Game of Thrones

2014 Emmy Preview: Best in Show

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Emmy Day has finally arrived. Be sure to scroll through the rest of the Emmy preview on our homepage, but now it is time to preview the big two, Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series. Genre’s have become a bit muddled in Television over the years. When the Television Academy of Arts first gave out awards it was easy to distinguish between comedy and drama, but now the lines are blurred. It is great to honor two top shows rather than just one, as the Oscars do, but in some ways it dilutes the value of the Emmys.

A best show in television Emmy in which genre is thrown out the window would bring a lot more prestige to the series that wins it. However, as exciting as that sounds, there is so much quality television on-air that narrowing it down to even ten nominees is a daunting task. Voters would also elevate Drama series over Comedy, just as the Academy Awards do with film, and many deserving comedy series would be left out in the cold. This would be a far bigger tragedy than the dilution of the current Emmys by splitting them into two categories. Let’s take a look at this year’s nominees and see how they compare to the field of the “Tommy Awards.”

Outstanding Comedy Series

Emmy Nominees: ORANGE

Orange is the New Black, Netflix (3/2) – The new kid in town, Netflix, has found a lot of success in its early years of original programming. At least we can assume based on buzz and awards, but since Netflix does not release its viewership numbers there is no definitive way to know. But no one foresaw this series about a women’s prison being its biggest creative success. The show is fresh, riveting, and funny. It has the largest ensemble cast of any comedy and the fact that it is easy to remember the backstory on all of them even when they spend several episodes offscreen speaks to how well the characterization of each one is done.

Modern Family, ABC (2/1) – The three-time defending champ has seen its odds shift from (4/1) to (2/1) in the last month, which speaks to the power this traditional sitcom has over Emmy voters. It seems improbable that it would win four straight in its first four seasons. Yes, Mad Men just accomplished this feat on the drama side, but its fourth season is the best of the series and was also a fresh new creative direction. Modern Family, on the other hand, has grown more tired and repetitive with each passing season. veep_still_-_h_-_2014

Veep, HBO (3/1) – An all-timer that works on so many levels, political satire, dysfunctional workplace comedy, terrific performances, vulgar humor, etc. It should’ve topped Modern Family last year and upped its game again this season by taking Selina Meyer out on the campaign trail in an effort to become the next President of the United States. Selina and an outrageously expensive wooden crate equals pure comedic gold.

Louie, FX (10/1) – Any show that comes so singularly from the genius mind of Louis C.K. deserves to be amongst the best shows in television. It is not always laugh out loud funny, but C.K. is such a keen observer of human nature and how we function as a society that he always has something interesting to say.

The Big Bang Theory, CBS (10/1) – It’s surprising that with all the love Emmy voters have shown Modern Family they have failed to crown this more classic and successful throwback sitcom as Best Comedy Series. It is a well executed show that delivers punchline after punchline. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but succeeds ridiculously well at what it is trying to do.

Silicon Valley, HBO (30/1) – I have to plead ignorance on this one, having only seen the pilot episode of which I was not a fan. From what people tell me the show improved markedly as the season went along. It is by far the most surprising nomination in the category, but then again given HBO’s track record of lobbying for and getting the most nominations I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.

Tommy Nominees: 600x400_broadcity_new

Orange is the New Black

Veep

Louie

Broad City, Comedy Central – Stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson shared my Outstanding Lead Actress award and led by their brilliance Broad City is the funniest new show of the year. It is ballsy and absurdist at times, but executes its ridiculous premises with ease. Glazer and Jacobson’s chemistry is so strong that the show could put them in any situation and mine comedy out of it.

Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central – Comedy Central has really come into its own the last few years and if this category was made up completely of its shows I would not take much issue with Key and Peele, the above mentioned Broad City, Review, and Nathan for You all worthy nominees. But Schumer gets the nod for the funniest sketch show on TV. A star on the rise, Schumer flips feminine stereotypes on its head and does so with unabashed brashness.

Shameless, Showtime – This is where the blurred lines of the comedy genre comes into play. Do I honor more traditional, network comedies such as Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99? Or go with another Comedy Central sketch show such as Review or Key and Peele. Or honor the strangeness of FX with “Seinfeld on acid” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Wilfred, or Legit. All of those shows are worthy of recognition, but the last spot goes to Showtime’s Shameless. A category flipper from drama to comedy, this bold show does not fit either genre. It simply is what it is, nothing else, and what it is, is brilliant.

Best Bet: 

This is a wide open category with Silicon Valley serving as the lone “happy to be here” show. Any of the other five have a decent shot at winning. It feels like a good category to take a long shot. Modern Family fatigue seems very legit this year and the chances of four-peating feel a lot slimmer than (2/1). Emmy voters may not be ready to honor less traditional shows, such as OITNB and Louie. HBO’s track record in comedy is less successful than the drama side, eliminating Veep and Silicon Valley. This leaves Big Bang Theory at (10/1). Emmy voters may feel more comfortable voting for something more traditional as well as honoring far and away the biggest scripted hit on television.

And the Tommy Goes to…

Veep. The best comedy on television. It works on so many levels. While Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer made me laugh harder, no comedy left me more satisfied than Veep. Tremendous writing for a powerful lead performance with a splendid supporting cast around her. Veep has it all, including the honor of taking home the Tommy.

And the Emmy Goes to…

Orange is the New Black. The only thing I’m sure of is that Modern Family will fall. It is a wide open field behind it, but tonight just feels like a coronation of Orange is the New Black. The only thing that might prevent it from dominating is that the entire second season, which is not eligible till next year, has been watched by voters and is better than the first. Perhaps this makes them hesitate and wait till next year to crown it, but I’m banking on it only improving its chances this year.

 

Outstanding Drama Series

Emmy Nominees: 301px-BBS5

Breaking Bad, AMC (1/5) – Let’s remove the suspense, Breaking Bad should and will win this award. There is no one else to bet on and no case to be made for any other show. Yes, True Detective was fascinating and the performances from its two leads made it riveting. Game of Thrones is a true splendor to watch and more than deserving of a win in any other year. The only knock against Breaking Bad is the split season format in which AMC aired it. I’m not a big fan of this “split season” format as it is only used to cut down costs since everyone involved gets pay raises in each new season. It is obviously a terrific business plan as it saves money, increases streaming viewing of previous seasons, and led to a finale audience of over 10 million people.

But there should be a creative consequence in that the show cannot be eligible for awards until the entire season is completed. Last year, the first eight episodes were not nearly as deserving of the win, but when combined with these final 8 to form the complete 16 episode season then Breaking Bad becomes an even bigger favorite. It is the same reason why Mad Men shouldn’t be nominated this year for the first 7 episodes of its final season. A Mad Men season has a certain rhythm to it as it builds upon each previous episode to a satisfying conclusion. By splitting the season in half AMC has disrupted that rhythm and the seventh season of Mad Men is not complete, which is why it joins Downton Abbey and House of Cards on my undeserving nominees list.

Tommy Nominees: 

Breaking Bad, AMC – The Champ, plain and simple.

True Detective, HBO – Admire the balls on HBO for submitting in the drama series category instead of miniseries in which it would’ve most likely won, but Fargo would make it closer than expected. It will forever be remembered in the history of television thanks to the brilliance of McConnaughey and Woody.

Game of Thrones, HBO – A grand Hollywood epic that airs 10 weeks a year on our TV screens. Tied with Breaking Bad as far as entertainment value and deserves this award at some point in its run.

Boardwalk Empire, HBO – The best example of a novel format on TV. The whole of each season is more satisfying than each individual episode. The execution is simply remarkable.

Orphan Black, BBC America – All conversation about Orphan Black starts with Tatiana Maslany’s performance, as well it should, but behind that performance is the best thriller on television. The action packed thrills combined with the heart that Maslany’s performance brings makes this the most enjoyable show to watch.

The Good Wife, CBS – Grading a bit on a curve for this nominee, but The Good Wife continues to provide an example of the advantages to network television, the biggest being the extra episodes, 22 compared to 8, 8, 10, 12, and 10 from the other Tommy nominees respectively. While most other network shows view this as a burden, Good Wife sees it as an opportunity for more character study.

The Champ Says Goodbye

Back to tonight’s winner. Breaking Bad leaves an indelible mark on the television landscape and it will forever be debated amongst the best show’s of all time. As much as I’m against split season’s getting nominated twice, this show and especially this final season deserves at least two Emmys for all it has accomplished. Vince Gilligan is a television genius and the premise behind this series may never be topped, but the execution of the brilliant premise is what makes this an all-time great.

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2014 Emmy Award Preview: Supporting Actors Drama Series

Yesterday we broke down the races for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series, so today we’ll examine the dramatic side of the equation. A lot of readers requested more details on each of the nominees and their wish is my command. I’ll examine whether or not each actor deserves their nomination before revealing the snubs.

Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama Series

Nominees: 

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (2/5) – The heavy favorite and defending champ. It will take a miracle to upset Gunn from making it back-to-back wins in this category. Breaking Bad’s epic final run is carrying a wave of momentum into this year’s awards, which should lead to many people involved celebrating with golden trophies at its post-show party.

Gunn is far from undeserving of this award as well. After years of fan abuse, she is getting her long overdue praise for playing the role of a wife that must find a way to survive her High School Chemistry teacher turned Drug Kingpin husband, Walter White.

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (4/1) – This beloved, long time character actor has the best shot at pulling off the upset if voters feel “Breaking Bad fatigue” and decide to go in a different direction. She has been nominated three times previous for this character and has a submission episode in which she deals with the death of a close friend and colleague, right up Emmy voters ally. Baranski is a highly skilled veteran actor and The Good Wife continues to fight the good fight for Network TV Drama. She is more than deserving of this nomination and would be a worthy upset winner.

Joanne Froggat, “Downton Abbey” (9/1) – Downton Abbey received the legacy treatment this year as it has been regressing since the middle of the bloody third season. Froggat cannot be blamed for the creative failings of the show and she has been the heart of the show since the beginning. She deserves some recognition for her excellent work and this past season was by far her darkest and most dramatic. It was fascinating to see the journey this fan favorite went on and wonderful to see her come out stronger on the other side.

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (10/1) – Smith is the exact opposite of her co-star. She has gotten enough praise for three actors’ careers  and certainly does not need more here.

Lena Headey has more important things on her mind than an Emmy Award.

Lena Headey has more important things on her mind than an Emmy Award.

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (20/1) – Game of Thrones is more than just a technical marvel and great adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s book series. The acting is also tremendous. Fans may hate Cersei with a fiery passion, but that is the ultimate testament to Headey’s acting. She brings so many layers to the character and makes her feel so real. It is this feeling that makes us hate Cersei so much. The character could’ve easily come off as cartoonish in the hands of another actor.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (20/1) – Another glaring black mark on the Emmys record is the fact that no actor from Mad Men has ever won an award in either lead or supporting categories. As big of an embarrassment as that is and as much as I love Joan this is not a deserving nomination for Hendricks. She barely got any screen time in the seven episodes and when she did it was mostly one note, complaining about something in the office. Her submission episode is the most she got to work with and the speech she delivers to creepy coffee delivery man, Bob Benson, about choosing love is powerful.

Snubs: 

This is a very deep category with many deserving actors, but with only two undeserving nominees out of the six selected it becomes difficult to find just two replacements. In other seasons it would be easy to go with the “Mother of Dragons,” but like Hendricks this was by far Emilia Clarke’s weakest season of material as I actually begun to find myself bored by stops across the narrow sea to see what she was up to. Or should I say “not” up to. Boom! Dragon burn!

Bellamy Young, “Scandal” – Young delivers one of the most fascinating and unpredictable characters on TV in this Shonda Rhimes thriller. Able to flip between a despicable villain and sympathetic with ease. Millie is never boring. A performance this rich and entertaining deserves to be recognized by the Academy.arrow_208_felicity_smoak_gif_by_edartgeek-d6wvw7b

Emily Bett Rickards, “Arrow” – Mark this down under both “author’s bias” and “never going to happen.” Yes, I love Arrow, but the biggest reason why is Bett Rickards’ Felicity. Before her guest stints turned into a recurring role, Arrow was an intriguing show that was operating on the edge of falling apart at all times. Rickards breathed fresh air into the series and brings a level of humor, fear, and intelligence that gives humanity to this superhero show.

Best Bet: 

Gunn is a heavy favorite, but at (2/5) that is not much of a payoff, so go with the lovable veteran Barinski at (4/1). It has at least a 25% chance of happening and has a better risk-reward than a Gunn bet.

Should Win: 

Anna Gunn. Breaking Bad deserves a big send off next Monday and Gunn should be on the receiving end of it. After dealing with all the backlash and fan hate it is the least the Emmys can do for her.

Will Win: 

Gunn again. The final eight episodes were airing during the lead up to last year’s Emmys, but were not eligible for consideration, and a lot of Emmy voters probably had that in their heads as they selected the winner. It will remain there again this year.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama Series

Nominees: 

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (1/2) – Paul took a step back during the final eight episodes after operating more as a co-lead in the previous three seasons, two of which earned him this award. He no longer has the advantage of extra screen time, which makes him fit better in this category, but also more difficult to win it. His submission episode though, “Confession,” was the only episode that treated him like the co-lead he became, so any voters that only watch that episode may not realize the lack of action happening to Jesse Pinkman throughout the final episodes.

Will Dinklage dance his way on stage for his second Emmy award in this category?

Will Dinklage dance his way on stage for his second Emmy award in this category?

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (3/1) – Another former winner that seemed to disappear at times this season, but when he was on screen, man did he steal the show. Whether being on trial for his life again, chained in a dungeon cell, watching a trial by combat to save his life, or murdering his former lover and father, Dinklage was as impressive as ever. As long as Tyrion remains alive Dinklage deserves a slot in this category.

Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” (5/1) – A flashy arc on a Network drama that ends in a sudden death? Emmy gold. Charles’ last season was by far his best and it is never easy to get nominated again after falling out of the field for a couple years, which demonstrates how deserving he is of this nomination.

Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (10/1) – A classic example of Emmy voters seeing a former movie star and acting legend signing on to a premium cable drama, then assuming he is automatically deserving of a nomination. A lot of people must have not actually watched Ray Donovan and Voight’s campy, over-the-top betrayal of the titular character’s father, Mickey Donovan.

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (50/1) – Here’s a classic example of an actor becoming a staple in a category and voters just assuming that he still deserves to be nominated.

Mandy Patinkin. “Homeland” (50/1) – Patinkin was not immune from the muck that the third season of Homeland became. He was certainly not the problem, but at the same time he did not rise above it.

Snubs: 

Half of the the field should be kicked out, leaving three open slots for dozens of deserving actors to fill.

Jeffery Wright, “Boardwalk Empire” – After Bobby Cannavale pulled off the upset last year as the season long antagonist in Boardwalk Empire it seemed to be a shoe-in that the equally talented Wright would at the very least get nominated for an even more impressive character. Dr. Narcisse mesmerized every time he stepped on screen. From the monologues to the facial reactions, everything about this performance was impressive.

And for the Emmys that code is pretend Michael K Williams doesn't exist.

And for the Emmys that code is pretend Michael K Williams doesn’t exist.

Michael K. Williams, “Boardwalk Empire” – Omar Comin’. Williams’ Chalky White will never be his most memorable television character, but this past season he was given more to do than any other in his career, on both Boardwalk Empire and The Wire, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park. Feeding off the same co-lead advantage that Aaron Paul has enjoyed in the past Williams would be a threat to win this award if Emmy voters saw fit to nominate him. The “Wire bias” lives on for its actors.

Dean Norris, “Breaking Bad” – A tough call between him and another departed character, Charles Dance’s Tyrion, but the long over-looked Norris nailed the emotions Hank felt when he discovered that his brother-in-law had been the drug kingpin he’d been chasing for two years. Norris’ performance helped make those first six episodes, up to the famous ‘Ozymandias,’ the most intense stretch of episodes in television history.

Best Bet: 

I’m not feeling the favorite here, especially at (1/2). For similar reasons as his Good Wife co-star I like Josh Charles at (5/1). He is also a beloved actor in Hollywood and had a terrific final arc leading up to a dramatic death that set the internet ablaze. It would not be surprising to seem him honored next Monday, more like a 33% chance than 20, which is what makes this the best bet.

Should Win: 

Jeffery Wright. A lot of people were shocked and upset last year when Cannavale won over Paul, Dinklage, and lovable grumpy grandpa Johnathan Banks. However, anyone that watches Boardwalk knew it was a well-deserved win, but the backlash might have affected Wright’s nomination or lack there of. This is highly unfortunate as his performance outdid Cannavale’s brilliance and is the most deserving to take home the gold.

Will Win: 

Josh Charles. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and call the upset. The Emmys are far less predictable than the Academy Awards and this seems like the type of move that it would make.

 

 

How It Should Be Done

Josh Reddick is my new favorite baseball player. His epic beard-off with Daniel Bryan had me teetering on the edge, but his new walk-up music last night signed, sealed, and delivered it. Instead of using walk-up music to play his favorite song or some over played top-40 hit like players have been doing since it’s inception, Reddick chose to use it to gain a psychological advantage on his opponent. Unfortunately that opponent happened to be my beloved White Sox, but that only cements how real my Reddick boner is. 

For anyone who missed Reddick’s brilliance check out the video below.

That’s right he went Wham’s “Careless Whisper” on them. A song with perhaps the cheesiest and catchiest hook of all-time. There is no way that the White Sox players were able to fully focus after hearing that. Their heads were filled with the smooth, jazzy sounds of Wham. This brilliant song choice has led to Reddick going 4-8 with three RBIs including his second homer of the season, not bad for a guy that was batting under .220 going into Monday’s game. At this rate Reddick will win the batting title, break Barry Bonds’ home run record, and hit for the Triple Crown. It is only a matter of time till other players latch on to this trend to turn around their careers. This is MLB’s new steiroids.

As a fan of hits, runs, and homers I want to help players find other songs that will have the same effect as “Careless Whisper.”

Hooked on A Feeling by David Hasselhoff – 

Let’s start with an easy one. Nobody knows how to mess with the heads of an opponent more than the Hoff. He ended the Goddamn Cold War for Christ’s Sake. The song itself is annoyingly catchy enough to throw off any opponent, but if the team also throws up the music video – Game Over. Can’t you just picture this becoming a crowd favorite as they start chanting, “OOGA CHAKKA, HOOGA HOOGA, OOGA CHAKKA” before the music even starts playing. It will be absolutely incredible.

Hurt – Johnny Cash  

A annoyingly catchy tune can be effective, but a devastatingly depressing one is even better. This walk-up song will cause an existential breakdown in your opponents. They will be too busy thinking about the purpose of their lives to concentrate on winning a baseball game. If the hitter adds in Charlie Brown walk up with his bat dragging behind him for full wrist slashing effect this will seal his future Hall of Fame status.

Random Red Couch – McDonald’s Corp. 

Annoying commercial jingles are on top of the heap of annoying songs. It both plays to the annoying catchiness, as well as the fact that McDonald’s thought this was a good idea over putting the star pitcher you’re facing that day. This is the walk-up song for hitters who struggle against Aces cause you’ll never have an issue with them again.

Super Mario Bros Theme Song – Mario and Luigi 

As Don Draper would say, “In Greek nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound.” This song choice is all about playing into nostalgia. Most pitchers in today’s MLB grew up in the Super Mario Bros. era and it will bring them back to their childhood, which will lead to thoughts of their mothers and most likely some painful memories will follow. Even if they are pleasant thoughts, the trip down memory lane will be enough to gain a distinct advantage.

Adolf Hitler Speech – Adolf Hitler 

This is completely politically incorrect, but for any player struggling to stay up in the big leagues who does not care about becoming the most hated man in baseball, then dive in to the evil end of the pool. No one said that your walk-up song had to be musical. Anger can be a powerful emotion to use against your opponent. If you want to go all in, then rock a Michael Jordan mustache from those Hane’s commercials and goose step your way to home plate.

Factory Wake Up Alarm – Iphone 

Nothing throws a person off more than hearing the sound of their alarm while awake. It will disorientate pitchers and totally throw off their focus. This will give the hitter a huge advantage at the plate.

The Sound of Bacon Sizzling – God

There is no better sound on this earth than that of bacon sizzling. It is a notification that you’re about to enjoy the most delicious thing ever created. However, if a person were to hear that sound and then not receive any bacon it will make them a combination of super sad and mad. This will cause them to think only of the fact that they’re not eating bacon and not that they need to pitch to a major league hitter.

Scarlett Johannson’s Voice from Her 

Anyone that watched the movie Her knows that it was not much of a stretch to believe Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with his phone because it was voiced by the sensual ScarJo. Let’s throw the other team off by playing the audio from the scene where Joaquin and his phone get freaky. Obviously this may keep some kids away from the park, but whom cares about being PG when you’re winning. Am I right?

Sound of Water Dripping – The Devil 

If it is good enough to torture terrorists with at Gitmo, then it should be more than effective at throwing pitchers off their games.

Game of Thrones Theme Song – George RR Martin

Annoying, depressing, evil, torturous are all good elements to an effective walk-up song, but sometimes it is good too simply go super badass to have pitchers shaking in their boots. And nothing is more badass than the Game of Thrones theme song. The crowd will go wild and start humming along and continue doing so well after the walk-up song is complete. The pitcher will be too scared to throw anything besides a meatball right down the middle in this situation.

A hitter could also combine nostalgia and badass with this version of the song.

 

My Perfect Sunday

One major change I’ve noticed in my post-college life is my favorite day of the week. Back in elementary and high school it was Friday, the standard flashy pick. Back then it was a day to slack off in class, hang out with your buddies, play video games and order pizza, and then eventually to grab a 30 rack and hang out in the park till we heard about a party that night. It was a great, exciting release from the boredom of the school week.

In college, it was a tie between Thursday and Saturday. The school week was less boring and monotonous, so Fridays lost some appeal. Thursday nights became the biggest party night of the week. The bars always had the best deals and people either didn’t have class on Fridays or didn’t care enough to show up. Then Saturdays always brought the best day parties, whether tailgating in the fall or making up for the lack of tailgating by throwing the biggest ragers in the spring, Saturdays always brought something big to the table.

However, my new favorite day of the week has appropriately landed on the day of rest, Sundays. I used to dread Sundays as a kid. Between dressing up in uncomfortable clothes, to sit on uncomfortable wooden pews, and listen to a man that made me feel uncomfortable for an hour and the reminder that the weekend is over, Sundays sucked. Nowadays I’m too tired from the work week to make Fridays truly count on a weekly basis and while Saturdays bring a fair share of day parties/brunches it does not bring the same level of joy as Sundays.

What was once Sunday’s weakness, being the end of the weekend and beginning of another week, is now its strength. I appreciate Sundays because it is my last chance to enjoy the weekend before another monotonous week begins. It brings higher stakes to everything that I do. Do I want to release some more steam before I go back to work? Then it is time for a boozy brunch and swing by my favorite beach bar, Big Dean’s. Do I have more errands I need to run? Well, let me think about if it will improve my life in a significant way, otherwise I’m not going to waste my Sunday. I could get some extra activities in, play tennis, golf, go for a run, hit the beach for some volleyball, or pump some iron on the Bowflex in the garage.

Sundays make me think about what is important to me and make sure I accomplish that before the weekend is over, even if that means accomplishing sitting on my couch doing nothing while I catch up on all the TV I missed during the week. Speaking of TV, Sunday has the best of the whole week. Between 10 straight hours of non-stop football in the fall and prestigious cable television at night, Sunday TV brings it all year round. And at this moment is my perfect Sunday TV lineup.

Currently playing on Sunday nights is my most exciting show on Television, Game of Thrones. As thrilling as it was to watch Walter White cook his last batch of crystal blue persuasion and as mesmerizing as Harrellson and McConoughey were for the 8 week stretch of True Detective, no show matches Thrones as far as thrills. It’s really unfair to compare it to any other show because it is at such a higher scale. There is a vast number of characters that are intertwined in a complicated plot that I have no idea where it is heading. The anticipation of what is going to happen next and how everything is going to come crashing together seals it as the most exciting show on television.

Also playing on HBO on Sundays is my current top comedy on television, Veep. Certain shows may give me bigger laughs, but none is more consistently enjoyable. Julia Louis Dreyfus is his a Grand Slam week in and week out. I never would’ve bet on her creating a more iconic character that Elaine Benes, but as far as I’m concerned she has done it. Dreyfus is first ballot TV Hall of Famer and it is a pleasure to watch her work week in and week out and Veep would be great if it were just her surrounded by a crap cast, but luckily for TV viewers the cast around her more than holds their own. “My Girl” Anna Chumsky wipes away all traces of her child stardom by playing the constantly bitter Amy Brookheimer. Speaking of breaking away from past characters, despite playing another character with attachment issues Tony Hale’s Gary Walsh is nothing like Buster Bluth. Phenomenal blogger and big time Chicago Bears’ fan Matt Walsh is pitch perfect as sad sack Media Specialist, Mike McClintock. And Timothy Simons Jonah Ryan is the comedic gift that keeps on giving.

Rounding out my Sunday lineup is my favorite show on television, Mad Men. It may not be the most exciting show or the funniest, but there is no show that is more of a pleasure to watch. Don Draper is the most fascinating character to grace television screens since Tony Soprano ordered onion rings for the table. Last week I talked about what I want to be when I grow, the focal point of everyone’s life. Don has that same desire, which is why he constantly reinvents himself. He’s searching for what will get him the attention and praise that he so covets.

It is a shame that Jon Hamm will most likely never win an Emmy for this role. He is up against the stiffest competition in Male Lead Actor Drama Series history. The winners since Hamm became eligible, Bryan Cranston (2008-2010), Kyle Chandler (2011), Damian Lewis (2012), and Jeff Bridges (2013). Cranston’s Walter White will most likely be the more remembered character in the annals of TV History, but Hamm’s performance is more impressive. He brings so many layers and can deliver a well of emotion with a subtle look.

People like to throw around the term, slow, when referring to Mad Men, but what that really means is that the plot movements linger in order to delve into how it affects each character. Rather than ripping through plot developments, Mad Men lets its characters breathe. It allows the audience to gain a greater understanding of each’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions, which is a good because these characters are all complicated and none is very easy to understand. I know that I’m in the minority, but I’d gladly do away with thrills in order to get more three dimensional human characters rather than vessels for dramatic, action packed events.

Mad Men is the perfect cherry to my current ice cream “Sunday” of a lineup.

Snow Days For Adults

I’ve been a Southern California resident for over two and a half years. That means that I’ve been able to avoid the unforgiving weather that used to be part of my daily winter life in Chicago and Boston. I’ve traded trudging to class down Commonwealth Avenue through impromptu March snowstorms for cruising to work down the Pacific Coast Highway with my windows open in January.

But something doesn’t feel right. I’m not talking about the fact that I still have my Illinois driver’s license and Boston University student ID.

No, it’s something much deeper. I miss snow days.

Let me clarify: I don’t miss dealing with inclement weather for long periods of time. I don’t think anyone in his or her right mind would. Consistent warm weather isn’t something to bitch about.

I miss that email from BU saying classes are cancelled. I miss the freedom and infinite promise that a snow day brings. A snow day is one those rare days in your life when anything is possible. Well, except any outdoor activity that doesn’t involve snow. Or driving anywhere. Or flying. And sometimes walking can be difficult. But let’s not focus on the negative here, Nancy.

Epic movie.

Epic movie.

On a snow day, you can lead everyone in your elementary school on an exciting mission to stop Snowplowman from plowing the streets so that school stays closed, while your dad, Chevy Chase, squares off against a rival meteorologist to save his career. Oh wait, that’s the plot of Snow Day, a Nickelodeon Movie from 2000. I don’t care what IMDB says (4.9 rating out of 10), the movie’s tagline – “Rules were made to be frozen!” – tells you how amazing that movie is.

My friends in Chicago and Boston, do they cancel work on snow days when you’re an adult? If so, that’s freaking awesome. Think about all the cool stuff you did as a kid on a snow day and how much cooler it gets as an adult.

For example, sledding. You’re never too old to put on a pair of snow pants and wax your sled – that’s not a euphemism – before heading to the local sledding hill. However, as a younger kid, you were way too young to play beer pong before doing so. As a grownup, you can go sledding with a slight buzz that provides: (a) warmth (b) courage and (c) creativity. They really need to make a pro-drunk sledding commercial with Tim Allen narrating.

Snow days for adults mean Netflix binging like nobody’s business, too. Still behind on House of Cards and need to catch up before the new season comes out on February 14? Snow days solve that. Oh, want to get a head start on your tax return? Bam! A snow day is here to solve all your problems. Have you been meaning to email your friends from high school or college telling them how the hell your life is going? Oh yeah. Snow day has you covered, baby.

Oh man. Maybe I made a mistake moving to Los Angeles. Adult snow days sound earth shatteringly amazing. Imagine if you had a significant other on one of these stay at home winter days. You guys could you-know-what all day long. It’s totally possible. I mean it. Playing Heads Up on your iPhone all day is more than a reality. There are a million categories. What’d you think I was talking about?

Now this is the kind of fort I'm talking about.

Now this is the kind of fort I’m talking about.

If you’re single and incurably immature – like me – you could go build the sickest, most fortified snow fort on the block. Forget that kid crap. You’re an adult now. You have the resources and wherewithal to construct a snow fort that rivals The Wall from Game of Thrones (which coincidentally would be another great show to binge watch on a snow day). Imagine how awesome it would be to start an epic, all-out snowball battle with everyone on your block. Since you built the first castle, you could claim the Stark family name and start yelling “WINTER IS COMING!” and kick some serious ass. Although, you might want to clarify that you’re the first season Starks. I’m telling you, watch Game of Thrones!

I might be getting a little carried away here. Or maybe I’m just getting started. I don’t really know anymore. The warm weather has made my brain a little mushy. Part of me just wants to go to the beach and have a margarita.

But, damn it. There will always be that other part that wants to grease up the sled (again not a euphemism), chug a beer, glide down to my snow fort, and start a battle so freaking legendary that George R.R. Martin writes a whole seven-book series about it.

winter-is-coming-48

Happy snow day to all my friends on the East Coast!