Saturday, 2 July 2011

Encore Emmy Ballot: Comedies (Pt. 1)

So, my own personal Emmy ballots. Nominees are being announced next week, but this would hardly suffice as an Emmy ballot because I go crazy with category submissions and what not. But, I do use their six nominees per category format. I’ve also included alternates where I felt that the field was good enough to feature special mentions.
- 30 Rock
- Entourage
- Glee
- Nurse Jackie 
- The Office
- Parks & Recreation
    Entourage and Nurse Jackie probably don’t emerge as obvious contenders here, but both depended a great deal on their casting in their past seasons. Two Greg Daniels’ pieces, The Office and Parks and Recreation depend on those large ensembles usually played for the obvious bits of laughter but both of which are excellently created. Even if 30 Rock has had an occasionally clunky season it still continues to impress in the area of casting. By now, the brilliant casting of the main cast is assured so it’s the things like guests that always make me impressed which goes the same for Glee which I’m still surprised lost this same category at last year’s Emmy’s. It’s because the casting is so strong that makes the writers get so lazy, at times.
    Runners-Up: Modern Family / The Big C / Cougar Town

    - Matt Damon in 30 Rock
    - Reid Ewing in Modern Family
    - Jonathan Groff in Glee
    - James Marsden in Modern Family
    - Timothy Olyphant in The Office
    - James Spader in The Office
      Both Spader and Groff turn up with the same purpose on their shows, to make everyone else looks like amateur. Groff is brilliant in the season’s penultimate episode, even though he doesn’t sing a note he delivers on the meanness tempered with sagacity that makes Jesse such an interesting character. And, Spader just needs to look into the camera to make us fear and love him simultaneously. Both Damon and Ewing thrive in the episodes where their women break up with them. Damon’s great arguing with Fey, but it’s Ewing who’s the standout moping over Hayley and simultaneously bonding with Phil. I fear that both Olyphant and Marsden get forgotten because their appearances play up their good looks, but they’re both excellent. Barry is unnecessarily zany, but his scenes opposite Mitchell land effectively and Olyphant was such a perfect (temporary) addition to The Office I wish he’d have stayed longer.
      Runners-Up: Alan Alda in 30 Rock / Will Arnett in 30 Rock / Cheyenne Jackson in Glee / Iqpal Theba in Glee;

      - Jennifer Aniston in Cougar Town
      - Kristin Chenoweth in Glee as April Rhodes
      - Megan Mullally in Parks & Recreation as Tammy Swanson
      - Cynthia Nixon in The Big C
      - Gwyneth Paltrow in Glee
      - Amy Ryan in The Office as Holly
        It’s as if all the love for Holly on Glee this season pushed April to the backburner. Not that that was such a bad thing. Gwyneth makes good on all the scenes she gets and delivers with aplomb more often than not being the best thing in the episodes she was featured in. Kristin only gets one episode, but she brings the funny and reminds us why April Rhodes is Schuester’s best duet partner. Ryan shows up for a few episodes and each time she doesn’t you wish that she would. Sure, she’s the reason Michael leaves us – but she’s so effective we can’t be too sad. Aniston, Mullally and Nixon are all former staples of comedies from the late nineties, early aughts and they each do delicious work. Nixon, of course gets the edge because she’s in more than one episode. But, more than that, Rebecca’s superficiality is played for excellent comedic AND dramatic beats.
        Runners-Up: Elizabeth Banks in 30 Rock / Carol Burnett in Glee / Kathy Bates in The Office / Romy Rosemont in Glee / Frances Conroy in How I Met Your Mother

        - Kevin Dillon in Entourage for “Dramedy”
        - Peter Facinelli in Nurse Jackie for “Rat Falls”
        - Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother for “Cleaning House”
        - Rob Lowe in Parks & Recreation for “Flu Season”
        - Nick Offerman in Parks & Recreation for “Indianapolis”
        - Adam Scott in Parks & Recreation for “Media Blitz”
        This is one packed category, so I want to make note of the brilliant runners-up listed below. I don’t know how NPH continues to be so consistently hilarious and layered on a show that for so long has failed to precipitate any significant amount of humour. It’s not that the show is bad; it just seems to move along at a consistent level of blandness that I’ve come to find exasperating – except for Barney. True, I moped when news came about that Schneider was leaving Pawnee but I didn’t realise that one great actor would be replaced with two great actors and that those two great actors would be so brilliant in their roles. Scott and Lowe do such different things in their roles, but they’ve both turned into necessitate son Parks and Recreation. I love the show, and sue me, I still love Entourage. Watching Drama struggle with his employment and then the perceived insult of him playing an “ugly” ape was hilarious to watch. But, what makes Dillon such a treasure to the show is the – no pun intended – dramatic beats he’s always able to sell. A bit like the humour mixed with sadness that plagues Peter Facinelli’s Coop for this entire season. He stood out as the season’s MVP even as he moved through a series of crazy machinations. But, no one beats crazy machinations like Offerman. The man is a legend. Period.
        Runners-Up: Dan Byrd in Cougar Town / Oliver Platt in The Big C / Gabriel Basso in The Big C / John Benjamin Hickey in The Big C / Jesse Tyler Ferguson in Modern Family / Donald Glover in Community/ Brian Van Holt in Cougar Town

        - Eve Best in Nurse Jackie for “Fuck the Lemurs”
        - Julie Bowen in Modern Family for “Regrets Only”
        - Jane Krakowski in 30 Rock for “Queen of Jordan”
        - Christa Miller in Cougar Town for “Walls”
        - Busy Philipps in Cougar Town for “You Don't Know How It Feels”
        - Merritt Wever in Nurse Jackie for “Orchids and Salami”
        It was terribly difficult narrowing this list down to six. I want all six above and all five below to be remembered. Grrr. Krakowski and Wever both have something in common. Both their shows were so caught up in other plotlines that at times it felt like they both were being shafted. That’s why it’s so impressive that they turned in such excellent work this past season. Both hit the comedic bits like nobody’s business and Wever in particular managed to turn those comedic bits into moments of strong character development. The Cougar Town cast is excellent and I’m glad that both Philipps and Miller turn up. Both bring different things to their shows, but like that episode where Ellie finally realises the value of Laurie these two are on fire when they’re working together. Eve Best and Julie Bowen are both sometimes relegated to playing the straight woman alone, but both do their finest work of their tenures this last season. Bowen has the upper hand, but both were fantastic.
        Runners-Up: Jane Lynch in Glee / Sofia Vergara in Modern Family / Rashida Jones in Parks and Recreation / Anna Deavere Smith in Nurse Jackie / Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Recreation
        What were your favourites in these categories over the past TV season?

        1 comment:

        Ryan T. said...

        Great selection. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to do my own list or do something different (I have an idea, but I need to let it percolate in my head first). Whatever I decide to do, I'll post it soon since the nominations are coming up.

        A few quick things... didn't like Groff or Spader, but probably due to me not liking their characters... it's crazy that Amy Ryan didn't submit herself for Guest Actress but we'll talk about that when we do... I keep forgetting how not at all enthused you are with HIMYM... Lowe/Scott were perfect additions to an already nearly perfect show... Phillips/Miller are so good.