Four of the six best song nominees in this year’s Emmy competition are from series that are seemingly over. Might voters choose one of these as a farewell salute to a favorite program – or one of two comedic songs from a popular series or biopic of a beloved satirist?
The departing (?) “Ted Lasso” has two songs in contention. “Fought & Lost,” from the penultimate episode, has the anthemic qualities of a Queen classic; in fact, composer Tom Howe brought Sam Ryder on board as singer and co-writer after he saw Ryder perform with Queen at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Howe and old friend, songwriter Jamie Hartman, started the tune at the suggestion of producer-star Jason Sudeikis, long before there was any footage of season 3. But when Howe saw the end of “Mom City,” he knew where the song should go. “It felt like the most important moment in the whole season arc,” he says. “That’s when Ted decides he’s going to go home.”
Well-known English football fan Ed Sheeran (with producer Max Martin and co-writer Foy Vance) contributed another song, “A Beautiful Game,” to a farewell montage in the final episode of the Apple TV+ breakout hit.
Another fan favorite, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” bowed out in May. Songwriters Curtis Moore and Thomas Mizer wrote several songs for the wacky industrial musicals of episode 4, and the big garbage-hauler number, “Your Personal Trash Man Can,” has been nominated.
They imagined themselves as up-and-coming musical theater writers in the early ’60s, following creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s detailed plan for “tap-dancing guys with trash-can lids on their feet,” says Mizer. “This was to be the entertainment centerpiece, a big brassy MGM-style salute to Gene Kelly.”
It was a lyrical challenge, however. “‘Private waste management’ is the least lyrical set of words you’ve ever heard,” says Moore with a laugh. They cast the quartet of hoofers and were on hand to advise during the lavish staging at the Bronx Armory.
Allyson Newman and Heather McIntosh, who’ve been composing the scores for “The L Word: Generation Q,” called in Oscar-nominated songwriter Taura Stinson to collaborate on the songs for the musical episode during season 3. They wrote “All About Me” to showcase the character of Sophie (Rosanny Zayas).
“This song is about empowerment, standing up for oneself and finding your voice, says Newman. “It really is a true representation of the show as a whole, and an anthem for queer people.”
Adds Stinson: “As a songwriter, a Black woman in Hollywood, it’s tough. The feelings behind every word came from our souls and our experiences in this business.”
Lili Haydn and Ben Bromfield fielded a very different challenge for Netflix’s “Ginny & Georgia”: songs for a high-school musical set in the Victorian era with a Jane Austen feel. The nominated “Marriage Is a Dungeon” is a comic duet for a villainess and an ingenue (characters Max and Bracia, played and sung by Sara Waisglass and Tameka Griffiths).
The song title is something that was actually said to Haydn. “They were the last words of my grandmother’s evil older sister before she died,” she reveals. “It was such a musical phrase, so funny, and distilled everything we needed the song to say.”
Bromfield – who attended high school with series creator Sarah Lampert – modeled the show’s pit band after one he led at school. “We wanted the feeling of a high school pit band instead of a Broadway band,” he notes.
The wild card is Al Yankovic’s song “Now You Know,” which adorns the closing credits of the biopic “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.” He sums up the movie (“Every word is true, I swear”) and pokes fun at the seemingly endless credit rolls of most modern movies.