The Correct 2011 Emmy Comedy Nominations

Ron Swanson sternly disapproves.

Ron Swanson looks on in stern disapproval.

Nobody actually cares about or respects the Emmys (or Oscars or Grammys).  I could now write some caveats about how they are inconsistent, how they sometimes get it right and mostly get it wrong, but instead I’ll just say that The Wire was nominated for a total of two Emmys and we’ll leave it at that.  I didn’t watch enough of the drama entrants in question and I’m not going to pretend that I did either (unlike the Emmy voters – zing!) in order to render judgments on that side of the ballot.  We’ll just stick to the Comedy categories.

So, here are my nominations for the 2010-2011 Emmys.  For this exercise, I’m playing by the same rules as the Emmys, eg. whatever category an actor chooses to nominate themselves in is what they get considered as.  So, since Rob Lowe thinks he’s a Parks & Recreation lead, he doesn’t get a shot at the supporting category.  Additionally, I’m not putting a quota on any of the categories, but I’ll be around approximately the number nominated by ATAS.  All my nominees are listed in alphabetical order with my winner in bold.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Archer
  • Community
  • Cougar Town
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Louie
  • Parks & Recreation

There were a lot of worthy candidates for this list, including the uproarious Childrens Hospital which just misses the cut, though it possesses the highest laughs/minute ratio of any show on television.  While Community and Louie delivered some of the most memorable moments of the year, Parks & Recreation took it into peak Simpsons territory, getting close to Arrested Development country.  I’d put this season of P&R against the best seasons of The Office any day.  Cougar Town of course wins most improved.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Steve Carell, The Office
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  • Glenn Howerton, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Joel McHale, Community

Alec Baldwin is reigning king of this category, but it’s more than possible that Steve Carell will actually win his first Emmy.  Bill Hader has without a doubt been the MVP of SNL.  Even with dubious at best writing, Hader has kept SNL watchable even when Kristen Wiig’s irritating characters threaten to take over.  Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny gets the nomination as he was just fantastic as Dennis at his most sleazy in “The Gang Buys a Boat”.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Patricia Heaton, The Middle
  • Mary Louise Parker, Weeds
  • Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Weeds improved after a forgettable year in Mexico and while most of the comedic focus lies elsewhere, Parker provided a good mix of being likable and contemptible.  Amy Poehler’s loopy turn in “Flu Season” was a high point in comedy this season though.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Charlie Day, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Donald Glover, Community
  • Justin Kirk, Weeds
  • Danny Pudi, Community
  • Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation

If the Emmy voters paid any attention, this award would be a walk in the park for Ron Swanson.  While I thought Modern Family fell off a lot this year in the writing department, actor and Reggie Cleveland All-Star Ty Burrell continued to be able to carry most of the Phil-heavy episodes.  Weeds is probably a bit over-represented in these awards, as it hasn’t been a great show for a couple years, but Justin Kirk as Andy Botwin basically kept this show in the “Comedy” category by himself.  Glover and Pudi have some of the best chemistry on television and I’m glad Offerman made it easy so I don’t have to choose between them.  It’s kind of criminal that I didn’t manage to squeeze Chris Pratt in here somehow.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Alison Brie, Community
  • Busy Phillips, Cougar Town
  • Aubrey Plaza, Parks & Recreation
  • Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Amy Ryan, The Office
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Alison Brie got upgraded to more of a comedic role this year in Community and broke out as Annie.  Aubrey Plaza continued to be great as April while adding more heart to the role.  Busy Phillips gets the win though for consistently bringing the funny as well as adding empathy where you wouldn’t expect it.

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Will Arnett, “Plan B”, 30 Rock
  • Jim Carrey, Saturday Night Live
  • Sam Lloyd, “Something Good Coming”, Cougar Town
  • Rob Lowe, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, Californication

Congratulations, Rob Lowe, you get an award!  As a guest actor!  But seriously, he was fantastic as actor/lunatic Eddie Nero bringing an insane energy to his scenes in Californication.

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
  • Megan Mullally, “Ron & Tammy: Part Two”, Parks & Recreation
  • Betty White, “Anthropology 101”, Community

It’s difficult to turn down Mullally, but you cannot hope to contain Betty White.

Animated Program

  • Archer, “Pipeline Fever”
  • Community, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”
  • Futurama, “The Late Philip J. Fry”
  • South Park, “Crack Baby Athletic Association”

It’s been another week South Park season, but “Crack Baby” was a good mixture of Parker and Stone’s signature heavy-handed allegory and hilarity.  “The Late Philip J. Fry” is the first episode of Futurama‘s post-FOX years that I would put in the pantheon of great Futurama episodes.

Directing for a Comedy Series

  • Richard Ayoade, “Critical Film Studies”, Community
  • Louis C.K., “Bully”, Louie
  • Paul Feig, “Goodbye Michael”, The Office
  • Joe Russo, “A Fistful of Paintballs”, Community
  • David Wain, “Hot Enough for You?”, Childrens Hospital

Louis C.K. did a great job throughout the first season of Louie, taking us in unexpected directions while keeping the show coherent.  “Bully” best exemplifies this, with Louis C.K. taking us on a journey through a strange date night that ends up with him at the family house of a young ne’er-do-well.  Joe Russo did a great job on the atmosphere and Western motifs of “A Fistful of Paintballs” that shows off Community‘s signature style.  But Brit comedian Ayoade takes home this one for one of the most notorious television episodes of this past season.  Such a strange episode, but he expertly pulled it off behind the camera.

Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Louis C.K., Louie

I originally came up with a list that included some top episodes like Community‘s “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design”, but there’s no way anyone should win this except Louie.

Voice-over Performance

  • H. Jon Benjamin, Archer
  • Eugene Mirman, Bob’s Burgers
  • Kristen Schaal, Bob’s Burgers
  • Jessica Walter, Archer
  • Billy West, Futurama

That Brenda Strong gets nominated for her ear-stabbingly bad voice-overs on Desperate Housewives* while H. Jon Benjamin is nowhere to be found is crazy to me.  Can we just change the name of this category to the “H. Jon Benjamin Award for Excellence in Voice Acting”?

*I haven’t watched since the end of season one, but I’ll assume she’s still doing her lines like she’s reading a children’s book aloud.  Also, she is Sally Sasser and no one likes Sally Sasser.

Original Main Title Theme Music

So maybe the Hawaii 5-0‘s isn’t exactly original, but they still did a heck of a job reworking the original.  As Alan Sepinwall joked, Mr. Sunshine certainly wins the five-syllables-and-under category.  But, yeah, there’s no way Terriers shouldn’t have been nominated in this category.

Arbitrary song of the day: Benoit & Sergio – Principles

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