Still bummed about this year’s Emmy nominations? Me too. Of course, everyone knows that the Emmys represent a triumph of PR over quality, which is essentially one of the major problems with today’s televised universe. The networks wonder why their viewerships are constantly eroding, and then they go and honor tired, unfunny shows like Will and Grace. But enough ranting. Let’s wallow instead. Take a look at TV Guide’s “Dream Ballot.” It’s the magazine’s humble attempt to design the world’s best Emmy race ever. For the most part, the picks seem fairly reasonable. Yeah, it’s a bit too heavy on the Gilmore Girls (I detest that show), but aside from that, the Emmy voters could do themselves a solid and bone up for next year’s nominations.
In the meantime, I’ll humbly submit my dream ballot. I’m a bit behind on my trendy FX and HBO shows, but I’ll try to do my best…Apologies in advance for all misspellings. I’m too lazy to cross check with the IMDb this morning.
Lead Comedy Actor
Thomas Lennon, Reno 911!
Steve Carrell , The Office
Peter Gallagher, The OC
Zach Braff, Scrubs
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
This is a tough category, only because there really aren’t many good sitcoms out there, let alone male performances. I’ve had a hard time deciding whether The OC is a comedy or not, but I realized I laugh at the show more than I’m moved by it, so comedy it is! As such, Peter Gallagher deserves the recognition he so effortlessly works for. Adam Brody is solid too, but his performance this season was more caricatured and one-note than his breakout first year. Thomas Lennon is fab in Reno 911!, and Steve Carrell is the only thing that keeps The Office funny. As for the other two, Zach Braff is decent and Jason Bateman is probably the weakest cast member of Arrested Development, but hey, I gotta round out the category. Since Tony Shalhoub always seems to sneak in as a sixth nominee (WTF?), I suppose I could have offered up someone else too. So…uh…Matt LeBlanc! Kidding, KIDDING!
Lead Comedy Actress
Kerri Kenney, Reno 911!
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Jane Kazcmerickasdlkjfasdf, Malcom in the Middle
Mischa Barton, The OC
Okay, as you can see, I’m slightly f*cking with you. I really couldn’t think of a fifth actress to fill out my list; so I chose Mischa, if only because she certainly makes me laugh. As for the others, Jane KazcPolishName deserves at least something — box of chocolates? handy wipe? — for spending the last several years blowing out her vocal chords. Maybe not an Emmy though. I’m a big Felicity Huffman fan (she deserves a retroactive award for SportsNight), and she does a wonderful, understated job on Housewives. The subtle shifts in her mannerisms and eyes really outclass her co-stars. But then again, she’s not really that funny. Marcia Cross does a solid job as a woman on the verge, but the real winner here should be Kerri Kenney who manages to take the virtues of all the other fake-nominated women in my list and roll them into one hysterical performance.
By the way, props to the academy for ignoring Eva Longoria. She’s one-note and shrewish. Well-snubbed.
Lead Drama Actor
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
James Spader, Boston Legal
Taye Diggs, Kevin Hill
Hugh Laurie, House
Noah Wyle, ER
To be honest, I haven’t seen much of House or Boston Legal, but I like James Spader by default and Hugh Laurie only because he’s not Martin Sheen. Kiefer was the backbone of 24 yet again, and Noah, well, we go way back – sentimental vote there. As for Taye, technically, we go way back also, but he really did clock in a completely overlooked season of great performances. Yeah, yeah, Kevin Hill’s a chick show, but… just trust me.
Lead Drama Actress
I confess — I’m completely at a loss here. I’ll just steal TV Guide’s noms:
Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
Glenn Close, The Shield
Evangeline Lilly, Lost
Molly Parker, Deadwood
Joely Richardson, Nip/Tuck
Actually, I would not nominate Evangeline Lilly. Bitch can’t act. Surely there should be a nod for Maggie Grace, the Meryl Streep of ABC… (again, kidding).
Supporting Comedy Actor
Will Arnett, Arrested Development
David Cross, Arrested Development
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Jerry Ferrara, Entourage
Donald Faison, Scrubs
Ah, finally a category which I don’t have to fill out with questionable noms. Probably the weakest of the bunch is Jerry Ferrara, but he’s still pretty funny on a show I admittedly hate (but am regrettably starting to like. Argh.). When it comes to Scrubs, everyone wants to jizz over John C. McGinley, but I vote for charming Donald Faison instead. David Cross meanwhile had one of the funniest moments of the year when he careened off a balcony dressed as an English housekeeper. But in the end, it should come down to Will Arnett and Jeremy Piven, and dammit if I could say who is better.
Supporting Comedy Actress
Niecy Nash, Reno 911!
Sarah Chalke, Scrubs
Nicolette Sheridan, Desperate Housewives
Jessica Walter, Arrested Development
Melinda Clarke, The OC
A decent group here. I lurve the under-used Niecy Nash on Reno 911! and Jessica Walter as the great drunken matriarch of Arrested Development, but also, I gotta give props to Nicolette Sheridan who a) steals every scene she’s in, b) actually provides a comic performance, and c) can kick off a national frenzy just by dropping a bath towel. At the end of the day though, the Emmy wholeheartedly belongs to Melinda Clarke who chews up the scenery with her deliciously campy portrayal of Julie Cooper. For stretches during this uneven season, it was her who kept the show afloat. Way to go, Mindy!
Supporting Drama Actor
Louis Lombardi, 24
Roger Cross, 24
William Devane, 24
Terry O’Quinn, Lost
William Shatner, Boston Legal
This might be looking a bit top heavy in the 24 department, but any fan of the show would heartily agree with these selections. Louis Lombardi (as embattled Edgar Stiles) was lovable as the lisping, surly computer technician. Roger Cross as Curtis had little to do, and yet he became a total fan favorite very quickly. But in all honesty, the major snub here was William Devane who completely dominated each and every scene he was in. Totally believable as a government official and as a dad. Aww.
Supporting Drama Actress
Shohreh Aghdashloo, 24
Mary Lynn Rajskub, 24
Michael Michelle, Kevin Hill
Alberta Watson, 24
Sorry, I can’t think of a fifth. Lost fans, feel free to insert your favorite supporting actress (crazy French lady, perhaps?). Michael Michelle did a solid job as a tough but compassionate mother hen on Kevin Hill, but the real performances this year came from 24. I know, I know… I appear to have a bias towards 24, but honestly, people have to understand that an action-based drama can have amazing performances. Alberta Watson as the steely-cold, quietly repressed bureaucrat was impressive this season, and Mary Lynn Rajskub as oddball Chloe O’Brien continued to offer up a wonderfully kooky performance as a socially inept computer programmer. Normally, I’d give the Emmy to her, but this season also featured Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo as your friendly terrorist next door. If there were only one Emmy given to one actor on television this year, it should go to her.
Kind of a shaky category. Desperate Housewives and The OC are barely comedies, and honestly, the latter had such an uneven season, I feel weird putting it up there at all. But, I need five shows, and well, dammit if I’m gonna put Yes, Dear or Will & Grace up first. Scrubs is funny but not as sharp as it used to be, and Reno 911! is hysterical but a little hit-or-miss in its second season. Desperate Housewives is a well-made show with enjoyably complicated soap stories and solid performances, but in terms of actual comedy, I’m gonna have to go with Arrested Development. By the way, I don’t know if animated shows are eligible for this category, but if so, I might also nominate The Simpsons. Yeah, it’s not as funny as it was, but still, considering it just wrapped up its 16th season and on average is way funnier than almost all the network sitcoms, I think the show deserves something more impressive than just a seat at the JV ceremony.
You choose: The Wire / Nip/Tuck, or Battlestar Galactica
Any guess which one I’m going to choose? That’s right! 24. It just so happened that the show had its best season to date, despite getting a little silly towards the end. As for the others, Kevin Hill was the great unheralded drama of the year. It wasn’t especially deep or serious, but its light charm was a pleasant diversion from the current network landscape of procedurals and medical dramas. I enjoy Lost, but I’m not as crazy about it as others. Still, I respect ABC for taking a chance on something new and different, and for that I give it a nod. Veronica Mars – haven’t seen one episode, but it’s just so fun to jump on the bandwagon. Lastly, The Wire is totally awesome. Too bad I fell behind and got so lost I had to relinquish my season pass. Same thing happened to me with Nip/Tuck. Really enjoyed it, but I never got around to catching up on the season. Also — Battlestar Galactica is supposed to be great. I’ve seen parts, and I’ve enjoyed it. I would like to see it nominated just to show that different sorts of shows on cable networks can be recognized.
What do you think? Are my choices totally bizarre? Or are they awesome?