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Orange is the New Black was snubbed at the Golden Globes. The show has only itself to blame.
With a tweak, the popular show could have put itself in a better position to bring home some hardware
Taylor Schilling (left) got a nod; co-stars such as Uzo Aduba did not.
Taylor Schilling (left) got a nod; co-stars such as Uzo Aduba did not. (Facebook/Orange is the New Black)
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he announcement of the Golden Globe nominees this morning brought its usual set of snubs, hot off the tails of yesterday's list of Screen Actors Guild awards nods. Most people are buzzing about how Homeland, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men were overlooked, but just as jarring was the cold shoulder shown to Netflix's critically acclaimed new series, Orange is the New Black.

To be fair OITNB was not completely ignored. The lead actress, Taylor Schilling, earned a nomination for Best Actress in a TV Series Drama.

But the radio silence in all other categories was glaring, especially since the strongest praise for the shown has often been reserved for its supporting cast. The fact that it earned no SAG nominations at all — not even for the ensemble category — was even more striking.

Of course, OITNB was hardly the only show in that category to be snubbed by the Golden Globes. Mad Men, which has earned a Golden Globe Best Television Series Drama nomination for every previous season, stands out, as does Homeland, which won for Best Drama and Best Actress in a Drama last year.

However, both of the series had arguably their worst seasons to date, and critics weren't afraid to note it. And there was a lot of competition in the drama category — there was Breaking Bad, the even shinier and newer Masters of Sex, and Downton Abbey, to name three.

Meanwhile, in the comedy category, some old favorites glided to nominations even though their most recent seasons haven't been up to par — I'm looking at you, Modern Family, and I'm not even sure why The Big Bang Theory is there at all.

And that brings us to what ultimately led to the downfall of OITNB. With old favorites getting pushed out, OITNB wasn't going to have a prayer in the drama category, especially since most people don't consider it a drama at all.

The show's tone and structure are pretty similar to creator Jenji Kohan's Weeds, which, while dark, was consistently slotted in the comedy category. Sure, OITNB isn't as lighthearted as Modern Family, and by no means does it follow the typical conventions of a sitcom. But even its Netflix description says it's a "hilarious new series."

Alanna Bennett at Bustle noted in November that Netflix's decision to submit OITNB as a drama "was a risky one." It meant no longer competing with "cable dramedies" like Girls or Nurse Jackie.

And it's even harder to have a shot in a tight race when critics aren't even sure if you should be competing in that category. Confusing voters by muddying its category — and therefore the whole concept of the series — certainly didn't pay off the way Netflix hoped.

Emily Shire is chief researcher for The Week magazine. She has written about pop culture, religion, and women and gender issues at publications including Slate, The Forward, and Jewcy.

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