I finally got my brick of an Emmy Magazine: For Your Consideration issue in the mail, and all of the pretty pictures (and few screeners tucked away inside) just reminded me that I had to get to work on my own Dream Emmy Ballot, which has become an annual tradition around this blog.
Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester, glee)-- Every word that comes out of this woman's mouth is comic gold, and she especially can't go wrong in a part that was written specifically for her. Every week she steals scenes from the singing-and-dancing kids simply by delivery dry, acerbically witty lines that drip with snark and ego. And yet she makes everyone fall in love with her!
Merritt Weaver (Zoey, Nurse Jackie)-- She has the tough job of playing eager and optimistic in a dark and somewhat dank world. Yet she manages to never go over the top and become annoying or...over the top. For a young actor, she carries her own against veteran Edie Falco, as well.
Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley, Community)-- It is stereotypical for a sitcom to feature a slighter older, sassy black woman, but she has gone against the mold with her almost sugary sweet single mom/college student role. A veteran comedienne in her own right, she has added layers to what could have been just a push-over. Her buddy cop moments as a makeshift campus security guard gave her depth and gave us the giggles!
Christa Miller (Ellie, Cougar Town)-- Her voice drips with disdain for both her paunchy husband and her new baby, and she drinks wine by the bucket-load. She is always there to offer a sarcastic comment or snide remark, but perhaps most importantly, she makes a Slanket look fashionable!
Kaitlin Olson (Sweet Dee, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)-- Well, technically she should be in the lead category, seeing as how she is the only woman on the show on anything of a consistent basis. However, when you see the lead category below, you'll understand there were just so many great names there, and I didn't want her talent to get completely shafted or shut-out! Besides, her role tends to be a bit smaller than that of the guys, but she not only holds her own with them but goes above and beyond to steal scenes from them. And this past season she finally got to truly shine in an episode befitting just the right kind of narcissism that her character specializes in when she goes to great lengths to break up a wedding just so she can have a shot with the guy.
Eric Stonestreet (Cameron, Modern Family)-- I don't know where to begin with examples of why this seeming overnight sensation deserves a statue! Should I begin with the pilot, when he raises his newly adopted daughter above his head Lion King style, or the episode in which he dons full clown make-up and gear and then gets in a fight at a gas pump? Of course the "moon landing" was infamous, but so was the greeting card argument with his on-screen counterpart. And props to this straight man for not being afraid to get in touch with his feminine side, channeling his mother to play this role. I don't envy the producers of his show, trying to figure out just which clips to submit for his consideration!
Rico Rodriguez (Manny Delgado, Modern Family)-- He is the one child on the show who has been able (and allowed) to go toe-to-toe with the adults and matches wits with them every time. Even the way this kid picks up a mug of "coffee" is funny, but the best moments come from when he is trying to win the heart of a lady love. Without him in the role, the character would have undoubtedly just been relegated to the background.
Danny Pudi (Abed, Community)-- Playing a character outside of one's self is what acting is all about, but he takes things to another level by making someone who might normally be called "weird," "endearing." His somewhat rapid-fire delivery and pop culture quips are a throwback to the Gilmores, but his short films and raps are what push him past them!
Peter Facinelli (Dr. Cooper, Nurse Jackie)-- His character is a narcissist and an egomaniac who wanted so much to be famous that he paid out of pocket to keep a giant poster of his face advertising his hospital. He has some sort of sexual Tourette's that causes him to grope when he some woman is making him uncomfortable. He is obsessed with Twitter and his "fans," which really goes back to the whole ego thing. But he is oddly clueless, too, and that makes all of the other things dissipate so his natural charm can emerge.
Aziz Ansari (Tom Haverford, Parks & Recreation)-- As a stand-up comedian, he brings much more than just a face to the role: he also contributes a lot of his own adlibs to form background on the character-- such as that he's obsessed with Jamie Foxx. He has an almost manic energy that just becomes infectious as he takes a somewhat swarmy character and makes him comical and fun to watch week after week. The other characters in the show may be laughing at him, but the audience is in on the joke.
Tina Fey (Liz Lemon, 30 Rock)-- She still delivers some of the best one-liners in recent television history, and she often does it with cupcakes printed on her pants and cheese imprinted on her chin! Self-deprecating will never go out of style because she never takes herself too seriously.
Edie Falco (Jackie Peyton, Nurse Jackie)-- This woman has true range to go from a mobster's wife in a gritty crime drama to a pill-popping adulterer in an off-beat comedy. Her biting wit more than lightens what could have easily turned into a similarly serious story, but it is when she does something completely silly-- like break into a spontaneous tap dance with another nurse-- that the humor is born of something other than the tragedy of this unlikely hero, singlehandedly adding layers and dimensions to the show as a whole.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Christine Campbell, The New Adventures of Old Christine)-- We all know she's a comedic genius and can make even the most vile, unsympathetic characters enjoyable to watch. But it truly would just be icing on the cake for her to receive a nomination (and perhaps another statue) after her show was unjustly-- and prematurely-- canceled!
Amy Poehler (Leslie Knope, Parks & Recreation)-- It's an unglamorous role, wearing ill-fitting pantsuits and taking on really small time (and small town) government, but she manages to make it look fun and-- dare I say it-- interesting!? Her fresh-faced optimism could come off as desperate or insincere in a less capable actor's hands, but she levels it off with just the right amount of haplessness to just make her seem like an eternal child. And there's something really refreshing about that!
Toni Collette (Tara Gregson, United States of Tara)-- Okay, look, I personally think she should get nominated in the dramatic category because there is something too serious about multiple personalities, even if you do end up chuckling at Buck going fist-to-face with John Corbett or a grown Tara donning a paper crown in a chain restaurant as "Chicken," but the show is in the half-hour format, and the Academy is old-school. So here we are. Collette was on my ballot last year, as well, because she is just a phenomenal, incomparable actor.
Jim Parsons (Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory)-- I admit I don't watch this show regularly, but I tuned in for the season finale, and the scene where he actually goes on a first date (which may be his first date ever) won me over enough to want to watch next year. Everything from his inflections to the way he swivels his head to the somewhat stilted way he speaks had me from the very first moment. He definitely does things differently, and I truly believe there is no one else like him on TV at the moment.
Joel McHale (Jeff Winger, Community)-- He started out somewhat simply asked to carry a show featuring mostly relative unknowns but very quickly had to take on the characteristics of a romantic lead, an action lead, and even a buddy comedy lead as the episodes progressed. He did it all flawlessly, like a chameleon, and he deserves to be rewarded for his dexterity!
Alec Baldwin (Jack Donagy, 3o Rock)-- He is nominated-- by me and by the actual Academy-- every year, but this time he has truly outdone himself. Playing the romantic lead with two separate women had him juggling multiple comedy styles all within the same episode, just scenes apart, and he managed to do it without seeming sleazy! He makes cutting someone down look fun; I wouldn't mind having a boss make fun of me if he or she did it with this guy's affects! And even when being forced to work opposite an actual live peacock, he managed to keep things real and wacky but not too crazy!
Josh Hopkins (Grayson, Cougar Town)-- If he can't be nominated for a Grammy for his songs ("Confident in my Sexuality," anyone??), then this is the next best thing. His jabs at the women on the show always manage to hit the nail on the head-- but because they're delivered in his devil may care attitude-- he never seems too mean. As the season has gone on, he has loosened up considerably and now participates in some of the kookier moments with such an "easy breezy" charm even the most ridiculous seem like something you'd want to do, too, just for a chance to hang out with him. He also wears a Slanket nicely!!
Steve Carell (Michael Scott, The Office)-- Amidst criticism that the show is a fraction of what it once was, this guy keeps taking his character to awkward new heights. He managed, after six years, to introduce a few new sides to him, including "Date Mike" and the underling who desperately wants to be friends with his new boss. There is a sadness that punctuates everything he does, but he never takes it so far you feel badly about laughing.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The New Adventures of Old Christine
The Emmys will air on Sunday, August 29th, and for the first time in about thirty-five years they will be live to both coasts! Ballots from actual Academy voters are due by June 21st and the official nominees will be announced on July 8th. Who would you nominate for a comedy statue? Leave your picks in the comments and come back tomorrow to see my hopefuls in the dramatic categories!