Quips, Quibbles and Witticisms Courtesy of the 2013 Emmy Nominations

Early Thursday morning, I upheld my tradition of staying up all night (because why go to bed early? The delirium of exhaustion makes my commentary even funnier!) and overreacting to the Emmy award nominations. Apparently I haven’t given a proper analysis to the nominees for a couple years but I studied for this year’s nominations harder than I studied for most of my college exams so read on for one of my patented long-winded, overly emotional and mostly biased analyses.

Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Girls

Louie
Modern Family
Veep

The biggest story here is Louie breaking through into this category for the first time. While it’s not entirely surprising, seeing as Louis C.K. is kind of universally adored at the moment and the show picked up its first award last year in the Comedy Writing category, I still say it’s a pretty big deal for a few reasons. For one thing, it’s the only new nominee in the category this year – the rest of 2012’s nominee list was exactly the same (save for Curb Your Enthusiasm, currently on hiatus). Secondly, while the series has always been critically acclaimed, I find it noteworthy that Season 3 of Louie is the one to finally break through with Emmy voters because it was a particularly dark and complex season of television. Just look at the other nominated shows – there’s really nothing else like Louie. The Emmys like their comedies big and broad. Girls is really the only other show comparable in tone and ambition but even then, I’d say there’s still a pretty big difference between the two. Props to Emmy voters for attempting to reach outside of their comfort zone.



I would’ve nominated
30 Rock
Arrested Development
Girls
Louie
New Girl
Parks and Recreation
Veep

A rule change in 2009 allowed for an extra nomination slot in the series categories (although of course since the Emmys are resistant to change, that was the first and last year that was taken advantage of) so I am putting it to good use. Parks and Recreation was nominated for this award in 2011 and has mysteriously been absent from it ever since. I basically agree with the critics who assert that the show’s best days are probably behind it but even with this season’s misfires, when the show was good, it was good (especially when they played the emotional undercurrent card). The 2 biggest surprises in this category for me were the omissions of Netflix’s Arrested Development revival and FOX’s retooling of New Girl. I realize the new AD was nowhere near as well-received as the show’s broadcast days but I never imagined that people had soured on it that much. (The series snagged a mere 3 nominations, with only 1 in a major category.)

As for New Girl, it’s highly unusual for a show to be nominated in its freshman season and then promptly dropped from the running but it’s ESPECIALLY strange (and kind of downright wrong) in this case. Season 2 saw New Girl reframing the series as less of a “Zooey Deschanel is so cute and weird!” themed show and more of a straight Friends ensemble series. And the changes worked. Instead of a series about an oddball girl and three random dudes she moved in with, the show was suddenly about FOUR oddballs trying to get along in the world and with each other. The characters started to seem like people, the scripts became smarter, the jokes became funnier, the show became less of a guilty pleasure and more of a genuine pleasure. Then by midseason ANOTHER creative resurgence occurred when the show suddenly decided to go from 0-60 on the underlying sexual tension between Deschanel’s Jess and Jake Johnson’s Nick. While some series might take 2 or 3 seasons in between developments for a “Will they or won’t they?” couple (I’m looking at you, The Office), New Girl merely took 2 or 3 episodes. And again, it somehow worked. By laying their cards on the table and not dragging things out, the show was able to simultaneously avoid the Moonlighting curse and also convince on-the-fence viewers that this relationship was indeed a worthy addition to the show. (In internet terms, I personally went from “not sure if want” to “my body is ready” over the course of 1 episode). With 30 Rock only running 13 episodes, Community stuck in bizarro-land and Parks having a rocky season, New Girl put in a lot of work and was arguably the best comedy on TV this fall. It’s a shame for that not to be recognized.


Outstanding Drama Series 
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men

Netflix’s House of Cards won an impressive 9 nominations, which means the internet is here to stay, kids! Snark aside, with star power like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher behind it, can we really call this surprising or a “breakthrough”? (And lest we start patting the Emmys on the back for embracing “new media”, it should be disclosed that while it was indeed released as a streaming series, House of Cards was still sent out to Emmy voters on DVD.) House of Cards took Boardwalk Empire’s usual nomination slot and otherwise the nominees are the same as last year. The real story here I think is in the omissions, which I’ll get into below. And seriously, still with the Downton Abbey, guys?

I would’ve nominated
The Americans
Breaking Bad
Hannibal
Homeland
Mad Men
Parenthood
Southland

I’m not too broken up about the omissions of Parenthood and Southland. While both shows had outstanding years, they are little-watched and longshots and as much as I love them, I realize that. (Shame that Southland ends its 5 season run with only ever being nominated in the stunt category but oh well.) The big shock for me here is the lack of love for FX’s The Americans and NBC’s Hannibal. The Americans is a certified hit and seems like the type of show that the Emmys love to love (not to mention the fact that it’s pretty awesome and deserves some recognition) yet only walked away with 2 nominations in minor categories. Hannibal received 0 nominations and while the show was ridiculously low-rated when it aired this spring, the critics (and also me) fell hard and fast for it, surprisingly winning it a 2nd season pickup. When I like something as much as I like Hannibal, I am prone to hyperbole so I’ll choose my words carefully: I can’t remember the last time I liked a show as much or as fast as I liked Hannibal this season. I don’t know the last time a debut season was so sure of itself and so rightly so. (Probably the debut of Bryan Fuller’s last severely underrated show, Pushing Daisies.) Only a handful of shows have ever literally made my jaw drop. Hannibal is on that list. Even shorter is the list of shows that have ever given me nightmares. Hannibal is on that list. Hannibal should be on the Emmys list as well. Shame.


Outstanding Lead Actor In a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie

It’s nice to see Jason Bateman welcomed back into the fold (like Michael Bluth, he is basically what held the new season of Arrested Development together) but otherwise it would’ve been nice to see some new blood introduced into the category. (I’ve been trying to save my predictions for a later blog but we all fully expect Alec Baldwin to win one last time, right?) And seriously, Emmys? Still with Episodes?

I would’ve nominated  
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Louis C.K., Louie
Jake Johnson, New Girl
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation

I’ve already gone on my New Girl diatribe so I’ll just say that Jake Johnson played a huge part in the creative revival of that show and by submitting himself in the “Lead Actor” category (thus keeping him away from the ridiculous Modern Family popularity contest in the “Supporting” category), his nomination should’ve been a no-brainer. Similarly, Adam Scott has long been Parks and Recreation‘s secret weapon and with this being his first year submitting in the “Lead” category, I’d hoped he’d finally be recognized. (Spoilers: once again, Amy Poehler was the only actor nominated for the show. How do you not recognize a cast like THIS?!) Maybe next year.


Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

A little of old and a little of new in the category this year. For the first time since 2007, Michael C. Hall’s performance in Dexter was passed over for a nomination; also overlooked this year was Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire. In their places, we have Kevin Spacey for House of Cards (shocker) and Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom (actual shocker). The Emmys seem to have embraced House of Cards with open arms so Spacey’s nomination is not really a surprise. While I certainly thought that Jeff Daniels’ performance on The Newsroom was a stellar one, I wasn’t sure if the Emmys would agree seeing as the reaction to that show was mixed to say the least. With the exception of Hugh Bonneville (I don’t really know much or care much about Downton Abbey) this category actually seems a bit unpredictable and that’s exciting.

I would’ve nominated
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Dancy, Hannibal
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Peter Krause, Parenthood

With heavyweight winners such as Bryan Cranston and Damian Lewis (not to mention perpetual nominee, Jon Hamm) this is one of the toughest categories to break into. So I suppose it’s not entirely unexpected that my three picks (Matthew Rhys, Hugh Dancy and Peter Krause) were overlooked but I still can’t help being surprised. All three men served as the emotional centers for their respective shows, all three men found ways to seamlessly weave through the various tones their shows required of them (for The Americans and Hannibal: tension and action/horror with a dash of black comedy, for Parenthood light comedy and heavily emotional drama) and all three men, in their own ways, perfectly captured the plight of a man broken by the world around him changing in ways he can’t understand. For Rhys’ Phillip, it’s the never-ending rise and fall of his fake/real/fake/real marriage. For Krause’s Adam, it’s dealing with a failing business venture with his brother, a late-in-life baby and his wife’s cancer diagnosis. For Dancy’s Will, it’s a complete emotional and psychological breakdown as hallucination and reality begin to collide and sadly the only person who can save him is secretly a cannibalistic serial killer. These are the stories that captivated me all season, these are the stories I wish we could celebrate come Emmy season.


Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Laura Dern is the sole new addition to the category this year and while I never watched Enlightened, I’m happy that its passionate fanbase gets to finally see it honored. (And like with Louie, props to the Emmy voters for getting behind what I understand is a very difficult program to digest.) With the exception of Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie (never seen it), I am a fan of all these ladies and am basically pleased with this crop of nominees. Again, I’m keeping my predictions for another time but I’d personally love to see either Tina Fey take it one last time (I MISS YOU, LIZ LEMON) or Amy Poehler finally win some hardware. (Regardless of Parks and Recreation‘s current quality, it is crazy that she has never won anything.)

I would’ve nominated 
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Sutton Foster, Bunheads
Lena Dunham, Girls
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

My biggest pipe dream this entire Emmys season was for Bunheads to get nominated and for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s talent to finally be recognized on the biggest stage in television. That dream was killed when ABC Family didn’t submit the show for consideration (ugh), leaving star Sutton Foster as the show’s only hope for a nom. (Networks submit the show for show noms, performers and their agents submit the performances for acting nods.) A nomination for Foster wasn’t completely out of the question (I know Broadway stars don’t carry the same weight in the TV industry as movie stars but I mean, the woman’s won 2 Tonys) and a nod for her would’ve been a nod for Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop and all the other fast-talking, crazy-cool ladies that Amy Sherman Palladino has ever written for and the Emmys overlooked.


Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series 
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Nashville
Kerry Washington, Scandal

With a whopping 4 new nominees, this category is one of the most refreshing. I haven’t seen Bates Motel and have heard enough mixed things about its quality that Vera Farmiga’s nomination came as a surprise. I have seen Nashville and can attest to its questionable quality but everyone loves Mrs. Coach so Connie Britton’s nod makes sense. My favorite new nom here is Kerry Washington. While Scandal is somewhat of a phenomenon right now, I wasn’t sure if the Emmys would embrace the show seeing as it’s… completely ridiculous and batshit insane.What started out as a tepid procedural somehow transformed into a darkly funny, super sexy soap opera/political thriller/conspiracy caper that stuffs more plot, twists, betrayals and allegiance changes into one episode than most shows attempt in an entire season. Scandal is popcorn television at its best and Kerry Washington is the glue that holds it all together. Elisabeth Moss is my personal favorite to win, I think it’s probably Claire Danes’ to lose but I would be thrilled if Washington walked away with it.


I would’ve nominated
Keri Russell, The Americans
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Claire Danes, Homeland
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Kerry Washington, Scandal

If you follow online television criticism at all, I’m sure you’ve already heard someone singing the praises of Orphan Black, a BBC America original series about a young woman who finds out she is one of several clones. With a log line like that, I realize I had no business believing that its star, Tatiana Maslany, had a shot at a nomination. But her performance is THAT good. By the season’s end, Maslany pulled off SEVEN different characters all with distinct personalities, voices, accents and traits. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there were times when I actually forgot that this is essentially a one-woman show. Scenes where 3 or 4 of her characters are interacting with each other are just as rich and engaging as scenes where she is engaging with OTHER PEOPLE. IT’S THE SAME WOMAN ACTING AGAINST HERSELF. This performance (and story, really) seems custom made for the Golden Globes (and Maslany has already taken home a Critic’s Choice Award) so there’s still hope that an obscure Canadian actress from an obscure sci-fi series on an obscure basic cable channel could go the distance. Fingers crossed.


Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

I didn’t catch up on Season 2 of Veep until last week and the whole time I could not stop marveling over Tony Hale’s tremendous performance. (A conversation I had with my brother, documented on Tumblr, pretty much says it all.) However, the “Supporting” Comedy categories have been nearly impossible to break into the past few years since the Emmys insist on honoring everyone associated with Modern Family so I was prepared to rant and rave about Hale in my “I would’ve nominated” section. But lo and behold, something weird happened. While 3 slots of the category did still go to Modern Family cast members, 2-time winner Eric Stonestreet was passed over this year. Tony Hale was indeed recognized for his work, along with Adam Driver, another actor I had prepared a “coulda shoulda woulda” speech for. Oh, Emmys. You are capable of surprises. Who knew? (The icing on top of the cake would be Bill Hader breaking the Modern Family streak and winning for his final SNL episode – namely, his final Stefon appearance.)


I would’ve nominated
Will Arnett, Arrested Development
Adam Driver, Girls
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

As I shared above, I was prepared to go to the mat for Tony Hale and Adam Driver in this section and they unexpectedly got nominated so I’m left with little to say. Will Arnett has always been one of my favorite pieces of the Arrested Development puzzle and the GOB-centric episodes were some of Season 4’s best. Max Greenfield deservedly broke into the category last year and I would’ve liked to have seen him again. As the years pass, Nick Offerman being recognized for his work as Ron Swanson seems more and more like a distant dream and that is sad. Once upon a time, great character work like that is what this category was made for.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

I don’t watch Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire so those are the main differences between the Emmys’ list and my personal list in this category. I don’t know how Mandy Patinkin didn’t get nominated last year so I’m happy he made it this year and somehow this is Jonathan Banks’ first nomination for Breaking Bad so I’m glad to see his name here.

I would’ve nominated
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Vincent Kartheiser, Mad Men
Jeff Perry, Scandal
Michael Cudlitz, Southland

I’ve already spoken my piece about Hannibal so it’s no surprise that I would’ve loved to have seen Hannibal himself nominated. I’ve always considered Southland an ensemble show but if I had to argue that there was a “main character” I’d say it was Michael Cudlitz’s John Cooper. Week after week for 5 seasons, Cudlitz delivered one of the most intense, quiet, raw, explosive, vulnerable, genuinely human performances I’ve ever seen on television. I won’t spoil the final season because I highly recommend you check the show out if you’ve never seen it but the final season gave Cudlitz some ambitious material to work with and he nailed it. I’ll always be sad he was never recognized. Speaking of never being recognized, can we talk about how INSANE it is that Vincent Kartheiser has never been nominated for his portrayal of Pete Campbell?! And finally, I would’ve loved to have seen Jeff Perry snag a nomination for his work on Scandal. Scenery-chewing at it’s finest. No one can give a fast-paced, long-winded, high-volumed, unnecessarily cruel “sick burn!”-worthy verbal takedown like Jeff Perry.


Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Jane Krakowski,  30 Rock
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Anna Chlumsky has the distinction of being the only newbie in this category, making her nomination all the more exciting. The entire cast of Veep is fantastic so I’m delighted to see them start getting individual acclaim (and I am old enough to remember Chlumsky as good ole Vada Sultenfuss so it’s double fun for me). I’m glad to see Jane Krakowski welcomed back into the fold for one last 30 Rock bow and I have general meh feelings about everyone else in this category. Analysis!

I would’ve nominated
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Jessica Walter, Arrested Development
Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings
Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Again, apparently I liked the new Arrested Development a LOT more than Emmy voters. Whatevs. The biggest shame of this category is that Happy Endings has officially left the airwaves without any nominations. I’ll miss the show’s snappy dialogue and ridiculous plots but I’ll mostly miss the delightful cast. I would’ve been happy with a nomination for any of them but I’m particularly peeved that Eliza Coupe never got her moment in the sun. Frankly, I’m peeved that more people don’t know what a sublime comedienne she is. Speaking of sublime comediennes, can we talk about how insane it is that Kaitlin Olson has never been nominated for It’s Always Sunny? The show just barely got its first nomination this year, in the brand new “Outstanding Stunt Coordination For A Comedy or Variety Series” category and it’s been on the air EIGHT YEARS. But still. Sweet Dee? She’s like their Pete Campbell. (Callback!)


Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series 
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Emilia Clarke becomes only the 2nd Game of Thrones actor to collect an individual nomination in a major category. Again, I don’t watch the show (I know) but from what I understand, this nomination was a bit of a surprise, yes? From all I heard about “The Red Wedding” it seemed as though people were expecting a nod for Michelle Fairly. The other somewhat surprising addition to this category would be Homeland‘s Morena Baccarin. Anyways, Team Joanie.


I would’ve nominated 
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Bellamy Young, Scandal
Regina King, Southland

I can’t for the life of me understand why Kiernan Shipka can’t get a nomination in this category! The Oscars have no problem nominating children, what’s wrong with the Emmys? In other news, I made the mistake of listening to the hype and let myself believe that Monica Potter had a shot at garnering some recognition for her cancer arc on Parenthood. Like I wrote about Michael Cudlitz above, Regina King turned in solid work on Southland week after week for 5 straight seasons and it’s a shame she can’t be rewarded for that. And like I wrote about Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young is scenery chewing at its finest – so delightfully over the top as Scandal‘s Lady MacBeth-esque First Lady. It’d be easy for her to play her character as a cartoony villain but while Young clearly relishes playing the evil shades of Mellie Fitzgerald, she somehow still finds a way to occasionally let her humanity show through enough for us to want to understand why she’s doing the wacky things she’s doing.

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Will Forte, 30 Rock
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

These nominations are basically a formality because I can’t imagine a world where Justin Timberlake doesn’t take this home but I was beyond thrilled to see Will Forte spotlighted for his weirdly sweet and sweetly weird character Paul on 30 Rock.


I would’ve nominated
Will Forte, 30 Rock
Ben Stiller, Arrested Development
David Lynch, Louie
Seth Rogen, The Mindy Project
Bruno Mars, Saturday Night Live
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

Ben Stiller’s return as Tony Wonder was one of the highlights of Arrested Devlopment Season 4 and even with the tepid reaction to the new episodes, it’s always surprising when a “movie star” fails to get a nod for a high profile guest spot. Bruno Mars hosted one of the best SNLs of the season and I really thought he was on his way to being the heir apparent to the Timberlake throne. I also thought David Lynch’s turn on Louie was a shoe-in but that “Late Show” arc was fairly divisive so it’s not really that surprising. Lastly, The Mindy Project struggled to find its comedic voice and overall purpose throughout most of its freshman season but episode 16, “The One That Got Away”, was one of the first episodes where everything started to fit together and the show started to live up to its potential and that was largely due to guest Seth Rogen’s charming and subdued performance.

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
Rupert Friend, Homeland
Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Crystal Trivia Fact: Michael J. Fox is my 2nd favorite recurring guest on The Good Wife and I cannot believe he has yet to take home a trophy for his work. (You didn’t ask but my 1st favorite is Gary Cole.) Really, I think this category probably got it right the most out of every category I’ve analyzed. I cannot argue with any one of those nominations. And hey, another Scandal scene chewer!

I would’ve nominated
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
John Noble, The Good Wife
Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
Matt Lauria, Parenthood
Ray Romano, Parenthood
Anthony Ruivivar, Southland

As I said above, the Emmys and I are shockingly in basic agreement for this category but there are still a few performances I would’ve liked to see recognized. Fringe fans were always saddened that John Noble never got nominated for his work on that show so it was plausible (and would’ve been cool) to see him snag a nod for the unusually emotional episode of The Good Wife he was featured in. Anthony Ruivivar was new to Southland this season and no spoilers but he ended up leaving a memorable impression on me. Lastly, I’d hoped that Parenthood‘s streak in this category would continue (the show gained its first ever nomination last year with an unexpected nod to Jason Ritter) and bring praise to Ray Romano and Matt Lauria for their roles as Lauren Graham’s and Mae Whitman’s troubled love interests, respectively. Romano’s dramatic talents were put on display a few years ago on Men of A Certain Age and I remember people pulling for him to get a nod then. As for Matt Lauria, I haven’t seen Friday Night Lights (yes I know, I’m a bad person) but his work on Parenthood made me an instant fan. (And yes, I’m starting FNL soon. I promise.)

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock
Molly Shannon, Enlightened
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Melissa Leo, Louie
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Melissa Leo’s nod for Louie is a no-brainer and I saw quite a few people overjoyed that Molly Shannon’s work on Enlightened garnered a nom. It’s a bit surprising to see Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig nominated for their respective SNL episodes as I don’t recall those being particularly outstanding but hey, the Emmys like who they like. And if this finally gets Kristen Wiig an Emmy, who am I to judge? But no, Melissa Leo will probably win.

I would’ve nominated
Catherine O’Hara, 30 Rock
Kristen Schaal, 30 Rock
Maria Bamford, Arrested Development
Kristen Wiig, Arrested Development
Melissa Leo, Louie
Parker Posey, Louie

I was positively flabbergasted that Parkey Posey wasn’t nominated for her spot on Louie. Hers was the kind of performance that this category was made for, I don’t understand the oversight. Also in the “well then what is this category for?” department, how was a comedy vet like Catherine O’Hara not nominated for 30 Rock? The other omissions are understandable: Kristen Schaal’s performance on 30 Rock was weird and probably irritating if you didn’t think it was amusing (spoiler: I did), feelings were mixed on Arrested Development and Maria Bamford’s guest role was one of the weirder and darker things they attempted. But how does Kristen Wiig, America’s Sweetheart, not got nominated for playing a young Lucille Bluth?


Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Linda Cardellini, Mad Men
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Joan Cusack, Shameless

Seeing as Mad Men has still never won an acting award (WTF to that by the way), it’s always hard to predict where their acting nominations are going to land. I’m glad to see Linda Cardellini make the cut.

I would’ve nominated
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Stockard Channing, The Good Wife
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Kacey Rohl, Hannibal
Alison Brie, Mad Men
Linda Cardellini, Mad Men

I would’ve liked to have seen Alison Brie make the cut as well. I’m always excited for a Trudy Campbell appearance but with Trudy finally calling Pete out on his shit this season, she somehow became even more delightful. Brie’s “I will destroy you” speech would’ve made the perfect Emmy clip.


Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock – “Hogcock!”
30 Rock – “Last Lunch”
Episodes – “Episode 209”
Louie – “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part One)”
The Office – “Finale”

I’m not sure why 30 Rock‘s two-part final episode was submitted as 2 separate episodes in this category and 1 hour-long episode in the directing category but it deserves the win and I hope splitting it into 2 episodes doesn’t hurt its chances. In other news, I seriously didn’t even know Episodes was still on.

I would’ve nominated
30 Rock – “Hogcock!”
30 Rock – “Last Lunch”
Girls – “Boys”
Louie – “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part One)”
New Girl – “Cooler”

New Girl‘s “Cooler” was a game-changer and again, I am shocked that its creative renaissance is going to remain unheralded. “Cooler” was romantic comedy done right and this is coming from a girl who hates romantic comedies, especially when they get their peanut butter in my sitcom chocolate. A missed opportunity.


Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight”
Breaking Bad – “Say My Name”
Downton Abbey – “Episode 4”
Game of Thrones – “The Rains of Castamere”
Homeland  – “Q&A”

Mad Men went from having 3 of the 5 nominees last year to being completely shut out this year. Mind-boggling. Also mind-boggling is the fact that this is somehow the first year that Breaking Bad made it into this category. HOW had Breaking Bad never been recognized for its writing before?! Regardless, the Emmys selected 2 fantastic episodes for this breakthrough year (the train heist and Walt’s hmm, shall we say “confrontation” with Mike).

I would’ve nominated
Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight”
Breaking Bad – “Gliding Over All”
Homeland – “The Choice”
Mad Men – “A Tale Of Two Cities”
Southland – “Reckoning”

A writing category without an episode of Mad Men is like a world without sense. OH WAIT. I adored Season 6 so I would’ve been pleased with any episode being nominated but I selected “A Tale of Two Cities” because it managed to simultaneously be one of the funniest and darkest episodes of the season and I felt it got a bit overlooked when it aired as it had the misfortune of debuting the same night as Game of Thrones’ fabled “Red Wedding” episode. Obviously I wanted the series finale of Southland to be nominated and while I enjoyed the majority of Homeland‘s second season, I thought the magic of “Q&A” had more to do with the acting than the writing. I would’ve opted for their season finale, “The Choice”, an episode which made some very smart, very unexpected choices for the series. (No pun intended).

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock – “Hogcock!/Last Lunch”
Girls – “On All Fours”
Glee – “Diva”
Louie – “New Year’s Eve”
Modern Family – “Arrested”

Girls‘ infamous “On All Fours” snags Lena Dunham her 2nd consecutive nomination in this category and while I would’ve selected a different episode to honor, I am definitely OK with its nod. Modern Family has taken this category for the past 2 years, however this is the first year since its debut that its only garnered a single nomination in the category so again, the times might be changing.

I would’ve nominated
30 Rock – “Hogcock!/Last Lunch”
Girls – “One Man’s Trash”
Louie – “New Year’s Eve”
New Girl – “Cooler”
Veep – “Running”

Don’t worry, I won’t give you an encore performance of my “Cooler” song and dance. “Running” was probably my favorite episode of Veep this season and the direction certainly played a big part in that, with a large amount of physical comedy being involved in that episode. And while “On All Fours” is certainly worthy, I would’ve selected Girls’ divisive “One Man’s Trash”. The episode looks and feels like a short film and I think the overall dreamlike feel of it was an accomplishment.


Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire – “Margate Sands”
Breaking Bad – “Gliding Over All”
Downton Abbey – “Episode 4”
Homeland – “Q&A”
House of Cards – “Chapter 1”

Nothing too shocking here, least of all David Fincher’s nomination for the House of Cards pilot. For some reason the man can’t win Best Director at the Oscars so I suppose we’ll just have to give him an Emmy.

I would’ve nominated
Breaking Bad – “51”
Breaking Bad – “Gliding Over All”
Hannibal – “Apertif”
Parenthood – “There’s Something I Need To Tell You”
Southland – “Chaos”

Once upon a time, stylish pilots were the name of the game in these directing categories. Changing times plus Hannibal‘s low-profile are equally to blame for the lack of love here but I still had hope. Direction on Parenthood is usually very low-key and unnoteworthy but in the final scene of “There’s Something I Need To Tell You”, director Patrick Norris makes some distinct and admirable directorial choices, letting the score overpower the dialogue and allowing the looks on the large ensemble’s faces to tell us everything we need to know about what is being said. Southland‘s penultimate episode featuring the abduction and torture of two officers was as intense and harrowing as any episode of Breaking Bad. And speaking of Breaking Bad, I agree with the Emmys’ decision to spotlight the midseason finale, “Gliding Over All” but I also would’ve nominated Rian Johnson’s “51”. A standout episode in a standout season, “51” features a LOT of immediately iconic imagery and scenes such as Walt finding his Heisenberg hat in his Aztec, Skyler’s desperate dive to the bottom of the family pool and her showdown with Walt where she not only mocks his “I am the danger” speech but flat out tells him she can’t wait for his cancer to kill him. One of my favorites of the season, if not the whole series.

Stray Observations

  • I mean, I can deal with Hannibal being ignored in the major categories but not even any tech nods? Art direction, cinematography, nothing? Hannibal  is the best looking show on TV. This is absurd.
  • In case you were wondering, I’ve only made it through the first half of House of Cards so that’s why I don’t have much to say about it. It’s good, no doubt about that, it just hasn’t grabbed me in a way that I feel like I need to finish it all right now this second.
  • Not to be insensitive during this particular week but what is WITH these random Glee nominations?
  • Steve Carell is officially never going to win an Emmy for the role of Michael Scott. We have failed.
  • Behind the Candelabra rightly snags major noms in the Miniseries/Movie categories.
    • But no nod for Rob Lowe? TRAVESTY.
  • American Horror Story: Asylum ended up collecting the most nominations yesterday with a staggering total of 17. Ridiculous and yet… I get it. The show looks fantastic so that explains the tech side of things. It was rightly ignored in the writing category. And regardless of how ridiculous and trashy that show got, the cast was always more than game and they deserve to be recognized for that.
    • But sadly no nomination for Lily Rabe, whose turn as a meek nun suddenly possessed by Satan was no joke one of my favorite performances of last year.
  • Over in the “Outstanding Special Class Short-Format Live Action Entertainment Program” category, we find nominations for Between Two Ferns, Burning Love, Childrens Hospital, a Daily Show webseries, a 30 Rock webseries and… the Beyonce Superbowl Halftime Show?
  • Can we give a brief pat on the back to the Emmy community for finally kicking their Two and A Half Men habit? The reign of Jon Cryer is over!

The 65th annual Emmy Awards air live on Sunday, September 22. You can browse the full list of nominees here or you can be like me and cry over what could’ve been while you check out the lists of everyone who was eligible for a nomination here. As we get closer to the show itself and episode submissions are revealed, I’ll try and put together a list of winner predictions.

Until then, let me know what I missed and what I wrongly overreacted about. Are you officially tired of me talking about Hannibal and Southland? Was I unnecessarily mean to Episodes? Did anyone besides me like Arrested Development Season 4? Let me know your opinions on these questions and more down below in the comments and/or on Twitter @talentedwreason.

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