Jews in the News: Michael Schur, Shira Haas, and Amy Schumer

The Emmys (Condensed) and Ratched, Redux

The Emmys, for excellence in TV, will be “virtually” presented on Sunday, Sept. 20, at 8PM (ABC). My coverage is condensed this year to make room for regular TV premieres and some notes of interest. My sense is that these “times” make us more interested-in new stuff than an awards show without a red carpet parade. Nominee ages are omitted for the Emmys. If a series creator (below) has a “W” near their name, they are also nominated for a writing Emmy (no Jews, who weren't creators, too, got a separate writing nomination).

 The award for best comedy, drama, etc., is given to the series’ principal producers. My practice is to note that “best” series creator, who is always a nominated producer, too. Seven of the eight series nominated for best comedy have a Jewish creator: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (LARRY DAVID); “Dead to Me”, LIZ FELDMAN; “The Good Place”, MICHAEL SCHUR (W); “The Kominsky Method”, CHUCK LORRE; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO; “Schitt’s Creek”, EUGENE LEVY and his son, DAN LEVY (W); and “What We Do in the Shadows”, TAIKA WAITITI. Three of the eight nominated (best) drama series have a Jewish creator: “The Crown”, PETER MORGAN (W); “The Handmaid’s Tale”, BRUCE MILLER; and “The Mandolarian”, JON FAVREAU.

 The following were nominated for (best) limited series and had a Jewish creator(s): “The Watchmen”, DAMON LINDELOF (W); “Unbelievable”, AYELET WALDMAN and MICHAEL CHABON, her husband; and “Unorthodox” (based on a book by DEBORAH FELDMAN ). The series, about a Hasidic woman, was written by ANNA WINGER (W), ALEXA KAROLINSKI, and DANIEL HENDLER.

 Lead actor, comedy series: MICHAEL DOUGLAS, “Kominsky Method”, and Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”; Supporting actor, comedy: ALAN ARKIN, "Kominsky", and Dan Levy, "S. Creek"; Lead actress, comedy, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, “Black-ish”; Supporting actress, comedy: ALEX BORSTEIN, “Mrs. Maisel”; Lead actress, limited series: SHIRA HAAS, “Unorthodox”; Supporting actress, drama series: JULIA GARNER, “Ozark.”

Please check the Internet for the TV series episodes that these Jewish directors are nominated for helming: LENNY ABRAHAMSON, JAMES BURROWS, MIMI LEDGER, NICOLE KASSELL, MATT SHAKMAN, LESLI LINKA GLATTER, AND ALIK SAKHAROV.

Many Emmy awards are given at the separate Creative Arts Emmy ceremonies (Held on Sept. 14-17. Airs on FXX on Sept. 19). Here are just some of the Jewish “Creative” nominees: Guest actress, comedy series: BETTE MIDLER, “The Politician”, and MAYA RUDOLPH, SNL (for a comedy skit in which she played Sen. Kamala Harris) AND for “The Good Place”; Unstructured Reality Show: “Amy Learns to Cook”, AMY SCHUMER; Hosted Non-Fiction Series: JERRY SEINFELD, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, and JEFF GOLDBLUM, “The World According to Jeff Goldblum”; and Outstanding Short Form Comedy Series: RANDY RAINBOW, “The Randy Rainbow Show” (on Youtube).

“Racheted” is an original Netflix series that begins streaming on Sept. 18. It is a horrific prequel to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nes"t.  It focuses on the Nurse Ratched character in Cuckoo (the villain). Sarah Paulson plays Ratched. The supporting cast includes COREY STOLL, 44, and SOPHIE OKONEDO, 52. Okonedo, who got a supporting actress Oscar nomination for “The Hotel Rwanda” (2005), is the daughter of a (white) English Jewish mother and a black African father. Her parents split when she was five and her mother raised her. She was raised Jewish and spent a lot of time with her Yiddish-speaking grandparents.

 The documentary "All In: The Fight for Democracy” also begins streaming on the 18th (Amazon Prime Video). LIZ GARBUS, 51, directed this film about voter suppression. It is narrated by African American Stacey Abrams, a Georgia politician and an anti-suppression movement leader.

“Filthy Rich” is an ABC drama (starts Sept. 21) about a mega-rich Southern family that made their money off of a Christian TV network. The founder suddenly dies and his will discloses the he has three heirs—the children of his extra-marital affairs. Jewish Broadway singing star AARON LAZAR, 44, plays Reverend Paul Luke Thomas, a popular and ambitious televangelist who is a rising star in the network.

I wrote about “Away”, an original Netflix series about the first space flight to Mars, before it premiered on Sept. 4. Here’s some new info. JOSH CHARLES, 48, is not one of the 5 spaceship crew members as I guessed. He plays a NASA engineer who is the husband of the American mission commander (Hilary Swank). He works with her from mission control on Earth. The series is uneven, but a nice thing happens in episode 6.  Viewers learn about the very surprising Jewish background of a crew member. I’ll elaborate in a future column.


Add Comment