Emmys: Who Got Helped - Macleans.ca

Emmys: Who Got Helped

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It’s Emmy nominee time out there in television land.

Here are the Emmy nominations announced this morning, and here’s a shorter list beginning with the major categories.

The complete snub of Community surprises me a little (despite my status as a Commu-skeptic). As I mentioned in the post below, I didn’t think it had enough industry respect to get the big nomination, but did think there might be one or two nominations scattered around in other categories, just to give it hope for the future. But no. It’s not nominated in any category. It may be a bigger disconnect between critical/fan respect and industry respect than even The Wire or Buffy, but as I said, there’s not an absolute relationship between the two. Perhaps it was hurt by the fact that Best Supporting Actor was its best chance to get a nomination, and that category is completely dominated by Modern Family – more so now that the voters have stopped snubbing Ed O’Neill.

Another snubbed show is Fringe, or rather John Noble from Fringe, who ought to be getting nominated. On the bright side, Friday Night Lights is an example of a show that has built up its Emmy recognintion over the years, finally getting its well-deserved Best Drama nomination as it heads out the door. So a show can go from being mostly snubbed by the Emmys to being respected by all in and out of the industry – if it lasts long enough.

On to which shows are helped by getting some nominations: Louis CK’s nominations for Louie, for both writing and acting, should shore up the show very nicely. The Killing got a lot of nominations, including writing and directing, likely because many voters didn’t watch beyond the pilot. (You can’t force busy voters to watch more than the pilot, especially if that’s the episode the show sends out, but it’s probably advisable.) But though its nominations are undeserved, the network will benefit from being able to pitch it as “the Emmy nominated The Killing“; Emmy nominations are a powerful shield against the (however accurate) perception that their drama development is not what it was.

Parks & Recreation moved into the big category this season after the Best Actress nomination gave it a foot in the door last year. That should hopefully give it a boost, maybe not in ratings, but at least at the network. Nick Offerman was another actor adversely affected by the Modern Family-palooza in Best Supporting Actor. He obviously deserved the nomination and he didn’t get it. It’s very difficult for such a non-show-offy acting performance to get nominated in that category (that may be why Ed O’Neill didn’t get nominated last year); when you’ve got four guys from the voters’ favourite show all submitting themselves as supporting actors, a lot of really good actors are going to fall by the wayside. How Jon Cryer manages to last in that category when Neil Patrick Harris and others have been pushed out, I don’t know; maybe it’s a sympathy nomination for carrying a collapsing show on his shoulders.

Other shows got rewarded with one or two deserving nominations, to make up for something like Dexter will never stop being nominated in Best Drama. Justified got nominations for Tim Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Jeremy Davies and Walton Goggins. As before, Men of a Certain Age‘s only nomination is for Andre Braugher, which may not be enough to save it.

And Pamela Fryman finally got a directing nomination for How I Met Your Mother, which is good news, because she’s done an extraordinary directing job on that show over the years, and has never been nominated (for this or any other show). It helps that she had the “Subway Wars” episode to submit, which looked a bit more difficult to direct than others. (They’re all difficult to direct, but nominations go to episodes that look like they were hard to direct.) Baby steps: maybe next year someone will get a nomination for doing a more traditional four-camera show. Well, actually, someone already did – Beth McCarthy Miller got nominated for directing the 30 Rock live show, because it was a gimmick. If it had been on videotape, though, she never would have gotten a nomination. Such is the problem of the directing category.

The Kennedys got a whole bunch of nominations for acting, production, and best miniseries. I don’t know if that means Hollywood industry people don’t have such a liberal bias, or if it’s just that the new combined movie/miniseries category is going to be just as weird as the old miniseries category sometimes was. Anyway, Mildred Pierce will win.

One thing to note about the comedy nominations: earlier this year there was some controversy about whether half-hour shows with strong dramatic elements, like Nurse Jackie, should be eligible for Best Comedy, or whether there should be a separate “Dramedy” category. (Personally I think half-hour shows – except for out-and-out half-hour dramas – have enough in common with other half-hour shows, structurally and otherwise, that they can compete. It’s a bigger question whether something like Glee or Desperate Housewives should compete directly with shows that require a different, more economical kind of storytelling. There are reasons Nurse Jackie shouldn’t be nominated, but it’s not a completely separate type of show from other half-hours, any more than M*A*S*H was.) Anyway, there are signs this year that there has been a backlash against dramedies or otherwise unclassifiable shows. Of the six nominees in that category, five are unquestionably, no-confusion-about-the-genre, pure comedies. The only “dramedy” is Glee.

Finally, others have made this point, but it’s a treat to see Maurice LaMarche nominated for playing “Orson Welles” (in a Futurama episode where that was one of his characters). He deserves a lifetime award for playing Orson Welles, in all his forms.

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