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EW Community MVP of the Week: Emma Rose Kenney

MVP of the Week | Week of Apr 2–8

The EW Community was built by and for people who love television. And we, the writers of the EW Community, especially love it when we get to witness brilliance in our favorite medium. Every week, we are blown away by a few showstopping performances.

In this regular column, “EW Community TV MVP of the Week,” we honor the actors who gave this week’s most commanding performances.

MVP of the Week:

Emma Rose Kenney as Debbie Gallagher
Shameless, “Love Songs (in the Key of Gallagher)”

Photo credit: Showtime

Season five of Shameless may have been described by some critics as uneven or disappointing, but one thing that has been consistently wonderful is Emma Rose Kenney’s portrayal of Debbie. Shameless has always been a show that highlights the effects of absentee parents on their children; this year, Debbie is the biggest casualty. She is navigating the world of adolescence entirely on her own. Her sister Fiona, once a solid presence in her life, has all but disappeared.

In this season’s finale, Debbie finds herself, at 14, contemplating pregnancy. The circumstances that have led her here are layered and complex, and Kenney does a remarkable job conveying all the ways that she has been hurt along the way. Debbie’s choices are unfortunate and desperate, but Kenney’s ability to make us feel her anguish at being abandoned, her resentment over her sister’s hypocrisy, and her deep yearning to be a part of something whole make it easier for us to understand her motivations.

Emma Kenney is one of the younger cast members in a very talented ensemble, but she has proven herself more than capable of keeping up. Shameless has been renewed for a sixth season, so get ready for more greatness from this rising star. —Tamar Barbash

ALSO NOTABLE:

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
Outlander,
“The Reckoning”

Photo credit: Starz

Droughtlander is finally over! After a six-month hiatus, the time-traveling drama series Outlander returned this past Saturday. The series picks up with the tale of Claire and Jamie, but the show decided to switch things up a bit. After strictly being told from Claire’s point of view, the return episode, “The Reckoning,” was told from Jamie’s POV. The Outlander fandom has fallen head over heels with Sam Heughan’s depiction of the almost-too-good-to-be-true Jamie Fraser, but Heughan’s performance in “The Reckoning” proves he is more than just a pretty face. Heughan adds a dimension to the hunky Scottish warrior. We see Jamie as a husband, friend, political player, and progressive 18th-century man. Plus, whose heart did not melt when Jamie told Claire, “You’re tearing my guys out”? Sláinte, Sam Heughan, on a great Jamie Fraser performance—and hopefully many more to come! —Kait Calabro

Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Mad
Men, “Severance”

Photo credit: AMC

As Mad Men returned for the second half of its seventh and final season, all eyes were focused on Jon Hamm’s Don Draper. Don Draper may have entered the 1970s looking like a relic of the prior decade, but his combination of swagger and despair permeated through the episode, thanks to Hamm’s ability to command every scene he’s in. The episode (and emotions) ran the gamut, from his learning that Rachel Menken had passed away to his alley indiscretion with the aptly named waitress Di. Don is clearly as complicated as ever.

It remains to be seen whether the Emmys will finally reward Hamm for his run on the critically acclaimed show, but there remains no doubt he has earned every ounce of accolades and praise sent his way. —Karen Belgrad

 

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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