Thursday, July 16, 2009

My take on the Emmy nominations

The Emmy Award nominations have just been announced. As always, I’ll be reviewing the Emmy telecast. But here are a couple of initial thoughts:

One name conspicuously absent this year: mine!

Thrilled that FAMILY GUY made the cut for Best Comedy. But the SIMPSONS deserved that honor years ago.

Also nice to see HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER finally making the cut. But the funniest comedy, BIG BANG THEORY, didn’t.

Who would I have bumped? THE OFFICE. Not its best year.

22 nominations for 30 ROCK. I like their chances.

Nominees in certain categories have been expanded this year. So actors who still have been shut out should feel really snubbed and could make life on their sets a living hell for the next month. Showrunners and P.A.’s beware.

MAD MEN might not be a shoo-in this year.

Will this be the year that long deserving Hugh Laurie finally wins an Emmy? If he loses to Simon Baker who just smirks his way through THE MENTALIST I’ll be pissed. If he loses to Michael C. Hall for DEXTER, well, okay.

Hey, they still have a category for “Best Mini-Series”! Do they still even make mini-series? Same with “Best Main Title Design”. That category should be renamed “Best Ten Second Opening”.

Jim Parsons is to BIG BANG THEORY what David Hyde Pierce was to FRASIER.

Sarah Silverman earned a “Best Lead Actress in a Comedy” nomination by playing herself. How does that work?

Seriously. I wasn’t nominated for anything.

My vote for the “Best Lead Actress in a Comedy” even though she’ll probably lose – Christina Applegate for SAMANTHA WHO?

According to my scuttlebutt, there are a lot of writers and crew people in Hollywood rooting for anyone to win but Mary-Louise Parker.

The usual suspects are in the Best Competition Reality Series. Expect THE AMAZING RACE to win again. They could have expanded that category to fifty and I SURVIVED A JAPANESE GAME SHOW still wouldn’t make the cut. I’ll be reviewing that delight and other beauties like WIPEOUT next week.

Based on his work on the TONYS, Neil Patrick Harris is a great pick to host the show. Even better than former emcee, Heidi Klum.

Sentimental choices: I hope Phil Abraham wins “Best Drama Director” for MAD MEN, Ted Danson cops the “Best Guest Actor in a Drama” for DAMAGES, and the “Outstanding Music Director” Emmy goes to Harold Wheeler for DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Why is Charlie Sheen nominated for “Best Comedy Actor” and Jon Cryer nominated for “Best Supporting Comedy Actor”? I thought the kid was the half of TWO AND A HALF MEN.

Tracy Morgan got nominated for something and I didn’t?

Thrilled that LOST got recognized for Best Drama. Same with Michael Emerson getting a Best Actor nod.

How did Amy Poehler and Kristin Wiig, two very funny ladies, get nominated for “Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series”? Since when is SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE a comedy series? Wasn’t it a variety show for the last thirty years or so?

If Dianne Wiest doesn’t win for IN TREATMENT Al Franken should demand a recount.

Wow! Bob Newhart was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-series Or Movie”. Payback for not winning every year for Dr. Hartley.

Heidi Klum was nominated and I was shut out?

Alan Alda was recognized for “Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series” for his stint on 30 ROCK. Alan has now been nominated in every category except “Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For a Series”. Maybe next year, Alan.

There’s a category called “Outstanding Special Class” where BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is up against the Bruce Springsteen Superbowl halftime show.

Steve Peterman, if you win for HANNAH MONTANA, I’ll be in my living room cheering.

Four of the five “Best Writing for a Comedy Series” noms went to 30 ROCK scripts. Deserving but where’s the love for BIG BANG THEORY?

Four of the five “Best Writing for a Drama Series” are episodes of MAD MEN written or co-written by Matthew Weiner. Even if he splits the vote he’s still a lock.

Speaking of locks, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

Congratulations to all the nominees. And I guess I’m okay that I wasn’t nominated. At first I took it personally but then I realized, I didn’t do anything this year.


Anonymous said...

I'm really rooting for Ted Danson as well. He's great in Damages. He really deserves it.

But I do disagree about the Simpsons. I personally don't really find it that funny. Family is 100x better. I'm still trying to figure out how the Simpsons has been on for as long as it has.


B said...

Didn't a woman get nominated for sitting in the background of one show there 3 years ago.

bevo said...

Does Family Guy's nomination say more about the sad state affairs for network comedies than it does for Family Guy's complete restructuring of its story telling structure that allowed it to get the nomination?

Now, if Brian gets an Emmy nomination for Lead Actor in a Comedy series, then we know the comedy format is officially dead.

I Am Curious Yellow said...

22 Nominations for 30 Rock? Geez. That says a lot about the state of the comedy and TV... Yeah, yeah, I know Tina Fey is the second coming and Alec Baldwin shills for NBC/Hulu, but still, 22 Nominations? Me thinks the fix is in...


I know it's not Friday, but I have a question: What sort or relationship does the writer usually have with the star/lead actor of a show like MASH or Fraiser, e.g. suppose a the writer detested the actor of the show, does that influence the quality of lines a writer would write for him or her or would he defer and only write for secondary characters?

Unknown said...

Mythbusters finally got a nod this year as well.

GMJ said...

For what it's worth, Jeremy Piven didn't get a nomination either.

Andrew said...

I have to respectfully disagree on The Office, which had one of the best sets of episodes yet to close out the season (with Idris Elba guesting and then the Michael Scott Paper Company) episodes. Towards the end of the season, it was more engaging than (likely winner and all around wonderful show) 30 Rock.

Bryan CastaƱeda said...

Totally disagree with you about THE OFFICE. I thought the Michael Scott Paper Company arc, as well as the episodes with Holly, made it a very strong season.

Alan Coil said...

Expanded nominations list equals more wasted time during the telecast.

It is my arrogant opinion that the categories should be limited to 3 nominations each. 7 noms for best drama? Why not just nominate EVERY drama? Why not just nominate EVERY actor who is not in a reality show?

Hell, why bother with nominations? Just open up an online opinion poll, and let the viewers vote?

I'm all for excellence on television, but so many shows fall short. Yep, I'm sounding like a grumpy, old man. I can't defend that.

James said...

How about "The Shield" for Series and acting nods for Chiklis and Goggins (at the very least!) Most shows limp to their conclusion, but The Shield had arguably its best season for a swan song - an no Emmy love?! Not really shocking when you consider "The Wire" never even sniffed a Best Drama nod.

And if we're talking bumping a show from the comedy category - how about "Entourage" ? Show is the same terrible retread each week - and hasn't been funny since season 2. It's like the herpes of the comedy category - you think it's gone for good, then it suddenly flares up on noms morning

Alan said...

completely agree about The Office. It's not funny anymore.

@Annie, what episodes of the Simpsons have you been watching? If it's anything from after the season ending in May of 1998, it's not really the Simpsons. No offense to the writers of that show, who I'm sure try their best, but the show should have been cancelled years ago.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

But the funniest comedy, BIG BANG THEORY, didn’t.


By Ken Levine said...

In fairness, I did not see the last few episodes of THE OFFICE. I kinda stopped watching. So you may be right.

Since CHEERS I've done nothing at all of any substance whatsoever.

Chrystal K. said...

I appreciate the Family Guy Nomination.

Kathy said...

Sarah Silverman earned a “Best Lead Actress in a Comedy” nomination by playing herself. How does that work?

I would think that it would work roughly the same way it did when Jerry Seinfeld was nominated over and over again for Seinfeld. (Not comparing quality in either person's favor, please understand.)

Tom said...

You really thing Big Bang Theory is funny? And how about South Park getting the straight up nod for Comedy?

Anonymous said...

Dr Horrible was also nominated, basically a youtube video made by Josh Whedon (the battlestar galactica thing was also launched as web videos). I wonder if the new category was part of the deal with the WGA to settle the strike

D. McEwan said...

"Alan Coil said...
Hell, why bother with nominations? Just open up an online opinion poll, and let the viewers vote?"

That's what you call "The People's Choice Awards". There's a reason I never watch "The People's Choice Awards": they're chosen by the public, who are notorious for their lack of taste. The public chose Taylor Hicks as an AMERICAN IDOL winner. The reason Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, etc., get respect is because they are chosen by industry professionals who actually know the difference between what's well-done and what isn't, even if the results sometimes seem to belie that.

Anyway, the viewers DO choose the REAL winners, by choosing what they watch and what they don't. Ratings are the real Viewer Awards. That's not supposed to be what the Emmys are all about. It's a quality competition, not a popularity contest.

I gotta go with the THE OFFICE supporters. I thought they had a strong season, especially that Michael Scott Paper Company storyline. The good news, Ken, is that you get to see some reruns this summer that are worth watching.

Annie, we are worlds apart on THE SIMPSONS. Is it as good these days as it was? No. You try writing stories for the same characters for 20 years. But every new episode still makes me laugh. And at its height, it was THE best comedy on TV, whereas these days, it's dropped down to merely being funnier than 99% of everything else on.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"At first I took it personally but then I realized, I didn’t do anything this year."

Take it personally. For 40 years the Motion Picture Academy has been rationalisnig their refusal to nominate me for an Oscar with the flimsy excuse that I haven't made a movie since 1969.

BUT, prior to 1969, I made 90 films, and I wasn't nominated for any of them either, so clearly that "You didn't do any eligible work this year/decade/century" crap is just bull. It's personal.

Sure, you've had nominations in the past, and even won an Emmy, but that was just to throw you off the scent. It's personal. They deliberately took advantage of the fact that your work this year was all in radio to slight you. They have a secret pact: no nominations for you, and no Best Reality Show nomination for SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, despite it's ongoing excellence. Bastards!

WV: libit: the sound made by Japanese frogs.

Tim W. said...

"Sarah Silverman earned a “Best Lead Actress in a Comedy” nomination by playing herself. How does that work?"

It reminds me of when Kenneth Branagh was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Hamlet. It was apparently the first film adaptation of Hamlet which used the entire uncut and unabridged text that Shakespeare wrote. So Branagh was nominated for not cutting anything out of the play, and the film ran 242 minutes.

Larry said...

If I could make one rule change, it would be that an actor can only win once for a role. Otherwise, you get silly things like John Larroquette winning year after year while great supporting work on Cheers and Newhart goes unrecognized, or Michael Richards wins a bunch of Emmys while Jason Alexander gets none.

Pat Reeder said...

The reason I don't bother even watching the Emmys anymore is because it started to strike me as being a clique where insiders just give awards to their favorites over and over. Remember the endless string of Emmys for Candace Bergen for "Murphy Brown," while an entire new generation of more deserving female stars went unrewarded? Even Candace finally cried foul on that. And how about Hugh Laurie STILL not having an Emmy as Best Actor? Or "House" having no nominations for supporting players or writing? I like "30 Rock," too, but geez, 22 nominations, including four writing slots, and NOTHING for "Big Bang Theory"? Yet every year, "Entourage" is nominated for Best Comedy, which makes me suspect they're unclear on the definition of the word "comedy."

This looks like yet another year when I'll read the results online later, and if by some miracle, Hugh Laurie finally wins (I'm still agog that they actually passed him over the first season to toss yet ANOTHER Emmy to James Spader for hamming his way through "Boston Legal"), then I'll watch his acceptance speech on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that "Family Guy" made sense out of respect for the real groundbreaking work of "The Simpsons". It is a desperate ploy to go after a new younger (desired) demographic on the Emmys, as if that is remotely possible. If a "Family Guy" script is considered so good, rather than so many associated gags, then that says something relative, about how bad the comedy writing is for the rest of television. The "South Park" scripts are incredible to read without the visuals of the cartoon. "Family Guy" hardly so. The SP "Imaginationland" trilogy is just mind-boggling good, as script as idea as execution for the sacle of television.

So my point is, instead of moving "Family Guy" scripts to be able to contend in sitcom status, why didn't the Emmys just introduce a serious respect for certain level of animated genre? It's long overdue.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that "The Big Bang Theory" is the funniest show on TV. Actually, I would have to disagree that it's funny at all. However, the very idea of Jim Parsons being compared to David Hyde Pierce in any respect does make me rotfl.

To be fair, I don't watch much TV anymore. Having been spoiled by the brilliance of Frasier and the greatest ensemble ever to grace a soundstage; I haven't been a regular sitcom watcher since its retirement from the tube. Alas, I am in mourning even to this day.
Yearning for the days of clever, intelligent humor, incredible farce, and some of the most poignant, touching moments ever packed into 22 minutes.

I think I'll go watch "Three Valentines" and bask in the comic genius of DHP before I head off to work.

bevo said...

As much I loved The Shield and its last season, if you have not watched the show in its entirety, then you cannot understand how powerful the final season really was. Hence, no nomination for best drama.

However, Michael Chicklas, Walter Goggins, David Snell, CCH Pounder, and Jay Karnes have right to complain about their lack of nominations. A complete travesty.

Vermonter17032 said...

Let's just hope that if Tina Fey wins, she doesn't resign her job half way through the season!

Anonymous said...

The reason why 30 ROCK got nominated and not BIG BANG THEORY is simple. People actually watch BBT, therefore Emmy voters thought 30 ROCK must have been better.


Kirk said...

Kathy's mention of Jerry Seinfeld reminded me of what he said when lost out to Michael J. Fox:

"You don't buy me as me!"

jbryant said...

Count me among those who felt The Office had a strong season overall. And why didn't Amy Ryan get a Guest Actress in a Comedy nod?

Tim W.: Branagh's taken a lot of crap about that Hamlet screenplay nod, but it didn't bother me much, since there's more to screenwriting than dialogue.

I see that Ellen Burstyn got a Guest Actress in a Drama Series nod for her role as Stabler's mother on Law & Order SVU, even though she was on screen for more than 14 seconds. Progress!

emme said...

According to my scuttlebutt, there are a lot of writers and crew people in Hollywood rooting for anyone to win but Mary-Louise Parker.

Why? Did I miss something? Am I just an idiot who missed the joke?

Steve P. said...

Ken, thanks for the support. We're all incredibly grateful Linda Ellerbee didn't do a kids' sitcom this year since we've lost to her twice already before they finally split kids' TV into fiction and non-fiction. That was deeply appreciated, since it's hard to compete with Untouchable Indian Kids With AIDS or Really Sad Kids Whose Parents Are Serving In Iraq (titles are approximate but I swear those were the topics).

Tim W. said...


I don't blame Branagh, I blame the Academy. And while there is more to writing screenplay than dialogue, Shakespeare's plays are pretty dialogue heavy. And didn't Shakespeare write a a little stage direction himself?

D. McEwan said...

"Tim W. said...
It reminds me of when Kenneth Branagh was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Hamlet."

Well it WAS very well written. But also remember that that Oscar wen to SLINGBLADE, the Academy recognizing that SLINGBLADE was a better peice of writing than HAMLET.

And frankly, Branagh ripped the whole thing of an old Laurence Olivier movie, some sort of Scandavian ghost story.

Zanuck said...

I think the real rift between the 30 Rockers and the Big Bangers comes down to what kind of geek you is. We have similar concentric circles of geekdom, sometimes the differences outweigh the similarities. To plead like Mr. Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

SB said...

I agree with every word you wrote here, specially about The Big Bang Theory and Jim Parsons, probably the best writen sitcom nowadays.

I adore Niles Crane and Sheldon as well.

I wanted to ask you something. One of the best ideas I've seen in all these years was making Daphne getting fat because of her love for Niles.

How did you think about this? How did you think it could work?

Thanks in advance.

esme said...

You forgot that Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog got nominated (and, with regards to the comment discussing it earlier, it is neither "basically a youtube video" nor is it made by "Josh Whedon").

Anyway, I feel it deserves to win if only because it's basically the only thing out there of it's kind: JOSS Whedon - and the writers - were extremely innovative.