Emmy upset explained: How Merritt Wever pulled off that jawdropper

Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie“) was so flabbergasted by her victory as Best Supporting Comedy Actress that she rambled when she got to the podium, then gave up, saying, “I gotta go. Bye!” Many Gold Derby gurus were just as stunned. She ranked dead last in our predictions racetrack odds. So how’d she do it?

Our senior editor Matt Noble calls her victory “perplexing,” but adds, “She is such a sweet and lovable character that voters probably wanted to give her the prize. The fact that she’s been nominated last year also shows support for her.”

Our writer Charles Bright adds: “I’ve written on this site before on how ‘Nurse Jackie‘ belongs in the comedy categories and Merritt Weaver is one of the central reasons why. Her eccentricities and naivete as she navigates her first years as a registered nurse have always been a highlight and one can’t help but just like her character. In a year where other characters had not much to do or were unsavory in their submissions, it’s obvious plain likability went a long way.”

Senior editor Rob Licuria: “It’s Merritt Wever that makes ‘Nurse Jackie’ funny. She plays a heartwarming, loveable character that is always the cause of most of the laughs in that show. And in a category without a real explosively funny frontrunner, voters obviously voted with their hearts this time. Plus, in her episode, she squirms as she listens to her colleagues having sex, accidentally recorded in a dictaphone. It’s a very funny and obviously effective moment for her character, as it was enough for her to win in a generally underwhelming category.”

Senior editor Chris Beachum admits, “Not really sure how this happened at all. It is not a show beloved by Emmy voters and not an episode that offered her a chance to shine above the other nominees.”

Senior editor Daniel Montgomery: “It’s hard not to love Merritt Wever in her episode submission, which we all thought would be too low-key, too understated to win against more flamboyant comic performances. But her sheer likability might have helped her. Also, there has been much support for her for this role, so much so that she managed her first nomination last year four seasons into the show’s run despite lacking strong name recognition. She might have also been helped if anyone on her judging panel was also familiar with her recent story arc on ‘New Girl.'”

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