COMMENTARY– If you guys haven’t heard already, it’s Emmy season. For the rest of the week, you’ll be looking at various sites predicting how the Emmys will pan out. All articles are intended to inspire debate, with a personal bias to their opinion.
What few fail to realize, though, is that opinions rarely matter regarding who wins an Emmy.
Yes, Amy Poehler is overdue an Emmy. But so was House’s Hugh Laurie, The Office’s Steve Carell, Malcolm In The Middle‘s Jane Kaczmarek, and, in some viewers, Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara, among many others.
Bob Newhart is considered a TV icon. Yet, he just won his 1st ever Emmy as a guest actor on CBS’s sitcom The Big Bang Theory, after 50-plus years in the business. Regardless of their talent and overall body of work, Emmy voters disregard this when deciding who should get a statuette.
Before breaking down the shows and giving out predictions on the comedy series, consider this:
All nominated actors/actresses submit one episode for judge’s consideration. That episode must be from with eligibility guidelines (between June 1 and May 31, and for primetime, 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.). So, keep an eye out on the episode next to the actor/actress nominee. A weak episode submitted will allow an unlikely competitor to snag an Emmy, as Jon Cryer capitalized in 2012 for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
For a series, however, the producers submit six episodes from that season via DVD pairings. For example, Series One turns in the following:
DVD A: “Episode One/Episode Two”
DVD B: “Episode Three/Episode Four”
DVD C: “Episode Five/Episode Six”
The following comedy series will compete using the following episodes, per Awards Watch:
The Big Bang Theory
DVD A: “The Closet Reconfiguration” and “The Bakersfield Exploration”
DVD B: “The Tangible Exploration Proof” and “The Egg Sald Equivalency”
DVD C: “The Love Spell Potential” and “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation”
DVD A: “Bad Friend” and “It’s A Shame About Ray”
DVD B: “One Man’s Trash” and “It’s Back”
DVD C: “On All Fours” and “Together”
DVD A – “Telling Jokes/Set Up” & “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part 1”
DVD B – “Late Show Part 1” & “Late Show Part 2”
DVD C – “Late Show Part 3” & “New Year’s Eve”
DVD A – “Fulgencio” & “Career Day”
DVD B – “The Butler’s Escape” & “Arrested”
DVD C – “Mistery Date” & “Party Crasher”
DVD A – “Stride of Pride” & “A Goon’s Deed in a Weary World”
DVD B – “Mazel Tov, Dummies” & “My Whole Life Is Thunder”
DVD C – “Hogcock”/”Last Lunch”
DVD A – “Midterms” & “First Response”
DVD B – “Hostages” & “Helsinki”
DVD C – “Running” & “D.C.”
The Big Bang Theory
The 1st pairing from Big Bang includes it’s most watched episode in “The Bakersfield Exploration” (reaching 20 million viewers for the 1st time), and arguably it’s best episode of the season in “The Closet Reconfiguration.” Though viewership numbers are impressive for both episodes, critics were not fond of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj’s journey to Bakersfield for Comic Con. AV Club’s critic, Oliver Sava, gave the episode a D, while thetvcritic.org’s Robin Pierson scored it an average 61/100. In “Closet”, Big Bang explores the issue of father abandonment that gave Simon Heldberg’s character, Howard, it’s strongest performance of the season, earning Heldberg a Critic Choice Award this spring.
The 2nd pairing from Big Bang are solid episodes that showed progress in relationships of Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) in “The Tangible Affection Proof”, and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Couco) in “The Egg Salad Equivalency.”
The 3rd and final pairing from Big Bang shows Sheldon and Amy’s intimacy issues while playing Dungeons and Dragons with the gang in “The Love Spell Potential”, and Penny telling Leonard she loves him in “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation.” The interesting part of these submissions by the producers is that none of the pairings include roles that earned Bob Newhart, Jim Parsons, and Mayim Bialik Emmy nominations in their respective fields. Newhart’s role in “The Proton Resurgence” was largely ignored, as well as Parsons’ submission of “The Habitation Configuration.” Either of these choices could have replaced “Bakersfield” and “Spoiler Alert” for judges’ consideration. That also prevents this series from overtaking Modern Family‘s stranglehold on Best Comedy Series.
In the 1st pairing of Girls, Dunham and the producers almost mimicked Big Bang‘s errors with their submission of their weakest episode to date, “Bad Friend.” Though there are plenty of laughs available, critics complained from the poor execution on Marnie’s storyline, below Dunham’s standards anyway. However, Dunham’s character Hannah carried that episode, earning the actress an Emmy nod. “It’s A Shame About Ray” helps offset “Bad Friend” by tying together the 1st four episodes neatly over a dinner setting.
The 2nd and 3rd pairings of Girls were all solid episodes that chronicles Hannah’s struggles to satisfy her new bosses in “On All Fours” and “Together.” The strongest entry of the season is arguably “One Man’s Trash.” This addresses all the show’s criticism of being elitist, unrelatable, and off-putting by basically flipping the bird to naysayers. Needless to say, it was a strong showing for Girls. They’ll get their due, just not this year.
The entire 3rd season was met with critical acclaim and the submissions show how much of a threat it is to Modern Family‘s bid for a 4th straight Emmy victory. Will the voters take this into consideration, though? The highlight of the season was the three-part episode in which Louie has a chance to replace Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.”
In “Telling Jokes/Set Up”, Louie is set up with a woman named Laurie, played by newly-minted Emmy winner Melissa Leo. Their sex scene is one of the highpoints of the season, as they disagree about sex etiquette in a hilarious matter. Sure enough, they go out again.
Louie C.K.’s strongest individual performance came from his Emmy submission “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part I.” It shows Louie’s growth as an actor, as he delivers a heartfelt, poignant speech in asking a bookstore out on a date. Moments like this are why critics and fans alike root for this character: a hard-luck, single father in pursuit of happiness, not only for him, but also for his daughters.
Here comes the 3-time, defending champions of Outstanding Comedy Series. Voters are infatuated with them, awarding them 16 Emmys at season’s end.
In their bid to become only the 5th show to win 4 Emmys for Comedy Series, the producers started out strong with “Fulgencio”, as Jay (Ed O’Neil) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) argue on what to name their son. One of the highlights of the season came via a replica of The Godfather when Phil (Ty Burrell) sends his enforcer, son Luke, to solve his personal crisis once and for all.
The 2nd pairing turned in from producers involved one of the most puzzling submissions in recent memory: “The Butler’s Escape.” Should they fail to secure a 4th win, entries like this plays a major factor. In this episode, Jay tries to escape Gloria’s snoring, Claire (Julie Bowen) believes that Alex misses Haley, and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) becomes Mr. Mom. Not the freshest of ideas that previously defined the sitcom in earlier years.
Surprisingly, their season finale, “Goodnight, Gracie” was left out of judges’ consideration. Replacing “Butler” with this classic would have all but guaranteed a 4th win for Modern Family. It combines the right mixture of funny and heartfelt moments that makes this show great.
Many believe that 30 Rock is the favorite to unseat Modern Family and earn its 4th win before saying goodbye. With 13 nominations this final year, it will be closely monitored throughout the awards show.
Their 3rd pairing “Hogcock”/Last Lunch” was met with acclaim from critics, with a memorable final send-off from diva Jenna (Jane Krakowski). Unlike other finales, 30 Rock was lauded for sprinting to the finish line, keeping the audience on their toes from their favorites characters: Tina Fey’s Liz, Alec Baldwin’s Jack, and Tracy Morgan’s Tracy.
30 Rock continue their all-out assault at an Emmy with their strong 2nd pairing: “Mazel Tov, Dummies” & “My Whole Life Is Thunder.” This chronicles Liz’s wedding and her attempts to become a mother, while stealing Jenna’s thunder in the process.
Coming Sunday, the quality of submissions from 30 Rock makes them the odd-on favorite to unseat Modern Family. If not, they’ll most likely finish a close second.
Last, we finish with the long shot, Veep. The show’s case is strengthened by the incomperable Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who’s the favorite to repeat in Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Louis-Dreyfus’s episode submission “Running” is the strongest of the season, as it features her character, the Vice President of the U.S., hopped up on meds.
Based on episode submissions alone, it’s a street fight between Louie and 30 Rock, as the shows’ producers entered quality work for judges to look at. History is not on 30 Rock’s side, as the last statuette awarded to a series finale was Everybody Loves Raymond in 2003. Before that? Barney Miller back in 1982. However, look for 30 Rock to overcome those odds to take home the prize this year.