In a television season dominated by comedic monologues and parodies of Washington, D.C., Matt Walsh’s comically inept politico Mike McLintock on HBO’s “Veep” turned into a surprisingly enviable pop-culture touchstone. The sixth season of the reigning two-time Best Comedy Series winner finds Walsh’s press secretary-turned-memoirist at the lowest point of his professional career, a golden comedic opportunity that led Walsh to a Best Comedy Supporting Actor Emmy nomination.
Walsh is nominated for the second time after receiving his first bid in 2016 for his role on “Veep.” Walsh has also earned four consecutive SAG Award nominations for the series as a member of the ensemble cast.
In “Chicklet,” the episode Walsh submitted for Emmy consideration, Mike and former President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) buckle down to write a first draft of her memoir, staying up all night as she reveals personal stories about her childhood. After Mike catches some inconsistencies in Selina’s account of the night her father died, though, they visit her Uncle George, who shares some inconvenient truths about Selina’s beloved father. Devastated by what she’s learned, Selina brings Mike to her father’s barn for a booze-fueled, cathartic melee destroying his personal effects.
Could Walsh take home the Emmy for his continuing role as the most lovable buffoon in politics? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of Walsh’s submission:
Walsh selected his best episode of the season to submit to Emmy voters. In “Chicklet,” Walsh shares center stage with Louis-Dreyfus and showcases his range as Mike falls in and out of Selina’s good graces. From Mike’s overwhelming joy that he’s bonding with Selina to his dejection after she chastises him for questioning her father’s character, Walsh hits all of Mike’s highs and lows while always remaining sympathetic. “Chicklet” also features one of the most uproarious and shocking scenes of the season as Selina and Mike drunkenly destroy her father’s barn. In between smashing chandeliers and liquor bottles with a tennis racquet, Walsh voices Mike’s personal angsts, bemoaning the high price of shoes and scolding himself for always eating when he’s full. Walsh’s memorable performance should surely stick with Emmy voters as they watch the other episode submissions in the category.
For its sixth season, “Veep” earned 17 Emmy nominations, its highest total to date. With the television academy’s interest in “Veep” at an all-time high, voters in the acting branch may want to award Walsh, especially given the strength of his performance over the course of the season and the relevance of his role to the real-life daily foibles of Washington, D.C.
Although Walsh could be considered an Emmy newcomer relative to his Best Comedy Supporting Actor rivals, many voters might see him as overdue for this type of significant industry recognition because of his nearly three decades in show business and his role as a founding member of the increasingly popular Upright Citizens Brigade.
Despite the topical skewering of politics on “Veep,” Walsh faces off against Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump (“Saturday Night Live”), one of the most celebrated political performances of the season. If voters feel any pangs of political fatigue, though, they have no shortage of buzz-worthy, apolitical performances to award, from perennial favorite Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) to three-time nominee Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) to last year’s champion Louie Anderson (“Baskets”).
In addition to the above esteemed company, Walsh also contends against his co-star Tony Hale, which could lead to a split in support from “Veep” voters. But if one of the two prevails, voters might defer to Hale, who not only has two Emmy Awards for this role (2013, 2015), but also had one of his strongest seasons on the series to date.
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