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Entertainment & Arts

Feedback: Why ‘Fleabag’s’ Emmy win is bad for regular TV viewers

“Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, right, with co-star Sian Clifford at the Emmys.
“Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, right, with costar Sian Clifford, as the show wins the Emmy for comedy series.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Are too many streaming shows creating a divided TV viewership? Other readers defend Plácido Domingo and say ‘SNL’ was right to fire Shane Gillis.

Regarding “Winners Keep it Real, Saving No-Host Show” by Robert Lloyd, “Hail the Power of Peak TV” by Lorraine Ali and more Times coverage of the Emmys [Sept. 23]: I never thought there wasn’t a host, I thought there were rotating hosts.

Here’s the real take on TV’s future: There are now so many shows, and are going to be so many streaming platforms that viewers will not see many of the shows nominated for Emmys. I’ve always had choices for most categories. This year I realized I not only didn’t, but I hadn’t even heard of many shows. I had never heard of “Fleabag,” “Pose,” “The Act,” “A Very English Scandal” or “When They See Us.”

I’m primarily an HBO, Showtime and Netflix watcher. I’m not paying for Amazon, nor the new slew of streaming stations coming down the pike from Apple, Disney, CBS, NBC, etc. TV will consist of network camps. And no one in another camp will be happy if your camp’s show wins and not theirs.

Sound politically familiar?

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Bruce Miller

Playa del Rey

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Re: “Happy to Be Surprised” [Sept. 23]: I love “Fleabag” and I’m delighted it dominated the comedy category in the Emmys.

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Still, I came to a stop when I read Glenn Whipp’s comment “You could watch all six episodes in less time than it took to slog through the last ‘Avengers’ movie.”

Really? The three-hour movie that wowed fans and critics alike, bringing a superhero series to a successful climax, while making more money than any movie ever on the planet? That “Avengers” movie?

No need for cheap shots. When it comes to the gold standard, I’ll put the Marvel Cinematic Universe up against anything out there.

Steve Horn

Glendale

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Regarding Lorraine Ali’s “Hail the Power of Peak TV” [Sept. 23]: “Prestige programming?” I thought these Emmys were boring. The same thing, just without a host. How can so many creative people put on such a boring show?

Dave Howard

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To specifically identify Broadway musical star Gwen Verdon as a “choreographer” as Meredith Blake did [“Two Real-Life ‘80s Dramas Make Impacts,” Sept. 23] bespeaks a writer who hasn’t done her homework or watched “Fosse/Verdon” as the mini-series drives home Verdon’s stellar status and ambition as a four-time Tony Award winning musical actress.

Michael Russnow

West Hollywood

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I dare say, the Emmys have overlooked one outstanding actress. What about Felicity Huffman’s contrite performance before a judge, which resulted in a lesser sentence of only 14 days in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal? But if nothing else, Huffman deserves a standing ovation.

JoAnn Lee Frank

Clearwater, Fla.

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L.A. Opera fans talk personnel

Regarding “What’s Plan B for the Phil, Opera?” [Sept. 18]: I extend heartiest thanks to Mark Swed, who stressed the many things that Plácido Domingo has done to further opera in Los Angeles. He pointed to Domingo’s programs for youth and the superior programming he has brought to LA Opera.

I write not only as an opera fan but also as a student of Hispanic cultures for more than 60 years, having received a doctorate in the field at UCLA in 1972. And I write to strongly oppose the pillorying of Domingo for his affectionate nature.

Touching, hugging, and kissing are not only common in Hispanic culture but are expected. It is a travesty to crucify Domingo for carrying out his cultural imperative, especially by cowardly, anonymous accusers. I hope all Angelenos will reach out to Domingo and implore him to remain here and continue to make L.A. Opera one of the best operas in the world.

Roberta Johnson

Los Angeles

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I’m surprised that Mark Swed didn’t mention L.A. Opera’s internationally renown music director, James Conlon, as integral to any Plan B. Los Angeles is an outlier with three high-level (and highly compensated) leaders. The Metropolitan Opera (as well as companies in Houston, San Francisco and Chicago) manage with two: a high-profile music director and a general director/manager. A company would be hard pressed to find a music director-leader of higher caliber than Conlon, not only for his performances on the podium but also in his pre-performance talks. The post-Domingo future looks bright — with Conlon/Christopher Koelsch at the helm.

Bruce Johnson

San Diego

Good riddance to a short-timer

Regarding “‘SNL’ Fires Shane Gillis Over Racist Slurs” by Christie D’Zurilla [Sept. 17] and Lorraine Ali’s commentary “Sorry ‘SNL,’ Bias Is No Joke” [Sept. 16]: Some will see Shane Gillis as the latest casualty of our too-quick-to-judge cancel culture. But “Saturday Night Live” was right to fire him.

Gillis claims that he “pushes boundaries” and “requires risks,” but his cheap laughs lack originality. His self-described “nice racism” regurgitates harmful stereotypes that date back 170 years to when Chinese sought their fortunes in California’s Gold Rush.

He could ridicule Chinatowns, products of American racial segregation and housing and labor discrimination, because he has enjoyed the privilege to live, work and move freely.

He still criticized an immigrant’s shaky English, even though he briefly lived in Spain without a firm command of its language, complaining that “Spain is pretty bad at speaking English.”

Jokes based on a lack of understanding are not comedy. They are incompetence. Let’s give fresh voices the chance to surprise us and introduce different, long-excluded viewpoints. It’s about time.

Andrew L. Chang

San Francisco

A feast of riches via YouTube

Regarding “Hooked on YouTube” [Sept. 19]: I find YouTube to be an endless source of arts, culture and history from walks through cities, galleries and all kinds of unexpected esoterica, to opera, music of various lands, etc.

Imagine my astonishment upon reading Mary McNamara’s overdosing on food shows. Couldn’t you direct your children to these other subjects that would enrich their lives?

Michele Segina

Los Angeles

‘Roy Cohn’ has broader lessons

Regarding: “The Life of a Monster Manipulator,” Justin Chang’s review of “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” [Sept. 20]: This documentary should be required viewing by all who continue to support and be duped by our current president.

Babette Wilk

Valley Village

Thumbs up for this reviewer

I hope The Times realizes what a prize it has in film critic Justin Chang. Clear, concise, conveying the story line without telling the story, day in and day out, without fail.

John Snyder

Newbury Park

A classy music pick in ‘Hustlers’

Regarding “How ‘Hustlers’ Scored Perfect Music” [Sept. 18]: I also thought the inclusion of Chopin Etudes was an inspired and moving choice.

Sean O’Connor

Pasadena

Not just a matter of taste

Regarding “Mogul at 80 Is Still a Risk Taker” [Sept. 22]: Is it just me, or was Jeffrey Fleishman’s opening paragraph on 80-year old Bob Shaye, founder of New Line Cinema, a bit disturbing?

Apparently, his house is filled with photos, drawings, and paintings of nude or semi-nude women, some erotic, some not, including a nude statue on his lawn.

Shaye is quoted as saying, “I like women. But not in an abhorrent way.” Yeah, and I like food, but I don’t have pictures of cheeseburgers on my walls.

David Macaray

Rowland Heights

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