Chrissy Metz is celebrating her first Emmy nomination for playing the role of Kate Pearson on the hit NBC series “This is Us.” The breakout star followed up her Golden Globe nomination earlier this year with a Best Supporting Drama Actress nom from the TV academy in May. After being cast in minor roles for nearly a decade, Metz’s first big break came in 2014 when she landed a recurring role as Barbara/Ima Wiggles on “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
Now, at the age of 36, Metz could win Emmy gold for her first major TV role. In the “Pilot” episode we meet triplets Kate (Metz), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) on their 36th birthday while each deal with separate personal struggles. Kate suffers from morbid obesity and is forced to call Kevin for help after she sprains her ankle falling off a scale. She then joins a support group for compulsive eaters where she meets a man named Toby (Chris Sullivan) who ignites both her self-esteem and her insecurities after asking her out on a date.
Can Metz win her first career Emmy for this episode? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
No new series in the past year was more successful at launching itself into the hearts of television viewers than “This is Us.” This show was an instant hit and Metz’ portrayal of a flawed woman dealing with her own insecurities was a major reason why. In her first scene we see her character, Kate, opening her refrigerator to find sticky notes she had placed on various food items, shaming herself out of eating. Soon after, Metz made a bold move to appear nearly nude on a scale, exposing her imperfect body to the world and connecting with every viewer at home who has ever felt ashamed of their own body. This vulnerability and commitment to her character will go a long way with voters who empathize with the fearlessness it took to film that scene.
Metz is heartbreaking as a woman who feels like she let herself down in life and is desperate to turn things around. But later in the episode we see her as a fun, flirty personality when she meets a new love interest in Toby and plays hard to get. Finally, by the end of the episode viewers are shown her protective, motherly instincts as she comforts her twin brother Kevin, a near perfect-looking person who is clearly just as conflicted as she is from within. This range in dynamics provides a respectable character arc and depth that should garner votes from the TV academy.
The biggest thing Metz has going for her is her own star power. It’s impossible not to be drawn to her character whenever she is on screen and her likability factor is through the roof. Many voters will want to reward that energy while making a statement that we need more diverse body types like hers on TV. Metz has deservedly become one of the most lovable actresses on television.
Although her character goes through a range of emotions throughout the season, they weren’t all jam packed into this single episode. If voters are going off this episode alone, they may not find her role meaty enough. While fans of the series know she laughed, cried, screamed and even sang throughout the season, this episode is only a small preview of what was to come.
“This is Us” was a major hit with viewers, but it seems to be a minor hit with Emmy voters. Yes, it earned 10 Emmy nominations including Best Drama Series, but it failed to earn any for writing or directing. Metz is facing strong competition from other great actresses, many of whom are in TV series that earned more widespread support from Emmy voters in general. Will her performance feel important enough to reward within this crowded field?
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