Emmys 2015: Orange Is the New Black Must Compete in Drama Category

Emmys Orange Is the New Black

Just like incarceration itself, the Emmys have decided, Orange Is the New Black is no laughing matter.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has ruled that the Netflix series must compete as a drama in the running for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, our sister site Variety reports.

RELATED Emmys 2015: Are Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis About to Make History? 

On Tuesday, The CW’s Jane the Virgin, Showtime’s Shameless and Fox’s Glee — all considered “dramas” under a recent rules change that defined comedies as programs 30 minutes or less — were granted comedy eligibility via an appeals process. OITNB‘s request for a waiver, however, was denied.

The prison-set series was considered a comedy at last year’s Emmys (where it won in three categories) and this year’s Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards (where it won in two categories). The series will be able to reapply for comedy status next year.

RELATED Netflix Sets Dates for OITNB Season 3, Wet Hot American Summer and More

Orange Is the New Black is a truly pioneering series and an iconoclast which has always defied genre or easy categorization,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told Variety. “While we’re disappointed in the committee’s decision, we believe that Orange represents the best of television in either category.”

What do you think of the Academy’s ruling? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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37 Comments
  1. Nikki says:

    Good, because it may be funny at times but is definitely more of a drama! They need a new dramedy category :)

    • Julia says:

      I totally agree. There are so many dramedies now that don’t fit easily into drama or comedy that are otherwise being overlooked at the Emmys.

      • Britta Unfiltered says:

        You guys, think for a second about how long the Emmy ceremony runs. As of now with the two categories, it goes 3+ hours. How much longer would it go if they added a third category for shows, actors, actresses, writing, directing, etc.? Now think about how long the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony goes. That is basically an all evening-long, and part of the afternoon-long event where winners only get about 15 seconds to give their acceptance speeches, and that includes the time it takes them to get up to the podium. The female winners will actually take off their heels to sprint to the podium so that they have a few seconds longer to give their thanks. When they air the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony on TV, they have to edit it down by several hours just to get it to fit into the air time. Imagine how much longer that ceremony would be if that third dramady category was added in. They’d have to start it in the morning. A dramady category is NEVER going to happen because of time constraints. You guys need to accept that and move on, because I am really sick and tired of seeing these dramady comments come up EVERY SINGLE TIME the Emmys are mentioned in an article. You are beating a dead horse.

        • Sam says:

          Some people just need to accept that certain shows aren’t emmy worthy regardless of whether or not they like I don’t hate Bones,Castle and NCIS but I don’t think they deserve emmy recognition. It’s for shows that are ambitious and go off the beaten path which is why cable dominates the emmys. I’m so sick of people complaining about their broadcast shows get nothing even though they don’t even bother to watch series outside of network tv.

    • Mike R. says:

      Honestly I would say at the very least it is more of a comedy than Shameless which gets to compete as a comedy…

      • firecrackerinc says:

        Agreed. If this is a drama, Shameless is definitely a drama.

      • jenna says:

        lets not forget transparent! Still don’t understand how that one is a comedy

      • jss0058 says:

        This! I’m okay with being in either categorey honestly, but if Shameless gets to stay in comedy then so should OITNB.

      • A Fan of TV says:

        Agreed. Incarceration and class conflict is serious, but severe addiction and class conflict is comedy? I don’t get it. Maybe the Emmys should consider awarding categories based on length as opposed to genre (and instead of saying comedies are 30-minute programs), since it’s a lot easier to determine whether something is 60 minutes long than it is to determine whether it’s funnier than it is dramatic. Short films at the Oscars have a time cut-off for consideration, not a content judgment before the awarding of the winner’s trophy.

    • Gilded Lady says:

      A dramedy category makes perfect sense. While it’s nice to see not every show getting a bye to chill in comedy, what is and isn’t comedy is so subjective that this petition process will never really feel fair.

    • Amie says:

      I think they should just make the categories Best Short Show (30-minutes or less) and Best Long Show (more than 30-minutes). It’s really silly to try to parse whether there is more comedy or more drama in a show. The competition is fair based on the length of the show, not the kind of show, when it comes to things like Shameless (which isn’t funny in the least) and Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives before that. Desperate Housewives was like Dynasty and Dallas with campiness and soapiness. If that makes it a comedy, then those shows were comedies, too. Which they weren’t.

      • rowan77 says:

        No offense, but I find that silly. There are boundaries that shows have to work within – either as a half-hour comedy or an hour-long drama. Dramedies fit into both categories, although traditionally dramedies were used to be 1/2 hour only. Times change.

        Shamless is a dramedy. It’s also funny. You may not get the humor, but others do and it is a 1/2-hour, dark comedy.

        • Ally Oop says:

          No. Hour-long shows have a major advantage because they are able to develop plot and characters more extensively while half-hour comedies have to be short and to the point. Half-hour comedies have less to work with. Making them compete against hour-long shows is unfair.

          • rowan77 says:

            I don’t know why you’re saying,”No.” You’re agreeing with me. 1/2 hour shows (which are comedies and some dramedies) compete with each other and hour-long dramas (and dramedies) compete with each other. There is no need for a seperate dramedy catagory.

    • rowan77 says:

      OITNB is a drama. It’s funny at times, but mostly it’s a drama that had no business being in the comedy category. I don’t think dramedies should get their own category, though. It’s pretty clear what dramedies are more comedy than drama and vice-versa.

      IMHO, I also don’t believe dramedies are being overlooked at all. Each category is about the best show within its parameters and dramedies are noticed for the quality. It’s not about how many laughs you get in a minute, it’s about the quality of programming.

  2. natalia h says:

    Good. i think I’ve laughed twice with this show. More drama than comedy.

    Jane the Virgin, on the other hand, hillarious!

    • dan says:

      I laugh all the time at this show. I think it is much more a comedy than a drama. Granted, it isn’t a comedy like Modern Family and Big Bang Theory, but it certainly isn’t a drama like Homeland and Game of Thrones. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with this year’s nominations (which are for last summer’s episodes).

  3. kyle says:

    I don’t get why Shameless is being considered a comedy, there’s nothing funny about it, I see it more as a drama. Emmy and Cameron deserve nominations in the Lead Actor and Actress categories.

    • Cas says:

      I think it’s because (IMO anyway) that Shameless is more or less making fun of low class poverty stricken people? Not to mention I have laughed way more at Shameless then OITNB.

  4. Dude says:

    People seem to feel if comedies have dramatic elements, they MUST be dramas. I’ve always felt a show is whatever its tone is. Jane the Virgin (and yes, even Glee) has always taken a light hearted, comedic approach to telling stories so even though it has its dramatic moments, that makes it a comedy to me. Orange is the New Black on the other hand, despite being funny, has always leaned more towards drama so I think this ruling is fair. We live in 2015, television is a lot more sophisticated than it use to be. We don’t live in a world where dramas are one hour and comedies are half an hour anymore. Everything is a little bit of both now.

  5. Cas says:

    I agree with this. I have laughed maybe a few times but that is it. Really strikes me more as a drama.

  6. Chris says:

    A strange rule, but though now that I think about it has there been a show that has been either an hour long comedy (finales excluded) or 30 minute dramas?

  7. Amy says:

    I’m more confused about why anyone thought Glee even has a chance for an Emmy.

  8. Orange is not a comedy when you are in jail or killing people it is a drama with fun lines for actors ITS NO COMEDY

  9. Mary says:

    Good it’s a drama. So is shameless though do it shouldn’t be allowed in either.

  10. Trey says:

    What about the two HBO shows Girls, Looking and Togetherness which are 30 minutes. Should these shows be put in the comedy category?

    • Ally Oop says:

      You’re right. I think this all underscores the need for a dramedy category. Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, Shameless, Transparent and Glee, among others can compete against each other. If they are worried about making too many categories, then combine the movie and miniseries categories. Not a whole lot of tv movies and tv miniseries get made anyhow.Here are what the categories should be:
      Best Movie or Mini-Series
      Best Dramedy or Musical
      Best Comedy
      Best Drama

  11. Dan says:

    It’s not that it’s “more drama than comedy”. OITNB is downright a drama, period. It wouldn’t even qualify as a dramedy (even though I completely agree they needed a new category for those). Most drama series have slight comedic moments or a hidden laugh here and there. That doesn’t make a dramedy. Even something like The Flash is light-hearted adventure, but, if we needed to classify it in one of the three, it would be a drama as well. There’s no grey area to OITNB, honestly.

  12. DMCo says:

    Am I missing something here? I’ve watched OITNB from the beginning and not once have I thought it was a comedy. Even the most dramatic movie (The Godfather) will conjure up a chuckle. That doesn’t make it a comedy.

  13. Ally Oop says:

    This is bull. Jane the Virgin and Orange is the New Black should be competing in the same categories. The Emmys shouldn’t have made any exceptions.

  14. Guy says:

    Let’s be real here. Netflix just submitted this in comedy in the first place because they wanted the chance to get OITNB and House of Cards to rack up as many nominations as possible; they would be competing with each other in the same categories, as they are now. OITNB is *not* a comedy. It never was. It’s a full-on drama. Please.

  15. Britta Unfiltered says:

    It was a good decision. I was all for Orange competing as a comedy the first season, but the second season was a lot more dramatic and murdery. The only thing I can remember laughing at from the second season was Crazy Eyes talking to Lady Locksley. That show is totally a drama now. And you gotta figure one of the supporting actresses from the show is walking away with an Emmy this year thanks to that decision. I think this screws Taylor Schilling though. No way she can break into that tough drama actress category. The character isn’t likable enough, and she made some pretty stupid decisions in the second season that had me wanting to shake her and scream, “what’s wrong with you???” I think though this means now that no GoT actresses are getting into the supporting actress category. Orange actresses are going to be taking up at least three of those six spots, and you know for sure they’ll nominate Maggie Smith, and very likely Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski.

  16. cyclone says:

    they should stop the nitpicking and just make a DRAMEDY category instead the millionth specific reality show category so that shows like this won’t get trounced by true dramas. Or how about having the Academy voters decide if this show is a drama or a comedy and my 2 cents, I believe this show is a comedy.

  17. Donna Lynn says:

    This is a great program. There would be more disappointment than all realize if this program were not be renewed. I’m not terribly concerned that it will not be classed as a comedy. It’s far superior to other programs. Please continue to renew, and being back quickly this new season !

  18. cjeffery7 says:

    i still don’t understand how you can categorically call something greater than 30 minutes hands down a drama, SIMPLY because it’s longer than 30 minutes. or vice versa! who says you can’t make an hour long comedy? regardless of what’s actually being produced out there in the world, the length of an episode is completely irrelevant to whether the content is primarily dramatic or comedic. by allowing this appeals process, the academy is just creating more work for themselves, and by extension more fuss about their borderline arbitrary rules.

    i don’t have a resolution to this sometimes ridiculous dichotomy of something having to either be strictly drama or strictly comedy (because a lot of the best shows out there right now straddle a line between the two – also, there is clearly am unconscious bias in the industry toward dramas, on the whole), but the academy seems to be going about trying to resolve it completely backwards.