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Emmy Circuit: With ‘South Park’ Left Out in the Cold, ‘Bojack Horseman’ Races For Beginner’s Luck

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series. We are now in the Emmy post-nomination phase, where we watch all the nominated Emmy episodes and predict their chances of winning. The Creative Arts Emmy winners will be revealed Saturday, Sept. 14, while the Primetime Emmy Awards airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22. Tune in week after week as we tackle all things Drama, Comedy, Limited Series and Variety.


Despite “South Park’s” shocking omission from the nomination slate, this year’s crop of “Animated Program” Emmy contenders is one of its strongest ever. Netflix pole-vaulted from zero to two shows among the nominees, while Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” was given a seat at the adult’s table for its farewell season. FOX’s “The Simpsons” celebrated its 27th Emmy nomination for its jaw-dropping 30th year on American television screens. Finally, “Bob’s Burgers” continues to serve one deliciously funny season after the next, all the while never appearing too pompous for its own good — a regrettable trait “South Park” exhibited for far too long. Each competitor offers ample reasons for receiving television’s most coveted accolade, although only one can reign supreme once the envelope is opened. Before that time arrives, let’s take a look at each show’s prospects.

And the Nominees Are…

  • “Adventure Time: Come Along With Me” (Cartoon Network)
  • “Big Mouth” (Netflix)
  • “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix)
  • “Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
  • “The Simpsons” (FOX)

“Adventure Time: Come Along With Me”

What presumably cost Comedy Central’s long-running “South Park” a spot in this lineup is “Adventure Time’s” sentimental sendoff, compiled from a four-episode special. For its past nine seasons, Cartoon Network’s popular, albeit under-appreciated, fantasy comedy only qualified in the “Short-format Animation” category. Thanks to the unique series finale presentation, the eight-time Emmy winning program became eligible to be judged alongside its more mature contemporaries. Even those unfamiliar with the series know how much of a seminal mark it has left on the genre. The philosophical and self-reflective musings of shows like “BoJack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty” can be attributed to the legacy left by “Adventure Time’s” mature writing. Possibly holding it back from a win this year is ironically what qualified its participation, as the Academy at large would prefer to honor a full-length episodic animated series.

“Big Mouth”

The raunchy animated series surrounding middle school puberty was overlooked by the television academy for its inaugural season, but its sophomore year made the honor roll. The beloved hormone monsters are what distinguish the series, though its A-list voice cast and creator Nick Kroll’s open dialogue approach make it must-see television. Less critically acclaimed than studio sibling “BoJack Horseman,” “Big Mouth” is more of a popular inclusion than a prestige one. Vote-splitting with the aforementioned dark satire could leave the pubescent comedy in the losers’ club. Furthermore, a recently announced six-season renewal means the academy won’t be scrambling to recognize it like other programs reaching their respective swan songs.

“Bob’s Burgers”

With eight nominations and two wins, “Bob’s Burgers” has become the default choice for years with unappealing competition. Quality consistency has been the FOX sitcom’s biggest advantage across its tenure, though it’s never been the most exciting show in the mix. Given how network television is slowly making a transition to ancient relic, the chances of a win here have diminished drastically. Still, if Academy voters can’t collectively decide on the “It” animated program of the year, “Bob’s Burgers” is the non-controversial, least contestable decision. Creator Loren Bouchard’s odds for snagging another Emmy will escalate next year following the program’s feature film debut.

“BoJack Horseman”

After consecutive seasons of being ignored, most resigned themselves to the fact that Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s brilliant animated dramedy would go its entire run without Emmy recognition. The fifth season proved the delayed charm, as the television academy finally embraced Netflix’s, critical darling. Its titular character’s depressing journey as a has-been television star attempting a comeback has left a profound effect on its viewers. When the introspective episodes land, they cut deep to the hear of its audience, leaving fans with sobering catharsis. The series holds a depressing mirror up to Hollywood’s industrial face – which may be the reason behind its former exclusion – but its satirical approach upholds its comedic value. An Emmy win for “BoJack Horseman” means Hollywood is making strides toward acknowledging their darker tendencies.

“The Simpsons”

If an anniversary victory is in store, look to Matt Groening’s longest-running animated sitcom to score. “The Simpsons” is nominated for its 30th season on television, and with 27 nominations under its belt in the category, there’s no debating its position as the Meryl Streep of animated programming. Known as the great event predictor, “The Simpsons” remains relevant to the bizarre times we find ourselves never escaping. While its popularity has somewhat dimmed over the years, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie will never fade from household-name status. Because of its seniority and milestone birthday of sorts, “The Simpsons” could find itself an Emmy champion for the first time in eleven years.


  1. “BoJack Horseman” (Netflix)
  2. “The Simpsons” (FOX)
  3. “Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
  4. “Adventure Time: Come Along With Me”
  5. “Big Mouth” (Netflix)

Will and Should Win: “BoJack Horseman”

Should Have Been Nominated: “Tuca & Bertie” (Netflix)

Which series do you think will win the Outstanding Animated Program this year? Let us know in the comments below.


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Written by Joseph Braverman

My name is Joseph Braverman. I am 31 years old and a graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Digital Media. I love watching and analyzing films and television shows. I live in Los Angeles, CA, enmeshing myself in the movie industry scene in any way possible. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @JBAwardsCircuit.

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