For the first time since 2009, a comedy series not named Modern Family won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. And, dear lord, it’s about time. No reasonable person would say that Modern Family has been the funniest show on television the past six years, and the academy has finally acknowledged that basic cable shows are no longer the funniest thing on TV.
It’s hard to overstate the absurdity of Modern Family’s six year streak. In its first season, sure; it was new, inventive and legitimately funny. The second season was fine too, I guess. But after that… it gets sad. There are only so many ways for Phil to say something dumb, or Haley to say something stupid, or Alex to say something antisocial or Cam to say something gay, before it gets tiresome.
That, combined with lazy writing and repetitive scenarios, and its sky-high popularity is baffling. What’s even more baffling is the fact that it has beaten out masterpieces like Parks and Recreation and The Office. It’s not as bad as say, The Big Bang Theory, but that’s not a particularly high bar. Finally, however, the comedic despot’s reign has come to an end.
Veep, simply put, is amazing. It doesn’t reach the same audience since it’s behind a subscription, but it’s so, so, so, so, so much better than Modern Family. Julia-Louis Dreyfus is of course incredible as the lead Selina, but the supporting cast might be the deepest on TV. Basically every character, no matter how minor, has a backstory; they actually feel like people instead of just subordinates to Dreyus.
What really shines, though, is the dialogue. Holy shit, it is so funny. The show is less of a political comedy and more of just a competition to see which character has either the best or most profane insult to another character. They’re so NSFW, but so worth it.
Veep’s win isn’t just a win for comedy, but it’s a win for the legitimacy of HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming services. This year, somehow, was the first year in Emmy’s history that a major cable show didn’t win the award for most outstanding comedy. And the gulf in quality between cable/streaming services is only getting bigger. The new crop of cable shows is apparently garbage, while streaming shows like Veep and Silicon Valley keep getting better with time. And the Emmy’s, finally, got it right.
Thankfully, we won’t have to suffer through another year of Modern Family as officially the funniest show on television. The only bright side is that if the Emmy’s had given Modern Family the nod over Veep, that moment might have been funnier than both shows combined.