For years people have decried award shows as pointless, either due to their self-congratulatory nature or the inability of their voters to choose nominees and winners that reflect the views of the masses. The Emmy Awards, the nation’s most prominent awards given exclusively to television shows and made-for-TV movies, falls into these two traps, as well as having some issues of its own.
Many fan favorites — both shows and actors — have been neglected by the yearly awards show.
Fans were shocked when Steve Carell, the man behind everyone’s favorite bumbling boss on The Office, did not win a single Emmy for his 8-year stint as Michael Scott. Amy Poehler, despite three lead actress nominations in the past three years and others for supporting actress and writing, has never won a Primetime Emmy either. How could such talented comedians of stage and screen be overlooked by one of the most prestigious award shows for their craft? The cult classic and critic favorite Community has been perpetually left out of the party, except for a single nomination for writing last year. Other fan favorites like Happy Endings and Cougar Town are always neglected as well, even with veteran actress Courteney Cox at Cougar Town’s helm.
On the other hand, viewers grow fatigued of seeing the same shows and actors win year after year. Despite viewers’ and critics’ complaints of the show’s rapid decline in quality, Modern Family has won “Best Comedy Series” every year since its premiere in the 2010 season. Prior to Modern Family’s takeover, 30 Rock dominated the awards, winning a “Best Comedy Series” hat trick as well. In recent years the “Best Actor” category has graduated from routine to downright confusing; Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons each won two years in a row, followed by this past year’s head-scratching choice of Jon Cryer that had many Emmy viewers calling foul.
The “Best Actress” award has been much more varied in its winners, with only one two-time winner in the past decade: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, although each win was for a different show. Fortunately for these talented actors and actresses, the Modern Family cast submits for the supporting, not lead, categories. Various members of their ensemble have picked up five out of a possible six wins in the supporting categories in the past three years. In fact, Modern Family has been so outrageously lauded at the Emmys that it caused significant backlash for the show. What was once praised as the exemplar for the modernized version of the classic family sitcom is now thought to be an unfunny cliché-fest undeserving of its award show wins.
This year could provide some interesting new developments for the comedy nominees. Both 30 Rock and The Office may stand a chance to be nominated for their final seasons, and it would be a shame for 30 Rock to go out without honoring its two unsung heroes, Jane Krakowsi and Jack McBrayer. Veep is a shoo-in for a nod, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is likely to reprise her win. Girls could be edged out this year, thanks to mediocre reviews for its second season, but will most likely hold on to its spot. The Big Bang Theory is a definite due to its broad audience appeal.
One show will definitely be out of the running; If the voters didn’t nominate Community when it was at its best, they certainly won’t nominate it for its widely panned Dan Harmon-less fourth season. A crucial factor to the outcome of these races is the voters’ opinion of the highly anticipated, solely online, fourth season of Arrested Development. If voters can easily cope with the transition from TV to the computer screen, the Netflix-resurrected gem could have a chance at many of the categories, including “Best Comedy Series.” And there always remains the possibility that a dark horse candidate, like New Girl or Enlightened, could slip its way into the nominations.
Whether you are of the “award shows are stupid” mindset or whether you will giddily wake up at the crack of dawn on July 18 to watch the live telecast of the nominations, you cannot deny that this past television season has given voters a lot of great comedic fodder to choose from. Let the games begin!