Yay, Peter Scolari snagged an Emmy (last week at the Creative Emmys) for his guest work on Girls, but he wasn’t supposed to have gotten it. Peter MacNicol was nominated for his role on VEEP. He was disqualified, however because his role fell out of the boundaries of a guest appearance as he was in over 50% of the season. Oops, that slipped Scolari into contention and looked what happened. Known best on HBO as Hannah Horvath’s ostentatious father Tad, Peter Scolari has been nominated several times before but finally scored his first win. Tad’s character arc on the show has been, in my opinion, one of the more rewarding stories. In the beginning, his character was more often shown engaging with his wife (played by Becky Ann Baker) in different activities and worrying about Hannah (Lena Dunham).
But as the seasons progressed, Tad became more distant and in a revelation near the end of season four announced that he was gay. The announcement came as a surprise to his wife, who does not handle the news well. And Hannah has to learn how to see her father for who he truly is. As season five progressed, we saw a man knowing who he is but learning how to make that happen. Scolari embraces this challenge beautifully and provides a fantastic journey into the complexity of the character.
Scolari sat down with Variety to discuss the depth and frustration of what he calls “somebody in such a challenged, non-winning state.” Tad spends most of his time on the show hiding who he truly is, which would of course be frustrating and disappointing. Getting used to hiding part of yourself may be challenging but with enough practice can become second nature. Deciding to finally try and be your true nature, after denying it for so long, is not as easy as it seems. Tad sees the devolution of his relationship with his wife, who is also his best friend. Scolari and Baker portray this complicated relationship with great grace.
In his interview, Scolari discusses the difference in nominations from his 30s to now his 60s. “When you’re 35 and nominated for an Emmy, you give fist pumps and high fives. But at 60, I felt something closer to tears than to joy. I thought how lucky I was, and that I need to count my blessings.” Scolari admitted to looking at the submissions, seeing that out of over 100 submissions he would become one of six nominated, and the one to win. Proving that dedication and hard work mean everything. Scolari closed out the interview with this advice for young actors: “But I see in my children that if the work ethic is profound, you have to follow your dream. It will serve you well. Even if you never get your dream, or all the things you want, it will revitalize your character and help you, because you tried.” The interview can be read here with more of Scolari’s insights on working in film, his friends in the field, and a deeper look into his character Tad Horvath. Cheers to you sir!