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Emmy Nominations | Checking Out the Comedy Players

Categories: Comedy Shows,Latest News
Posted: July 19, 2012

Emmy Awards
TV is currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts with some of the funniest comedies the boob tube has ever broadcast. Early this morning, the Emmy Award nominations were announced. As a former Emmy-winning comedy writer for the Letterman show, I’ve got a rundown of the comedy categories for series and acting.
This year’s Outstanding Comedy Series category is an interesting mix of veteran shows and two new female-centric HBO comedies. The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family and 30 Rock have all been to the big dance before. The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and 30 Rock represent network television — CBS, ABC and NBC, respectively. They are quality-written shows that deliver observational laughs. Curb Your Enthusiasm is all about Larry David and his dyspeptic, yet wry view of the world. The two newbies in this category — Girls and Veep — followed each other on HBO this spring. Girls has gotten the most press — and two other nominations for its creator Lena Dunham for lead actress and director — for its racy, confessional, warts and all approach to 20-something life in New York City. Veep stars the excellent Julia Louis-Dreyfus — also an outstanding lead actress nominee — and though, somewhat uneven as a series, Louis-Dreyfus makes it compelling.
As I mentioned Dunham and Louis-Dreyfus lead the Outstanding Lead Actress category. They are joined by perennial nominees Edie Falco for her bracing turn in Nurse Jackie, Amy Poehler for playing clueless in Parks and Recreation and Recreation and Tina Fey as a producer on 30 Rock. Falco, Poehler and Fey are true veterans of the small screen. Falco is an acting powerhouse also known for her beloved role of the Carmela, Tony Soprano’s long suffering wife, on The Sopranos. Poehler and Fey are former Saturday Night Live castmates, whose spot on impersonations of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, respectively, are missed. Rounding out the nominations is Zooey Deschanel for her titular role in the New Girl. Deschanel has a certain insouciant charm you either love or want to crush. This category is the hardest to call, simply because it pits newbies versus a serious slate of former winners.
Something old, something new, something blue is how the saying goes, and the Outstanding Lead Actor category has it all. Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory has taken the trophy home the past two years. He’s pitted against wily veterans Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) as well as new to this category, the estimable Don Cheadle for Showtime’s House of Lies. And the final (blue) nomination goes to Louis C.K. for Louie, who has the most heat in this category. The critical praise for his show is off the charts, and the public has embraced it in profound ways. Louie is the only water cooler show of the bunch.
Kristen Wiig lands an Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for her final season on Saturday Night Live. No surprise here. Kristen has been beloved for many years, and since Bridesmaids, her Q factor is off the charts. The late Kathryn Joosten received a nomination for her work on the final season of Desperate Housewives — the only actor from the show to get any Emmy love. Mayik Bialik has made more noise in the media due to her advocacy of attachment parenting, but it’s great to see the former Blossom star get a nod for her typecast role on The Big Bang Theory. She actually holds a degree in neuroscience. Merritt Weaver, who is fantastic on Nurse Jackie, is also nominated. And, let’s face it, it pays to be an actor on Modern Family. And I don’t just mean in dollars. All six of the leads are nominated in the supporting categories — Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The final nominees in the Outstanding Actor category feature one surprise and one expected nominee. Max Greenfield sneaked into this category — somehow, some way. He’s been adorable since Veronica Mars, but I did not see him coming — at least this year — in New Girl. He’s great as a lothario, and I’m pleased his nominated. Just surprised. Bill Hader also gets a nod for his work on Saturday Night Live.
All in all, the Emmy nominations are a mixed bag filled with expected veterans and a few newcomers. I’m most interested to see if Greenfield or Hader can overtake the four men from Modern Family and win the Outstanding Actor Emmy.
On Thursday, I’ll recap the writing and directing comedy nominations.

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