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Entries in Tituss Burgess (3)

Saturday
Jun222019

Emmy voting is in progress. Confessions from a sitcom agnostic.

by Nathaniel R

Aidy Bryant in "Shrill"

Voting is winding down for the year's Emmy nominations, which is why we've been sharing FYCs.  If past years are any indication the nominee list will look nearly identical to last year's with the exception of shows/performances that are no longer eligible. Their slots will be filled by the new hits (it seems likely, for example, that Pose and Russian Doll and a couple of other freshmen series that got people talking for months on end, will receive attention). But looking over the ballots for performers, it becomes suddenly clear that NO ONE can watch this much television...

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Sunday
Jul192015

Titus Andromedon and the "GBF"

Please welcome new contributor Kyle Turner to the team, who has previously Smackdown'ed right here. In the wake of the Emmy nominations, he's here to talk about one very particular film & tv trope - Editor
 

In Tina Fey’s book of autobiographical essays Bossypants, she describes with delight and nostalgia her time growing up working at the Delaware County Summer Showtime program for the arts. And while her experiences about her background in theater are the surface, it’s her relationship to the queer community that serves as, perhaps, the thesis and thematic core of the essay. She writes carefully, balancing emotional reaction of the present juxtaposed against examining the events in hindsight. She talks about the lesbian best friends she had for several years, the way her hometown was like “Gay Wales” (“What Wales is to crooners, my hometown may be to homosexuals – meaning, there seems to be a disproportionate number of them and they are the best in the world!”), and, most important, the role of LGBT people in her personal narrative(s). She writes

I thought I knew everything after that first summer. ‘Being gay is not a choice. Gay people were made that way by God,’ I’d lectured Mr. Garth proudly. But it took me another whole year to figure out the second part: ’Gay people were made that way by God, but not solely for my entertainment.’ ”

In one quote, Fey pinpoints a problem that mainstream media often has when depicting queer (usually male) characters: they’re often asexual, thinly written, or designed with tropes built in as opposed to given the benefit of complexity that their straight counterparts more reflexively are given. They are, in a word, tokenized. [More...]

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Friday
Jun192015

FYC: Tituss Burgess for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Team Experience is sharing their dream picks for the Emmys each day at Noon. Here's Margaret...

Tituss Burgess' performance as Titus Andromedon on Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is nothing short of genius. (Before we get any further into this, it should be established that Tituss with two S's is the actor, and Titus with one S is the character. Confusing, yes, but blame Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.)

His vocal control is exquisite, and we see it tested time and again as the writers work up excuses for Titus to belt whenever possible. His grip on his comedy is similarly iron-clad. Every gesture, every line reading, is laser-precise. He never fails to deliver the biggest laugh of whatever scene he's in--he's a dexterous physical comic and quite nimble with Fey & Carlock's twisty punchlines-- but he also lends a distinct pathos to the performance that makes it more than just funny. 

And he's tremendously gif-able. Sweet mercy, how gif-able.



Though often ridiculous, Burgess makes damn well sure we know that Titus is the one telling the joke. Even the most absurd lines fly out of his mouth with self-awareness and complete conviction. (In lieu of apologizing for putting his foot in his mouth, he shrugs: "I am as God made me.") One of the things that makes Kimmy Schmidt so special is its improbable sense of melancholy. Hints about Titus' past point to frustration and pain, and that's present in his performance even as he lives confidently and without contrition.

But most of all, he's just purely and entirely funny. He makes me laugh more than any other TV character, certainly today, maybe ever. To deny him would be like denying Jane Krakowski's Jenna Maroney, which...  well... please don't make that mistake again, Emmys.

Previously: Ann Dowd talks The Leftovers and Nathaniel fusses over the Emmy ballot