Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Encore Emmy Ballot: Comedies (Pt. 2)

Two more days until the actual Emmy nominees are announced, so I need to get my actual Emmy ballot in before they're disqualified. Bear with me, and let me pretend I have a say. So, back with my ballot - part two of the comedy. (go see Part One: Drama, Part One: Comedy)

OUTSTANDING WRITING
 Nominees
Cougar Town / Ryan Koh & Sam Laybourne for “Lost Children”
Nurse Jackie / Ellen Fairey for “Orchids and Salami”
Modern Family Abraham Higginbotham for “Regrets Only”
The Office / Mindy Kaling for “Classy Christmas”
Parks and Recreation / Amy Poehler for “The Fight”
Parks and Recreation / Katie Dippold for “Indianapolis”

Nurse Jackie is excellently written, even if I figure that the actual Emmy's will ignore it. “Orchids and Salami” is sort of a standout episode, writing wise at least. It mixes all those witticisms of the show with some astute, if subtle, pop culture references. And, it cashes in on how good the main cast are together, which is something that “Lost Children” does brilliantly. The madness of the cul-de-sac crew playing their childish games was great, but it was Ellie and Bobby's TV show Beef and Bubbles which got the biggest laughs. As much as I love B. J. Novak I have to give props to Mindy Kaling for being the best writer on The Office. Her episodes always manage to recall that great ensemble nature that makes the show so good and the return of Holly is worthy of mention.  “Regrets Only” does some interesting thing with the flashback motif and stands out as my favourite episode of the show, this season. Then Parks and Recreation - “The Fight” has that hilarious drunken gag and “Indianapolis” has Leslie's gag about being dumped. And those are just two examples of how brilliant this show is.
Runners-Up: The Big C for “Pilot” / / Modern Family for “Caught in the Act” / Nurse Jackie “Mitten” / Entourage for “Stunted” / Episodes for “Episode Two” / Glee for “Original Song”


OUTSTANDING DIRECTING
Nominees:
Cougar Town / Michael McDonald for “Lost Children”
Entourage / David Nutter for “Lose Yourself”
Modern Family Dean Parisot for “Regrets Only”
Nurse Jackie / Tristram Shapeero for “Rat Falls”
The Office / Rainn Wilson for “Classy Christmas”
Parks and Recreation / Randall Einhorn for “The Fight”

The finale wasn’t the best episode of the last season of Entourage, but it was more than skilfully directed. As the walls started crumbling around Vince it was interesting how it was the direction and not the writing which ended up being the effective way in which it was showed. The choices from Cougar Town and Modern Family both exist as my favourite things on both shows this past season. The former is brilliant because it sees the appearance of the entire gang in one place being ridiculously childish. The time flies by and it makes the potentially tougher issues develop in such a natural, comedic way. The latter is great because it’s one of those episodes where the three arcs are balanced so well not only because of the script, but because of how they’re showed to us. For, Nurse Jackie just the image of that rat falling on Zoey’s lunch makes it worthy of consideration. Both, The Office and Parks and Recreation have episodes featuring celebrations, the first for Christmas and the second for Tom’s club. The latter wins just for that drunken montage.

Runners-Up: Modern Family for “Halloween” / Parks and Recreation for “Harvest Festival”/ 30 Rock for “Christmas Attack Zone / The Big C for “Pilot” / Cougar Town for “Walls” / Glee for “Furt” / The Office for “Garage Sale”


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
Nominees:
Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock for “Everything Sunny All the Time Always”
Ty Burrell in Modern Family for “Mother Tucker”
Steve Carell in The Office for “Garage Sale”
Matt LeBlanc in Episodes for “Episode Two”
Stephen Mangan in Episodes for “Episode One”
Jeremy Piven in Entourage for “Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”
   
I was back and forth on where to categorise LeBlanc, but I decided I’d lodge him here. Sure, he’s the least impressive of the six nominees, but he IS hilarious on Episodes, hardly the MVP but well balanced and subtle enough to be garishly caricature-like. Mangan works well opposite him, but even better opposite Greig who plays his wife. Carrell and Baldwin are both default nominees, it seems, but both had great seasons. One gained a wife, one gained one – then lost her. But, it’s all about Piven and Burrell for me. Curiously, both men submitted themselves in the supporting category but it’s outstanding Lead Actors I think of when I see them in top form. One’s bathetic, the other’s a bit of a bastard but both manage to be interegrated with their co-stars and still be the best-in-shows without hogging the camera. Goodness.

Runners-Up: John Krasinski in The Office /  Adrian Grenier in Entourage / Kevin Connolly in Entourage /  Matthew Morrison in Glee / Joel McHale in Community
         
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
Nominees:
Courteney Cox in Cougar Town “You Don’t Know How It Feels”
Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie for “Game On”
Laura Linney in The Big C for “Pilot”
Tamsien Greig” in Episodes for “Episode Two”
Lea Michele in Glee for “Comeback”
Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation for “Eagleton”
For me, it’s a generally weak field but I like each of these six well enough to consider them seriously. It’s an even split, though, between the incomparable and the good. Cox, Michele and Falco are at the bottom, if only because they’re shows both work best as ensembles for me. Even though Lea is the MVP for her show the writers aren’t as dedicated to making her lead it, she still succeeds for the most part though. It’s the converse thing with Falco and Cox, the writers want it to be their shows, but they keep getting derailed by the far more interesting (and dare I say, outperformed?) by her supporting cast. Greig is phenomenal in Episodes. True, she can’t touch the top 2 but she plays excellently. It’s wrong to call Linney’s Cathy a revelation, we know she’s brilliant. When she nails those scenes on The Big C, I still can’t help but feel like I’m seeing her be brilliant for the first time and it’s sort of the same thing with Poehler who’s grown over the past three years into the finest female lead on television for me.
Runners-Up: Tina Fey in 30 Rock / Marcia Cross in Desperate Housewives

OUTSTANDING COMEDY
Nominees:
The Big C
Cougar Town
Entourage
Episodes
Nurse Jackie
Parks & Recreation
    
I think this is an eclectic bunch. Episodes and Entourage are probably the ones that least people would consider mentioning, the former because few have started watching and the latter because few have continued watching. They both had good seasons, both examining the difficulty of show business but in different beats. The two showtime series are next, both focusing on a woman but with good ensembles to back them up. For the first two seasons Nurse Jackie felt decidedly more dramatic, but it’s found its comedic bone and worked it well in season 3. And, sure, The Big C has a main character stricken with cancer but it’s never mawkish and rarely overdramatic – always consistently humorous, even if morbidly so. Cougar Town managed to find itself, then top itself continuously in its sophomore season becoming ABC’s best show and…thenParks and Recreation. It’s in a class of its own, really.

Runners-Up: Modern Family / The Office / Glee /Community
           
What would your choices look like?

3 comments:

Jose said...

I can not believe you ignored 30 Rock everywhere. You have, once again, broken my heart dear boy.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

don't you dare get hyperbolic on me, jose i nominated alec AND jane AND matt damon. (but, sorry, no love for tina:()

RC said...

Nice job putting together this list - I don't watch enough live TV to even begin to put together a list of this nature.

Nice work!