Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emmys 2011 Preview: Comedy

Tomorrow's the big night! All that's left in the Emmy preview is comedy, which boasts some terrific - if safe - choices. Check them out below. Also, I will not be live-blogging this year's ceremony, unfortunately, but check us out Monday when the recap and analysis goes up.

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

Although most of these comedies had very strong seasons (Glee was a mess, but it's high points are stunning; The Office is doing well, but it's not at its peak anymore), it seems likely that only one of them really has a shot at winning. The Big Bang Theory is a huge success and finally broke through here this year, but it doesn't have the overwhelming critical support to really make a victory happen. Parks and Recreation, though easily the most deserving of all these shows, is probably too small, though that didn't necessarily hurt it's NBC companion, 30 Rock. Speaking of which, 30 Rock did rebound in quality this year, and is certainly a strong contender to pick up it's fourth comedy series Emmy. But I'm going with last year's champ, Modern Family, to repeat after a strong second season.

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Louis C.K., Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock


LeBlanc, a favorite from friends, and Galecki should be proud of their nominations, because neither of them have the heat to win this category. Parsons and Baldwin have essentially traded off this category for the past few years, and both submitted great episodes this year. If anyone deserves to win, it's C.K., who's acting is generally just reacting to those around him, but those reactions are stunning. However, Carell most likely has this one locked up: he's failed to win on his five previous nominations, and now that he's left the show and his iconic character behind, there's no doubt in my mind that they'll want to say farewell by finally giving him the Emmy.

Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Tina Fey, 30 Rock


This is another race that's pretty much sewed-up already. McCarthy, of course, had a breakout year, both on this show and in Bridesmaids, but it won't be enough to carry her to the podium. The same goes to Plimpton, who did fantastic work as well. Fey's Liz Lemon had a better year than last, but it still won't be enough for her to pick up a second trophy here. Poehler may be darkhorse candidate, since she has a lot of goodwill from the show and if Emmy voters want to recognize Parks & Rec anywhere, it's going to be here. There's also a chance that last year's champion, Falco, could pick up another one, but Nurse Jackie has lost a lot of buzz since it's first season. Linney is the most likely winner here: "Laura Linney plays a mother who's dying of cancer" pretty much begs to have awards thrown at it (plus, she's 3-for-3 so far at the Emmys).

Chris Colfer, Glee
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Burrell, with a Ron Swanson 'stache

Who's certainly not going to win? Cryer, though he'll likely get a few votes just for surviving Charlie Sheen. Colfer has a very good chance at taking the win, especially if the four(!) Modern Family men vote-split, but I worry that the episode he submitted, "Grilled Cheesus" is too dramatic to win a comedy award (not that that's hurt in the past). Speaking of the MF men, all of them seem to have helped each other out in their selections, though last year's champ, Stonestreet, will probably suffer the most since it will only show how broad his character has become. O'Neill certainly has the sympathy votes (this is only his first nomination), but I'm going to chalk this one up to Burrell, who submitted the absolutely hilarious "Good Cop, Bad Dog," in which he tries to be the strict parent and gets carried away.

(Side note: I'm still incredibly disappointed that Jon Cryer was nominated and Nick Offerman of Parks & Rec wasn't, despite the latter being far superior. I think even Ron Swanson would've cried for this one.)

Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock


As I mentioned in the nominations post, this is the weakest category of the bunch this year. Krakowski should already have at least two of these, but with her character largely (and strangely) sidelined for most of the year, she won't win. Bowen has great moments, but overall she doesn't get as much attention as co-star Vergara, who should win this year. Last year's winner, Lynch, could repeat, but her character's de-evolution into caricature into cartoon and the fact that she's hosting the show will probably hurt her chances. Wiig is a very funny woman, but her SNL characters have grown shrill and stale. I expect this one to go to White, not really for her performance but because our national love affair with her means we give her awards just for existing. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Wiig, Lynch, or Vergara take it home.

Pamela Fryman, How I Met Your Mother ("Subway Wars")
Michael Alan Spiller, Modern Family ("Halloween")
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family ("Slow Down Your Neighbors")
Steve Levitan, Modern Family ("See You Next Fall")
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock ("Live Show")

Couldn't really find one of Spiller, so here's a picture of Jesse Tyler Ferguson dressed as Spider-Man

Though it's great to see long-time HIMYM director Fryman finally nominated, I don't think her show has enough buzz anymore to win this time. I can see McCarthy-Miller winning this one as well, since she was directing a live performance a la SNL rather than a traditional episode of the show. However, I think one of the Modern Family helmers will win, and it's likely going to be Spiller, who directed the tight, hilarious Rube-Goldbergian Halloween episode. It's a masterwork in MF's brand of comedy.

David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes ("Episode 107")
Louis C.K., Louie ("Poker/Divorce")
Steve Levitan & Jeffrey Richman, Modern Family ("Caught in the Act")
Greg Daniels, The Office ("Good-Bye Michael")
Matt Hubbard, 30 Rock ("Reaganing")

Levitan and Richman, with the whole Modern Family writing staff

It's still really surprising for me to see Episodes nominated here, given how little attention it received during it's run (by my count, it's Showtime's first nomination in this category, and given their troubled history with comedy, good for them). C.K. wrote a terrific episode in "Poker/Divorce," and it deserves to win; I'm willing to bet that if that want to recognize Louie anywhere, it'll be here. Daniels could pull off the win for the farewell-to-Steve-Carell episode, but I see previous winners Hubbard and Levitan & Richman as the most likely duo. I still use the term "Reaganing" in everyday conversation, but I'm betting that Modern Family will grab this category of the second year in a row.

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