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Comedy is the new drama for ‘Orange’ awards bids

This is where the word “dramedy” stops being a useful descriptor and starts getting confusing. Netflix has decided that its hit series “Orange Is the New Black,” the critically adored dramedy that debuted last summer, officially falls in the comedy category – for the purpose of award season, anyway. Previously, the show about life in a women’s prison had been submitted to the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as a drama.

That’s no longer the case: “ ‘Orange Is the New Black’ is moving to the comedy category for all awards consideration moving forward,” a Netflix representative confirmed.

Why is that? When we asked, the rep pointed us to a statement Netflix released to the Hollywood Reporter: “Creator Jenji Kohan’s vision has been uncompromising, and while the show tackles real issues, it does so through its use of humor,” it read. “ ‘Orange’ uniquely blends comedy and drama in its hour-long episodes and simply defies standard categorization.”

Well, by “defying standard categorization,” they could mean that the show does really well when it’s considered a comedy series, and not so much as a drama. When submitted as a comedy, “Orange” landed multiple nominations at the Writers Guild of America Awards and won several Satellite Awards, including best comedy series. On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Orange” got left in the dust when submitted as a drama, picking up one lone nomination (Taylor Schilling for lead actress) at the Golden Globes, and was snubbed at the SAG Awards.

So, Netflix reversed course before the Emmys. Smart move. It was puzzling why the show had ever been in the drama category. As a dark comedy following the interwoven stories of various women in lockup, it usually lands more on the “funny” side.

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