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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emmy Awards free-for-all: Our thoughts on the nominees

Is it possible that the Emmy Awards are coming around? Will deserving candidates win over popular, less award-worthy fare? Are we in fact living in an alternate universe where Charlie Sheen will lose to someone who is actually funny?

A number of surprising nominations have cropped up in this year's Primetime Emmy Awards list, including two -- yes, TWO -- solid noms for our favorite New Zealand digi-folk-rock-funk-pop duo, "Flight of the Conchords." Thanks to an expanded nomination list -- in some categories, it went from five nominees to seven -- cult shows like "Flight" and cable fare like AMC's "Breaking Bad" made the cut this year in multiple categories. Check out the full list of nominees here.

While other surprises, including a first-time nom for "How I Met Your Mother," are making headlines, Channel Surfing bloggers Malavika Jagannathan, Sara Boyd, Thomas Rozwadowski and Adam Reinhard each have an opinion on the good, the bad and the "Two and a Half Men" of the Emmy nominations.


Malavika: First of all, the Emmy noms this year aren't totally bogus. The leading comedy is "30 Rock" with 22 nominations, followed closely in the drama category by "Mad Men" with 16. Both are favorites here at Channel Surfing, not to mention, great shows. Of course, great shows and great actors (ahem Lauren Graham ahem) have been previously ignored by the imbeciles that run the damn thing, so I take the news with a giant Margarita grain of salt. That being said, I'm overjoyed that "Flight of the Conchords" has been nominated for best comedy AND a best actor nod for Jemaine Clement, but can't help but be puzzled that Bret McKenzie didn't make the cut. Will this put a strain on the band? Will they break up because Jemaine's now famous? Will Murray attend the awards?

I am also thrilled to see that Elizabeth Moss, who plays receptionist-turned-ad-writer Peggy Olson on "Mad Men," is finally getting recognition for her absolutely brilliant work on that show. That being said, the Emmys are still the Emmys I love to hate. It's one thing for these under-the-radar shows and actors to get a nomination, but the Academy still can't get over its perennial love of shows like "Boston Legal" and "Monk" that make the cut time and time again. The nominations may be different this year, but I retain the right to bash the Emmys unless they prove me wrong on Sept. 20.

Sara: Oh, the Emmys ... I nearly forgot about them without a writer's strike to blow them out of proportion. And really, with continual nominations for "Two and a Half Men," the Emmys have been on my poo list for quite some time. That being said, it seems at least a few people on the selection committee finally found their sense of humor. "Flight of the Conchords" is finally getting the credit it deserves -- it unfortunately took the series "ending" (unconfirmed) to do it -- but nevertheless, a shout out has been granted. And I agree, while I was shocked to see Bret left off the list, I can see where the nomination for Jemaine holds its ground. As much as I love both Kiwis equally (yes, much like a proud parent) the show really wouldn't be what it is without Jemaine's awkward lady pursuits or David Bowie impressions. The icing on the cake, however, would've been a supporting actor nom for old Murray, who truly brings the show to a new level. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for our favorite band manager with Jon Cryer from "Two and a Half Men" capping off the list. So on behalf of Murray, I have a message for this year's Emmys: "Stuff you."

Moving on, I'm also pleasantly surprised to see "Weeds" make the cut. I'm just starting to get into this show but even a few episodes into season one, I can tell this nomination is long overdue. The show is spectacular (I'll give more details in an upcoming "Summer DVD Club" post) and Mary-Louise Parker deserves a lot of credit for that. Another great surprise: No Best Drama nomination for "Grey's Anatomy." Finally, everyone is recognizing this show is as dead as Izzy and/or George.

Thomas: As much as I love him, I will shed no tears for dear chap, Murray Hewitt. After all, he's used to being REEEEEEEEJECTED! LIKE A CAKE SHOP WITHOUT ANY CAKES! REEEEEEEEJECTED! LIKE A CORNFLAKE BOX WITHOUT ANY FLAKES!

Ahem.

I'm probably most excited about the Bryan Cranston-Jon Hamm showdown for Best Actor in a Drama. At this time last year, I had yet to watch either show, so it's nice to have a rooting interest in that heated category. Both are phenomenal actors, but having become absolutely obsessed with "Breaking Bad," I can't go against back-to-back nods for Cranston, especially not when his maddening turn in Season 2 was so out-of-bounds brilliant. Besides, "Mad Men" touts such a talented ensemble, I rarely think about one individual actor over another, so they'll just have to settle for the Best Drama Emmy. Even if "Family Guy" were to win for Best Comedy Series, I wouldn't kick my TV in anger as long as "Breaking Bad" gets honored for SOMETHING.

Also glad to see Aaron Paul as Jesse from "BB" get a nod for Best Supporting Actor, though Michael Emerson from "Lost" should be getting his acceptance speech ready NOW. And even though I wasn't a huge fan, I hope David Simon wins for "Generation Kill" in the Best Minseries category (PBS's "Litlte Dorrit" is the only other nom, so there's a good chance.) It won't make up for past mistakes, but he deserves some hardware after enduring all those "Wire" snubs.

And "Top Chef" for Best Reality Competition! Woo-hoo! Though I love "The Amazing Race," it's time to share the wealth, people. Really though, I just want to see Fabio Viviani give the acceptance speech in a white tux. "Theeeeeeees Emmmmmeee is nooooooo monkey asssss eeeen empteeeeee clam shell!"

Adam: Go ahead, you three, pile on your faint praise and half-hearted platitudes for this year's Emmy nods. Keep living in your delusional fantasy world, where the Emmys suck, but hey not completely because the dad from "Malcolm in the Middle" is up for Dramatic Actor. Hey, awesome. Maybe next year it'll be Reginald VelJohnson's turn.

But I say no. No! I refuse to give the Emmys the slightest shred of credit for some of this year's more "daring" picks. Because DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, "Family Guy" has been nominated for Best Comedy. Best COMEDY. BEST Comedy. It's the first animated show since "The Flintstones" to do so. Let me rephrase that: "The Simpsons" has never been nominated for Best Comedy, but now "Family Guy" has. "Family" freaking "Guy." The show that copied "The Simpsons" frame for frame, except for actually being funny or imaginative or not-terrible. The show that confuses comedy with dropping random pop culture references and hoping their audience of drunken frat boneheads pick up on them. Yes, the "Epic Movie" and "Meet the Spartans" of television has gotten the nod from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as one of the best comedies on the air, and I don't know whether to cry or vomit.

But wait, I'm falling into my own trap here: By getting so worked up about this, aren't I giving legitimacy to the awards I just proclaimed doesn't deserve it? Obviously I must care a little to get so angry, right? OK, hang on, let me just rearrange my chakras here, maybe try to calm down. I mean, so what if "Family Guy" beat out more deserving comedies like "Pushing Daisies," "Better Off Ted," "Scrubs" or "Chuck." So what if creator Seth MacFarlane only entered into the running for Best Comedy because he was sick of losing in the Best Animated Series category. It's not like "Family Guy" has a chance in hell of winning over "The Office" or "30 Rock" anyway.

Phew. I feel better. "Family Guy" may be nominated for Best Comedy, but life goes on. I'm just glad there aren't any other maddening nominations this year. I mean, it's not like Tony Shalhoub was nominated yet again for "Monk," right? Right? ... RIGHT?

-- Malavika Jagannathan, mjaganna@greenbaypressgazette.com, Sara Boyd, sboyd2@greenbaypressgazette.com, Thomas Rozwadowski, trozwado@greenbaypressgazette.com, and Adam Reinhard, areinhard@greenbaypressgazette.com

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2 Comments:

I'd just like to point out that Adam made the first ever Reginald VelJohnson reference on our blog.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At July 16, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

But let's hope ... not the last.

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At July 20, 2009 at 7:42 AM  

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