TIME Television

Sons of Anarchy Showrunner: Emmy Snubs Always Hurt

Katey Sagal and Kurt Sutter of "Sons of Anarchy"
Actress Katey Sagal and Sons of Anarchy series creator Kurt Sutter. Amanda Edwards—WireImage

Kurt Sutter's series was shut out yet again in the award show's major categories — but there are others with more cause for complaint

Kurt Sutter, the tempestuous showrunner of Sons of Anarchy, has never been one to keep his views to himself — so it’s little surprise that he decided to share his feelings in the wake yesterday’s Emmy nominations, which shut out the show in all of the major categories. The omission is nothing new for the popular FX biker drama, which has received just two nominations — both for music — over the course of its six seasons.

And while Sutter has lashed out at the snubs in years past, this year, he offered a more subdued analysis at NikkiFinke.com:

And yet knowing all of that, I still suffer the emotional and spiritual depletion every July when ‘Sons of Anarchy’ gets zero nominations in all major categories. While other f—ing shows that ran out of story three seasons ago, still get tagged to step up to the show. To explain the feeling, I use an analogy from a part of our lives that probably best describes our industry – high school. Remember when that kid you hated from second period French had that big end of year party? You knew he was a lazy, self-important, pompous douchebag, and yet when you didn’t get the invitation, you sobbed into your Members Only jacket and a piece of youthful hope cracked off your soul and fell in dogs—t.

It’s a valuable counterpoint to all the many cast and crew members of great shows — both past and present — who say they aren’t bothered by a lack of recognition from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The common refrain is that series like The Wire and Deadwood and Arrested Development never scored a win in any of the major categories, and undeserving shows (Newsroom, anyone?) are often rewarded in spite of superior competition. Sutter has a retort for that: “Any artist who tells you they don’t want to be acknowledged and awarded by their peers is a fat f—ing liar.”

Sutter’s point is a valid one, but Sons of Anarchy may not be the best example of the Academy’s shortcomings. There’s little question that the show peaked creatively in Season Two (a fantastic campaign by virtually any metric) and has struggled to regain that level in subsequent years. Other, more deserving shows, including Hannibal, The Americans and Orphan Black, were largely ignored. It’s entirely possible that Sutter knows this and is still anguished over being snubbed back in 2010, but in either case, it’s refreshing to see someone say what everyone who suffered through Emmy-related disappointments yesterday must be feeling.

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