Sunday, July 27, 2008
My annual alternate ballot of the snubbed and (in some cases) the actual best of the year in TV.
American Dad, Flight of the Conchords, How I Met Your Mother, My Name Is Earl, Pushing Daisies, The Simpsons
Pushing Daisies was (along with Mad Men) the best new show on TV and a bit of a surprise omission given that Lee Pace and Harriet Hayes....er, Kristin Chenoweth got acting nods and the show was nominated for writing and direction. I'm highly looking forward to the second, non-strike ruined season. How I Met Your Mother was apparently, if you ask my pal Kyle, a step down from its previous two seasons, but since this was my first year watching it, I found it perfectly enjoyable. The Simpsons had its best overall season in years, probably due to the fact that the writers didn't have the added pressure of coming up with a movie. My Name Is Earl continues to be the most underrated comedy on TV after a season where it got great comic mileage out of Earl being in prison (where the hell was Craig T. Nelson's 'best guest actor' nomination for his hilarious role as the warden?) and Earl being in a coma. For some reason, I think Earl would get more respect if it was an animated show. And, while on the subject or underratedness and animation, here we have American Dad. I mean, it isn't even close between AD and Family Guy anymore. If the two shows were A Star Is Born, Family Guy would be taking the slow walk into the ocean right about now.
Anyway, in summation, all of these shows are a lot better than fucking Two and a Half Men. Or Entourage. Frankly, given that Entourage had just one or two episodes air within the voting period, I was hoping it would've been rightly omitted. I'm hopeful the full year off helps breath some life into the Entourage franchise.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: This is 30 Rock's year again. I think we can officially go ahead and call it the funniest show on television. Any show with episodes called 'Cooter' and 'MILF Island' and another that heavily involves the Lemon family referring to themselves as the 'Lemon party' is #1 in my books.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl
Bret McKenzie, Flight of the Conchords
I love that three of these guys are played versions of themselves. I think I've said this every year, but I'm blown away that Lee has yet to get as much as a nomination for his role as Earl. Is it the mustache? Are Academy voters afraid to pick him out of fear of being stink-palmed if they offer to shake hands at the ceremony?
Best Of The Actual Nominees: I love Steve Carell, but Baldwin had this won from the moment of the "Tracy's therapy session" scene. I'm glad I was watching a tape of that episode, since had I been watching it live, I would've missed the rest of the episode due to howling with laughter.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Anna Friel, Pushing Daisies
Once again, this category is lacking since there are so few good lead roles for women that virtually all of them that are of any value get nominated anyways. But hey, while I'm here, Anna Friel. She overcame bring irritating as hell in the second episode to becoming a quality part of the show. Plus, she's British! I've really run out of things to say.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: Tina Fey. Four words: "Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Ack!"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Will Forte, Saturday Night Live
John Krasinski, The Office
Chi McBride, Pushing Daisies
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jason Segal, How I Met Your Mother
J.B. Smoove, Curb Your Enthusiasm
As usual, this category is overloaded with possible talent. Since three of the actual nominees (Jon Cryer, Piven, Dillon) were ridiculous, my trio of favorites from this group were Smoove, McBride and Krasinski. It is not a stretch to say that Smoove stole every scene he was in during the last season of Curb. McBride has enough sardonic one-liners to sink a ship. I think I like 'happy-in-love Jim' even more than 'lonely-pining Jim.' Then again, none of these three could've carried the tune of Werewolf Bar Mitzvah like Tracy Morgan. Tough category.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: Rainn Wilson vs. NPH....wow. Can there be a tie? I'll give it to Harris, but just barely.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Alyson Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Jaime Pressly, My Name Is Earl
Kristen Schall, Flight of the Conchords
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
In a sign of true gender equality, the Emmys decided to fill this year's supporting actress category with as many shitty choices as the men. I guess I have no problem with Vanessa Williams being nominated --- I saw Eraser two weeks ago, any anyone who is forced to wear those unflattering 'Mom Jeans' for the entire movie deserves some kind of award. Chenoweth, obviously, deserved her spot, and quite possibly her breasts deserved a nomination of their own. (You might think I'm being crass, but if you've ever seen Pushing Daisies, you know what I mean. More like Pushup Bra Daisies. Zing!) That leaves Jean Smart and Holland Taylor being nominated under the little-known Emmy rule stating that if Jean Smart and Holland Taylor are in a show, they have to be nominated no matter how mediocre their performances are. And then there's Amy Poehler, who was last seen being funny around 2002. But, in the words of Poehler's only amusing SNL bit, really? Amy Poehler nominated for an Emmy? Really?! When I heard that SNL actors were now eligible for Emmy acting awards, I figured this would be Wiig's category to lose. She's the new SNL It Girl --- how in the world does she not get nominated? Combine that with the inexplicable snub of Pressly, who only won the damn award last year, and the continued snubs to Hannigan (now going on 10 years of fine supporting performances with no Emmy love) and Krakowski (who I think was the only person involved with 30 Rock not nominated), and....well, this is just silly.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: Chenoweth is by far the brea...er, best of the bunch.
Ah, the ongoing controversy about where to slot the Housewives. This year's season was pretty dark (Lynette alone had cancer, saw her family almost killed by a tornado and saw her step-daughter become a sociopath), so what the hell, let's call it a drama, even though I think the producers actually submitted it in the comedy categories. But in all honesty, given that the Emmys nominated Mad Men AND Dexter AND Lost, I really don't have a lot of beefs with their drama selections.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: Um, like you even have to ask what I would pick. Let's just say that Damages doesn't exactly have its own category on my blog.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Yunjin Kim, Lost
Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives
Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Somewhat stupidly, it came as a total shock to me that Moss' character was pregnant. I didn't even realize she was wearing a fat suit and Weird Al-esque face jowl makeup until I went back and had another look at the latter episodes of Mad Men's first season. Perhaps that's a commentary on either my lack of attention or my low opinion of Elisabeth Moss' looks, but be that as it may, she was the most interesting female character on the show. They really, really, really should've looked harder to find a better actress than January Jones, that's all I'm saying. She seems way out of her league. Longoria definitely deserves a nomination somewhere, and really should be in the comic supporting actress category, but since I'm putting Housewives in the drama category.....my head just exploded. Whatever, Longoria will win the AL Rookie of the Year award, who needs an Emmy? I'm torn on the Lost actresses just because the nature of the show basically limits them to just one or two chances per year to really show their stuff. Mitchell deserves a nomination since I'm still shocked she was snubbed last year. And Kim deserves one for just the scenes of her screaming incoherently over Jin's apparent death, and the scene where she tells her father she now owns the company. Just great stuff.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: This category stinks. I dunno, Dianne Wiest is generally good in everything, give it to her.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Naveen Andrews, Lost
Henry Ian Cusick, Lost
Jorge Garcia, Lost
Vincent Kartheiser, Mad Men
Kal Penn, House
Again, Andrews and Cusick are awesome, but a discerning voter might say, "Well, Sayid and Desmond were off on that boat all season and didn't have a lot to do...." and thus vote for someone else. So I can understand why the likes of those two and Garcia wouldn't be recognized, even though they're all certainly better than, say, John Slattery. And if you think about it, Slattery was surely nominated solely on the basis of the one episode where Roger has his heart attack, so by that logic, the Lost actors should get the benefit of the doubt for their centric-episodes (since arguably no actor gave a better single-episode performance than Cusick in 'The Constant.') No knock on Slattery, who plays his role well on Mad Men, but...really? I mean, his role isn't all that special, and I don't think he elevates Roger much above the level of the other characters. Of anyone, I'd nominate Vincent "It Took Me Two Episodes To Remember Him As Angel's Son" Kartheiser for doing such a great job of being a slimy git all season long. He's like an evil Matthew Broderick, whereas Slattery is like an evil Ted Danson. Though I will credit to Slattery, the man has a great agent. In the span of one calendar year, this fifty-something, hawk-nosed actor has had love scenes with Eva Longoria and Christina Hendricks. Well played, Slattery, well played. I don't even watch a lot of House, but Kal Penn should be nominated just because he's Kal Penn.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: If Michael Emerson doesn't win, they should stop having Emmys.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Emily Deschanel, Bones
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
As mentioned, Huffman's character had a hell of a year. Bones is a show that I may have to watch a bit more of this season. It's got a sense of humor about itself, which is different from the umpteen other crime procedurals, and Deschanel and Boreanaz have great chemistry. Pop quiz, who's the better-looking Deschanel, Emily or Zooey? This might have to be the next poll question once the Batman villains are done with.
Best Of The Actual Nominees: I'd vote for Glenn Close. BTW, isn't it odd that out of all the Law & Order actors over the years in all the different shows, it was Mariska Hargitay who ended up being the Emmy darling?
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Wow, for the first time ever, I have nobody to nominate. This year's Dramatic Actor Emmy nominees were actually tremendous. If the category had stuck to just five nominees, someone good would've been left off, but nope, the voters apparently said no dice and all six deserving nominees got their moment in the sun. Nice work, Emmys! Of course, it'll all go to pot if James Spader wins again, but still. What exactly are the voting guidelines in regards to number of nominees? Occasionally you'll get a category with six nods instead of five. Is there a threshold that has to be passed to be a nominee, or was there a tie in the voting, or what?
Best Of The Actual Nominees: This took some serious thought. Let's start by cutting Spader immediately though in all fairness he does rock that role. I've never seen Breaking Bad, so Cranston is out, though I hear he's tremendous. Never seen In Treatment either, so bye bye Byrne. This leaves Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall and Hugh Laurie. Jesus. By a hair, I'll give it to Hall just because he has the most difficult line to tread.