Thursday, July 19, 2012

Regina King Was Robbed. Again.

Grr.  Do Emmy voters even know that "Southland" is on the air?!

© Glenn Francis, via Creative Commons

I don't know how anyone could watch last season's episodes and not think that the amazing Regina King (the artist formerly known as Brenda from "227"), who gives her all on TNT's "Southland" as Detective Lydia Adams, doesn't deserve an Emmy.  I'm really shaking my head on this one, because the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences continues to blatantly ignore her work

Seeing foreign actresses who didn't have much to do on-screen but look worried about their loves trapped in prison or in WWI foxholes get noms while Regina King literally has to chase bad guys in junky alleys all over L.A. hoods is infuriating.  Sure, "Downton Abbey" was great in its first season, but it was plodding, crisply-accented boredom this year.  The castle and the cinematography were probably the best thing about the show, but I digress.

Back to Ms. King.  "Southland" is one of the grittiest, most realistic dramas on TV, and she had a truly challenging and physically demanding storyline this year.  Lydia found out that she was pregnant, and she decided to conceal that fact from her colleagues, even as she kept getting herself involved in extremely dangerous situations, like shootouts, and finally a stabbing.  To add to the intrigue, the audience had its own mystery to solve: Who was the very married father of Lydia's embryo?  It was good TV, and nobody cries like she does.  NOBODY!

There are very few black actresses on TV who can say that they are working with quality scripts worthy of their talent.  There are even fewer black actresses that are blessed to portray a character on screen who isn't one-dimensional, and who has a complex and somewhat realistic professional and inner life.  Ms. King is quite fortunate to be her situation, with a fully-limned character who just happens to be black--it wasn't originally written specifically for a black woman--but her authenticity, a subtle I'm-every-sister vibe, shines through in each episode.

She's been overlooked before, so I'm sure she isn't losing any sleep over this.  Yes, I'll be ridiculously happy if Giancarlo Esposito (the uber-talented chameleon formerly known as Big Brother Almighty in School Daze) takes home a trophy for playing the scariest dude on TV, but eff the Emmys for continuing to ignore the work of black actresses.  Hollywood loves itself some Maya Rudolph, but even she was without a nod for best supporting actress in a comedy!

Something has got to change.

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