martes, 22 de septiembre de 2015


Imagine smoking all those cigarettes for nothing.

At long last, some good news for Don Draper. A six-season also-ran, Jon Hamm has finally won an Emmy for his lauded, star-making work on the newly late, forever great AMC seriesMad Men. The show itself has won the best-drama-series Emmy four times (and a possible fifth tonight), with a few more prizes given out for writing. But an actor from the show has never won a trophy, until now. It’s fitting, of course, that it’s Hamm who finally broke the losing streak, given that he was the lead, his Don Draper the avatar for the series’s themes of identity and American yearning. Also, Jon Hamm is certainly most closely identified with the series, more than any other actor on it. In that way, a win for Hamm can be seen as a representative win for the ensemble, too.
So why didn’t it happen earlier? Well, mostly becauseBryan Cranston got in the way. His narrative was slightly better than Hamm’s: he’d worked for years successfully as a sitcom actor on Malcom in the Middle, but then there he was, a casting risk, doing this cool, edgy, dark show. Emmy voters like that kind of thing. Then Kyle Chandler had to win one for the final season of his widely beloved Friday Night Lights. The next year, Homeland swept the big drama categories, so Hamm lost out to Damian Lewis. In 2013,Jeff Daniels won as something of an Academy consolation prize for The Newsroom’s chilly reception. Then Cranston had to win again for his last season. Which all meant that, while Hamm was in the mix every one of those years, circumstances conspired to keep him off the stage until the last possible minute.
Another reason the Emmy didn’t go to Hamm earlier, or to any of the other actors on Mad Men, may be that the show, despite its many accolades, was difficult, with its opacity and metaphor and mysterious mood. The acting was subtler, the characters less accessible, than on other series. Breaking Bad was extremely dark, sure, but you could figure out Walter White’s motivations relatively easily. Don Draper, he of the knotty past of occluded identity? That’s a much tougher nut to crack. And Emmy voters don’t always like tough.
But Hamm had to win at some point, lest another The Wire–style injustice further mar the Emmys’ reputation. Because Jon Hamm was, in a lot of ways, the defining face, the telegenic spokesman, of the television renaissance that began in the mid-2000s. (Tony Soprano was there first, sure, but he was too menacing.) Hamm created an iconic character with both panache and insight—Don was a dashing mystery man whom we mostly rooted for, despite his selfishness, his destructive restlessness, his withholdingness. Really, there would be no Mad Menwithout Jon Hamm. Or at least it would be a very different show, probably a lesser one. So his award is much deserved.
I mean, imagine smoking all those cigarettes for nothing?

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