EmmyWatch 2011: Comedy

23 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. In this, the third EmmyWatch post, we’ll take a look at the Comedy races…

COMEDY SERIES

There are groups in which you can divide the shows vying for this award. For starters, there are the two established new-ish hits, Modern Family (which won last year) and Glee, both coming off their second seasons and who are proven new contenders who people seem to think will ultimately battle each other for the top honor. Then there are the veteran bonafide hits, which are of course 30 Rock (a three-time winner of this award) and The Office  (a winner in 2006 and a nominee ever since). And then there are the ones trying to get into the conversation along with them, shows like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother, as well as Showtime hits like The Big C and Nurse Jackie and new critical hits like Parks and Recreation and Community. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out, though I think it’s pretty much sewn up already.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Community – Yes, this is my favorite comedy on television, it’s just sensationally inventive and has one of my Top 3 casts in all of television. The ratings have been sort of low, which may make it hard for it to get the nod, but I dearly hope it gets recognized.
  2. Parks and Recreation – Look, my #1 is Community, and this one is similar to that one in many ways. It’s part of NBC’s Thursday comedy block, it has the critical praises but not the great ratings, and it’s funny in extremely smart ways. However, unlike Community, I actually think this one actually has a shot at getting a nod.
  3. 30 Rock – Look, the fact that Modern Family ended its streak last year means nothing, this show is still absolutely incredible. It may not be as consistent as it once was, but when it’s firing on all cylinders it’s still the one to beat.
  4. Modern Family – It won last year for a reason, it gave us, in its very first season, the high quality comedy that veteran series would kill to have, and considering that it hasn’t let down even one bit on their second season you can sure as hell count on it to repeat.
  5. Eastbound & Down – Just because there’s not a single character even remotely similar to Kenny Powers on television right now, it may be too raunchy and dirty for Emmy voters but it certainly gets a slot on my list.
  6. The Office – I was torn between this one and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for my final slot, but come on, The Office just went through their final season with Steve Carell and handled the closing of Michael’s story perfectly, they definitely get on my list.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Modern Family – Read Personal 6. It’s still the one to beat.
  2. 30 Rock – The voters may think they did their part diversifying last year and giving to a new one, and now may be itching to reward their usual king.
  3. Glee – I’m guessing this will be the Top 3 in the actual ballots no matter what. I don’t think has nearly as good a shot with this group as they do with the Globes but they’ll certainly get the nod.
  4. The Office – Read Personal 6.
  5. Nurse Jackie – Yeah, they’ll probably make room for one, if not two, of the Showtime dramedies and this one has the better chance of getting it.
  6. The Big Bang Theory – It’s really weird that this show hasn’t gotten a nomination here, and I’m still not sure it will (I was thinking either this one, The Big C or Parks and Recreation), but Jim Parsons win for Lead Actor last year gave it momentum with this group.

LEAD ACTOR IN COMEDY SERIES

Last year the panorama changed quite a bit in this category, with Jim Parsons rising up to the plate to deny Alec Baldwin his third Emmy, will he prevail again this year? Or will Baldwin get it back? Or will Steve Carell finally get rewarded for his final season in The Office?

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Steve Carell (The Office) – Look, performance-wise he’d probably be #3 or so, but I’ve loved The Office since day 1, and it’s all because of what he did as Michael Scott. The fact that he’s never won one of these is an outrage I’d like to think the Emmy’s will be quick to resolve.
  2. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) – He was denied last year, but performance-wise I thought he was the best there was this year, but the sentimentality factor of Carell leaves him as my #2.
  3. Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down) – Like I said when talking about the show in my Personal 6 for Best Comedy, the guy plays a role that’s 100% unique in television right now, but the racy tones of the show may make it too hard for him to get a nod, as much as he deserves one.
  4. Joel McHale (Community) – The leading man of my favorite comedy on television, of course he was gonna get in my personal ballot. The Jeff Winger character is one that a lesser actor would’ve played straight as plain arrogant and sarcastic, but he gives him layers that make Jeff a total triumph.
  5. Louis C.K. (Louie) – The new season of this FX show premieres tomorrow, and I cannot wait. The guy is one of the funniest stand-up comedies around, if not the funniest, and he does everything in this show, just a genius.
  6. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) – I don’t like the show enough to put him higher on my list, but his performance is undeniably great, so of course he gets in on my list, and he’ll be higher on the actual ballots.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Steve Carell (The Office) – Read Personal 6. He’ll get a deserved full-series-achievement win, as well as he should.
  2. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) – I think he’d actually repeat were it not for Carell, even over Baldwin.
  3. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) – Read Personal 6.
  4. Matthew Morrison (Glee) – Why this guy keeps getting nominated I have no idea, the show really isn’t a comedy any more, just a musical dramedy, but alas, people love Glee so he’ll find a way to get in there again.
  5. Joel McHale (Community) – Read Personal 6.
  6. Matt LeBlanc (Episodes) – I was torn between him or Rob Lowe for Parks and Recreation, but LeBlanc was part of the Friends cast and the seven episodes of his Showtime series, in which he got to make fun of himself, were pretty damn great.

LEAD ACTRESS IN COMEDY SERIES

This category I’m having a not-so-easy time really cracking. Tina Fey is Tina Fey so you have to assume she’s in there, the Showtime leading ladies are all in there because they are superb actresses and their series are not straight-out comedies so they get heavier stuff to shine with, and then there might be a newcomer or two, we’ll have to wait and see…

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Tina Fey (30 Rock) – Look, she’s Tina Fey, she the most charming, likable, talented woman around, no other way around that.
  2. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – I actually nearly put her at #1 but that would mean saying someone’s better than Fey. Still, she’s amazing and on one of the finest comedies on TV, so I’ll be rooting for her.
  3. Patricia Heaton (The Middle) – She already has two of these from her time on Everybody Loves Raymond, and her work on The Middle has been consistently great.
  4. Toni Collette (United States of Tara) – Look, I actually really liked this show, and she already won this award a couple years ago, so the voters certainly like her. And I mean, the show was cancelled and aired its series finale a couple days ago so they should give her the nod as some tribute of sorts.
  5. Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) – She is the most underrated part of this ensemble. Jim Parsons and her male co-stars get all the attention, but she rocks at playing Penny and never gets the recognition. Now would be a good time to start.
  6. Laura Linney (The Big C) – She gets in on my personal list just because she’s Laura Linney and I love her, but her show isn’t really a comedy and I have strict feeling about the liberties people take with this category, but whatever, she shines in this show.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Laura Linney (The Big C) – She did make my Personal 6, but nowhere near this high. However, she just won the Globe and the Emmy’s have loved her in the past, so I think she’ll emerge victorious.
  2. Tina Fey (30 Rock) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) – The Showtime ladies will try to all get in here, and Falco is just awesome so she probably will.
  4. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – I’m wishing she comes out of nowhere and beats everyone because that’d be a true and deserved underdog victory, but my guess is that she’ll end up in the middle of the pack.
  5. Toni Collette (United States of Tara) – Yeah, three Showtime dramedy ladies in a comedy category. But hey, at least they’re all truly phenomenal actresses who rock at what they do.
  6. Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope) – I’m going with this great actress in a great role over Glee‘s Lea Michele because I hope the voters recognize actual comedic chops over musical ones.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN COMEDY SERIES

Or what should be called the Modern Family category, as all the cast members of that ensemble enter their names in the supporting races to embrace the fact that everyone is as important as each other on that show, a true family. So yeah, at the very most there will be only three other slots, maybe even just two, for actors from other series to nab.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) – By far the funniest guy on television, he has the coolest mustache on television as well, and I just hope Emmy voters bestow him with a nomination.
  2. Ty Burrell (Modern Family) – I’m including only two Modern Family guys but really all four of them could conceivably get in. Burrell is my favorite part of the show though, he’s perfect as the clumsy and lovable Phil.
  3. Danny Pudi (Community) – My favorite comedy on television, and Danny Pudi (as well as Donald Glover who would’ve gotten my #7 slot here) is a big part of that, he’s insanely funny and endearing as the very weird Abed.
  4. Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) – He missed out on a nod last year when the rest of his co-stars got one, and it was a rob, so please, Emmy voters, right your wrongs.
  5. Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) – Yeah, I’m going with Segel over Neil Patrick Harris for the HIMYM pick because the stuff he did with the darker storyline Marshall was given in this one was just tremendous.
  6. Ed Helms (The Office) – He got his biggest storyline yet with the love triangle he was involved in, and now that Carell is gone the show will probably use him to shoulder more of the burden, which is a good thing.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Ty Burrell (Modern Family) – I think Modern Family will completely dominate this category as long as it’s on the air, and this time I think (and hope) it’s Burrell that picks the trophy up.
  2. Chris Colfer (Glee) – I don’t have him on my Personal 6 because his best scenes are his dramatic ones and not the comedic ones, and this is a comedy category after all, but when he’s strong he’s strong and there’s no counting him out.
  3. Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) – He could conceivably repeat, but my guess is that he won’t, good as he might be.
  4. Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) – Yeah, I highly doubt they’ll leave the Pritchard family patriarch out this time.
  5. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) – Certainly look for him to be the HIMYM castmember to score a nod (and not Jason Segel like I wanted), and he’s always awesome as Barney so that’s cool with me.
  6. Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) – Yes, I’m putting him this high, over Jon Cryer who might sympathy votes after Sheengate and over Jesse Tyler Ferguson who might just make the Modern Family guys go four-for-four, but it’s just because I want his name to be read too damn much.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN COMEDY SERIES

Look for this trend to continue for a while, Glee, Modern Family and 30 Rock will grab the majority of this nods, and then maybe one or two newbies to score their kudos.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Alison Brie (Community) – I’ll say it again, this is the best comedy on television, and Alison Brie is damn awesome in it, and it’s not as though people have forgotten how hot she looked in the paintball episodes.
  2. Julie Bowen (Modern Family) – Look, she’s a seriously consistent actress. Not only is she absolutely brilliant in Modern Family, but, come on, Boston Legal, Ed, she’s been this great for a while, so she’s due.
  3. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) – She’s the best at deadpan comedy, period. Nobody on TV can do that better than her, doubt she’ll get in but I’m crossing my fingers.
  4. Ellie Kemper (The Office) – I loved Ellie Kemper this season, the daughter type she was to Michael, her perfect performance in that whole love triangle, she’s just a gem.
  5. Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) – She’s insanely funny in this show, probably the one castmember people weren’t sure was going to be as hilarious as she is, she’ll probably end up quite high on the actual ballots.
  6. Jenna Fischer (The Office) – She’s totally underrated here, I mean Pam is totally warm and is probably the person viewers can relate to the most, and Jenna Fischer is always great in the role.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Jane Lynch (Glee) – Yeah, she didn’t even make my Personal 6, but she really is the only funny thing on a show that really isn’t a comedy. And she has all the buzz and she’s hosting the show (though that didn’t work for Neil Patrick Harris in the past), so I think she’s the one to beat.
  2. Julie Bowen (Modern Family) – However, I’m more and more liking the idea of Julie Bowen coming up victorious, so watch out for her.
  3. Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) – Come on, she’s Betty White, that right there puts her in the top half of the ballot.
  4. Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) – I think an SNL has to get in here, and she’s the MVP of that show, so that’s more than fine with me.
  6. Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) – She’s getting another nod for sure.
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