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This story first appeared in the June 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Emmys — let’s face it — have category issues. What kind of show is True Detective or Shameless? Louie is a half hour and Orange Is the New Black is an hour, but can anyone reasonably categorize either as comedy or drama? (That’s not rhetorical — no, they cannot.) Mad Men and Game of Thrones are obviously dramas, but choosing which is better is comparing apples to a different kind of apples that show tons of nudity.
And what about individual performances? How can we compare Scandal‘s Kerry Washington to Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, or Silicon Valley‘s T.J. Miller to Girls‘ Adam Driver? The notion that they are qualitatively evaluable in relation to their peers is insane, and frankly, the TV Academy should just throw a big “Great Work!” brunch and call it a day.
But we won’t. Instead, we once again will pretend there is an objective way to judge the relative merits of hundreds of worthy, entirely unclassifiable actors and shows. Which is precisely why, in this flawed, non-nuanced system, Amy Poehler is a no-brainer. (For the record, I’m not biased. I have no special affinity for Amy Poehler, except that she’s the star of a show I write for; I love and admire her tremendously; and she’s one of my favorite human beings on earth. But that’s it.)
When our show asks Amy to be funny, she’s funnier than anyone. (She’s even funnier than everyone else at awards shows themselves.) When we ask her to play drama or romance, she’ll knock you off your feet. When we ask her to captain a scene so everyone else can be funny, she turns into TV’s best point guard. She’s a Swiss army knife. No matter how you define “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series,” Poehler has you covered.
Amy Poehler has been nominated for 10 Emmys in six categories and she’s never won. That’s silly. It’s downright un-American. And it ends, hopefully, this year.
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