Emmys' TV Work 'Framilies'
The most-nominated series - 'Abbot Elementary', 'Hacks', 'Ted Lasso ' - are about office framily (friends + family). Bye, WFH!
Today I have some notes on Emmys fashion, and also New York Fashion Week, but I wanted to start with a trend I noticed around workplace culture as it’s shown on TV.
The biggest — and certainly most heartwarming — story of Emmys night is the potentially history-making achievement of the The Network Show That Could in the age of streaming, the ABC (and Hulu) freshman hit Abbott Elementary.
Creator and star Quinta Brunson is the first Black woman to be nominated for the best comedy series, best acting and best writing categories in the same year. (If she wins in the comedy series category, she would be only the second Black person to win as a producer in the category; the first was Winifred Hervey — all the way back in 1987! — for The Golden Girls.)
But the show also stands for something else.
We’re in month 28 (!) of pandemic WFH for many of us who used to go into offices 40+ hours a week. Yet, the three series with the most Emmy nominations are about the before times — the sense of framily as I’ll call it (friends + family) built within workplaces. Abbott Elementary (7 noms, including four for acting) centers on a group of teachers bound together by their profession but often stymied in the day-to-day routine; Ted Lasso (20 noms, 10 for acting) features a band of football misfits who form friendships and find success; and Hacks (17 noms) is a backstage tale that actually tells the story of two generations of outcasts who come together. All thematically are about replacing one’s own dysfunctional relatives and blood relations with those of one’s (more accepting and loving) work family.
In Abbott, an overeager novice teacher (Brunson) makes her way alongside a school veteran and mother-figure played by Sheryl Lee Ralph (in the role of a lifetime capping a 40-year career) and an off-the-wall principal hilariously played by Janelle James — each of them balancing everyday challenges and moments of levity amid the larger backdrop of the show’s setting in an underfunded urban school. All three are Emmy-nominated for their performances, along with Tyler Michael Smith in the brotherly role of a substitute teacher who might eventually get out of the friend zone with Brunson’s character (hubba hubba!).
But it may have been Ted Lasso (which snagged a record-setting number of Emmy nominations in its debut last year) that heralded the return to the workplace setting and its inter-family dynamics. And cemented the communal workplace as something — who knew? — we actually missed.
(Ted supported boss Rebecca by putting her ex-husband’s cruelty in its place👇)
These shows follow in the legendary shoes of workplace comedies where ensembles became family: Cheers, 30 Rock, Taxi, the Dick Van Dyke show, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Steve Harvey Show, Scrubs, Ugly Betty, The Office and so many more — and perhaps most of all, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where Mary Tyler Moore’s Mary Richards reflected in the hallowed 1977 finale:
I just wanted you to know that sometimes I get concerned about being a career woman. I get to thinking my job is too important to me, and I tell myself that the people I work with are just the people I work with. And not my family. And last night, I thought, 'what is a family, anyway?' They're just people who make you feel less alone... and really loved. And that's what you've done for me. Thank you for being my family.
It’s a still-powerful tug at the heart.
Recently, Gallup reported that having a best friend at work reduced the likelihood of one quitting under this headline:
So in this age of so called “quiet quitting,” 50 percent office occupancy, an epidemic of mental health disorders, and WFH showdowns between bosses and workers, it’s no wonder this New York Times story, with the headline “The Magic of Your First Work Friends” from over the summer, still gets shared on my feeds over and over. This part of the story sums it up.
There’s an electricity to forming that first close friend at work. It’s the thrill of staying too late at drinks to keep giggling. It’s the delight of darting to someone’s desk and dragging her to the bathroom to gossip. It’s the tenderness of showing up to work on a rough morning and realizing a co-worker will know instantly that something is wrong.
Who knew that the TV fantasy we honor onscreen today could be as common as… the office.
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO WEAR? 👗
Will the ladies of Abbott — and the many other actresses flooding the red carpet from the wide arc of streaming — also be a smash on the red carpet?
Brunson’s stylist, Bryon Javar, gives us a clue with recent outings like the star’s multicolored feathery strapless frock that she donned for the ESPYs from designer Prabal Gurung. It’s a world away from the print dresses-and-cardigan costuming of the actress’s teacher character. (Brunson’s profile in the fashion and beauty sphere got a big boost last month when she signed on to star in an Olay campaign.)
Emmy fashion actually used to be a more quiet affair through the aughts and into the teens, before Instagram took hold and the sheer number of streaming shows brought the glamor of movie stars and formerly less-sought-after TV people together on the red carpet (like the now-pilloried Golden Globes used to do.)
Television actresses would don just-shown resort-season gowns from American evening-wear designers like Badgley Mischka, Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang and their international counterparts such as Elie Saab, represented in L.A. press showrooms.
Now the game has changed and buzzy steaming series and social media have minted new stars, burnishing TV’s second tier image. Global fashion houses and their corporate overlords like LVMH (Vuitton, Dior, Fendi), Kering (Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent) and Capri (the former Michael Kors that now also owns Versace), as well as mainstays like Chanel all compete to dress the latest glamor-puss from a “hot” show.
Numéro uno on the Emmy red carpet is Euphoria multiple-nominee Zendaya, 2020’s surprise win for best actress in a drama. Now the face of Valentino and Bulgari jewels, her Emmy-night fashion choices would seem set.
Similarly, look for Squid Game nominees Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon to continue their contractual red-carpet runs in Gucci and Louis Vuitton, respectively.
Male stars are also sticking to the powerhouses, with Scenes from a Marriage nominee Oscar Isaac expected in Tom Ford, Pam and Tommy’s Sebastian Stan in Burberry and The White Lotus contender Jake Lacy in Dior.
Euphoria costar Sydney Sweeney is a double nominee; in addition to a best supporting actress in a drama series for playing Cassie in the popular HBO drama, she is also nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a limited or anthology series for The White Lotus. But I wonder if she will skip the Microsoft Theatre Emmy red carpet after her recent internet kerfuffle over a family birthday party that some felt was a little too MAGA-friendly.
Guest actor nominee Colman Domingo took the award last weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys and will fill out the Euphoria pack, expected alongside fellow guest performer nominee Martha Kelly, costar (and Hollywood “royalty”) Maude Apatow and recent GQ cover star Jacob Elordi. Other fashion “It” girls and boys to look for include Pam and Tommy’s Lily James, a Versace “ambassador” (who also just signed on as the face of The Natural Diamond Council), and nominees Amanda Seyfried, Margaret Qualley, Elle Fanning, Issa Rae and Andrew Garfield, not to mention perennial high-profile red-carpet faves like Sarah Paulson, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Ricci, Sandra Oh and Melanie Lynskey.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN NYC… 🗽
Friday was the official opening day of New York Fashion Week (though Christian Siriano jumped the gun with a show Wednesday night, maybe to get a leg up on Emmy gowns he’s also supervising).
Much like entertainment itself, NYFW is increasingly becoming fragmented, with more than 100 events scheduled uptown, downtown and all-around.
But a global brand stole New York’s Fashion week mojo as Fendi’s gala resort show Friday night saw designer Kim Jones collaborating with owner LVMH’s newest acquisition trinket, the formerly all-American jeweler Tiffany — and with a smart surprise assist from New York hometown hero Marc Jacobs, part of the extended LVMH family from own his years as the first Vuitton RTW designer.
Also a celebration of 25 years of the iconic Baguette clutch — seared into the popular imagination as Carrie Bradshaw’s go-to bag in the original ‘90s Sex and the City (“Almost a character,” designer Jones told Vogue after the show which saw Sarah Jessica Parker looking on from the front row) — the runway finale packed a wow with eternal supermodel Linda Evangelista in a Tiffany blue gown (and matching Baguette, of course). Also fronting British Vogue’s cover this month, the '90s icon seems firmly back in the fashion game, even after suing CoolSculpting’s parent company, Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc. for $50 million in damages over what she claimed were disfiguring damages to her face and form. Now having settled that imbroglio with the company, this was her first turn on the runway since her “botched” procedure.
NYFW closes on Wednesday with Hollywood’s adopted favorite son, Tom Ford. The designer left his post as CFDA chairman in May at the close of his first three-year term and this summer it was reported that he is working with Goldman Sachs on a potential sale of his fashion and cosmetics company to the tune of several billion dollars, possibly with him staying on as design honcho. But with A Single Man and Nocturnal Animals already to his credit as a film director, here’s hoping maybe the former partygoer, who famously once said that he now stays home with Netflix, maybe has another movie up his well-tailored sleeve.