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Only one DC-set series took home an award this year. By Tanya Pai
Not even a bad haircut can keep the Veep down. Image courtesy of HBO.

Despite this year’s Emmys being held uncharacteristically on a Monday, the awards show had plenty of memorable moments: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston snogging, Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams, Weird Al’s very Weird Al-esque performance. What it didn’t have was much recognition for Washington-set TV shows. Though Veep, House of Cards, Homeland, and Scandal were all nominated, at the end of the night only Julia Louis-Dreyfus had a gold statuette to take home, for the third year in a row—along with, we imagine, some Cranston germs. 

This is a marked change from last year, which saw two wins each for Veep, Homeland, and The Kennedy Center Honors, as well as three for House of Cards and one each for Scandal and Political Animals. Washington-related shows fared a bit better at the Creative Arts Emmys on the 16th: Scandal’s Joe Morton snagged an award for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series, and the real-life POTUS even got a sort-of nod, thanks to his appearance in an episode of Between Two Ferns With Zach Galafinakis. Keep reading for the Washington winners from both ceremonies as well as the nominees, and see the full list of Emmy winners online

 

WINNERS (PRIMETIME)

Veep
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus


WINNERS (CREATIVE ARTS)

Between Two Ferns With Zach Galafinakis: “President Barack Obama”
Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program

The Blacklist
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries, or Movie

House of Cards
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour): “Chapter 14”

JFK: The American Experience
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

Scandal
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Joe Morton


NOMINEES (PRIMETIME)

Homeland
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama: Mandy Patinkin
Outstanding Actress in a Drama: Claire Danes

House of Cards
Outstanding Drama
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: “Chapter 14” (Carl Franklin)
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: “Chapter 14” (Beau Willimon)
Outstanding Actress in a Drama: Robin Wright
Outstanding Actor in a Drama: Kevin Spacey

The Kennedy Center Honors 
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special: Louis J. Horvitz

Killing Kennedy
Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie

Scandal
Outstanding Actress in a Drama: Kerry Washington

Veep
Outstanding Comedy
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Anna Chlumsky
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: “Special Relationship” (Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, and Armando Iannucci)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Tony Hale

Posted at 12:54 PM/ET, 08/26/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The best takes on politics, elections, and media in the show's 25-year run. By Benjamin Freed
Image courtesy 20th Century Fox.

As tempting as it might be to cancel all your plans for 12 days and to glue yourself to your couch while indulging in the full run of FXX’s broadcasting of all 552 episodes of The Simpsons and the 2007 feature film, such a feat is both impractical and unhealthy.

Wherever the show’s Springfield truly sits, Washington has been one of The Simpsons’ favorite targets since its 1989 debut. Even as the show has, in the judgment of most fans, declined as it has aged, it still offers consistently smart takes on presidents, members of Congress, elections, and media. Assuming you have to leave the house at some point during the marathon, you should do so judiciously to avoid missing the show’s best indictments of Washington and the episodes that speak most loudly to our region.

Like any roundup of Simpsons episodes, quotes, characters, or anything else connected to the show, this list is by no means a complete index to the series’s best Washington-related moments, but it’s still a perfectly cromulent one.

1. Season 2, Episode 17: “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish” (Thursday, August 21, at 6 PM)

Charles and David Koch have nothing on C. Montgomery Burns. Two decades before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling unleashed spigots of corporate money into seemingly every election in the country, Springfield Nuclear Power Plant’s diabolical owner attempted to get around environmental laws by running for governor of whatever state The Simpsons is set in. He might have won, too, if not for Marge’s well-timed deployment of Blinky, the three-eyed mutant fish.

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Posted at 04:38 PM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The NBC drama featuring Heigl as a CIA attaché premieres in November. By Tanya Pai
Image via NBC.

Katherine Heigl hasn’t been on TV (or in much of anything too successful) since her rather controversial exit from Grey’s Anatomy in 2010. This fall she returns to the small screen with NBC’s Washington-set drama State of Affairs, in which she plays Charleston “Charlie” Tucker, a high-powered CIA analyst who was engaged to the murdered son of the President (Alfre Woodard). Heigl is also an executive producer of the show.

NBC has released a trailer for the series, which packs plenty of drama into four minutes and 20 seconds: explosions! hostage situations! conspiracies! anonymous texts! Carrie Mathison-esque anonymous sex! Heigl also delivers the cringeworthy line, “Total slob in my personal life; total sniper in my professional one.” 

State of Affairs premieres November 17 in the Monday slot formerly occupied by The Blacklist, which is moving to Thursday night (the shows share a director, Joe Carnahan). It will join another new female-centric, Washington-set show, CBS’s Madam Secretary, starring Téa Leoni and executive-produced by Morgan Freeman

Take a look at the trailer for State of Affairs below. 

Posted at 01:31 PM/ET, 05/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The First Lady appears as herself on the ABC drama. By Tanya Pai

Photograph via Everett Collection/Shutterstock.

The week after the stars came to Washington for the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the entertainment and government worlds collide again when Michelle Obama makes an appearance on the May 7 episode of Nashville, the ABC country-music drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. On the season-two episode, titled “All or Nothing With Me,” Obama will play—as usual—herself, in town for an Army fundraiser. Country singer Kellie Pickler also appears in the episode to perform a song. 

Obama is no stranger to TV appearances: She made a cameo on the season finale of Parks and Rec on April 24, made her scripted TV debut in January 2012 on Disney’s iCarly, and has appeared on numerous reality-TV series and talk shows, including The Biggest Loser, Iron Chef, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, The Daily Show, the Tonight show with both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon (which gave the world the “Mom dancing” sketch), and Ellen. She even has her own IMDB page

Nashville airs Wednesday at 10 PM on ABC.

Posted at 09:57 AM/ET, 05/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Netflix and HBO scored big at this morning’s announcement but “Homeland” failed to pick up a single nomination. By Sophie Gilbert
No luck for Carrie this year. Photo courtesy of Showtime.

Homeland, which won Golden Globe Awards for best actress in a television drama, best actor in a television drama, and best drama less than a year ago, failed to pick up a single nomination at this morning’s announcement. Not even Mandy Patinkin (or his resplendent facial hair) made the cut.

It was bad news for one Washington-set TV drama, but House of Cards and Veep both scored big, with House of Cards gaining nominations for best TV drama, best actor in a drama (Kevin Spacey), and best actress (Robin Wright). Julia-Louis Dreyfus, who’s won two Emmys so far for her performance as Selina Meyer in Veep, got her second Golden Globe nomination for the role.

Posted at 09:01 AM/ET, 12/12/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Brody’s bald, Carrie’s crying, Saul’s sworn in, and more. By Chris Campbell

We’re still more than a month away from the season three premiere of Homeland, but Showtime has unleashed the official trailer for the upcoming season, teasing us with all manner of plot lines and possibilities. The trailer also makes some serious assumptions that you’ve seen the first two seasons, based on some of the clips shown, so don’t watch if you aren’t fully caught up.

Among our takeaways:

• After the way season two kinda fizzled out for us, we would have been happy if Brody just kept on walking and got mauled by a bear offscreen.

• The heart of Homeland is the Carrie-Saul relationship, always will be. And after constantly apologizing for her poor decision-making skills last season, Saul apparently has things to apologize to her for. But never for the beard. Not ever.

• The last images of Dana and the prayer rug. Yeah, we’re not buying it. After all the lies she was fed by her father, we don’t see her turning down that path. 

• Quinn, while a fool for not shooting Brody during his 11,000 previous opportunities to do so, looks like he’s remembered how to pull a trigger. Good for him. Maybe the 11,001st time’s the charm.

• Poor Chris—he still has no lines. Then again, no one else really talks in the trailer, either. Still, we have little hope for our beloved Wizards fan.

• No sign of Mike Faber. No one weeps for this.

• Bigger travesty: No sign of Virgil. There will be pitchforks and torches if Virgil isn’t around this season.

• Apparently Congress now holds hearings in rooms the size of basketball arenas. Whatever works for you, Hollywood.

Posted at 02:40 PM/ET, 08/09/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The former White House speechwriter’s sibling plays a White House staffer named John. By Sophie Gilbert
Former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau with President Obama. Not to be confused with Swingers director Jon Favreau. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Forgotten all about NBC’s low-rated, probably ill-fated White House sitcom 1600 Penn? You’re not the only one. But if ever there was a reason to tune in, this is probably it: Former White House speechwriter (and official 2009 Beautiful Person) Jon Favreau tweeted today that his brother will appear on the show tonight, playing a White House staffer named John.

What’s that you say? Nepotism? Never. Andy Favreau, whose Twitter bio says he’s an actor and a Boston native who lives in Los Angeles, has previously appeared in What’s Your Number, the poorly reviewed 2011 movie starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans, as well as Mark of the Dog Rose, a seemingly low-budget mystery scheduled to come out in the fall. At least, so says IMDB.

Andy Favreau isn’t the only one with stars in his eyes—Favreau senior announced earlier this year that he was leaving the White House and moving to Hollywood to work on a screenplay. Hopefully he’ll have more luck with the entertainment industry than fellow White House speechwriter-gone-Hollywood-scribe Jon Lovett has.

Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 03/28/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Reagan’s shooting almost sparks World War III, but Philip’s eye for nuance saves the day. By Sophie Gilbert
"Whaddaya mean cordless phones aren't invented yet?" Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in The Americans. Photograph by Craig Blankenhorn for FX.

Remember how in high school you’d always have one history teacher who’d try to impress upon you what a ginormous deal the Cuban Missile Crisis almost was? And how if JFK had been just a little bit more hopped-up on pharmaceutical-grade speed and Khrushchev had been a wee bit more susceptible to the rantings of Castro, the whole world could have gone boom?

Last night’s episode of The Americans was a little like that, with Elizabeth almost sparking World War III, Philip playing Robert Kennedy and putting his (very) manly foot down for peace, and everyone freaking out about (spoiler alert, although can it be a spoiler if it happened 30 years ago?) President Reagan getting shot outside what’s now known as the Hinckley Hilton.

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Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 02/21/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
We speculate so you don’t have to. By Sophie Gilbert
We’re calling it now—Homeland’s Claire Danes and Damian Lewis for best actress/actor in a television drama. Photograph by Kent Smith for Showtime.

In case you missed it late last year, Washington-based TV shows and movies did really, really well at the Emmys. There was the almost unparalleled success of Homeland, of course, but also wins for Veep and Game Change. This Sunday it’s the Golden Globes’ turn, and while the same three productions are nominated for a whole sweep of awards, it’s fair to assume that Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln might also dominate the movie side of things.

Below, see our incredibly unscientific predictions about what might win (Homeland) and what probably won’t (Political Animals). Let us know which shows you’d like to see honored in the comments.

Best Motion Picture—Drama
Zero Dark Thirty. So far, Kathryn Bigelow’s story of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden has won ten Best Picture awards on the film circuit, including one from the prestigious New York Film Critics’ Circle.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis. Daniel Day-Lewis in a movie written by Tony Kushner and directed by Steven Spielberg? It’s the stuff award ceremonies dream of.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical
Bill Murray. Fine, so Hyde Park on Hudson was set in New York, but Murray played FDR, so it totally counts.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama
Jessica Chastain. We’re inclined to think the breakout star of The Help (for which she got supporting actress Golden Globe and Oscar nominations last year) might triumph this year. Dark-horse pick? Rachel Weisz.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Sally Field. We’re predicting, for no particular reason, that Field will win the Globe for Lincoln, and Anne Hathaway the Oscar.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
It could be Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln. It’s also just as likely to be Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master. Easyodds.com has Hoffman with the (slightly) better odds, but gambling’s a mug’s game so we’re going with Jones.

Best Director—Motion Picture
Steven Spielberg. According to Metacritic, Lincoln is the director’s most highly praised film since Saving Private Ryan (which he won for).

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Posted at 04:20 PM/ET, 01/08/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The star of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” showed off his wax likeness, whose skin tone is “semi-gloss Romney voter.” By Sophie Gilbert
Stephen Colbert shares a moment with wax Stephen Colbert. Photograph by Sophie Gilbert.

Stephen Colbert’s super PAC might have shut itself down this week, but the comedian and founder of Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow still has a presence in Washington thanks to Madame Tussauds. Colbert unveiled his new wax likeness at the museum Friday. “It’s so beautiful,” he said. “Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go murder someone so a piece of my soul snaps off and he becomes my horcrux.”

Colbert, who’ll also be reading from his latest book, America Again, this afternoon at Politics and Prose, posed for the waxwork back in June, the same day the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act was announced. At the very moment that CNN erroneously reported that the law had been overturned, Colbert was stuck, motionless, asking through clenched teeth if someone could bring a television into the studio. “I had to sit here while people came in and read the news to me so I had something to say for the show that night,” he said.

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Posted at 02:10 PM/ET, 11/16/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()