Jmunney’s 2020 Emmy Wish List, Part 4: Variety and Reality

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CREDIT: ABC; IFC

The 2020 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 28. As per annual tradition, I have assembled a Wish List for as many categories as I have something to say about. There is no minimum or maximum number per category, nor is there any strict adherence to official Emmy rules. And of course, there is the necessary caveat that I have not seen everything. Even with much of the country shut down for the past few months, that’s impossible.

Now that I have made my way through the avalanche of award-worth Dramas, Comedies, and Limited Series, it’s time to get a little silly with the Variety shows. And this year, I decided to also talk about Reality, as there are enough competition shows that I plainly love to be able to fill out a ballot.

Conan is my top choice among the talkies, as Mr. O’Brien and company adapted quite naturally to the new reality of at-home production and Zoom interviews. The Soul Train/American Bandstand homage that is Sherman’s Showcase is the easy choice in Sketch Series; seriously folks, you gotta check this show out. And while I don’t always include SNL in the field, it earned a spot this year thanks to the resiliency demonstrated in its at-home episodes.

Moving on to Reality, where my Competition Program picks are dominated by game shows, naturally enough. At the top of the heap is the mini-golf showcase Holey Moley, one of the most purely fun and positive shows on the air right now. And Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle are the perfect silly/serious M.C. pair to present the whole shebang.

KEY:
Bold=My winner

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot

Variety Talk Series
CONAN
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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Jmunney’s 2020 Emmy Wish List, Part 2: Comedy

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

The 2020 Emmy nominations will be announced on July 28. As per annual tradition, I have assembled a Wish List for as many categories as I have something to say about. There is no minimum or maximum number per category, nor is there any strict adherence to official Emmy rules. And of course, there is the necessary caveat that I have not seen everything. Even with much of the country shut down for the past few months, that’s impossible.

Yesterday I kicked off my Emmy Wish List coverage with plenty of Drama. Today it’s time to laugh along with the Comedies, and boy, what a year for laughter it was! At the top of my list are those wacky vampires (Vacky vampires? Wacky wampires? Vacky wampires?) of What We Do in the Shadows, which in its second season staked itself permanently in my heart. It’s my winner for Comedy Series and all but one of the acting categories. Too bad it doesn’t have a Supporting Actress, otherwise it would’ve been a clean sweep.

Matt Berry is at the top of the Lead Actor heap thanks almost entirely to the Jackie Dayton episode (which ought to also earn Mark Hamill a Guest Actor trophy). Meanwhile, Mark Proksch slays the Supporting Actor Field thanks to Colin Robinson taking full advantage of his promotion. And Natasia Demetriou is the #1 Lead Actress because Nadja is awesome in every episode.

As for the Supporting ladies, I’ve got a little bit of everything, and ultimately it just felt right to go with the representative of the oldest show on my ballot as the winner.

Some other notables: Never Have I Ever and mixed-ish make the strongest showings of freshman series, Sex Education switches its category placement from Drama to Comedy (and remains worthy of praise), and I’m currently only on Season 2 of Schitt’s Creek, but I’m sure it’s just as good in its final season.

KEY:
Bold=My winner
!( )!=I haven’t caught up to the current season of this show, but I still wanted to recognize it.

Comedy Series
Atypical
Baskets
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Mixed-ish
Never Have I Ever
Sex Education
!(Schitt’s Creek)!
What We Do in the Shadows

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The Best of SNL Season 45

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CREDIT: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

At the end of Season 45, we’ve got some seasoned veterans in this here SNL cast. Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant have all just completed their eighth full seasons, while Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney aren’t too far behind at seven each. Those are some healthy runs, and under normal circumstances, I would be encouraging them to look towards a future beyond Studio 8H. (Kenan Thompson, meanwhile, continues to defy all SNL tenure logic as he creeps ever closer to a previously-unheard of 20 seasons.)

But these aren’t normal circumstances, of course, as the last three episodes of this season weren’t exactly live. So if those veterans want to return for at least part of Season 46 for a proper send-off, they’d be justified in doing so. As for what they and their castmates accomplished in the past year, I would like to celebrate that, as I usually do. So here’s what happened on SNL between September 2019 and May 2020 that made me go, “Good, good.” (My thoughts on the best sketches of the season can be found here.)

Most Valuable Cast Member
The veterans delivered veteran-quality work. Cecily stands out on the very top for her consistently capable canine corralling.
Cecily Strong
Runners-Up:
Kenan Thompson
Kate McKinnon

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Best Sketches of SNL Season 45

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshots

If you are a human being who watched every minute of Saturday Night Live Season 45 and didn’t laugh at least 15 times, I would be surprised. HERE ARE MY RANKINGS OF THE BEST SKETCHES OF THE SEASON! (All sketches from the 2019-20 season were eligible, whether they were from regular episodes, or from stay-at-home episodes, or posted online after being cut for time. New cut-for-time sketches have continued to steadily trickle in since the season finale; with that in mind, this list will be regularly updated accordingly if necessary.)

15. Food Dudes: Ingenuity can take people far if they’re sufficiently motivated.

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Kristen Wiig/Boyz II Men

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Whoa-whoa-whoa, Saturday Night Live Season 45 wrapped things up before the dates in May even hit double digits. Well, actually, while the finale began airing on May 9, most of it aired on May 10, as this late night sketch show typically airs most of its episodes in the early morning hours (which of course feel more like night).

But no matter what particular minutes this 18th episode of Season 45 aired, it was indeed the season finale. Kristen Wiig wasn’t officially announced as the host during the opening montage, but she certainly performed more hostly duties than any of the other stay-at-home guests, so we’ll call her the host. And as for the music, we’ll take it II Motownphilly with some Boyz II Men (featuring Babyface).

As for my state of mind while watching, I cooked up some scrambled eggs that I started chowing into right as I summoned up the cold opening. I considered just having a quick bowl of cereal, but since it’s Mother’s Day, I decided I must get eggy with it. I added some milk to make it fluffy. It spilled a little out of my teaspoon, but not enough so that the dish up didn’t end up sufficiently fluffy.

Note: in honor of the holiday, all of my grades for this episode will be mom-based.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/8/20

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CREDIT: Netflix

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Valley Girl (Streaming May 8)

TV
Solar Opposites Season 1 (May 8 on Hulu) – New animated series about a family of aliens from Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.
SNL at Home Season Finale (May 9 on NBC)
SNL Mother’s Day Special (May 10 on NBC) – A compilation episode the day after the season finale?! Count me in!
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend (May 12 on Netflix) – Kimmy does choose-your-own-adventure!
The Happy Days of Garry Marshall (May 12 on ABC) – Please, call him Garry!

Music
-Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor

Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Brad Pitt/Miley Cyrus

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

The SNL at Home experiment continues onward! For #2, we don’t have a host or musical guest this time, at least none officially announced during the opening montage. Although, Brad Pitt and Miley Cyrus essentially fulfill the same duties that Tom Hanks and Chris Martin did last time. I’d like to say for the official record books that they were in fact the host and MG, but I generally go by what Darrell Hammond (previously Don Pardo) says. (Though, for what it’s worth, Season 45’s Wikipedia page currently does list them as the host and MG.)

In a similar state of confusion, I went to bed on Saturday night planning on making scrambled eggs in the morning, but when I woke up, I was more in the mood for cereal, but when I made it to the kitchen, I was back to being in the mood for eggs. So, the rumors are true, I did cook some eggs and toast. It was the right call.

(One quick note so that we’re all on the same page: for as long as new episodes remain at home, I’ll aim to make my grades for the sketches wackier than usual.)

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Jeff’s Wacky SNL at Home Review: Tom Hanks/Chris Martin

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CREDIT: NBC/YouTube Screenshot

Saturday Night Live Season 45 wasn’t meant to end early, after all. Social distancing restrictions might make a live broadcast a little difficult right now, but they haven’t diminished our capacity to create and consume comedy. Thus, we have our first ever “SNL at Home” episode. It’s all pre-recorded, but so was a significant portion of the 1984-85 season, and that was a great year!

Tom Hanks and Chris Martin are officially announced as the host and musical guest, and I see no reason not to include this episode towards the official all-time ledger. Erg, Hanks has now entered diamond status as a ten-time host!

On to the show, which begins with the cast quickly saying hi via Zoom and then goes into an at-home-ified opening montage. Meanwhile, I prepared for the show by running about 12 miles on Saturday morning, going to bed early, getting plenty of z’s, and then watching the sketches early on Sunday (as per usual). Bananas seem important in this era (and all the time), so I had one with my cereal for breakfast.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 4/10/20

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CREDIT: FX/YouTube Screenshot

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

TV
SNL at Home (April 11 on NBC) – A remotely produced new episode of Saturday Night Live.
Insecure Season 4 Premiere (April 12 on HBO)
Killing Eve Season 3 Premiere (April on AMC and BBC America)
-NBA HORSE Challenge (April 12 on ESPN)
American Dad! Season 17 Premiere (April 13 on TBS) – Still one of the most consistent shows on the air!
Mrs. America Series Premiere (April 15 on Hulu) – Starring Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 2 Premiere (April 15 on FX)

Music
-The Strokes, The New Abnormal

Podcasts
A couple of great-so-far podcasts have recently launched:
The Darkest TimelineCommunity co-stars Joel McHale and Ken Jeong answer your questions.
Oh, Hello: the P’dcast – Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland have discovered a new medium in which to deliver their tuna.

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Daniel Craig/The Weeknd

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CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

History shall remember that on March 7, 2020 (and in the wee hours of March 8), Daniel Craig hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time and The Weeknd performed as the musical guest for the third time. The last time March 7 fell on a Saturday, in 2015, Chris Hemsworth hosted and Zac Brown Band were the musical guest. And the last March 7 Saturday before that was in 2009, during which Dwayne Johnson hosted and Ray LaMontagne was the musical guest. (I was studying abroad in Australia at the time.) An encore presentation of that episode aired in the SNL Vintage time slot last night. Interestingly enough, Dwayne Johnson hosted once again on March 28, 2015, the very next episode after the Hemsworth/Zac Brown one. But right now, we’re here to discuss the Craig/Weeknd show. Let’s get to it!

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