The TV Club, 2013

2013 TV: Tony Hale Is Great in Veep, and He Was Great at the Emmys
Talking television.
Dec. 31 2013 10:00 AM

The TV Club, 2013


Entry 15: The perfection of Tony Hale and Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the Emmys.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale in Veep.

Photo courtesy Lacey Terrell/HBO


So this is how Vince Gilligan felt this time last year. I just know that I’m going to remember something important right after our season finale airs.

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

By all means let’s throw some love at actors doing great work in terrible shows. But Jim, I can’t agree with you about Thomas Lennon in Sean Saves the World. I’ve loved his work in the past, but that awful, soulless show leaches the charisma from everyone who walks on set. And what about The Millers over on CBS? It, too, has neutered a whole bunch of actors who’ve been great on other shows. If this were the only place you’d ever seen Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, and Jayma Mays, you’d write them off as a bunch of pathetic no-talents. But nothing can dim Margo Martindale’s star power. A few weeks ago, she performed a variation on Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” speech that made me want to stand up and applaud. (Instead, I emailed a friend to say, “I know the show’s awful, but fast-forward to Margo Martindale’s scenes.”) I’m still mad that The Millers will keep her from spending the whole season on The Americans, though.


And how about a hand for some of television’s great character actors: Ian Patrick (Dick Butkus) on The Neighbors, Zoe Jarman and Beth Grant in The Mindy Project, Tony Hale on Veep (how perfect was the bit he and Julia Louis-Dreyfus did at the Emmys?), and those zinger-slinging sisters under the skin, Maggie Smith as Downton’s dowager countess and Frances Conroy as American Horror Story: Coven’s Myrtle Snow. I’m also enjoying Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt working in a completely different register on The Michael J. Fox Show. The show is charming but very slight (like Fox himself) and will soon be forgotten, but it’s a relief to see an actress who played 50 shades of hurt showing off her comedic chops. (Though, honestly, my favorite bit is her dance in the opening sequence.)

I don’t want to leave without mentioning that I think this was the year when we broke through some kind of foreign-language barrier on U.S. television. Three of us have non-English-language shows in our top 10, but I was also glad that FX didn’t freak out about all the Spanish on The Bridge or the Russian on The Americans, not to mention that great ASL episode of Switched at Birth over on ABC Family.

This has been so much fun. I just wish we could end with a dance, like on Bunheads.

Back to my crazy board,




More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.