It's The Emmy's Arrested Development

I'm going to try and keep this post brief because if I rant too much about the inaccurate buffoonery of award shows I won't only get anything else done today, but I might also pop a blood vessel.

Yesterday, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the 2013 Emmy nominations, only three of which were given to the new season of the Netflix quasi-original Arrested Development. Though the three nominations, including Jason Bateman for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, and Music Composition for a Series, were all very well deserved (particularly editing), I remain flabbergasted by the fact that that's it.

Jason Bateman is fantastic as always, but he was somewhat of a surprise when I first read his name. They picked the straight-man in one of the best ensemble casts ever put on television? Really? No love for Jessica Walter? Will Arnett? Michael Cera's brilliant awkwardness?

Clearly the only good actor is in the center. And Tony Hale, but not on this show.
And don't get me started on guest stars. The male and female categories for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series could have easily been filled with actors from this season. It's not just that there were a minimum of three name guest actors in each episode, but each gave amazing performances! What about John Slatterly's against-type portrayal of Doctor Norman? Or Kristen Wigg's spot-on impersonation of Walter's Lucille? Why not Terry Crews channelling Herman Cain on steroids or Maria Bamford's Debrie hopping around dressed as Sue Storm? Ben Stiller's shaved legs couldn't even get the attention of the academy for crying out loud!

Yet the most egregious snub doesn't even come in the acting categories, but in Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Mitchell Hurwitz and his team of writers created a season of television (if that's what we're still calling it) unlike any before. Hurwitz knew that online streaming would present him with this creative opportunity and he took full advantage of it, focusing each episode on a character and connecting multiple plotlines over several time periods. A difficult task to say the least, but only made possible by simultaneous release online. Maybe because the Outstanding Writing category is aimed at individual episodes, rather than writing over an entire season, explains the snub. Or maybe it was too confusing for the older Academy members. Maybe they, like many fans unfortunately, just didn't get it. But if such a brilliant undertaking goes completely unrecognized, then something's wrong.

During the show's original three-season run between 2003 and 2006, AD was garnished with a plethora of accolades, including from the Academy. Now that it's back, it's a shame that's no longer the case. Previously they were recognized by the critics but cancelled due to a lack of audience. Now it seems like the opposite is the case.

The lack of nominations certainly points to the fact that the show aired on Netflix rather than traditional television outlets. But this isn't entirely the problem as Netflix's other original series House of Cards, earned several nominations including best Drama Series. Admittedly having not seen HoC myself, I doubt the series depicts the same ambition as AD. The only thing that could be construed as separating it from traditional dramas seems to be Kevin Spacey breaking the fourth wall, which is certainly nothing new

So who knows really why Arrested Development got so screwed over. Maybe it's just because awards shows never make sense. Television, particularly now, is an art form and categorizing art is always subjective. If the Academy, however, neglects to recognize truly innovative shows and new outlets that question traditional storytelling of the future, they'll be stuck in their own arrested development.


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