Losing to Penguins of Madagascar in 2012
In 7 years of nominations, Family Guy has never won an Emmy for best animated program. In 8 years of nominations, American Dad! has never won an Emmy for best animated program. Weirdly, Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show have never been nominated in the same year. Coincidence….? Yeah, probably. Don’t worry, I will get to the bottom of it.
Anyone who has sat through a Creative Arts Emmys ceremony knows the agony of the five-hour marathon, usually on the hottest day of the year. Covering a mind numbing number (70) of categories, time invariably wasted with B-side presenters reading terrible jokes, it is an unglamorous, all-day affair. When a winner is announced, mammoth countdown clocks that flank the stage start, and the winner has to haul ass down the aisle and run up to the podium before the clock runs out and you’re drowned out by “get off the stage” music. In addition to the dizzying number of categories for reality television programming (once accused of being the downfall of television), there are things like:
Outstanding Sound Mixing: For A Variety Series Or Special; For Nonfiction Programming; For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour); For A Miniseries Or A Movie; and For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour)(Single Or Multi-Camera).
Outstanding Makeup: Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special; Makeup For A Miniseries Or A Movie (Non-Prosthetic); Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic); Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic); Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic).
There are awards giving to “Directing in a “Lifestyle/Culinary Program” and Directing in a “Talk Show/Morning Program” and ”Promo Announcement” and something called “Special Class Writing” which means the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or MTV Pop-Up-Video. And I swear that I heard a category announced for an “App”.
In the category of “Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media” (which I think is like online content, games, interactive back stories, and podcasts spun off of TV shows), there is ”Enhancement To A Television Program Or Series” and ”Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Mini-Series, Movie Or A Special”, associated interactive media components of a Drama Program or Series, Comedy Program or Series, Made-for-Television Movie, Miniseries, Dramatic Special, Reality Program or Series, Reality Competition Program or Series, Variety Comedy or Music Program or Series, and Nonfiction Program or Series. Alas, there is only one category for “Best Animated Program”.
The problem with funneling animated programs into one category is that is leaves the judging criteria pretty desultory and non representative. Judging by the range of programs that have been nominated for/won the award over the past 11 years, it seems rather willy-nilly. Because animation is a specialized and idiosyncratic medium that is created by disparate and uniquely individual types of artists, it produces exceedingly different genres (see my previous whining over the ANNIES). Shoveling them into one category is ludicrous.
There are non-traditionally animated shows like South Park – produced in advanced modeling software for a crude cut-out look with simple geometrical shapes in primary colors dragged around the screen. Characters are presented from limited angles and are purposely not offered the same free range of motion of hand-drawn characters. Ugly to look at, annoying to listen to, you can’t deny its consistently hilarious, brilliantly realized, socio-politically acute satires.
Then there’s “traditional” or “hand drawn” (previously “cel”) animation, like Futurama, which seamlessly mixes lavishly painted backgrounds, complicated, labor intensive hand-drawn cel animation and sophisticated CG. The humor has a relaxed, idiosyncratic feel, a wry, gentle charm peppered with corny jokes and Fermat’s Last Theorem.
Other non traditionally animated shows up for Emmys are The Ricky Gervais Show (Flash/After Effects), Bob’s Burgers (Digital Hybrid), Robot Chicken (Stop Motion), and CGI-created animated programs like The Penguins of Madagascar.
In these medium categories are: children’s programs (Penguins of Madagascar, As Told by Ginger, SpongeBob SquarePants), adult programs (Southpark, Family Guy), daytime programs (Penguins) and primetime programs (Simpsons). There are years when Family Guy was not nominated and “As Told by Ginger” or “Avatar” were. There were years when Samurai Jack and The Simpsons were nominated in the same year, and years when King of the Hill and Camp Lazlo were nominated in the same year.
This years winner for “Best Animated Program”, beating out The Simpsons’ (awesome) Christmas episode, Futurama, Bob’s Burgers and American Dad, was a daytime children’s show called “Penguins” franchise: The Penguins of Madagascar, The Return of the Revenge of Dr Blowhole.
POMTROTRODB IS a 3-D animated spinoff off the kazillion dollar Dreamworks “Penguins” franchise that airs weekday afternoons on Nickelodeon.
It’s like putting Breaking Bad up against Happy Endings, Saturday Night Live against The Wizards of Waverly Place. There’s other stuff going on here but I haven’t yet gotten to the bottom of it. Stay tuned for: Money! Deception! Back Room Deals!
Family Guy’s Sad, Loserly Nomination History:
2001 not nominated (nominated: As Told by Ginger and Power Puff Girls).
2002 not nominated (nominated: SouthPark and As Told by Ginger.
2003 cancelled (nominated: Spongebob Square Pants, Kim Possible, As Told by Ginger.
2004 cancelled (nominated: Spongebob Square Pants, Samurai Jack).
2005 nominated (also nominated: Spongebob SquarePants and Samurai Jack, SouthPark).
2006 nominated (also nominated “Camp Laszlo” and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends).
2007 not nominated (nominated: Avatar the last Airbender, Robot Chicken, SpongeBob Square Pants).
2008 nominated (also nominated: Creature Comforts, Robot Chicken, SpongeBob Square Pants).
American Dad’s Sadder, Loserly Nomination History:
2005 not nominated
2006 not nominated
2007 not nominated
2008 not nominated
2010 not nominated (nominated: “Prep and Landing”, “Aliens Earth” and “The Ricky Gervais Show”).
2011 not nominated
2012 nominated. Winner: The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole”.
10 Years of Award Ceremony Shame
Loser, 2005 Creative Arts Emmys
Loser, 2006 Creative Arts Emmys
Loser, 2009 Creative Arts Emmys
Loser, 2009 Primetime Emmys
2012 Creative Arts Loser