Emmy episode analysis: Lin-Manuel Miranda (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’) is at odds with Larry David in ‘Fatwa!’

Lin Manuel-Miranda has earned his third career Emmy nomination: Best Comedy Guest Actor for portraying himself on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The honor marks a return to the category for Miranda, who garnered a nomination just last year for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” Before that Miranda and composer Tom Kitt took home the Emmy for Best Music and Lyrics in 2014 for the song “Bigger!” from the 67th Annual Tony Awards telecast. Miranda, an awards darling in recent years, has also won a Pulitzer Prize, three Tony Awards and three Grammy Awards.

Miranda graced two episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” this season — “The Shucker” and “Fatwa!” — and has submitted the latter appearance for consideration. The episode finds Lin and Larry David constantly clashing during rehearsals for their new musical “Fatwa!” Their creative differences over the production, such as Lin’s opposition to including a song Larry desires and Larry’s wariness about a distracting sign-language interpreter Lin has brought in, are exacerbated when Larry agrees to host Lin’s cousin and her husband at his home. To Larry’s chagrin, the couple turn out to be swingers and trash the house.

The friction between Larry and Lin reaches its breaking point at a paintball game for the “Fatwa!” cast and crew. Larry unleashes fury on Lin for his family taking advantage of Larry’s hospitality. In response, Lin challenges Larry to a paintball duel, during which Larry accidentally shoots Lin in the mouth. Lin’s injury will sideline him for months, which brings an end to the musical.

Will “Fatwa!” deliver Miranda his first Emmy for acting? Let’s go over the pros and cons of his submission.

PROS

At about 23 minutes of screen time, Miranda is all over “Fatwa!” Not only does he fiercely quarrel with David, resulting in no shortage of laughs, he also gets the opportunity to sing and dance, opposite Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, no less.

A mere Oscar away from that coveted EGOT status, Miranda is unimpeachably one of the hottest stars in entertainment today. Fans of his much-lauded contributions to the stage and screen might be prone to cast their votes for him here, even if they aren’t huge “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fans.

This category does not have a clear front-runner. With such a divided field, you could potentially win with a much smaller percentage of the vote.

CONS

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” has never won an Emmy for acting. In fact, Miranda and fellow nominee Bryan Cranston are only the fifth and sixth actors ever to receive nominations for the show, following lead actor Larry David, supporting actress Cheryl Hines, and guest actors Shelley Berman and Michael J. Fox.

Moreover, besides hosts of “Saturday Night Live,” no performer has ever taken home the Best Comedy guest Actor Emmy for playing himself.

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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