora Hardin (Transparent) on her character Tammy
Sean Callery is no stranger to the Emmy cycle. In fact, his two current nominations – Netflix’s Jessica Jones‘s main title theme and Fox’s Minority Report‘s music composition – gave Callery a total of 16 Emmy nominations. He even won three Emmys for his beloved work on Fox’s 24. But even though he’s been to the dance before, Sean Callery still feels the excitement of a first-time nominee. Read more and download the full interview at ADTV. (Sean Callery)
ADTV’s Robin Write has seen talented actress Molly Parker in many TV shows and films over the years, but perhaps never been more impressed as a fan than when she appeared as Jackie Sharp on Netflix’s House of Cards. He had the pleasure to speak to Molly briefly about her Emmy-nominated work on the show in the latest season where she continued to give weight to the powerful women in politics dynamic. (Molly Parker)
I read Condoleezza Rice’s book, which is very long. Read Hilary’s first book, Elizabeth Warren’s book. All of them were heavy hitters, they had written about themselves, and that was fascinating and told me a lot of what it takes to be a woman in power and what it costs and what it’s like for women in the generation of Hilary and women in my generation.
Emmy nominee Molly Parker (House of Cards) on prepping for her political role
Dale Stern is a very easy person to talk to. The seasoned vet has been behind the camera as an assistant director for shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, The League, and Documentary Now!, but he took the helm for one of Veep‘s best Season 5 episodes, “Mother.” As tensions mount in this election, Selina’s mother takes a turn for the worse, and the campaign has to deal with the unexpectedly emotional aspects of the situation.
On the morning that Joey Moser spoke with Dale Stern, he revealed that he was just involved in a small fender bender, but he seemed to take it all in great stride. He sounds like a man that can find the funny in almost any situation (he also mentioned that his father would chuckle at some obituaries), and that mixture of comedy and pathos is exactly what makes his directorial turn so effortless and so hilarious. His nomination is very well deserved. (Dale Stern)
One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 Emmy nominations was the inclusion of the critically-acclaimed UnREAL on Lifetime, which received two nominations: one for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Constance Zimmer) and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. But no one was more surprised than Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who received her first nomination for writing on the series (a nomination she shares with Marti Noxon). “I was shocked,” Shapiro said with a laugh. “Not even humble bragging! I had no idea that we were even in the running for that. I think we had been holding out for a very slim hope for Constance [Zimmer], but for the writing nomination, I was totally floored.” (Sarah Gertrude Shapiro)