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PopHampton: Debra Messing vs. Candice Bergen 2018, a Glittering Showdown

A '90s reboot face off! Who will win the Golden Globe?

The Golden Globe nominations were announced last week and two fabulous East End ladies are being recognized for their exemplary work in the same category. Debra Messing and Candice Bergen have been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and both are more than worthy of the honor. Let’s take a look and make a case for both.

Messing is nominated for Will & Grace. The beloved 1990s/early-2000s sitcom about a gay man, Will, (Eric McCormack) and his best friend Grace (Messing) living together in Manhattan returned last year to much fanfare. The original show was cutting edge for its time, with its fully fleshed out gay characters and themes, but times have since changed and the revival often felt dated in its first new season.

But its second season has delved into more timely topics including the #MeToo movement. In one particularly powerful episode, Grace confronted her father (Robert Klein) about her being sexually assaulted by his friend when she was a teenager. The moment came seemingly out of nowhere, and Grace and her father had a frank discussion about how it affected her outlook in life. Messing was devastating in the scenes, showing a vulnerable, serious side to the usually goofy and high-strung woman.

Bergen, of course, is nominated for the revival of Murphy Brown. Also a revival of a beloved 1990s sitcom, Murphy Brown follows the trials and tribulations of the titular news anchor as she navigates everything from office politics to, well, real politics.

Unlike Will & Grace’s reboot, Murphy Brown opened with a slightly different premise than the original show, with Murphy coming out of retirement to host a new morning news show in the wake of Donald Trump being elected president. She then realizes that her main competitor is her son, Avery (Jake McDorman), whose own morning news show airs at the same time on an opposing network.

The show, which follows in the original’s footsteps, tackles touchy topics (including taking a decidedly liberal stance on the current political climate). In a recent episode, one of Murphy’s colleagues and friends is assaulted at a Trump rally, causing her to reconsider her aggressive reporting against the president. She ultimately realizes that she can’t back down in response to the fear mongering.

Both women are incredibly strong contenders to win the Golden Globe. The other three nominees—Kristen Bell (The Good Place), Alison Brie (Glow) and Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)—are also talented actresses, but don’t have the storied pedigree of Messing or Bergen (and let’s face it, they aren’t East Enders).

Best of luck to all women nominated! The 76th Golden Globe Awards airs Sunday, January 6 on NBC.

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