According to Amanda Spears, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” will win the Emmy for Best Comedy Writing for its pilot “almost by default,” calling it “a brilliantly written episode.” Spears recently joined fellow Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow, Tom O’Brien, Tony Ruiz, and me to debate the category. Is “Maisel” really a lock? Watch our entire slugfest above.
“Maisel” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has returned to this category for the first time since 1992, when she competed for “Roseanne” during that show’s original run (she lost to “Seinfeld”). This year can she prevail against two “Atlanta” episodes (“Alligator Man” and “Barbershop”), two “Barry” entries (“Chapter One: Make Your Mark” and “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going”), and one “Silicon Valley” installment (“Fifty-One Percent”)? According to the combined predictions of over a thousand Gold Derby users thus far, she’s the heavy favorite with 1/4 odds.
“I think the best thing for Amy Sherman-Palladino is the fact that the name missing from this list is ‘Teddy Perkins,'” argues Ruiz. Although that was the most talked-about episode of “Atlanta” this season, creator Donald Glover, who wrote the episode, chose to submit “Alligator Man” for Emmy consideration instead. (“Perkins” does contend in Best Comedy Directing for Hiro Murai, and it’s the front-runner to win there.) “The fact that that episode is not on this list kind of clears the way for ‘Maisel,'” he adds.
Also missing from the race is back-to-back victor “Master of None,” which won writing prizes for its creator and star Aziz Ansari in 2016 (shared with Alan Yang) and 2017 (shared with Lena Waithe). It’s out of the running this year since it didn’t air any new episodes during this eligibility period, but Emmy voters clearly like actors who write (see also: Louis C.K. and Tina Fey), so could that help Bill Hader win for the “Barry” pilot?
Chow thinks Hader might be hindered by the presence of “Chapter Seven,” penned by previous Emmy nominee Elizabeth Sarnoff (“Lost,” “Deadwood”). “That they were both nominated indicates [voters] were watching ‘Barry,'” he explains, “and in general, people who watch ‘Barry’ liked that seventh episode better than they liked the pilot.”
O’Brien, who actually is a member of the writers branch of the TV academy, thinks his fellow voters are “looking for some complexity” in the episode when they cast their ballots. “‘Atlanta’ provides that, especially with ‘Alligator Man,’ but I don’t think there’s been anything that I’ve seen … [that] approaches ‘Mrs. Maisel’ in terms of complexity.”
Like everyone else, I’m betting on “Mrs. Maisel” to win this award, although I admit, “This seems way too easy, which makes me really worried about what’s going to happen on Emmy night.” You can never be too sure about anything at the Emmys.
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