Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SAG Hurts

Oh, Screen Actors' Guild, you've broken my black little heart by declining to nominate Breaking Bad for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Dramatic Series.

Nominating Bryan Cranston (Walter) individually was right and proper, but whose performance put the ensemble below the line? Was it Aaron Paul's Jesse, the way he tends to the histrionic? Well, obviously you've not spent enough time in the company of "former" addicts who are deeply paranoid and deeply conflicted about, well, everything. Such people yell a lot, even when they're crying or sleeping.

For my monthly cable fees, Breaking Bad consistently sets the mark for acting on the tee-vee, and I say that as a hopeless fan-boy of Mad Men, a more or less avid follower of two series that received nominations, True Blood and Dexter, and an occasional viewer of another nominee, The Closer.

I have never watched The Good Wife, so I will spare it except to state my unshakable conviction that Breaking Bad's ensemble could crap better acting than the clowns in The Good Wife, whoever they are.

As for the others:

  • The Closer? Really? Have you not noticed that that guy who played Sgt. Rizzo on M*A*S*H is in that series, and is still portraying Sgt. Rizzo for what would seem to be a very different role?
  • True Blood: Really? Really really? You mean the one they put on HBO? The vampire drama? By and large, that's a clinic of over-acting performances that seem cut from a 1940s mid-budget melodrama, though a handful of the performances -- that of vampire Eric, usually that of Sheriff Bud and shy Hoyt, once in a while that of vampire Bill, rarely that of Tara* or Sooki -- play convincingly. Arguably, vampire scripts call for heightened melodrama (if outright cancellation won't do), but you're going to have to argue it, not simply assert it with your nomination-rendering fiats, SAG.
  • Dexter [spoilers alert]. Maybe. I would go along with this but for the way Julie Benz's wife-of-Dexter either decided, or had it decided for her, that she would wheeze every line this season. A voice that breathy belongs either in pornography or the lung cancer ward, and either way, it was enough to take the edge right off the season finale's shocker.
  • Mad Men. It can do no wrong. Every performance is outstanding.
In short, either Mad Men wins or the terrorists do.

* I can't recall the context, but Rutina Wesley's Tara did have one bout of tears this season that I found exceptionally convincing -- the kind of scene that would justify an individual nomination if there were even two or three more like it and fewer scenes in which she is trying to follow the acting coach's prompt for sassy loud person, or sassy person who wants all the hearing-impaired people in the very back row of a large theater to hear her lines.

1 comment:

PinkSphynx said...

I laughed out loud when I read the part about Dexter's wife. Her "voice" irks (irked, hopefully -- I'm still worried they will bring her back) me.