After a week of ferocious campaigning (look, we aren’t even sorry for letting our biases show when it came to the WTF moment) and fervent voting, the winners of the Fifth Annual Feelies are here. Some of the races were runaways (there was no going back for Will & Grace once this lady named Debra Messing got involved) while others were nailbiters (WTF came down to a THREE VOTE margin). We have some new blood in our winners, and we have some repeat winners. All of the nominees were worthy of the crown. Did your fave actually get to wear it? Read on to find out! — Kim
Best Comedy: The Good Place
Your favorite TV comedy wasn’t even nominated for the Emmy this year, which just goes to show that it’s far from a definitive system. Because The Good Place deserves to be rewarded, as ambitious and conceptual and silly and gloriously acted as it is. In Season 2, the show somehow built on that iconic Season 1 cliffhanger twist, instead of never living up to it again, solidifying Team Cockroach and expanding its own well-crafted universe. There were unexpectedly sweet pairings, low-key ethics lessons, and – my favorite – the evolution of Michael, who let the humans get under his demon skin and stay there. It’s high-minded, it genuinely cares about putting more good into the world, and yet The Good Place is still laugh out loud hilarious and the place to go when you want pinpoint specific jokes about Jacksonville, Florida. A masterpiece in the making. — Sage
Best Drama: This Is Us
This is Us had to nail its second season. The first was a resounding success; they’d established a twisty style, laid down some phenomenal character moments – all acted to PERFECTION, mind you – and yes, they’d veered into the emotionally manipulative one (or two…or three) too many times. So everything was riding on the follow through – and they delivered. This is Us somehow managed to both break their own mold and lean into it at the same time; we got episodes focusing just on each of the Big Three from childhood on, we got the spouse hang we never knew we always needed, we got Deja, we got William flashbacks that were ALWAYS the greatest parts of their episodes. THEY EVEN TURNED THE TIDE ON TOBY, Y’ALL. Season two more than stuck the landing with a wedding, more flash forwards than I knew what to do with, and a masterful exhale that left me feeling like we were on the precipice of a whole new evolution to the show. We’re back in about a month and I can’t wait to see what’s next. — Shannon
Best Actress in a Comedy: Debra Messing, Will & Grace
The return of Will & Grace was a much-needed ray of positive light amidst the never-ending dumpster fire we’ve been stuck in. And a good deal of that positive light is Debra Messing’s doing. Going into the revival, Debra said she asked for Grace to be a feminist, and good god, socially aware Grace is a very rewarding Grace. In the course of this season, she offered up some brilliant words of wisdom, whether as a woman in 1912 full of hope that things will be better in the future (“This country is built on lettin’ more people enjoy its great freedoms, not keepin’ people down.”), or as a woman in 2018 who refuses to have her achievements diminished because she didn’t dedicate her life to starting a family. (“I’m happy. Which means I made the right choices. And if you’re happy, that means you did, too. And we should be applauding each other.”)
But make no mistake, she’s still the Grace that we know and love, the one who hides shame pizza in the vegetable crisper and sets up coffee dates with three different men in the same family just to keep them quiet and maybe get some biscotti out of it. And Debra still has the physical comedy chops that deserve all those comparisons to Lucille Ball, whether it’s a faceplant into a cake, literally keeping her head above water in an oddly programed smart shower, or a good old-fashioned pillow fight in the Oval Office. This season was a wonderful homecoming, and Debra showed us all the reasons why we fell in love with Grace the first time around, all the while adding a couple more points to the list. She is an absolute force to be reckoned with, and we are so lucky to have her back on Riverside Drive. Never leave me again, Grace Adler. –Sarah
Best Actress in a Drama: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Tatiana Maslaney’s performance in Orphan Black is going to go down in history as one of the greatest Female television performances of all time, genre television or not. It kind of blows my mind that Tat hasn’t taken home the Feelie since our inaugural year, because I always think of her as being the best of the best. It’s only fitting that she returns to the top of the heap for Orphan Black‘s triumphant final season. What forever amazes me about Tatiana is how she makes each clone so different from the Icy Rachel Duncan to bubbly but takes no shit Krystal to tormented Beth to compassionate Cosima to uptight Alison to the WONDER that is Helena to ferocity that is Sarah Manning. Everyone has their fave clone that is so easy to forget that they are ALL Tatiana. I don’t think we’ll ever see the likes of such a performance again. –Kim
Best Actor in a Comedy: Ted Danson, The Good Place
Readers, National Treasure Ted Danson is now a two-time Feelies winner.
Look, not an episode of the official Good Place podcast goes by where whoever the guest is doesn’t make mention of what a hard worker, kind person, and generous scene partner he is, which is why this comedy legend slots so well into this ensemble of (mostly) newcomers. He’s never trying to outshine, he’s always right on the level the moment requires, and he makes everyone around him look even better. Maybe that sounds like I’m describing a supporting actor, but sometimes leading is about supporting, ya know?
Also I’m still recovering from the sight of him behind a bar in the Season 2 finale. This gif actually gives me goosebumps. –Sage
Best Actor in a Drama: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Sterling K. Brown is just going to keep getting better and better in this role. I don’t know HOW, when nearly every episode features a moment of acting so masterful it leaves me breathless, but I still don’t doubt that he’ll continue to outdo himself season after season. Year two of This is Us left Randall to his own devices in many ways, giving him everything he wanted – which is never as easy as we think at the time. Sterling K. Brown met every single challenge thrown at Randall with his heart wide open, perfect single tears falling down his face at every opportunity. From finally snapping at Kevin in rehab to quietly kneeling at the foot of Deja’s bed as she admitted just how tired she was, Sterling painted a complex, loving, imperfectly perfect portrait of a man staring down every emotional skeleton in his closet. He is holding weekly master classes in jewel toned hot dad sweaters and I love every minute of it. — Shannon
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
Listen, I will praise Megan Mullally until the end of my days; that woman has my heart for life for so many reasons. She’s a comedic genius who can slide into the dramatic like nobody’s business, and she proved it this season while seamlessly slipping back into the role of Karen Walker. Guys, we are not worthy of this comedy powerhouse we have been blessed with; you can pick any episode from this season and find a sparkly Karen gem within it. Sex miming with Malcolm? Yes. Making an interactive telenovela out of the manse’s surveillance system to watch with her secret BFF Will? Give me more of that. And just for good measure, why not harken back to the days of yore, where Jack and Karen would slap the hell out of each other for distraction purposes? How could you not be on board?
Then, just as you’re starting to recover from laughing so hard it makes you hurt, “Rosario’s Quinceañera” comes along and you’re hurting in a completely different yet somehow equally satisfying way. Megan’s performance in those 30 minutes is easily one of the best I’ve ever seen from her. The way she went from over-the-top rage towards Jack while preparing for the funeral at the beginning of the episode to the moment when she finally says goodbye to Rosario at the end runs the gamut of emotions while keeping incredibly true to who Karen is at her core. To bring such a raw vulnerability to a character that is normally so off-the-wall and boundaryless is no easy feat, but Megan makes it look like a piece of cake. Honestly, I still can’t think about that final scene without wanting to cry a little. We should be showering her with awards on a regular basis.
First she takes the Feelies. Next (fingers crossed) she takes the Emmys. –Sarah
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Millie Bobby Brown was such a breakout in season one of Stranger Things that you had to wonder if she would be able to top herself in season two. We didn’t have to worry about though because, as Sage said in the nominee post, as Eleven got more verbal, Millie was able to go deeper and find the subtle nuances of the character. I think what impresses me the most about Millie is how she channels Eleven’s pure rage while never crossing over into Order of the Phoenix style angst and assholery. (Is that a word? It is now.) And then, of course, there’s the controversial Emo Eleven episode. It was a daring choice for Stranger Things to completely break from format and it spoke to the trust that the producers have in Millie Bobby Brown to put an entire episode on her (tiny) shoulders. She more than rose to the challenge, proving at the ripe old age of fourteen that she’s capable of carrying a series. I can’t wait to see what other tricks she has up her sleeve. — Kim
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
In the eleven years since we last saw him, Jack McFarland had to grow up a little. During the original run, he was someone who “gets involved in a million different relationships and never gets invested in any of them” (Grace’s words), he’d “flit from career to career” (Karen’s words), and he got so distraught over realizing he was 30 that he passed out at his own birthday party. But now? Now, he got invested in a monogamous relationship, he’s got a pretty stable job teaching theater to kids at a rec center, and he totally owned the fact that he is somebody’s grandfather. But don’t worry, kids: he’s still playing his own variation of The Floor Is Lava, irritating divas, and trying to find ways to make Father Time his bitch. It’s a testament to Sean Hayes’ talents as an actor to be able to show so much growth in Jack while still wholly maintaining the zany sidekick part of him. That balance has been perfect this season; the heavier moments and long-term relationships (for Jack, anyway) never seem out of place because of it. And it makes those moments that much more affecting. Sean is an expert at weaving his way between these two ends of the spectrum without once losing any of that Jack McFarland spark that we know and love. It makes me so excited to see what’s to come. –Sarah
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Noah Schnapp, Stranger Things
Did Stranger Things hit the jackpot with their child actors or what? All of the boys are spectacular in their own right, but season two in particular belonged to Noah Schnapp’s Will Byers. What amazes me about Noah is how mature and subtle his performance is. After spending most of season one lost in the upside down, we got to spend some quality time with Will Byers in season two and man did Noah go for the jugular. It would be very easy, in the hands of a lesser actor, for Will to veer into melodrama as he tried to process his otherworldly trauma while still dealing with the normal trauma of pre-adolescence. Not so with this kid. Noah is sensitive and delicate as Will while still having strength and determination at his core. It blows my mind that he is this good at thirteen years old because you know he’s only going to get better. — Kim
Best Shipper Moment: Eleanor and Chidi, The Good Place
Never forget that Eleanor and Chidi were paired up by Michael as “soulmates,” because he thought they were perfectly suited to make each other the most miserable, for all of eternity. So they weren’t exactly MFEO in a romantic way. But the fatal flaw of Neighborhood 12358W is that the demon didn’t account for the humans’ ability to change one another, which is how we got this moment. Early on in the season, we find out that there wasn’t one attempt – not one – where Eleanor asked Chidi for help and Chidi said no. (And the second most romantic moment between the two of them was probably when Chidi found out that Eleanor, under his influence, had been reading moral philosophy on her own for fun outside of their classes.) But they still had a looong way to go in Season 2, all paid off in the moment Chidi makes a snap decision for once in his forking life and just lays one on her. They’re starting from scratch again in Season 3, but I know they’ll make it back here eventually. It’s fate. –Sage
Best Warm Fuzzy: Mama Tammye and the Fab Five, Queer Eye
I didn’t realize how much I needed Queer Eye in my life until I sat down to watch the season premiere and ended up bawling my eyes out. In the dumpster fire that is 2018, the magical combination of Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Bobby, and my fairy godfather Jonathan was the warm fuzzy we didn’t deserve, but by God they gave it to us anyway because they are that goddamn pure. The entire show is like a warm blanket, your favorite comfort meal, and the softest puppy in the world all at once. The Fab Five are both our dads and our best friends. It is unfiltered optimism and acceptance in a world of cynicism and intolerance and we are so so so lucky to have it.
Honestly, we could have filled this entire category with just Queer Eye, but we settled on Mama Tammye because as Sage pointed out in the nominee post, this was about her giving back to these five amazing men, looking them in the eye, and telling them individually what makes them all so special and then telling them what makes them special as a group. Feeding the souls of the people, indeed. — Kim
Best Right in the Feels Moment: “Grandpa Jack”, Will & Grace
While I fully anticipated Elliot’s return to Will & Grace to bring about Jack’s foray into grandparenthood (it was too much of a goldmine to pass up), I did NOT anticipate such an emotional and important episode. But when you air a show like this on Spirit Day, what do you expect? It was one thing to see someone who is normally so youth obsessed immediately jump into the role of best grandfather ever. And Jack is the best grandfather ever, diving into his stash of props for his grandson, Skip, to take with him to what he assumes is a theater camp upstate. But when he learns that Elliot and his wife enrolled Skip in conversion camp, he shows no mercy on our feels.
His conversation with Skip outside of Camp Straighten Arrow gets you right from the start as he tells Skip, “This place can’t fix you, because you’re not broken.” And as he tells Skip all the things he so desperately needed to hear, it’s a one-two punch. There’s the heart-to-heart itself, where Jack makes sure his grandson knows that “You are exactly who you’re supposed to be,” of course. But you also know that Jack is recalling his own experiences as a gay man; his voice is so full of love when he talks about his chosen family that when he promises Skip that it gets better, you know he truly means it. Underneath that zany sidekick, there’s a man who will, in Elliot’s words, “drop everything to help someone he cares for live their truth,” and my heart and tears overflow because of it. We need shows like this, even in 2018. ESPECIALLY in 2018. And I am so glad that Will & Grace continues to be that beacon of love and hope that it always has been, that it continues to balance comedy with the weight of these imperative messages. –Sarah
Best “YAS QUEEN!” Moment: “Fuck that guy!”, GLOW
Much like a great punch line, the key to an unforgettable “Yas Queen” moment is twofold: setup and timing. GLOW had everything going for it in terms of setup. Ruth was feeling betrayed, indignant and ashamed after Debbie’s reaction to their producer’s sleezy-ass behavior. My dear darling Sam Sylvia was completely open-hearted after his film screening at the “I’m With the Banned” festival (god I love this show), with a dash of confusion and his own brand of indignation thrown in for good measure. All of this left me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how Sam would react to the real reason behind the show’s new timeslot, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t let me down.
Because Marc Maron is a goddamn stand up genius, his timing is impeccable. Maron makes us wait the PERFECT amount of time for his reaction. He leaves us hanging on the smallest of facial ticks. And because Sam Sylvia’s coked out heart is actually made of gold, what follows his initial challenge of “are you fucking kidding me?” is the purest “FUCK THAT GUY” I’ve ever heard. Sam doubles down and breaks into a stream of delightful curses, leaving Ruth (and me, and all of you, the correctly-voting public) to seal-clap with joy. My whole heart for that man. — Shannon
Best WTF Moment: Michael is ALIVE, Jane the Virgin
Did we step out of bounds and campaign for this moment? Maybe. But look, twists is what Jane the Virgin does. The show is in the twist business. But none of their prior shockers prepared me for the final moments of this most recent season, when Raf, who’d been acting strangely all episode, showed Jane into his apartment to meet her own DEAD HUSBAND. I watched the screener at work at my desk and actually stood up for the last minute, because I didn’t know what else to do.
Michael’s death was straightforward, as was the grieving process. It was brutal for everyone, so what makes this twist so affecting is imagining HOW it’s going to play out next year. Michael lied to Jane, obviously. And he’s dropping back into her life RIGHT as she and Rafael were finally ready to commit to each other. And what is ROGELIO going to think?? Michael’s reappearance sets up a whopper of a final season, so expect JTV to go out with a bang. –Sage
Thank you for your votes and your campaigning! And tell us what you think about the results in the comments!