Let me rephrase that...I didn't go public with my Emmy predictions. Instead of wowing the blogosphere with my wildly inaccurate predictions, I wowed the small group of folks I watched the Emmys with my surprisingly accurate predictions.
To be fair, the Emmys were not that hard to predict. 95% of America could have told you that 30 Rock would win Best Comedy and Mad Men would win Best Drama. The predictions were so obvious that for once in my life I decided not to reflect on how awesome I am, but instead ask why they were so obvious.
What I am asking is: why did the wins of 30 Rock and Mad Men seem so inevitable and pre-ordained? What is it about American society at the end of the decade that makes these shows synonymous with excellence in comedic and dramatic material?
I am assuming that it goes beyond the fact that both are excellent tv shows. I am a regular viewer of 30 Rock and believe it to be one of the funniest shows of the decade. I have never seen an episode of Mad Men but have been lead to believe that it is brilliant. Still, there are plenty of other hilarious and dramatically affecting shows out there. Why will these two go down in history as the definitive programs of 2009's America?
Looking at the concept of each show, it seems clear that there is one factor that each share: all the characters work. Obviously, there are plenty of other shows out there in which the characters have jobs (homelessness is not a very exciting or funny concept for television), and there are even some shows that take place in work environments exclusively. But 30 Rock and Mad Men don't just have characters that work and don't just take place in a professional environment...the two shows are all about work.
30 Rock is short for 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where all of its characters work on a sketch comedy program. Mad Men cleverly refers to the fact that the characters work in the advertising industry, and al their lives revolve around the office and what happens in it.
In these shows, work is everything: laughter, frustration, drama, excitement, family and presumably money. In a year in which the highest number people are unemployed since the Great Depression, it only makes sense that we want to honor two shows that honor and uphold the concept of work and how integral to our lives it can be.
Shit, that's why they invented television, to show us what we want and sometimes what we fear.
Now if you'd excuse me, I am going to watch the season premiere of House...don't psychoanalyze that decision like I just did with 30 Rock and Mad Men.