Emmys 2014

August26

They snuck up on me.

Since I didn’t have to go, and since back-to-school was the same week, searching for an Emmy outfit got upstaged by picking out the right pencil case for my fourth grader.

But suddenly the weekend was upon us and suddenly I thought hey!  I want to go to that HBO after party!  That’s the fun of being on an HBO show, right?  So I got it together to have someone throw curlers in my hair while I my daughter read to me for her daily school reading log.  I threw on a sparkly top and hoped that nobody would compare me to the gals in their gowns (they didn’t) and suddenly I was on a red carpet being asked about the broadcast, which I hadn’t even seen because of the aforementioned reading log.  And I felt a little silly and a little bit like a charlatan, but then I reasoned hey!  I have every right to be at this HBO party!  I am on an HBO show!

People think walking the red carpet is really glamorous, but inside, we are all a jumble.

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But here’s why I really and truly love the Emmys and the Oscars.  In our little industry family, it’s when we gather together.  It’s our High Holidays, and it’s beautiful.  Once the red carpet performance is done, and we are safely inside the party with a drink in our hands, we see people that we really, really like and really, really respect.  And maybe for the first time or maybe for the millionth, we get to say to our fellow artists:  “I love your show.”  “You do great work.”  Or even, “That show saved my life when I was going through a divorce/when I was growing up/when I was lost.”

Over the past three days, here are some things that happened to me (I get super name-droppy here, watch out):

  • I sat with Anna Chlumsky and talked about my love for Veep until I was blue in the face, quoting her lines back to her to prove my love.
  • Lea Michele told me she was going as Laurie Garvey for Halloween.
  • I caught up with my old pal Viola Davis, who I know from theater days in New York, as we commiserated over working long hours while trying to mother small children.  That, and the ins and outs of false eyelashes.
  • I brushed past Mark Ruffalo and his Emmy on a red carpet.  Both were exciting.
  • I walked past a stunningly beautiful woman, Laverne Cox, who grabbed me and told me how much she loved Judging Amy, how Tyne and I were a rock for her in troubled times, and how we gave her an image of friendship between two strong women.
  • I told Brian Baumgartner from The Office how much that show meant to me, and how much I miss it, and how I wish him well.  Then we walked together down a red carpet, with our arms around each other and maybe, just momentarily, started a rumor.

There are many facets to my business, and I’m pretty clear on what I do.   I make up stories with other kids, just like I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.  It feels subversive, really, that in the midst of a much-hyped event like the Emmys, where the outside world is judging EVERYTHING – who won? Who lost?  Who wore the best dressed?  The worst?  — we artists, in the privacy of our own community, get to connect on a soul-level.  Creativity doesn’t judge the way the Best/Worst judgers do (who ARE those people anyway? Don’t they know that every single person on that red carpet is trying their best?)  Creativity doesn’t do hierarchy, or us/them, or who’s in/out.  Creativity craves connection and openly expresses gratitude for a job well done.

Finally, there is the sublime joy of having my partner in art, the father of my children and my best friend on my arm throughout an awards weekend.  Brad Silberling and I have been going to those parties together for 20 years now.  (One of our first big dates was to the Emmys when I got nominated for NYPD Blue.)  As I get approached, so does he, for being the amazing director, producer and writer that he is.  We had a great visit with Christine Lahti and Tommy Schlamme, whom I greatly admire together and separately, and I walked away thinking:  another long-term marriage.  A role model for us, as hopefully we are for others.

People like to think of Hollywood as cutthroat.  It’s not.  It’s a competitive business to be sure, and in any business the bottom-line rules.  But that’s about the bottom line, that’s not about the people.  Whenever creativity and collaboration are present, my experience is that folks long to make connection and speak from the heart.

Just maybe not on the red carpet.

Wait, what? Judging Amy shout out at 2014 Emmys! We love it!

August26

Review: ‘The Leftovers’ – ‘The Garveys at Their Best’

August25

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Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

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(*)It’s a measure of how powerful Brenneman’s silent performance has been that I had completely forgotten what her voice sounded like — and I’ve been watching her on television for more than 20 years.

A review of tonight’s “The Leftovers” coming up just as soon as I get a Thug Life tattoo on my neck…

“Sometimes, you have to pretend.” -Kevin

“The Leftovers” has offered some very brief glimpses of the world before the Sudden Departure, and alluded to the characters’ histories. It’s been focusing on the aftermath of what happened, and hoping that the performances and what little backstory we’ve been given will be enough to give us a sense of why the Garveys, Nora, Patti, Matt and the others have been acting the way they have three years later. And for the most part, I think the show’s been enormously successful at that. Amy Brenneman‘s face tells me so much about Laurie, for instance, that I was actually relieved she didn’t start talking to Patti when they were in the diner in the wake of Gladys’ murder.

That said, the past does have lessons to teach us, even on this show. “The Garveys at Their Best” does a nice job of deepening our understanding of the characters and who and what they were before the Departure without having each of them stand up and deliver a monologue about their motivations. We get a better idea of what has driven both Kevin and Laurie on the respective paths they took post-Departure, but perhaps the most important thing the episode does is to make clear that the world — and this family — was already broken even before all the Heroes blinked out of existence.

Even something as relatively straightforward as a flashback episode is delivered in a disorienting fashion. We see Kevin out for his morning jog, and he returns to an unfamiliar, much fancier home, with a blurry brunette woman on the phone in the background(*). It seems entirely possible that we’ve jumped forward a bit in time, and that Kevin and Nora are now living together. Instead, the woman is revealed to be Laurie Garvey, and the date is October 13, 2011. It’s the last day the Garvey family, or anyone else in the world, will feel entirely normal, but it’s also a day that illustrates the many ways in which these spouses, their kids and so many of the people around them are crippled by secrets, tragedy, abuse, and existential dread.

We see that the world is already starting to crack — quite literally in some cases, like the wall of the Garvey home, or the “My Hero” mug Kevin uses at work — and also that people like Patti and the old women who drive by Kevin on the morning of the Departure know that something terrible is coming. Animals are already beginning to act strangely — and we know from previous episodes that the deer killed in the hit and run isn’t the only one that starts invading homes and freaking Kevin out. But for many of the Garveys, something terrible has already happened: their lives.

The episode’s title proves to be an ironic one, because if this is actually the Garveys at their best, they might as well pack it in as a unit. Tommy’s getting drunk and harassing the biological father who wants nothing to do with him. Kevin already isn’t sleeping well, is sneaking cigarettes — even though everyone knows he’s still smoking, while Laurie claims to not care if he is or isn’t — and resenting everything about his marriage(**). Laurie is keeping her pregnancy — another feint, since other parts of the episode (including the fact that she finds herself in a waiting room where Matt is meeting with his oncologist, at what must be a large and varied medical practice) — a secret from her husband, perhaps because she knows the news will make him feel even more trapped than he already does. There are strong bonds between some of them — Tommy and Jill get along very well, Kevin feels genuinely (and violently) protective of Tommy, Jill is very close to her mother (which makes Laurie’s exit to join the Guilty Remnant even more painful for Jill in retrospect) — but the only one who seems even vaguely happy is Jill, and even she knows that her parents seem on the verge of splitting.

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Amy’s Tonight Show Appearance

August21

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Here is Amy’s visit to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!

www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show

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