Let’s Consider the Comedies: A Belated Response to the Emmy Nominations
The Emmy nominations are in! Yeah, we know this happened a while ago, but we needed some time to think them over. OK? Looking through the list, the drama categories aren’t particularly interesting. Cable shows dominate as expected, and honestly, as they should. The interesting stuff comes on the comedy side. Though many nominees held fast to their spots, there are some shake ups and new faces. Here’s a break down of the Yays! and Nays! of the comedy nominations.
Yay!: Girls (HBO) Comedy Series
Girls started its life as the most controversial show of the season. At first it seemed to be all hype, but about half way through its run Girls turned into something wonderful. Once audiences were able to realize that creator Lena Dunham was completely aware of the selfishness of her characters, and that that was part of the joke, Girls found its stride and became hilarious in its truth telling of the upper-middle-class-post-graduate generation. Dunham has a fresh voice and style that deserves recognition. Girls also gets points for great guest actors. (Whoa! Is that one of the guys from The Lonely Island that isn’t Andy Samberg?!)
Nay!: Veep (HBO) Comedy Series
Veep is not great. Julia Louis-Dreyfus holds it together with a performance that she is rightfully nominated for, but the show itself lacks heart, and isn’t bringing me back for more. A Vice President and her staff can only fuck everything up so many times before you wonder why she still has an office. Veep is nominated because it comes from Armando Iannucci, whose BBC series, The Thick of It, is a favorite among critics. Academy voters need to realize that nominating Veep is not going to transform it into The Thick of It. On top of Iannacci’s name, the prestige of HBO helped Veep overshadow great shows on broadcast networks like Community (NBC), Happy Endings (ABC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), and New Girl (Fox). Community and Parks and Recreation snagged writing nominations, so what is happening between the writers room and the screen to make them unworthy of series nominations?
Yay!: All of the lead actress nominees
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day on New Girl (Fox)
Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath on Girls (HBO)
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton on Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock (NBC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer on Veep (HBO)
Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn on Mike & Molly (CBS)
No one is wrecking it quite like funny women on TV right now. All these ladies deserve to be here, not to mention the fact that there is a good mix of new and old, and broadcast and cable shows on this list. Last year’s pageant skit during the presentation of this award goes to show how awesome the world of comedy women is. It is great that Deschanel and Dunham get to join the fun.
Nay!: The absence of Joel McHale
Community is the craziest and most daring show on TV. Every week the actors are presented with a new genre and style to work their characters into. Joel McHale is at the center of it all as Jeff, the self important ex-lawyer who heads a study group of misfits. McHale keeps the ship centered when it could easily sway off course. There is no question that had this show been on cable, it would be an Emmy darling, but in the low rated NBC slums, McHale and the rest of the Community crew keep getting looked over.
Yay! Bill Hader and Max Greenfield for Supporting Actor
Bill Hader has been underrated for his hilarious work on SNL (NBC), usually because he has been overshadowed by the national obsession with exiting Kristin Wigg (Wigg is also nominated). His breakout character, Stefon, clearly got the Academy’s attention, and for good reason. Stefon is the best reoccurring character on the show.
Over on New Girl, Max Greenfield has taken the character of Schmitt, the douche bag, and turned him into a layered and lovable goof, by delivering his lines with a combination of extreme conviction and self consciousness that could only be pulled off by an expert.
Nay!: The Modern Family monopoly.
All six Modern Family (ABC) actors are nominated for their supporting roles. On the women’s side it is just Sofia Vergara and Baltimore’s own Julie Bowen, who won last year, but on the men’s side, Ed O’Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and previous winners Ty Burrell, and Eric Stonestreet take up four of the six nomination slots. We get it, they are all funny, but choose two and make room for others who did just as good, if not better, comedy work this year. Examples being, Danny Pudi of Community, Adam Pally and Damon Wayans Jr. of Happy Endings, Jason Segal of How I Met Your Mother, Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation, and Simon Helberg of The Big Bang Theory, you know, just to name a few other funny guys.
Yah!: Mayim Bialik for Supporting Actress
Without her, The Big Bang Theory (CBS) would have gone stale a long time ago. She is not just fabulous as Amy Farrah Fowler, the female equivalent to fellow nominee Jim Parson’s Sheldon Cooper, but her excellence seems to challenge the other actors to rise to her level of work, giving us great stuff from the rest of the cast this season too.