The TV Equals Mailbag #5: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Breaking Bad Binge Watching, The Golden Globes & More

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The Golden Globes are completely ludicrous. I don’t mean the telecast. The telecast is a great watch. Watching drunk actors and actresses attempt to stagger onstage around a large clump of tables is really enjoyable. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler seem to have a good handle on how to host the show, and even the occasional important movie star will make an off color remark. It’s all really a lot of fun.

However, the awards themselves are completely ludicrous. I believe we have reached the point where it is safe to ask if the Hollywood Foreign Press is trolling us all. What other explanation do you have for some of the nomination choices and the winners that emerged from their ridiculously broad categories? Granted, complaining about award shows is about as ridiculous as receiving one for pretending to be another person. Still, I can’t help but be flabbergasted by some of their television choices. If anyone else besides Liev Schriber’s mother thought he gave one of the five best performances on television this year, please inform me in the comments because it seems like a completely absurd notion to me. I’m not crying injustice, but the HFPA is just making themselves look silly.

I bring up the Golden Globes for 2 reasons. First, they’re officially out of the VORA formula starting next year. I can’t associate my coveted television actor stat with a group of people who believe Jon Voight and Michael J. Fox were worthy of recognition for their performances this year. Secondly, a few of our questions are about one of the more surprising winners of the night. (Segue!) And before I forget, I want to make sure I think my “team”.

Per usual, these are actual emails from actual readers and people that I bugged to give me a question.

Q: Very often, the star of a successful series is listed as producer or executive producer in the credits. Is this just a way to give the star more money, acclaim, etc or are the stars thinking about skills that could be handy after the limelight fades? What does a producer do?
-Duane, Savannah, GA

Being a producer of a series that you star in is a relatively new fad. Most of the time, the show is acknowledging an actor’s influence on the creative process. While the star may not be involved in the writers’ room, someone with a producer credit becomes more likely to give notes or have new script ideas run by them.

Generally speaking, the term “producer” is a catch-all phrase for executives of the show who do the work behind the scenes. Some oversee casting, some handle the business affairs, and others may get involved with the screenwriting process or day-to-day operations of the show. Basically, it’s a way of saying “I’m an important part of this television program”, without doing work in front of the camera. Also, it serves as a great ice breaker when you’re trying to get some action.

Q: Regarding TV shows transitioning to movies, on a scale from The Sopranos to Work It, how excited are you for the Entourage movie? I feel like it would have been humongouser after season 3 or 4, but like Tommy Gunn, they lost their finish (too soon?).
-Scott, Atlanta, GA

I’ll allow the reference.

I can’t endorse the Entourage movie. The final season was such a train wreck that it really seemed like the people writing the show stopped watching the show and forgot what made us like the show to begin with. Now I’m supposed to get excited for a movie? Who wants to spend more time with these people? If you’re in a rush to bask in the glow of Kevin Connolly’s stage presence and Adrian Grenier’s acting chops, then have a great time. Just don’t look for me in line.

Official rating: Grey’s Anatomy because I have no interest in seeing it.

Q: My husband and I recently started to watch Breaking Bad. We’re on season 5 now, and I’m just wondering: Does anyone who watched this show in its entirety actually identify with Walt? I don’t care if he has cancer–he just seems like a spectacularly crappy person.
-Taylor, Phoenix, AZ

I hate to break it to you, but people were all-in on Walt. Not just all-in, but ALL-IN. When you consider it, it’s easy to see the fantasy of the first few seasons. A guy gets fed up with his current station and decides to take action. He climbs to the top of one of more competitively macho businesses in the world, and all of his crazy ideas keep hitting the point. Watching this man transform into an awful person is one of the more compelling parts of the show.

The other way to look at it is we are ingrained with the idea that we should root for the protagonist. Regardless of intentions, the protagonist keeps the story rolling. If you’re a fan of a television show with a bad guy at its core, then you’re instinctively going to root for him to be successful in his endeavors if it keeps the story rolling. Ultimately, I ended up with more confusion over the hatred for Skylar White because she wouldn’t let Walt just swag out.

Q: Who was more surprised about Andy Samberg winning the Golden Globe, you or Andy Samberg?
-Matt, Atlanta, GA

It’s probably a two-way tie. I know HFPA has an affinity for new shiny things, but I didn’t think Brooklyn Nine-Nine was generating enough buzz to merit an award nomination, let alone a victory for the show and its star. Still, Samberg’s speech is priceless. It’s ultimately overshadowed by McConaughey being McCounaughey, but Samberg’s stumbling thank yous are right up there for me. It’s easy to see his comedic chops in a moment like that. He’s got nothing prepared, but he delivers a memorable speech because he can do funny things with his face and voice inflection. In the era of faux surprise, Samberg’s reaction seemed genuine. I really enjoy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but the notion Andy Samberg is the best comedic actor on television strikes me the wrong way. With so many options to choose from, I’ll have no idea what compelled the HFPA to go with Samberg. Such is the nature of award shows and the Golden Globes in particular.

Speaking of the Nine-Nine…

Q: Do you think that Brooklyn Nine-Nine deserved the Golden Globe for best television comedy series? If so, what do you think makes it stand out as best comedy? If not, what exemplar episode would you have submitted for the show you thought should win?
-Abby, On the couch next to me

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a work in progress. It’s a first year comedy with good bones, good guys running the show, and the greatest intro on television (see below). Still, it’s far from running at peak efficiency (I hope). While those that know me would expect to go Parks and Recreation here, I have to lean towards the second season of Veep. To me, no comedy was better in 2013. For an exemplar episode, check out the season finale “D.C.”. It basically encapsulates everything the show is and does well in a glorious half hour. Grab another e-cigarette Julia. You definitely deserve one.