Friday, July 15, 2011

Reactions to the Emmy Nominations

Oh, those Emmys. Yes, it is that time of the year again, when the nominations are made, and people all over are shaking their heads, wondering, "What were they thinking?" Let's discuss.

First, I'll confess that I don't watch everything that is considered good and noteworthy on television. I don't think it's possible (especially if you want to have a life outside of TV), and right now, with two pay channels presenting what some think are the gold standard of shows, it's really not affordable either. So, that means that I've missed a lot of what was selected, including Boardwalk Empire (premise didn't really interest me), The Borgias (don't have Showtime), The Killing (never had time), Dexter (still don't have Showtime), Friday Night Lights (never made time for it and I don't have DirecTV), and Justified (I didn't even know it was on until after the first season aired!) are just a few of the shows I've not seen but were nominated for something. And, of course, I don't watch most comedies. The fact that I don't watch these shows does not prevent me from having opinions about them, of course. I do read a lot.

Next, I have to confess that most of the awards bore me to tears. Art direction, editing, makeup and costume. Yawn. I know that there are professionals at work who are as deserving of awards as any, but I don't know any of them, and really, a winner in one of those awards really doesn't help the reputation of the show or the actors.

So, let's discuss the nominations I am interested in.

Once again, two of my favorite shows were completely shut out of the major awards: Fringe and Community. Both had strong years, and both had strong performances by talented actors. I will return to this theme.

Comedy first - critics were ecstatic that two leading men were added this year: Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory and Louis C.K. of Louie. I've watched the latter with B, and I do think he's rather good. Steve Carrell was also nominated for his last season of The Office (figures), and he is the current favorite to win. The lead actress in a comedy group has two surprises as well: Melissa McCarthy of Bridesmaids - oh, wait, I meant Mike & Molly (yes, a lot of critics believe she was nominated not for her show but because of her performance in the movie) and Martha Plimpton of Raising Hope. Again, I've seen the latter, and Plimpton is great, and I'm really happy she's getting work.

Pretty much every actor in Modern Family was nominated for supporting actor. I know a lot of people love that show, but thanks to the inclusion of Glee's Chris Colfer and Jon Cryer of Two and a Half Men (at least they didn't nominate Sheen this year), there was no room for Community's Danny Pudi and Donald Glover. Or even Chevy Chase, for that matter (you would think he's an Emmy magnet). The supporting actress category also has a lot of "really?" for me, including the addition of Jane Lynch, Betty White, and Kristen Wiig (I'll discuss these three along with many more below). But no love for Yvette Nicole Brown, who's Shirley on Community was awesome this year!

And I honestly could not care less who wins Outstanding Comedy Series - I either don't watch them or they just weren't that good (I'm looking at you, The Office and 30 Rock).

Readers of this blog know that I'm really a drama girl at heart, and the drama awards always interest me the most. The best actor award is filled with the usual suspects: Steve Buscemi, Michael C. Hall, Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie, Timothy Olyphant, and Jon Hamm. Hamm had a fabulous year on Mad Men, so I hope he bags the gold. Elisabeth Moss was nominated for best actress, and she too deserves the gold over her competitors. But why was Kathy Bates nominated for Harry's Law? Just because she won an Oscar doesn't mean her performance was better than, say, Anna Torv on Fringe. Torv managed to convincingly play three different persons last year. Not that the Emmys noticed.

The supporting actor race is such a strong one that I can barely muster the energy to point out that John Noble of Fringe was left out again. But the two men from The Good Wife (Josh Charles and Alan Cumming), Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones, John Slattery of Mad Men, and Andre Braugher from Men of a Certain Age are all deserving of the award. Only one actor is nominated from a show I've not seen: Walter Goggins from Justified. Knowing my luck, that means he'll win.

My feelings about the supporting actress race are not as strong, as there are two shows represented I don't watch - Boardwalk Empire and Justified. However, Christine Baranski and Archie Punjabi from The Good Wife were both nominated, as well Michelle Forbes (granted, I've not seen The Killing, but I've followed Forbes for years - she's fabulous) and Christina Hendricks from Mad Men are all deserving.

So, what was nominated for best drama? Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, and Mad Men. Of the shows I watch, the latter two are the most deserving, with The Good Wife getting the edge.

In reading the nominations, I had a feeling of "really?" for a lot of them. Steve Buscemi was nominated for best actor for his portrayal as Nucky Thompson, despite the fact that many critics feel this is not his strongest role and that Boardwalk Empire was a bit of a disappointment. I'm always happy Hugh Laurie is nominated, but House wasn't all that good last year. And Kathy Bates? Really? Jon Cryer? Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester had a bad year, creatively, and has allegedly just turned mean. I love Betty White, but her nomination for Hot in Cleveland just seems gratuitous. And try as I might, I have found none of Kristen Wiig's characters to be remotely amusing.

My last "what were they thinking" came from Outstanding Miniseries, as The Pillars of the Earth was nominated. The only award that show should win is worst miniseries ever.

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