September is the best time of year if you’re a television fan. After the summer drought of second rate reality shows and scripted series that weren’t even good enough to be picked up in midseason, our DVR’s can return to their former glory by packing hours upon hours of shows for our viewing pleasure.
It also means that it’s time to celebrate the previous television season with the now 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. As you’ll see, this years Emmy’s results, especially the comedic categories in which we are focusing on here, seemed a bit bi-polar in retrospect.
The night started off nicely with well-deserved wins for Modern Family’s Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell. Bowen has proven herself to be the cream of the supporting comedic actress crop, while Burrell has put his own mark on the lovable yet dimwitted TV dad. It should be noted that all four male leads from Modern Family were nominated, leaving only two other nomination slots open.
Burrell, along with last years winner Eric Overstreet, both deserve these nominations but the other two actors may not have been as worthy as some other actors who were snubbed. Most notably Nick Offerman for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” What was once a vehicle SNL alum Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation has truly come into it’s own with all-star supporting performances across the board, with Offerman and newcomer Aziz Ansari leading the way.
Moving on the lead actor and actress in a comedy series categories, it’s here where things seemed to have took a wrong turn. For lead actress, Melissa McCarthy won for her work on the freshman sitcom “Mike & Molly.” Since the telecast, it has been widely assumed that this award was for her work it the hit summer film “Bridesmaids” as “Mike & Molly” is far from being a critical darling. If it had not been for that film, the front runner for this award should have been Amy Poehler (who was behind the hilarious rushing on the stage bit for all the nominees) for her character Lesnie Knope on “Parks and Recreation.” With such a strong supporting cast, it’s impressive that she still remains the star and nucleus of the show. Nothing against McCarthy, but the award just seems unjust.
And now we arrive at what has to be the most disheartening Emmy moment of recent memory. Once again Steve Carell has been denied for his portrayal of Michael Scott on NBC’s “The Office.” Carell, in his last effort to finally win after six straight nominations, lost to Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s now been a couple of days since the awards and it still feels so incomprehensible. Even more so by the fact that the nomination was for his final episode, which saw Carell exit the show with such grace and class. Walking his usual line of offbeat comedy, but this time with a nice amount of sentimental emotion, as he brought his character of seven seasons to a satisfying close .
An argument could be made that the academy would not give Carell the award since the character was contrived from Ricky Gervais originally, but Steve has made it his own for a very long time now. And make no mistake that Steve Carell and his performance is timeless and will be remembered like many of the greats, as a true television icon.
Also, it needs to be said that Jim Parson’s character of Sheldon Cooper is extremely one-note and is definitely a lesser version of the Abed character from NBC’s “Community.” So the fact that he has won two years straight is just mind-boggling, even more-so when you consider the show’s atrocious laugh track.
“Modern Family” took home Outstanding Comedic Series to no surprise. Then again, it was just as deserving in it’s sophomore season as it was the first time around. But as we look forward to 2012, there are a few shows that have yet to be nominated that flat-out need to be.
First up, “Community.” This single camera comedy about a study group at a community college includes Joel McHale from “The Soup,” Ken Jeong from The “Hangover,” SNL alum Chevy Chase, and upcoming comedy writer and stand-up comedian Donald Glover. Much of the show’s humor is derived from not just pop culture references, but television and film cliches. So in that sense, it may not be for the non “film geek” crowd who will have many of the shows one-liners go right over their heads.
Also, the show on directly after “Modern Family,” ABC’s Cougar Town. From the creator of “Scrubs,” Courtney Cox stars as a single mom in her 40’s with a close group of eccentric friends in Southern Florida. The show has gotten a lot of flack for it’s title, but the show has moved so far from the original premise of Cox playing a “cougar.” Anyone who was a fan of “Scrubs” knows that the show blended ridiculous cutaway gags with poignant melodrama, which “Cougar Town” does even better with it’s more realistic and earnest approach.
Some newcomers we might see next year could include Zoey Deshanel for her quirky nerd character Jess in FOX’s “The New Girl.” Also look for Damon Wayans Jr., who was in the “The New Girl” pilot, for a supporting role for ABC’s “Happy Endings,” which ended last year surprisingly strong and got an unexpected pickup.
The Australian import “Wilfred” was a dark comedy hit for FX over the summer and could get a nomination for either of it’s leads, Elijah Wood and creator Jason Gann as the title character “Wilfred,” a grown man in a dog suit that only Elijah Wood can see.
HBO holds two long shots in it’s hands, the first being Ted Danson still delivering a strong supporting role as a pot-smoking businessman in the comedy noir “Bored To Death.” With it being confirmed that the third season of “Eastbown & Down” will be it’s last, if Danny McBride can bring a strong enough character arc to the foul-mouthed baseball player Kenny Powers, look for him to be a dark horse pick in 2012.
There will always be debates over which actor or show should’ve won, but the thing of it is that we should be excited to live in this new golden age of television.