Writing is the foundation for any television show. The cast, the director, the editor all matter, but there’s no story without the writers. As the WGA strikes towards a better future for the writers that create the stories audiences attach themselves to and create second lives with, we look towards the stories they’ve created in the past year as Emmy nominations get closer. Particularly in comedy, audiences find comfort in dialogue that makes them laugh. Laughter can create a closeness between characters and people watching their TVs at home; 150 episodes were submitted for consideration in the Comedy Writing category, where six episodes will receive nominations.
With so many television series, new and returning, viewers – and especially, Television Academy voters – might feel overwhelmed with choices. While voters can’t be expected to have seen every single television series on air, they do have a tendency to nominate the same shows year after year with one or two freshman series making the cut in the prestige sphere of television. It’s important to push a hard FYC campaign for these shows, but this year especially feels like it will have an almost-full roster of series in their second season or further that have previously been nominated for Emmys.
Barry just ended its final season and HBO aired it with Succession and Somebody Somewhere every week for its final run, creating a perfect two hours every Sunday night. While Barry was already going to do well on its own, being around these shows only furthered the conversation and possible viewership the final season was able to achieve. HBO submitted two episodes of the final season, but it seems more probable that the series finale would garner the nomination. What We Do in the Shadows, which has been nominated for multiple writing Emmys, seeks to continue its run in the category with its hilarious “Private School” episode – where the vampires find out the perils of the admissions process of children’s private schools. Only Murders in the Building will likely grab another writing nomination this year for a great sophomore season with a great finale representing the writing of the second season: it’s funny and it wraps up the season’s central mystery in great fashion.
The Bear came out 12 months ago and people are certainly still talking about it, in large part to its second season coming out this week. An insightful look into grief and the issues faced when taking over a restaurant, Jeremy Allen White’s leading performance is not the only category this series will surely force itself into. Freshman series almost always submit their pilot episodes; The Bear followed suit. Abbott Elementary just found success with this tactic last year, winning an Emmy for Quinta Brunson. Reboot and Poker Face will also try their chances with the pilot episode of their first – and in Reboot’s case, only – seasons. A show in its first season that won’t be following this age-old strategy is She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which has submitted two episodes for consideration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has submitted the final episode of the series for consideration.
If there is any justice in the universe, Max’s The Other Two will be nominated for “Cary and Brooke Go To an AIDS Play,” one of the best episodes a comedy series has ever gifted audiences.
Here are my nomination predictions for Writing for a Comedy Series:
- Abbott Elementary (ABC) – “Development Day”
- Barry (HBO) – “Wow”
- The Bear (FX) – “System”
- Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) – “I Know Who Did It”
- Ted Lasso (AppleTV+) – “So Long, Farewell”
- What We Do in the Shadows (FX) – “Private School”
Other contenders: Jury Duty, “Ineffective Assistance” (Amazon Freevee); The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, “Four Minutes” (Prime Video); Shrinking, “Coin Flip” (AppleTV+); What We Do in the Shadows, “Go Flip Yourself” (FX); The Other Two, “Cary and Brooke Go To An AIDS Play” (Max)
Photo: ABC/Gilles Mingasson