Emmy Episode Analysis: Natasha Lyonne (‘Orange is the New Black’) is serious Comedy Guest Actress contender

Natasha Lyonne received her first career Emmy nomination for playing recovering drug addict Nicky Nichols on the breakout first season of “Orange is the New Black.”  She contends for Best Comedy Guest Actress with the episode “WAC Pack.”  We break down the pros and cons of this episode below.

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SYNOPSIS: In flashbacks, we see Nicky dealing with drug addiction with her biological mother before she gets sent to prison and with Red after she becomes an inmate.

And in the present-day story, Nicky is emotionally hurt when Red doesn’t endorse her to represent the white community in the women’s advisory council.

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When Lyonne first appears at the seven-minute mark (of the 56 minute episode submission) she’s in prison watching Piper (Taylor Schilling) meeting with her mother, which leads into a flashback of Nicky’s tumultuous relationship with her own mother. Just like “Lost,” Lyonne could get an Emmy boost for having an entire episode dedicated to her character.

If Emmy voters like tears, Lyonne could have the upper hand thanks to the episode’s final flashback where she cries in Red’s arms (Kate Mulgrew) about her drug problem shortly after coming to prison.

Lyonne has both screen time and impact, appearing in more scenes than many of the series’ main characters.


The very first image in the episode is a close-up shot of a woman’s private parts, so if voters are all at squeamish, they could be turned off from watching the rest of the episode.

Lyonne had little to do with the main plots of the episode including the women’s advisory council and the mystery of the cell phone photograph, so might voters be bored with her side story?

Her role in this episode isn’t funny at all, which could hurt Lyonne’s chances if voters are looking to reward the funniest guest actress of the year.

According to Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users, Lyonne is currently in fifth place to win the category with 50/1 odds. But could we be in for a surprise come Emmy night?

Predict Best Comedy Guest Actress below using our easy drag-and-drop menu, then discuss all the episodes in our Emmy forums.

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