What’s it going to take for “Better Call Saul” to finally win an Emmy? As we all know, this is the absolute last opportunity for the show to score a prize — any prize. Thanks to AMC’s decision to split the show’s final season into two halves, we still have the show’s final six episodes for your consideration — and even though we said goodbye to “Saul” nearly a year ago, it still deserves attention.
And of course, at the top of that list is star Bob Odenkirk, who turned what began as a guest spot on “Breaking Bad” into one of the most iconic characters in TV history. Last year we finally got an Emmy nomination for Rhea Seehorn, and the show overall has landed 46 noms over the years. But that’s not enough.
I don’t hide my love for “Saul.” I’ve been a fan of the show from the very beginning — which wasn’t hard, I know, since we were all “Breaking Bad” obsessives before that. But I’ve felt a special connection to the Vince Gilligan-iverse ever since I had the honor of moderating the first “Breaking Bad” panel at Comic-Con in 2012, and I’ve been moderating “Saul” panels from the beginning.
So yes, I’m biased. No bones about it. But don’t listen to me. Listen to American treasure Carol Burnett instead. The iconic superstar wound up in a pivotal role in those last six episodes of “Saul” as Marion, an elderly woman who winds up dropping a dime on Saul Goodman – by then going under the alias Gene Takavic — after he enlists her son in some crime.
“I was a big fan of ‘Breaking Bad’ and I knew Vince Gilligan, he’s a buddy and a friend,” Burnett recently told me. “When they started ‘Better Call Saul,’ I got hooked on that. We were having dinner one night and he said, ‘you know, maybe I’ll write something for you for Saul.’ I said, I don’t care if it’s one sentence. I’ll be there. Because I just love their writing. I spent two and a half months in New Mexico doing that and it was just a delight.”
Burnett is also a huge fan of Odenkirk, which makes complete sense: Two comedians who changed the game for sketch comedy — “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Mr. Show” among the most influential in history. Burnett says if she had a show today, Odenkirk would top her list of wish list guests.
Which is no surprise. Odenkirk can do it all. His memoir even eludes to that in the title: “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama.” Odenkirk’s transition from sketch comedian to lauded dramatic actor to… action hero (“Nobody”) is now legendary. And by the way, Odenkirk’s physical transformation for “Nobody” – which gave him the best shape of his life – probably also saved his life, when he survived a serious heart attack on the set of “Saul.”
We’re lucky Bob Odenkirk is still with us. And lucky he even has another series for us to enjoy. And it’s even appropriately named “Lucky Hank.”
But back to “Better Call Saul.” Because Emmy voting is a bit of a crap shoot, sometimes the award misses out on recognizing a landmark show or actor before that series ends. Steve Carell never won an Emmy for “The Office,” and “Parks & Recreation” never won an Emmy at all (including for star Amy Poehler) — just two examples of Emmy injustices. I fear we’re about to experience another one. Odenkirk at least does already have two Emmys — both in writing for a variety or music program, via “Saturday Night Live” in 1989 and “The Ben Stiller Show” in 1993. That was 30 years ago — and it’s time. Somehow, somewhere, Emmy better award “Saul.”