SURPRISE! /jumps out from behind the Getting Blanked virtual sofa.
You didn’t think you’d see me on a Monday, did you Canada? You didn’t know that my regular weekend simile post has become a Monday Metaphors! Wait, what? Bill told you? Last week? That guy can never keep a secret. Lousy good-for-nuthin’ so-and-so. Well fine. Happy Monday anyway, Canada. I got you some metaphors. About television. I worked hard on them (note: I did not work hard on them), and I think you’ll still like them (note: you will like them) even though you’re not surprised.
I actually don’t know how television works in Canada. I’ve driven through it a few times, and visited Montreal more than a couple, and there always seems to be one channel showing Terminator 2 in French (which is understandable) and at least two naked people on my hotel TV at any given time, even though I didn’t order porn. Also, I like Trailer Park Boys, and have an unhealthy nostalgic affection for the Red Green Show. These are my credentials, take them or leave them. Anyway, what I’m saying is, I assume you get U.S. TV up in Canada, but I have no actual proof of this.
But assuming that you do, you are undoubtedly aware that last night was Emmy Awards night in Hollywood, where the beautiful people who aren’t beautiful enough for movies get together to congratulate one another on how awesome they all think they are, refuse to acknowledge even the existence of Parks and Recreation, and receive generous gift bags filled with things they’ll give to their insufferable extended families, who have an over-inflated sense of self-worth because their cousin is on Glee.
In honor of this night of glitz and glamour and questionable decision making that leaves even Mike Scioscia shaking his head, here are the playoff teams as Emmy Award winners:
The Philadelphia Phillies are Mad Men
Last night, Mad Men won Outstanding Drama for the 4th year in a row, which almost matches the Phillies’ five straight NL East titles. They’re both unstoppable juggernauts, despite the best efforts of January Jones and Joe Blanton to derail them. They both have undeniable and glamorous stars in Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and John Slattery, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, as well as excellent supporting players in Vincent Kartheiser, Elisabeth Moss, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley, who don’t get nearly the same recognition, but who are integral to pushing the story forward. No one on the Phillies quite compares to Alison Brie, but really, who could?
The New York Yankees are The Office
The Office was nominated for four Emmys this year, but didn’t win any of them. Indeed, for a show that’s been fairly beloved and critically adored, The Office has never really done well at the Emmys. Steve Carell has been nominated six times for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series but hasn’t won. The show’s won just one of six nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, and that was way back in 2006. And as the years have dragged on, the show has frankly deserved to win less and less, despite consistently being among the better sitcoms on television. And now with Carell leaving, it’s possible that the show will not survive.
Similarly, the New York Yankees have been excellent for a long time. By the time the season ends, they’ll have won 12 of the last 17 AL East titles, and made the playoffs in 16 of those seasons. Yet, this current incarnation of the Yankees is has only won one World Series since 2000, and has only made the World Series once in the last eight years. For all the talk about Yankee dominance and financial advantage, their shit doesn’t seem to work in the Postseason all that much better than Billy Beane’s did. And with only Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes south of 30 years old, it’s possible that the Yankees’ best days are in the past, even as they continue to play acceptably.
The Milwaukee Brewers are Modern Family
Modern Family was on fire last night, winning for Outstanding Comedy Series (for the second straight year), Directing, Writing, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. It’s an impeccably cast show that’s upbeat, optimistic, and manages to feel familiar while simultaneously being very different from any show that’s come before. And, most importantly, it’s actually funny.
Like Modern Family creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, Doug Melvin put together the perfect cast for 2011, bringing in Shaun Marcum, Zack Greinke, and Nyjer Morgan to support the club’s core of Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and Ryan Braun. The club bet big on Weeks and Corey Hart staying healthy, and it paid off. They brought in Francisco Rodriguez to stabilize the bullpen in front of John Axford, and he’s been stellar. The Brewers boast a strong top-four in the rotation that can go toe-to-toe on a given night with any staff in the postseason, and lineup filled with thumpers. They also have the biggest homefield advantage in baseball working for them, and should be tough to beat.
The Texas Rangers are The Good Wife
I’ve heard good things about the Rangers, I know who plays on the team and (Michael Young aside) like them, and I generally support what they’re doing down in Arlington. But I could not be less interested in watching this team. Ditto for The Good Wife, whose Julianna Margulies won for Best Actress and has come a long way back from her Josh Hamilton-esque fall from grace that included the likes of Ghost Ship and Snakes on a Plane.
The Diamondbacks are Game of Thrones
This upstart show got nominated in 13 categories in its first season, but only managed to pull out a Supporting Actor award for the brilliant Peter Dinklage. Game of Thrones is an epic series and may still eventually get the awards it deserves. But it also may never really find a pool of voters that know what to do with it and can take a story of kings, queens, lords, ladies, unspeakable monsters (many of which are human), and dragons seriously.
It’s also hard to tell how to feel about these upstart Diamondbacks. They have one breakout star (Justin Upton), but are otherwise a curious mix of guys nearing free agency (Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero, Joe Saunders), random guys having big years (Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra), veterans in search of redemption (JJ Putz, Aaron Hill), and young studs (Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, Paul Goldschmidt). Do they have enough to lay the foundation to compete for the next few years (it’s possible, given that Hudson, Kennedy, and Upton are all sticking around a while)? Or are they a flash in the pan who will be extinguished when they go up against the Brewers?
The Detroit Tigers are Justified
If you’re not watching Justified on FX, you should be. If you watched it and didn’t like it, I don’t know what the hell’s wrong with you. The show is intense, sexy, raw, sometimes violent, and unpredictable. It boasts an airtight and compelling cast that includes Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Jeremy Davies, Joelle Carter, Nick Searcy, and last night’s winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Margo Martindale. But if you were watching last night, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Justified is basically a one woman show. Now, that’s not a criticism of Martindale, who is a revelation as the simultaneously warm and stone cold matriarch Mags Bennett, and is finally getting recognition for a lifetime of excellent character work. But it is an acknowledgement that the best drama on television last year got that way not just through the work of Martindale, but by the impeccable work done by the entire cast.
Likewise, Justin Verlander has captured baseball’s imagination with his 12 straight wins, his 24 total victories and his shiny 2.29 ERA. He makes statheads happy with his 244 strikeouts in 244 innings and his 4.36 K/BB ratio. He’s a workhorse and an ace in the traditional sense. He deserves the accolades. But without the support he’s received from Miguel Cabrera (.331/.440/.557), Alex Avila (.297/.388/.517), Jhonny Peralta (.302/.350/.478), Victor Martinez (.324/.375/.458), and Doug Fister (.6-1, 2.12), the Tigers wouldn’t have gotten anywhere, and wouldn’t be the scariest team in the postseason.
The Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals are The Big Bang Theory and the Rays are Louie
Big Bang Theory is an intensely overrated show that simultaneously garners love for seeming to glorify nerd culture (thus making nerds feel better about themselves and what they like) and mocking it (allowing everyone else to laugh at the nerds). It’s full of one-dimensional stereotypes, is not funny, and is a blight on society that, together with CBS’s other Chuck Lorre devilspawn Two and a Half Men, steals the public adoration that should rightly be showered upon Parks and Recreation, Community, Archer, Louie, and the late, great Party Down. Jim Parsons winning Outstanding Lead Actor over Louis C.K. is a horrible injustice akin to deliberately injecting a six year old with syphilis. Why this show needs further encouragement or validation is beyond me, but it will only serve to make Satan stronger. Mark my words. That said, somehow C.K. not winning best actor just feels more right for his overall tone and that of his show.
Likewise, whichever two teams survive the last 10 days of the season are going to make the postseason, but aren’t likely to make much noise. The Braves are in freefall and complete disarray. The Cardinals have handicapped themselves at every turn. The Red Sox are dead men walking, and hitting, and pitching. Meanwhile, the Rays seem to be persevering solely so that Jonah Keri can sell more books (on sale here) and statheads like me can feel better about ourselves. It’s nice to see them fight on, and it would be terrific to see them push back into the World Series (therein to be slaughtered by either the Phillies or the Brewers).