Everyone interested in the outcome held their breath to see how AMC’s Mad Men would land. Would it end with the widely predicted (without significant evidence, mind you) Manson or D.B. Cooper angles? Would it go the way of The Sopranos and refuse to grant a satisfying conclusion to the beloved-by-television-elitists series? The final episode, fortunately, stayed true to the heart of the series by in some ways resolving the inner conflict of its central character Don Draper / Dick Whitman (Jon Hamm) that has plagued him since day one. It avoided dramatic histrionics or extravagant plot mechanics and focused instead on what people loved about the series most: its characters.

By doing so, I suspect, it has cemented its place, if ever there was a doubt, in the final seven slots for Best Dramatic Series at the 2015 Emmys. Highbrow critics proclaimed it brilliant, echoing most of the Twitter reaction I saw through an entirely informal poll. I’m not here to debate the quality of the series finale, but I do think it was good enough, memorable enough, to stick in voter’s minds. Whether or not it will win is a question for another day, but the battle for Emmy supremacy in the Dramatic Series category will be a tough one given the current vast quality of dramatic television. Common thought has largely settled around seven series, but it feels as if seven more could rise up and take their place. Television dramas are a boom industry right now.

Joining Mad Men is the perennial nominee Game of Thrones. Even a little more than halfway through its fifth season, there is scarce doubt that the fantasy series will rank at the top of Emmy ballots. The size, scale, and ambition of the series alone propels it there. And some even say its the series’ best season yet. Of course, there are many vocal detractors no doubt disappointed in the rebuilding of the series after the seismic and extremely bloody Season Four. True, most of the characters in Season Five tend to travel around the Game of Thrones map preparing for their next big battle – the multi-pronged attack on Winterfell. Also, there’s yet another tricky rape storyline that featured the beloved Sansa Stark Bolton, but a similar rape controversy did not sideline the series in Season Four. The creative team will dazzle us as they tend to do with a dramatic battle episode somewhere around episode nine, I suspect. This episode will serve as the chief submission for the series, and any possibility as to its omission from the final seven will be eliminated.

House of Cards is most likely the third safe nominee. The Netflix series premiered in late February to general critical approval, rating a 76 on Metacritic. But critical acclaim has never been the series’ strongest suit as evidenced by its complete shut-out in the recent Critics Choice TV award nominations. Still, its high gloss drama and its recent shift in power toward the House of Cards women make an effective case for inclusion – even if the overall quality was a bit more uneven this season. Emmy voters do love the familiar and no one works a room like Kevin Spacey, so this one stays in the top seven, despite falling a few notches.

No matter your opinion of the show, Downton Abbey will be in the top seven. You can count on that. Since moving from the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie ghetto to the Drama Series headlining category, it has consistently received nominations despite broad acknowledgement in its waning quality. Why is that? Chalk it up to older voters in the Television Academy and a British contingent that coagulates around their own. Still, this year, the series won an unexpected SAG award for its ensemble, providing a show of strength as the series heads toward its final season. It won’t win this year, but it will show up, blocking far more deserving nominees in the process.

I suspect that Emmy voters will pay little attention to the bizarre category shenanigans and rule chicanery that places Netflix’s Orange is the New Black in the Drama Series category after campaigning in the Comedy Series categories last year. The creative team appealed the decision and was denied. Still, it is my personal opinion that the show does belong in the Drama Series categories anyway. The material is dark, heavy, and often tragic. While the modern scenes can be funny, most of the flashbacks deal heavily in heartfelt melodrama (re: Poussey’s military brat love affair, “Crazy Eyes” abandonment by her adoptive parents, Lorna’s “reluctant” fiancee, etc), so the show feels more comfortable in the Drama Series categories. It will be recognized here because it’s hotter than ever, racking up awards from the Producer’s Guild (for Episodic Comedy nonetheless) and the Screen Actor’s Guild (for Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Female Actor). Also, its third season drops during the nomination window, guaranteeing all sorts of publicity and excitement around it.

The final two slots are a little more murky. Fox’s ratings giant Empire feels like a good bet given the attention paid to a number of its successes. Cast primarily with African-American actors, Empire was the rare true breakout TV series, fueled by dozens of op-ed pieces and millions of Tweets, that climbed in the ratings week after week. Additionally, its soundtrack has performed well on the Billboard charts, and it will most likely time its home video release with a high-profile campaign during the voting season. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun. There’s no denying its soapy (re: Dynasty) roots, and people will definitely feel like rewarding it this year before the inevitable escalation in catfights and decline in overall quality take hold. With such a strong year for diversity on television, how can the Emmys ignore Empire?

Finally, the last slot could go to any number of possibilities.

CBS’s The Good Wife has a surprising number of backers on Twitter (not a metric by itself) and still receives a great deal of press for its latest season. Yet, the series itself hasn’t been nominated since 2011 when it became a victim of the surge in award-worthy cable shows. I’m not feeling a resurgence of affection or an “attention must be paid” attitude that would push it beyond its stiffer competition, but it is a possibility. Star Julianna Margulies won an unexpected Dramatic Actress Emmy just last year showing love still exists for the show.

AMC’s Better Call Saul could ride some of that residual Breaking Bad good will into the nominee’s circle. The ratings have been very strong for the freshman series, and, more importantly, the quality of the series has been uniformly good (if not consistently great). The producers should be very careful in making their Emmy submission selections and choose one of the episodes that deftly bridges the gap between both series, proving Saul can stand on its own outside of the Bad shadow. If one of our seven major predictions falls out, then this is probably the series most likely to advance.

FX’s The Americans third season was beloved by all who saw it for its dramatically pungent story lines and brilliant acting. Trouble is: not many people saw it, and the degree of difficulty is very high for a series that has yet to receive major Emmy recognition going into its third season. ADTV loves the show, and we continue to advocate for its greatness. Yet, we can’t ignore the signs and the history. Sad to say, if it hasn’t happened yet, then it ain’t gonna happen now.

Homeland became the butt of jokes in its third season with its wildly unfocused (putting it mildly) storytelling and unbelievable plot twists (even for this show which often dabbles in unbelievability), and its Emmy fortunes suffered accordingly, losing the Drama Series slot for the first time in its short life after winning Drama Series in its freshman season – breaking the Mad Men winning streak, mind you. However, Season Four has been widely received as a vast improvement in quality, restoring a little of that Season One magic by jettisoning extraneous plot lines and unnecessary characterizations and refocusing on the political intrigue that attracted viewers and Emmy voters in the first place. Plus, there could be some goodwill toward the series after its beloved supporting actor James Rebhorn passed away, a fact that the series acknowledged within the plot. I’m not predicting it to make it into the final seven yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did – it won an unexpected DGA award this year.

JustifiedOutlander. BloodlineBoardwalk EmpireThe FallPenny DreadfulBates MotelSons of AnarchyDaredevilThe KnickBroadchurchThe LeftoversManhattanRectifyOrphan BlackMasters of Sex. All of these series offer compelling arguments as to why they could be threats to the final seven, yet most of them have equally compelling detractions. Genre pieces. Extreme violence. Lack of buzz. Unreliable quality. Difficult to sit through. Any of these reasons could knock most of these series out, but you cannot count them completely out of the overall conversation, even if it is unlikely that any of these series – which all have passionate supporters in their various corners – will actually make it into the final Emmy conversation.

No, the final slot – and, admittedly, the weakest slot in the bunch – goes to Showtime’s drama The Affair, a series I have consistently advocated for since it premiered last October to critical acclaim (an 85 on Metacritic). After it won two unexpected Golden Globes for Drama Series and Drama Actress (Ruth Wilson), it seemed a slam dunk for a nomination. Then, SAG gave it a big goose egg. As did the recent Critic’s Choice TV award nominations. Given its fall berth, it may be too “out of sight, out of mind” for Emmy voters. As I could be completely alone (sitting right here on a shaky tree branch with the peeps in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – a dubious tree branch companion to say the least) in my adoration of the show, I’m completely prepared to be 100 percent wrong about going with this show in my predictions. And I’m completely prepared for the comments and Tweets telling me how wrong I will be. Still, after recently re-watching some of the series for a piece I wrote on Maura Tierney, I cannot deny how extremely great the show is. Let’s hope the Emmy voters see it my way. Suck it, haters.

So, that makes my predicted nominees as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • The Affair
  • Downton Abbey
  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Mad Men
  • Orange is the New Black

Where do you think I’ve gone wrong? What shows am I discounting or under representing? Feel free to comment below and share your predictions.

When I saw the headlines about The Daily Show’s new lead anchor and his offensive tweets, I just assumed this was the natural backlash that has become so unfortunately popular in the age of Twitter and the Internet. Someone finds success and you must hate on them. Immediately.

But then I read the articles, in order to form an educated opinion, and was gravely disappointed by what I read. Not by the offensive nature of Trevor Noah’s tweets, but by how deeply unfunny they were, unrelated to race, LGBT issues, or feminism. Did some frat dude write these? Surely, not a well-respected South African comedian with the strong international presence. I couldn’t help but think: This is the guy who’s taking over for Jon Stewart?

Taboo humor can be done. Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber is proof of this, as no topic—or figure—was safe from being poked fun at during the show that aired on March 30. Jokes about abortion, African Americans, pedophiles, lesbians, and older women were all on the table, and the only negative headline resulting from this show was a joke about Paul Walker getting cut. Maybe this was because of the nature of the Roast, where it’s a no-holds-barred, two-hour, anything-goes-fest for the network. It’s the Christmas of comedy, where comedians don’t have to worry about being censored because the more offensive, the better.

None of Trevor Noah’s tweets were anything as offensive as what Martha Stewart said to Ludacris during the Roast (“You have three kids with three different women. May I suggest pulling out some time and finishing on some highly absorbent Martha Stewart bed linens?”). And if anything, Martha Stewart has gained some mad street cred since her appearance. She’s not losing fans, but gaining them. So is the real issue with Trevor Noah’s tweets not that they’re offensive but that they’re offensively unfunny?

Let’s face it. Noah has some HUGE shoes to fill, especially since he’s young (Stewart was in his late 30s when he took over for Craig Kilborn) and has only made a handful of appearances on the show he’s going to take over. Comedians like Stephen Colbert and Larry Wilmore went through a much more vigorous vetting process before moving on to their bigger projects. What makes Noah so special?

That’s probably the brunt of the hate on Noah’s tweets. The world collectively going, This all you got? Yet, we must remember that Jon Stewart has become Jon Stewart because of a hilarious supporting team of writers, not just because of his singular self. If Twitter were around when Jon Stewart was just starting out, surely he would have had some shitty jokes as well (after all, he openly admits to his shitty acting in movies like The Faculty and Playing by Heart). We follow social media accounts like @stephenathome based on the idea that Stephen Colbert is tweeting these directly, when really, like most celebrity accounts, tweets are calculated and probably consist of a lot of team workshopping before anyone clicks “send” or more aptly “schedule.”

Comedians are not without their controversies on Twitter. Figures like Jenny Johnson and Gilbert Gottfried have been accused of crossing the line with their jokes, and they rebounded because that’s what comedy is about: breaking boundaries and then retreating. But with Noah, the Twitter attackers were out to dig up these jokes from the get-go, especially since most of the controversial tweets were from two or three years ago, when perhaps Noah was still finding his voice.

Before Trevor Noah’s Twittergate, I just assumed Comedy Central knew something we all didn’t know yet about this rising star. And I suspect there’s a strong chance they still do, otherwise they wouldn’t give this guy TV’s second most beloved gig behind The Tonight Show. But we must all remember that every comedian makes mistakes. It’s only now that there’s a timeline the public can refer to and pinpoint these missteps.

What’s sad is that he deleted one of his funniest, and most appropriate, tweets following this “scandal”: “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all of the characters on Twitter.” If he sticks to honesty like this, he’ll be an asset to The Daily Show. But if I were him, I’d stay off the medium for a while and wait until he has a team of writers to bounce ideas off of.


Let me preface this post by saying I am a huge fan of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and that I think NBC made a huge mistake in passing on this gem of a show. The series is a testament to female strength, both on-screen in the form of the Mole Women and off-screen in the form of the influence of Tina Fey.

It saddens me to see so many articles about race being a problem on the show. Sure, Dong is kind of a stereotype, but *spoiler alert* he wins Kimmy’s heart. How many television shows make the leading man in a white female protagonist’s life a sweet, Asian dude? Long Duck Dong would have been proud.

And related to that dated Sixteen Candles reference, there’s a more pressing, obvious issue with the show other than race: Kimmy Schmidt’s retro timeline.

While I love the idea of Kimmy’s captivity being like a 15-year time capsule, some of the jokes don’t line up. As someone who’s around Kimmy’s age and would have been 15 at the same time she was, some references simply don’t work if we’re supposed to believe Kimmy went into the bunker in 2000.

For example, Kimmy talks about Yo MTV Raps, which aired from 1988 to 1995. She speaks of it as if it were on the air right before she went into hiding. If we’re to believe the show exists in 2015, this feels a little off. If anything, Kimmy should have been talking about Total Request Live, which started in 1998.

Also, the only book she had to read in the bunker was The Babysitters Club’s Dawn and the Surfer Ghost from 1993, which comes into play in an episode where Jacqueline Voorhees’ stepdaughter Xanthippe (Dylan Gelula) gets caught plagiarizing the story as her own.

This feels off on many levels. Babysitters Club hit its height in popularity in the mid-‘90s, when the film came out. Also, the book was aimed toward late-elementary school students, even though it was about middle-schoolers, similar to the way girls who read Seventeen are rarely 17 (they usually move on to Cosmo at that point). Since all of the girls are around the same age in the bunker (except for Latina maid Donna Maria Nunez), it’s questionable that any of these young women would be interested in reading this book at this point in their teenage lives. Even more questionable, that a Millennial like Xanthippe would discover the book and read it when there’s modern-day competition like The Hunger Games (although maybe Xanthippe got tired of teen dystopia novels).

Even Kimmy and Titus’s relationship with Columbia House seems dated. Many ‘90s kids can recall eagerly awaiting for CDs to arrive in the mail—not cassette tapes, which is what the two roomies anticipate. CDs were the dominant culture. Kimmy may feel like a jog through Central Park with a Walkman is the most up-to-date technology, but most teenagers in the late ‘90s had portable CD players. Even the fact that she listens to EMF’s “Unbelievable” from 1991 feels disconnected (has she been in the bunker for 25 years?).

That’s not to say that Kimmy Schmidt doesn’t excel at any of the references. Some of them are on the mark, including Kimmy mentioning Tamagotchis, which would have been a part of her generation. Also, Hanson was popular, but where are groups like the ‘NSync and the Backstreet Boys, which you KNOW Kimmy would have a say on (I picture her as a Lance Bass kind of gal)? She has Vanilla Ice and Hootie and the Blowfish on her 30th birthday playlist, but where are the Spice Girls and Britney Spears?

Again, these false references don’t stop me from loving this show. After all, there’s a suspension of disbelief that goes with pop culture. Movies like The Wedding Singer utilized ‘80s references from all over the decade, from J.R. being shot (took place in 1980) to Madonna being the rage (her first album didn’t come out until 1983), and still, it’s an enjoyable watch.

The only difference with Kimmy Schmidt is that when you’re placing a character 15 years from a particular event, it should feel authentic, especially when 18-to-34-year-olds are most likely to binge-watch—a demographic who lived through the time period.

A favorite pasttime of ours when watching Saturday Night Live is anticipating the crack-ups, those moments when the comedy is too great even for the cast members to deliver their lines. Bill Hader’s Stefan character is the most popular recent example of a crack-up as he laughed through nearly every instance. Although crack-ups happened throughout the entire series, they are definitely more recent phenomenons, almost uniquely thanks to Jimmy Fallon.

Please remember, if you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites or feel free to post your own on our Facebook page or through our Twitter feed.

Debbie Downer

Widely considered the perfect example of a cast crack-up, this “Debbie Downer” outing from 2004 starred Rachel Dratch as the title character accompanied by Jimmy Fallon (natch), Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, guest-host Lindsey Lohan, and Horatio Sanz as a family on a trip to Walt Disney World. We may have discussed this on our SNL podcast, but discussing/listening to the crack-ups cannot compare to seeing the real thing.

Extremely Stupid

It’s the mark of a great comic when a crack-up enhances an otherwise average skit. Gilda Radner plays the titular “extremely stupid” woman, but it’s guest-host Candice Bergen who flubs her lines, mistakenly calling Radner her own character’s name. Bergen spends the remainder of the episode watching Radner and laughing while Radner spins comic gold.

Jeffrey’s / More Cowbell / Lovers in the Hot Tub

I’m lumping three videos together as they all feature the apparent perfect ingredients for an SNL crack-up: Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell. Fallon was notorious for breaking character, erupting into laughter along with the audience. When filming the infamous Will Ferrell “Cow Bell” sketch, Fallon can be seen in the background barely holding it together. Apparently, Ferrell wore a different shirt during dress rehearsal, but on the live show, he wore a shirt about 3 sizes too small, hairy gut protruding just below. Ferrell’s dedication to comedy and Fallon’s inability to ever hold it together are two reasons we continue to love SNL.

Super Showcase

This skit – a take-off on The Price Is Right‘s showcase showdown – had almost nothing going for it on paper. It’s not particularly witty nor does it have any seriously funny written jokes. What it does have, however, are Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph clearly having an amazing time with these silly characters and their near-indesciperable accents. Toss in a golf cart, and host Bill Hader can barely hold it together. This skit is another perfect example of a crack-up that fully elevates the material, wringing laughs from a bad joke.

It’s said that whenever someone auditions for Saturday Night Live, they must prepare a series of comic impressions. There’s a reason for that – it’s an easy thing to fall back on for laughs. Some performers are incredibly gifted at impressions. Bill Hader. Dana Carvey. Phil Hartman. They’re all great, but perhaps no one on SNL disappeared so completely into an impression as Darrell Hammond. Within this chameleon’s repertoire are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, Richard Dreyfuss, Donald Trump, James Gandolfini, and a brilliant Sean Connery among many, many others. Here’s a brief look at his greatness (plus a really amazing French Stewart by Jimmy Fallon).

Celebrity Jeopardy

Please remember, if you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites or feel free to post your own on our Facebook page or through our Twitter feed.

The French Chef

Much like Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford impression, Dan Ackroyd’s Julia Child doesn’t really exist in the same impression universe as Meryl Streep’s Julia Child. That’s not the point though. Ackroyd’s brilliance in the role comes in the (then) unexpected blood spurting from the self-inflicted knife wound. It’s a trick widely used before and many times since, but the effect here is a shattering of the proper Julia Child imagery with gallons and gallons of fake blood.

Baba Wawa At Home

Way back in Season 2, the great Gilda Radner built a name for herself with wacky characters, driving her to become SNL‘s first breakout female performer. One of her greatest achievements is her impression of famed news reporter Barbara Walters, a frequent target of SNL‘s satiric eye (later, memorably portrayed by Cheri Oteri). Here is “Baba Wawa.”

Bein’ Quirky With Zooey Deschanel

The modern era of SNL continues to rely heavily on impressions, some more successful than others. There are hundreds of high profile examples, but one of our favorites is a lesser known skit performed only a handful of times: “Bein’ Quirky with Zooey Deschanel.” Here, Noelle Wells takes on Deschanel with Deschanel herself guest starring as Mary Kate Olsen joined by the brilliant Taran Killam as Michael Cera and Kristen Wiig as Bjork. It’s a mouthful to describe but pure joy to behold.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

SNL is, of course, an ensemble show, and their ensemble take on Charlie Brown is one of the more amazing recent skits. Led by Bill Hader’s classic Al Pacino as Charlie Brown performance, the piece imagines heavyweight dramatic actors in a must-see holiday show, “You’re a Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown.” You must see it right now.

Wayne and Garth. The Spartan Cheerleaders. Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca. Hans and Franz. Those are but a few of the greatest duos the series has offered. In fact, Saturday Night Live has spawned dozens of fantastic pairings over its 40 years – hardly surprising given that many of its greatest cast members come from the world of improv comedy.  Our favorites include two wild and crazy guys, swinging sisters, and two guys that… well… we don’t know what they’re up to. Awkward.

Please remember, if you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites or feel free to post your own on our Facebook page or through our Twitter feed.

The Festrunk Brothers

Way back in 1977, Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd introduced two Czech brothers who relocated to American shores with a basic desire to blend. What resulted inspired Halloween costumes for 30-plus years with their hip-shaking walk and their the omnipresent catchphrases “two wild and crazy guys” and “big American breasts!” While many of SNL‘s greatest skits are very specific to particular moments in time, the appeal of the Festrunk Brothers is timeless despite being solidly rooted in the attitudes and fashions of the 70s.


The Sweeney Sisters

Even as a kid before I fully understood what cabaret singers were, I remember the brilliant, manic energy of Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn as The Sweeney Sisters. Hooks and Dunn took their natural chemistry and fashioned the perfect parody of bar singers, queens of puns and segues. The beauty of these skits is all the more bittersweet considering Jan Hooks was taken from us too early.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Flash-forward a decade or so to Robert Smigel’s stint on SNL with the “TV Funhouse” series of animated shorts. Where today’s Digital Shorts are the buzziest components of the show, Smigel ruled the water cooler conversation in the late 90s and early 2000s with his often hilarious points of view. Viral before “going viral” was a thing, Smigel’s Ambiguously Gay Duo, Ace and Gary (voiced by Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, respectively), originally debuted on the short-lived The Dana Carvey Show before becoming a recurring event on SNL. The joke is apparent from the first frame, but the humor comes (heh heh) in the various awkward positions Smigel employed the Duo. The skit eventually ran out of steam and culminated in a live-action version starring John Hamm (Mad Men) and Jimmy Fallon which couldn’t fully capture the hilarity of the awkwardly posing superheroes.

Today, Awards Daily TV takes a look at some of the greatest political skits offered during its 40-year run. The clips run the gamut from Chevy Chase’s take on Gerald Ford to Tina Fey’s triumph as Sarah Palin. In some eyes, Saturday Night Live has recently over-relied on their political sketches – especially problematic with The Daily Show and politicians themselves often upstaging SNL‘s players – but there’s no denying the power of a well-executed political satire.

Please remember, if you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites or feel free to post your own on our Facebook page or through our Twitter feed.

Gerald Ford

Chevy Chase doesn’t really look like Gerald Ford. He didn’t really sound like Gerald Ford either. No one on SNL in that era really did, so Chase brilliantly made his own “Gerald Ford” persona – a bumbling fool who dropped papers or knocked over anything in his path. Chase even made the Ford bits a classic pratfall gag, something that later caused him great physical pain. Still, the bits are legendary even if they bare almost no resemblance to the real deal.

Bush-Clinton-Perot Debate

The 1992 Presidential Election is famous for delivering (what was once thought to be) the most viable third party Presidential candidate in recent political history in Ross Perot. It is also famous for inspiring the start of what is arguably SNL‘s greatest political skit run – the late, really great Phil Hartman’s turn as Bill Clinton. Hartman so perfectly nailed Clinton’s legendary Southern charisma that he overshadowed Dana Carvey’s brilliant double turn as both President George Bush and “diminutive Texas businessman” Ross Perot. Toss in Kevin Nealon’s always reliable Sam Donaldson impression, and you might have SNL‘s single greatest political sketch.

Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

It remains to be seen what SNL will do with the upcoming Presidential primary season and with Hillary Clinton’s potential second run at the White House, but little could top the imagined interaction between Clinton (Amy Poehler) and Sarah Palin (Tina Fey). Poehler never really looked like Clinton, but she nailed Clinton’s disgust with anything blocking her path to political power – particularly that haughty “You don’t bother me” laugh. As good as she was, Fey seemed born to play Sarah Palin. The resemblance between the two women feels uncanny thanks to perfect hair and wardrobe, but it’s Fey’s Palinesqe (if that can even be a word) accent and plucky enthusiasm despite a penchant for saying idiotic things that probably won her the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Continuing this week’s look into Awards Daily TV’s favorite Saturday Night Live clips are three offerings, all simple concepts that, in the wrong hands, would have spelled disaster. Thanks to fantastic performances from talented cast members and committed guest hosts, each skit becomes a minor classic in SNL‘s canon.

As always, if you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites.

Jingleheimer Junction

Cameron Diaz starred in this skit from 1998 in which she lead a cast of a children’s television show as they are determined to inadvertantly spell out the word “F-U-C-K.” Everyone does a fine job with the concept, but it’s Will Ferrell (as usual) who really sells the material as “Friendship” who deserves a spot at the front of the line while Tim Meadow’s Conductor tries to stop them. Ferrell excels by conveying a childlike naiveté why he can’t stand at the front of the line. After all, what goes better with Unity, Caring, and Kindness than Friendship?


The term “go for broke” applies to a few SNL cast members through its 40-year old history, but perhaps none went quite as far as the late, great Chris Farley. We already covered his brilliant Matt Foley character on the podcast, but even more daring is his appearance as a dancer auditioning for a spot at Chippendales opposite Patrick Swayze despite the obvious physical differences.

Tressant Supreme

Finally, a quick shout out to SNL‘s history of great commercials, including “Quarry Cereal,” “Super Colon Blow,” “Oops! I Crapped My Pants,” or “Happy Fun Ball.” But Kelly Ripa’s “Tressant Supreme” commercial is one of our personal favorites thanks to Ripa’s fantastic (and criminally underused) comic timing. And all that crack cocaine.

What’s your favorite SNL commercial. Post below and maybe we’ll include it in a future post!


Kicking off this week’s look into Awards Daily TV’s favorite Saturday Night Live clips are two clips that satirize significant pop culture milestones: Starbucks and the 90s-era TV show Blossom. If you’d like more SNL discussion, then please check out the recent Awards Daily TV Water Cooler podcast on our SNL favorites.

Starbucks Verismo

When it first aired back in January 2013, viewers had the sense that SNL was getting away with something really big here – namely, they were effectively skewering Starbucks and their name-botching baristas while simultaneously deploying one of the more outwardly racist sketches in recent memory. SNL doesn’t take many chances of late, but this one felt a little over the top in its satire. What’s your take on Starbucks Verismo? Racist or much ado about nothing?


To anyone who grew up watching TV in the 90s, Blossom was something of an accidental cultural milestone. Equally loathed and beloved, the series had many quirks and eccentricities that made it ripe for SNL‘s grasp – the “very special episode” nature of the series, the quirky opening, the Joey Lawrence and Mayim Balkiness of it all. What aired is an unsung SNL classic, a throwback to the days when Mike Myers played human beings that weren’t named Wayne and Melanie Hutsell gave every skit she was in her all.

Feel free to comment below and give us your recommendations for the best of or the unsung treasures of Saturday Night Live.

By now, Netflix bingers are well into Friends, after the series was released in its entirety on Jan. 1. They’ve surely passed “We were on a break!” and are well on their way to Ross’ red-sweater paternity test.

However, as a huge Friends fan, there’s one thing that’s always bothered me about the series—that being the over-the-top saccharine ending with a chase to the airport and three cliffhangers in a matter of 10 minutes (Will he get to the airport? Will she get on the plane? Will she get off the plane?).

True Friends fans know this was kind of a cop-out. After all, how many times did Ross and Rachel almost get back together only to break up? What made us think they didn’t break up once they got to Central Perk after the final “key” scene? Surely, they were going to argue over whether to move to Paris or not.

And yet, the Friends finale from 2004 has remained relatively unscathed from fans compared to NBC comedy comrade Seinfeld. In fact, in a recent Grantland podcast with Bill Simmons, Larry David addressed how much grief he got with the finale from 1998, saying, “I thought it was clever.”

And it was clever. Way clever. It took risks, it garnered laughs, it wrapped things up. It did everything a good finale should do, and yet that particular episode is much more divisive than the weaker Friends finale. Why is that?

For one thing, there was no happy ending. Elaine and Jerry didn’t get together (although who really wanted to see that?). George didn’t finally grow up. Kramer didn’t get a job. No one had kids. Larry David’s ending served almost as a punishment for the personalities that collectively represented America’s uninhibited id. (There’s a reason why a Rutgers professor is teaching these characters.) Maybe in some way, audiences felt like they, too, were being punished.

Friends took the easier way out, the crowd-pleasing one. Everything that was expected to happen, happened. The only surprises were pleasing ones (Twins! She got off the plane!). What’s most frustrating was that for a show that was pretty original (lesbian weddings, surrogate babies to your brother), it used the cliche romantic comedy ending, which  30 Rock ended up doing better (“I was about to do the whole run to the airport thing, like Ross did on Friends and Liz Lemon did in real life”).

That’s probably one of the biggest differences between the two classic shows. Seinfeld was a show that did things its own way, whereas Friends appealed to what audiences wanted to see. Seinfeld unapologetically killed off one of its only redeemable characters, while Friends boosted its ratings by randomly adding Joey into the Ross and Rachel love story. While both shows are hilarious and textbook ‘90s comedy, they both had very different ways of execution. In the end, the Seinfeld finale proved that audiences really do like their happy endings and want a say in where their favorite characters end up. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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