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Television has a long history of delivering comedy through escapism, injecting laughter while tackling relevant social issues, pressing play on laugh tracks during outlandish moments and capturing periods in history through live audiences.
This Emmy season though, it seems the type of escapism that’s truly resonating comes in the form of heightened reality. From over-the-top politics and absurd portrayals of wealth, to lollipop-inspired period pieces, new ways of breaking down the fourth wall and magical realism, comedy series nominees are all pushing complex boundaries.
Category - Era - TV - Dan - Palladino
“The category really reflects the new era of TV,” says Dan Palladino, whose “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime Video is nominated once again following its 2018 win. “None of these shows would have been on the air 10-15 years ago. In this new era of television there’s more room for different concepts. It felt like comedy was so limited for so long. There hadn’t been many advances since ‘I Love Lucy’ and, really, that all changed when there were just more outlets for us all to work on. Now it’s started to explode with some really cool stuff.”
That doesn’t mean these shows don’t come with their own unique complications, though.
Challenge - Show - Audience - Midge - Woman
“We have the double challenge of not only trying to make the show enjoyable and relatable to an audience, but also trying to make Midge, who is a woman of her time and her era, feel fresh and modern and interesting to people that didn’t grow up in 1955,” says “Maisel” co-creator and co-showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino.
Other nominated series including Netflix’s “Russian Doll” and NBC’s “The Good Place” aren’t quite so grounded in reality, choosing instead to lean in on magical realism as part of the plot. That requires the shows to not only dole out laughs but also educate viewers on the complex rules of their worlds....
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