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Golden Globes: 'Enlightened' creator Mike White is 'happily shocked' by nominations

December 15, 2011 | 11:35 am

Mike White

For "Enlightened" creator Mike White, Thursday was a spiritual awakening of some sorts — or at least acceptance of an uncertain fate. 

His HBO series, which stars Laura Dern as a self-destructive woman determined to rebuild her life, got a much-needed morale boost when the Golden Globes nominations were announced. The show was recognized in the comedy category, and Dern got a nod for lead actress in a comedy.

"I’m pretty shocked, happily shocked," said White, who also penned "The School of Rock" and "The Good Girl." "I was hoping Laura would get nominated because she deserves it. I really never thought we would get nominated as a show because we’re not like, say, 'Homeland,' which was rallied around from the get-go."

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The series, which just wrapped its first season, wasn't exactly a ratings hit, so getting awards recognition is a welcomed boost: "Anything that people can point to, especially at a place like HBO where a lot of it not about the bottom line and ratings, it's great to have this kind of ammunition," White said. "I’ll still have to grovel, but not as much."

When asked why he suspects the dramedy hasn't generated viewer buzz, White pointed to its timeslot and because it isn't always the easiest show to watch.

"Honestly, I feel if we had been on Sundays, things would have been different," he said. "It’s a challenging show, I know.… It's a show that sheds its skin every week. So it’s not like you go in week and know what I’m getting this week from 'Enlightened.' ... It's not like a 'Homeland' where you have those juicy plots. It’s a show about a divisive person, and its tone is unusual. I never expected it to be a huge boffo hit; at the same time I felt that if people took the time to check it out, people would like that it was doing something cool and different. This nomination just helps us to keep making that case."

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White said a decision on whether the series will return for a second season has not been made.

"You hope with a nomination like this, you could get another season," he said. "Maybe one day we’ll look back on this and laugh. There may be a future here and one that’s much bigger than where we’re at."


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— Martin Miller and Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Mike White as Tyler and Laura Dern as Amy in "Enlightened." Credit: HBO.