Two critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning comedies returned to HBO last night and made very strong cases for continued love from the Television Academy.
Veep enters its seventh and final season, of course right in the middle of Donald Trump’s first term as President of the United States. Many wondered how the series would compare to real-life political theater, and in a way, it doesn’t. I unfortunately caught a recent Trump rally where his comments, admittedly cut into a montage and completely taken out of context, felt completely disconnected from any sense of thoughtful narrative or even grounded in reality. Comparatively, Veep‘s Selina Meyer appears a model of decorum. Still, despite weird connections with reality, Veep returns in top form, entering its final season with gusto and comic brilliance.
Season seven brings them back together in a presidential primary race after a weird, relatively uneven sixth season that saw the main cast going their own ways. The new connections work wonderfully, particularly with one of its most underrated actors Timothy Simons. Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Meyer, Simons’s Jonah also embarks on an ill-advised run for the White House. The gleefully marvelous shame Simons wallows in is pure comic genius, particularly when faced with a marriage that only the Lannister siblings could top. Obviously, this is Simon’s last year to compete for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series as Jonah Ryan. Don’t blow it Television Academy.
The remainder of the cast, including the unparalleled Louis-Dreyfus, returns in top form as does the writing and directing team. Honestly, the only thing that holds it back from near-certain Emmy dominance is the pure joy and optimism of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Veep‘s deeply seeded cynicism could prove too much for the Television Academy, particularly when compared to current events. I mean, as much as I loved it, it is a bit much to take when the two best lines of the show are morbidly dark offerings. When asked why she would want to be president, Anna Chlumsky’s Amy replies that she would want to nuke the entire country.
And then there’s this Dan Egan (Reid Scott) gem: “If you want to go Dutch or whatever on the abortion just send it to me on Venmo.”
Brilliant. Classic. Dark as fuck.
Barry, on the other hand, dances a thin line between affection for its characters and its naturally dark setting given the whole hitman subplot. Its second season premiere episode found Barry struggling to keep his acting life moving forward while the events of season one continued to derail them. Barry received well deserved Emmys for its main acting duo of Bill Hader and Henry Winkler, and they are absolutely fantastic in the second season premiere. Additionally, I was happy they seem to have given Anthony Carrigan’s Hank more screen time, which he runs with in every great way. Judging from the season premiere, there’s no reason to think that Barry doesn’t receive a similar number of nominations for its sophomore outing. The only thing potentially holding it back is the presence of Veep. There’s no reason for concern though. It just may not receive multiple bids in deference to Veep and Maisel.
Veep Emmy Forecast
Direction (Likely multiple)
Writing (Likely multiple)
Supporting Actor (Tony Hale)
Supporting Actress (Anna Chlumsky)
Guest Actor (Hugh Laurie or other)
Supporting Actor (Matt Walsh)
Supporting Actor (Timothy Simons)
Barry Emmy Forecast
Supporting Actor (Henry Winkler)
Supporting Actress (Sarah Goldberg)
Supporting Actor (Anthony Carrigan)
Supporting Actor (Stephen Root)