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The Emmy Nominations: My Own Skewed View

The Emmy nominations were announced this morning. Every other pop culture blog that exists in this reality and fourteen other parallel ones in which Hugo Reyes is still a millionaire has commented on it by now. Well I had things to do today. So did Qualler. So did Brigitte. So did all the other cartoon people on our sidebar. Plus, you're going to get a roundtable discussion on this biznass (sound it out) from all of us on the next edition of Blogulator Radio, so sit tight. But until then, I figured we might as well acknowledge that these nominations exist, otherwise you all might just go ahead and assume that our blog died since a) we've become so TV-centric nowadays and b) we have always been and always will be unhealthily obsessed with the mainstream media awards industry. So consider this merely a primer for the next podcast, just from my perspective - my own skewed view, if you will.

Best Drama Series: The deserved nominees include Friday Night Lights and Mad Men, for sure. It's probable that Game of Thrones also deserved it, which I will hopefully find out this weekend when I binge on it for the first time. It's also even likely that the second season of The Good Wife deserved it, as I'm currently watching the first season and now that Alan Cumming has joined the cast, it's become a downright almost perfect synthesis of procedural and serial storytelling. Even the biggest Dexter fanboys will admit, however, that it stopped deserving Emmys a long time ago, except arguably for Michael C. Hall's acting. I've never been a fan, and I think the spot should have gone to Justified for its superb and far superior second season to Dexter's forty-ninth or whatever it's on.

Best Comedy Series: The only one here that definitely deserved its spot is the first time nominee in this category, the practically perfect Parks & Recreation. It's likely that if I had to fill six slots I'd also include 30 Rock and maybe even Modern Family if I was given the right episode from its less magnificent but still funny second season. But I'm sorry, Glee and even The Office, despite its best intentions during its biggest overhaul yet on the series, are not "outstanding" comedies; they were barely sporadically entertaining this season, of the little I watched. Obviously the big WTF missing piece here is the indelible game-changing sitcom Community, whose Christmas and Halloween episodes alone should have made it a lock. Abed from that show, in fact, would also agree with me that Cougar Town deserved to be here, which is a show that is constantly getting better with age and has one of the funniest TV characters of the decade in Bobby Cobb. I'd even maybe rather have Raising Hope in here over Modern Family, as it's slowly transcending its My Name is Earl-redux qualities.

Best Lead Actress in a Drama: To me it seems like a no-brainer to give the award to Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), as she deserves her place here the most for her portrayal of TV's kindest, smartest, and prettiest wife ever. I'd also include Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), for sure, as their character work is both tortured and complex, but I'll be real; I'd much rather hang out with Tami Taylor. And while Mirielle Enos (The Killing) didn't have the best written protagonist, and I sure wouldn't hang out with her character, she still had some strong moments despite the series' nosedive in the last couple episodes, so maybe I'd include her. I would by no means include Kathy Bates (Harry's Law) nor Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), however. I'd rather have Natalie Zea (Justified), whose character I would totally hang out with - if you catch my meaning - and Jennifer Beals (The Chicago Code), whose character deserves to be treated as a lead for the show's problematic but still strong first season.

Best Lead Actress in a Comedy: Similarly, I don't see how anyone but Amy Poehler (Parks & Rec) could go home with this award, and yet she's not the frontrunner. Granted, I haven't seen Laura Linney's (The Big C) performance as the hilarious woman with cancer, but I doubt it's funnier, though it may be as good or better acting. Super happy that Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope) is surprise-nominated! Her misuses of colloquialisms on that show is always good for a larf. And she makes great faces. Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) may deserve it too, but I've heard that show's gone off the rails, though I've never watched it. Tina Fey (30 Rock) probably earned her spot back this year too. And I suppose since she was funny in Bridesmaids that even Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) isn't a drag on the group either. As for omissions, I haven't seen the Showtime shows so I can't say for sure, but I kinda can't believe that Toni Collette (The United States of Tara) isn't nominated, as multiple-personality disorder seems like awards bait and it was the show's final season. But the for-realzies miss here is Courtney Cox (Cougar Town), and I never woulda thought I'd be saying that, but she is phenomenally more funny here than she ever was on Friends, eye em aych oh.

Best Lead Actor in a Drama: Here's your first close acting category. Both Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Timothy Olyphant (Justified) were near flawless in their most recent seasons, but I'll give the edge to Chandler because after tomorrow we're done with his show. So sad! Jon Hamm (Mad Men) also belongs here as this was his most simultaneously enigmatic and versatile season on his show thus far. I won't be too mad if he finally gets his due. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) likely kept being awesome after the first few episodes I saw, though I hope they wait on him unlike what the Golden Globes did. I am honestly so sick of Hugh Laurie (House) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) getting nominated, on the other hand. Are they really doing anything different? They're good at what they do, sure, but it's gotta get old. I'd rather have James Badge Dale (Rubicon) or even Peter Krause (Parenthood) here, though their shticks could have/might get old, at least they were/are magnetic and novel.

Best Lead Actor in a Comedy: Hilariously, as Qualler pointed out to me today, the best nominee in this category is Louis C.K. (Louie), despite his semi-autobiographical show featuring an episode in which he confesses his apathetic approach to the acting profession. But it's true. He's the funniest actor and also most sincere character in the bunch. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) got me to laugh a lot more than in the last handful of episodes than in all but the first two seasons of his show, so he probably belongs here too. And though I stopped watching it, I get why and respect that Steve Carrell (The Office) is nominated and will maybe even win. I only saw the first two episodes of Matt LeBlanc's (Episodes) meta portrayal of himself, but his capability far outweighed the rest of the show's annoyingness. I have no idea what the appeal of Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) is, so I would definitely cut them out of this rigamarole. I'd swap them for Joel McHale (Community), obviously, and Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), who both manage to delicately balance insane and voice of reason so excellently that they blow all but C.K. out of the water.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Far and away, Margo Martindale (Justified) deserves this award and I will leap for joy if she gets it. All the superlatives critics have used about her villainous Mags have actually been understatements. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) also deserve their spots, and once again, I haven't even seen the most recent season of the latter, but she rocks it every episode even if she has yet to fully integrate into the show's main serial storyline. Christine Baranski (The Good Wife), however, hasn't, so I'm not quite sold on her inclusion here...yet. Even more extreme is that I don't even remember Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire) but she's nominated. I'd be surprised if a Terence Winter show didn't produce a great female performance, though, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I'll even say Michelle Forbes (The Killing) may belong here - wait I actually saw that whole show. It was pretty bad, but she was pretty great as the grieving mother. If I had to clean house though a bit I'd commit more to Lauren Graham (Parenthood), who survived a dreadful subplot by acting her way out of it and Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), who reminded me why I used to love that show with what I saw of its final season.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: This is a pretty awful selection. I like both Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen (Modern Family) but their roles are pretty fixed, though they are definitely both better than Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live), and those are two shows that I still watch as well, the former of which I'd say was better than Modern Family this year. I also don't care about Jane Lynch (Glee) though she's hosting the Emmys and she's probably still the best part of that show, nor do I care about Betty White's (Hot in Cleveland) performance, though I do still think they're both great as people. I'd much rather see Allison Brie or Gillian Jacobs (Community) here, or even Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Rec) or Busy Phillips (Cougar Town) to fill in any of those spots. These are funny women, people! Get hip and get with it, Emmy voters!

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Similar to the actress analogue of this category, Walton Goggins (Justified) rules this category based on the nominees provided, possibly of all supporting actors this year. Per usual, I support John Slattery (Mad Men), though I would have been okay with him being snubbed this year because there's so much talent. As mentioned earlier, I'm smitten with Alan Cumming's (The Good Wife) character and am also growing to enjoy Josh Charles on the show as well, probably because I'm watching Sports Night concurrently so I'm sure their second season runs are great too, thus I have no qualms with their nominations. Same goes for Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age), two actors I already deeply respect in two shows I will likely enjoy when I get to them. But as for my genuine current ardor, I really wish there were nods for Dax Shepard (Parenthood), who continues to prove that it's actually okay that he's married to Kristen Bell, Michael B. Jordan and/or Derek Phillips (Friday Night Lights) for obvious reasons, or the one consistent bright spot of The Killing, Joel Kinnaman, who may be the only reason I'll watch the second season of said show.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: It's beyond ridiculous that all four adult men of Modern Family, including Ed O'Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, and Eric Stonestreet got nominated this year. Of these, and I like all of them, I would only choose Burrell's portrayal of Phil Dunphy - I was happy when Stonestreet won last year, but Cam's just gotten buffoonish this year, unfortunately - because there's simply just too much goodness elsewhere. But that elsewhere is not Chris Colfer (Glee) nor is it Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men). Also, I'm not a big fan of giving a show a twofer in a single category, but I find it impossible to not include both Danny Pudi and Danny Glover (Community) because they have a symbiosis potentially never seen before on television. It is otherworldly. Then there's Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town) as Bobby Cobb, whose praises I've already sung in this post. Modern Family should take note that that's how you do buffoonish and still lovable. Lastly, the most dire omission is obviously everyone on Parks & Rec, but especially Nic Offerman and Chris Pratt, who I want to hang out so bad it hurts. Hurts I say!

The full nominations can be found via Emmys.tv if you're even nerdier than I and have yet to peruse the whole list yet for some reason. As you can see, there are more categories, obviously, but these are what most people (aka "The Man") consider the big ones, so you'll have to listen to next week's podcast if you want to hear other Blogulator staff opinions and my opinions on other categories, including guest acting, writing, and directing.

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  1. Blogger qualler | 2:43 PM |  

    Whoop whoop! Thanks for handling this so thoroughly. I look forward to discussing the noms with the roundtable this weekend.

  2. Blogger The Hero | 4:25 PM |  

    Thanks Chris for your thorough and well organized analysis of the Emmy nominations!

    My initial thoughts:

    For Best Lead Actor in a Comedy, it's hands down Louis CK for me. Louis' hilarious take on awkward situations, his love of self mockery, thrown in with his stand up, makes for a very funny show.

    For Best Supporting Actress in a Comdey, my vote is Aubrey Plaza. I wasn't initially a fan of her deadpan style of humor, but I love her character now. The turning point for me was early in the 2nd season, watching the Beauty Pageant episode (still one of my favorites). I had the same reaction as Tom Haveford after her apathetic, but hilarious performance in front of the pageant crowd - I busted out laughing.

    The Hero

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