The Emmy nomination gripes…and praises


We’re deep into the summer TV doldrums, nine months away from even a hint of dragons or their mothers. And when mired in the scorching desert of summer TV, there is little for the avid TV watcher to sink their teeth into. Sure, maybe you can start watching Damon Lindeloff’s latest creation, The Leftovers. Or binge watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix if you haven’t already. (Though let’s be honest, if you’re a fan, didn’t you blow through those episodes over a weekend?) Or, you can wax nostalgic for the TV season that just concluded and gripe about the Emmy nominations that came out yesterday. And since griping about Emmy nominations has become something of an annual sport for TV writers, why should we be any different? So without further ado, this year’s Emmy nominations, and why they suck.

Best Comedy Series

  • “The Big Bang Theory”
  • “Louie”
  • “Modern Family”
  • “Orange Is the New Black”
  • “Silicon Valley”
  • “Veep”

Should Win:  Silicon Valley

Will Win:  Orange is the New Black

As usual, the networks get to trot out their old warhorses in The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. And to be fair, both of these shows are still funny in a broad, 18-49 demo-friendly, sort of way. Louie mixed episodes of sheer delight with episodes of utter frustration in a very uneven 4th season. While Veep hit new creative highs in its third season. And maybe it’s because I lived in San Francisco for so long, but Silicon Valley did the best job of perfectly skewering the Bay Area tech scene with a mixture of high and low comedy. Of course, none of that will matter in the face of the buzzy second season of an already buzzy show, Orange is the New Black. Creator Jenji Kohan somehow managed to elevate the second season beyond even the lofty peaks of the first, bringing some of last season’s secondary characters into the foreground with great effect. In fact, the only thing that would stop OITNB from winning this award would be if snobbish Emmy voters decide, “Well, it’s more of a DRAMA than a COMEDY…”  And that would be a shame.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Lena Dunham, “Girls”
  • Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
  • Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep”
  • Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”
  • Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”
  • Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”

Should Win:  Amy Poehler

Will Win:  Julia Louis Dreyfus

I sometimes feel like Melissa McCarthy’s annual Emmy nomination here is almost TV’s ploy to keep her star yoked to the small screen. As if they’re saying, please don’t leave us to make movies!  We’ll give you awards!  Although McCarthy’s extraordinary talents are evident, they are wasted on the mundane Mike & Molly. I would cast my fake vote for Amy Poehler, and her portrayal of the best government worker of the worst town, in Parks & Recreation. The fact that she still has yet to win an Emmy for this role is criminal. But, given Veep’s transcendent third season, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s superb performance in it, I pick this award as my “Lock of the Week.”

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Ricky Gervais, “Derek”
  • Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
  • Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
  • Louis C.K., “Louie”
  • William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Should Win:  Louis C.K.

Will Win:  Jim Parsons

It literally hurts my brain that Don Cheadle’s mindless House of Lies remains on the air, while so many more worthy shows have to fight for a second season. I love Don Cheadle as an actor, but I think his talents are wasted on this superfluous piffle of a show. Louis C.K. definitely pushed the boundaries of TV comedy in the latest season of his eponymous show. And although there were definitely some misses between his big hits this year, I’d give him the award for effort alone this year. But I think Jim Parsons, reprising his role of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory will get the award this year…again. He’s basically our era’s Kelsey Grammer.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series

  • Andre Braugher, “Brookiyn Nine-Nine”
  • Adam Driver, “Girls”
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
  • Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
  • Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”
  • Tony Hale, “Veep”

Should Win:  Andre Braugher

Will Win:  Andre Braugher

Ty Burrell remains my favorite actor on the increasingly graying around the edges Modern Family. But if anyone but Andre Braugher wins the category this year for his hilarious deadpan turn as an NYPD precinct captain in the VERY underrated Brooklyn Nine-Nine, then I will officially swear off the Emmys (until next year).

 Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

  • Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
  • Allison Janney, “Mom”
  • Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black”
  • Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
  • Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Should Win:  Kate Mulgrew

Will Win:  Allison Janney

Fun fact (that 99% of our readers probably already know). Did you know that Julie Bowen was the love interest in Happy Gilmore? So how is it that nearly 20 years later, she looks WAY better than she did back then? Anyway, I’m pretty sure Allison Janney is going to take this award for her scenery chewing role in Mom. But my vote is for Kate Mulgrew’s impeccable turn as Red in Orange is the New Black. Yes, it’s not a “comedic” performance in the traditional sense. But her perfectly blended balance of motherly sweetness and kingpin menace is sublime.

Best Drama Series

  • “Breaking Bad”
  • “Downton Abbey”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “House of Cards”
  • “Mad Men”
  • “True Detective”

Should Win:  Breaking Bad

Will Win:  Breaking Bad

What, you’re not going to award one of the best shows in the history of television, in its final season, after pulling off a near perfect finale, the award for Best Drama Series? As Gob Bluth might say, “C’mon!”  There will probably be some love for the zeitgeisty True Detective and the always dependable Mad Men, but Breaking Bad deserves to go out on top.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

  • Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”
  • Claire Danes, “Homeland”
  • Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”
  • Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
  • Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
  • Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Should Win:  Tatiana Maslany

Will Win:  Julianna Marguilies

Yes I know that Tatiana Maslany didn’t get nominated for her incredible and unique performance(s) in Orphan Black. But let’s just call this a write in vote, like those people that vote for Pete Rose to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame every year. As to who will win? It has to be Julianna Marguilies for her captivating lawyer/mother/wife, Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife. She may not play seven different characters, but she plays her one character better than anyone else on this list. And what’s Claire Danes doing on this list? Did everyone just watch the same season of Homeland as I did?

Best Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
  • Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
  • Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
  • Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”
  • Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”
  • Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Should Win:  Bryan Cranston

Will Win:  Bryan Cranston

Same rule applies as above. Give Bryan Cranston his damn award already!  Give him all the awards!  Give him an Oscar for Godzilla, just to show our appreciation for his career defining performance as Walter White in Breaking Bad. I happen to be in the minority of people who love The Newsroom. But I’ll say that Jeff Daniels might be my 95th favorite part about the show. And watching him and Emily Mortimer do their love/hate thing is my 3,134th favorite thing.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series

  • Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
  • Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
  • Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
  • Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
  • Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
  • Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

Should Win:  Peter Dinklage

Will Win:  Peter Dinklage

I’m pretty sure Tyrion Lannister has got this award locked down. You know, as long as he doesn’t flaunt and preen to the crowds before his name is called, and then watch Aaron Paul win, grab the award, and proceed to crush his skull in with his bare hands.

Supporting Actress, Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
  • Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
  • Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
  • Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
  • Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
  • Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

Should Win:  Christine Baranski

Will Win:  Christine Baranski

To be honest, even though I watch all of these shows, I have a hard time picking a winner here. I thought Anna Gunn did a masterful job trying to hang onto her sanity as she slowly realized just how much of a monster her husband was. Maggie Smith was fantastic as usual in Downton Abbey (though the season itself was probably the worst of the show thus far). I hated Cersei Lannister with a passion, which must mean that Lena Headey did a great job with the character. And Christina Hendricks is always excellent as Joan in Mad Men. I have a huge crush on Joanne Froggatt, so I’ll have to recuse myself from voting for her. So I’m going to go with Christine Baranski, who has toiled many seasons in the background of The Good Wife, but really had showcased some new facets of her character in what was probably the best season of the show thus far.

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