Why Megan Amram’s devious, totally by-the-rules bid to win a best actress Emmy could work

Television Critic

My favorite Emmys are the ones for short-form series, because the bar to entry is set so low. Anyone with a smart phone and the most basic internet skills can produce an Emmy-eligible series, in a couple of minutes. Six episodes under 15 minutes posted online is all it takes. A series six seconds long could technically, if not conceivably, win an Emmy, and that this will never happen does not make me any less happy about the possibility.

In 2016, the Television Academy in its wisdom (no irony intended) added best actor and actress categories to its short-form awards. In “An Emmy for Megan,” Twitter tweeter, occasional internet guerrilla artist and well-credentialed TV writer Megan Amram (“The Good Place,” “Silicon Valley,” “Childrens Hospital,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Kroll Show”), has taken this fact and ran with it, creating a web series about creating a web series in order to win herself a best actress Emmy.


“Hi, my name is Megan Amram, but a fictionalized version of myself for this web series,” she says at the start of the series, now playing on Vimeo. (The title below her face reads, “Television Writer / Fictionalized Version.”). Recounting the minimal requirements for entry she says, “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I could win that.’” What follows is a carefully staged, low-budget, metafictional exercise in minimal effort, cheery hubris and textbook overacting.

The first episode runs a little more than six minutes; subsequent episodes become increasingly shorter toward the series’ middle, then edge back up over six minutes for a melodramatic finish featuring D’Arcy Carden (Janet on “The Good Place”). Episode four, which clocks in at 2:21 (“I just realized something — there’s no minimum time requirement for an episode — thanks for watching episode four”), is mostly phone messages from famous people Amram knows, including Ted Danson, Seth Rogen, Ru Paul and Jimmy Kimmel, assuring her that victory is hers.

Elsewhere, she gets out her fiddle (“I didn’t play violin on and off for 14 years to not use it in my Emmy Award-winning role”); performs a truly astonishing “Star-Spangled Banner”; discusses diversity with Daily Beast writer and GQ contributor Ira Madison III (“I’ve been secretly calling this Megan’s White Series instead of Web Series,” he tells Amram); confuses her friends, and confers with her colleagues.

“I saw the dailies,” says manager Clifford Murray, who might actually be her manger. “You are so talented, and I guarantee you will likely be nominated for this award.”

“That is so good to hear,” says Amram, “because that is truly why I’m doing this.”


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Follow Robert Lloyd on Twitter @LATimesTVLloyd