Saturday, 4 September 2010

TV Season, 2009/2010: Top Fifteen Supporting Actresses, Comedy and Drama

Eligible Shows (Eligible does not mean featured): 30 Rock, Big Love, Brothers & Sisters, Burn Notice, Californication, The Closer, Community, Cougar Town, Desperate Housewives, Dexter, Entourage, Glee, Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Law & Order: SVU, Lost, Mad Men, Medium, Monk, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Private Practice, Psych, Royal Pains, Samantha Who, Supernatural, The Tudors, Ugly Betty, Weeds
Runners Up: Alison Brie in Community, Sharon Gless in Burn Notice, Christina Hendricks in Mad Men, Audra McDonald in Private Practice, Elizabeth Perkins in Weeds, Busy Philips in Cougar Town, Jean Smart in Samantha Who, Angela Smith in The Office

#15: Vanessa Williams in Ugly Betty
She didn't get the Emmy send-off I was expecting, which was unfortunate. My general interest in Ugly Betty waned long ago but Vanessa still continued be an asset to television. I'm interested in seeing what she does on Desperate Housewives next season. I hope the writing is worthy of her talent.
#14: Sara Ramirez in Grey’s Anatomy
She's finally managed to get some significant story arcs, and really it's about time. Ramirez has potential to be one of the strongest on the show and she was especially good in the first half of the season. There's still a whole lot of fine tuning that needs to be done as far as her relationship with Arizona goes, but it's getting better.
#13: Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men
as Peggy Olson
Perhaps it's the prototypical deglam at times but I always end up being moved by her Olson the most. Perhaps the character is too much at times, but I'm always pleased with the direction she takes it and though she can get overly technical at times I'm always appreciative of what she does.
#12: Gabrielle Anwar in Burn Notice
as Fiona Glenanne
Am I blinded by lust? She’s one of the reasons that I often think that maybe Burn Notice is a comedy. She’s trigger-happy in the worst of ways, and her perkiness (if we can call it that) is scary at times. But it all blends together gloriously because she's oftentimes responsible for the biggest laughs of the show. She and Donavan are golden together.
#11: Aubrey Plaza in Parks & Recreation
as April Ludgate
She’s like a young Nick Offerman in training (well without his moroseness, actually scratch that with his moroseness). It would be easy to write her off as frigid, you’d be missing the point – I think. It’s sort of the ultimate comedic performances, she works more off actions than dialogue; odd considering that the show is so well written. The fallout between her and Ron was a highlight.
#10: Rashida Jones in Parks & Recreation
as Ann Perkins
Sometimes I wonder if she’s too understated. And then I remember that that’s what makes her special. For example, her drunkenness towards the end of the season was so well played, and never over-the-top. She doesn’t mug the camera, and yet I’m often looking for her. Like Schneider she’s playing a straight-guy to the crazies, and like Schenider she works brilliantly with Poehler. I liked her a bit more in the first season, but I’m getting picky.
#9: Ginnifer Goodwin in Big Love
as Margene Heffman
I ALWAYS forget how good she is (and it doesn’t help that Jeanne and Chloe keep up turning in those excellent performances) but she’s a good actress. She's the kind of actor who works well on the TV because we get to see her explore more than one facet of character. She'll always be the *third* wife - but she's still worthy of praise.
#8: Yvette Nicole Brown in Community
as Shirley Bennett
She is Community’s secret weapon – even if they don’t realise it. As clich├ęd as it sounds (and it does) she winds up being the heart of the show. She knows that Community is as realistic as Jeff’s original college degree, but she’s somewhere between enjoyably over-the-top and gloriously perfect, leaning more to the latter.
#7: Sandra Oh in Grey’s Anatomy
as Cristina Yang
It’s a pity that Sandra Oh doesn’t have an Emmy, but from Danner to Danner to Heigl to Wiest to Jones (the latter of whom I’ll assume was good from word-of-mouth) her competition was fierce. She fools you into thinking that her forte is the comedic portion (her almost offensive recalling of Schindler’s List complete with deadpan was brilliant), but then she’ll throw you for a curve when she gets emotive.
#6: Jane Lynch in Glee
as Sue Sylvester
She’s having so much fun playing this role and it shows. It’s comedic over-posturing at its best. The very concept of Sue Sylvester is ridiculous, she knows that and so do the writers which is why every time she pushes the envelope it doesn’t elicit an eye-roll from me but a bright chuckle. I still single out her diatribes in “Throwdown” as her highpoint, but what’s even more hilarious is her ability to deliver dialogue like no one’s business. Her delivery of the “I am Ajax” line still has me rolling with laughter for reasons beyond my comprehension.
#5: Jenna Fischer in The Office
as Pam Beasley –Halpert
It’s nice when the writers grow and are willing to make even Pam a little snarky; though it’s just regular with an extra bite. She still can’t rival Krasinski with the deadpan facial reactions, and it’s odd that her strongest moment of the season was her acting very unlike Pam (the reaction to Michael and her mother). It’s to Jenna’s talents that she pulled off an almost childish tantrum. We couldn’t root against Michael…but we could not root against her either.
#4: Chandra Wilson in Grey’s Anatomy
as Miranda Bailey
At the height of her talent few actors can deliver an emotional juggernaut like Chandra Wilson. It’s ironic that in the weakest of seasons (see Season Four) Wilson ends up becoming even better. A potentially exasperating storyline in the final episode led to an oddly moving performance from Wilson. She’s been doing the titanic task of keeping it serious (and she almost pulled off those braids in the flashback episodes. Almost).
#3: Jayma Mays in Glee
as Emma Pillsbury
Mays has the most distinctive speaking voice of the cast and her strange enunciation works impeccably in fashioning the strange creation of Emma Pillsbury. It’s easy (too easy) to write off her many tics as over-the-top. She stood as the strongest in the Madonna themed episode because Mays is aware of all the things that make Emma crazy and all the things that make Emma attractive.
#2: Chloe Sevigny in Big Love
as Niccollette Grant
It’s criminal in some ways how Big Love’s talented cast is continuously ignored by the Emmys. Sevigny continues to be the strongest, by now she has the caustic manner down and manages to humanise her character when necessary too. Her reaction to Bill's campaign, though surprising, was well played.
#1: Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock
It’s even stranger when I think that Jenna’s role has been decidedly shortened in this last season, but that’s the brilliance of how Jane Krakowski makes a few minutes in a 20 minute comedy that much better. She continues to make the most of the writers’ one-liners continuing to make Jenna’s theatricality a reality and not a peculiarity. She comes out as the strongest in the cast most often than not, even when she’s only there for a moment.
Who were the supporting women that had you cheering last season?


joe burns said...

Jane Lynch..... And I haven't seen any of the others. I just can't keep up with TV.

MJD said...

Jane Krakowski blows the competition away. I'm on a new diet that sometimes makes me have uncontrollable fits of rage (THROWS VASE AT WALL).

Luke said...

Great top 2, for sure... and I'm truly happy good ol' Peg made the list! It looks like she's finally getting some Season-2-esque storylines again this year! Love Elisabeth Moss. :)