Okay so this one is a little late, I know.
But even though most of you probably won't read this until after the show, I felt the need to plug this year's Emmy's because:
a.) they are on NBC
b.) they are hosted by my man Conan O'Brien, who I have it on good authority is planning some very funny stuff for the show
and, on a more personal note:
c.) 24, aka the best drama on TV, actually stands to win some awards this year!
Still, though, let's face it - the Emmy nominations pretty much blow. The whole voting process was changed this year, and that change seemed to amount to jack squat. We have actresses nominated for 11-second guest-star spots, yet some of the very best work on TV remains totally ignored. OF all the leading ladies in TV-land, did any completely carry a top-tier show on their backs like Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars or Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls? Veronica Mars, especially, just pisses me off in its lack of recognition. GIlmore Girls, as good as it is, it's best years are probably behind it (still, it's supporting cast is amazing and was as good if not better than ever this past year! Where is the love?). VM is a show that out of the gate two years ago was firing on all cylinders, and this past season everyone upped their game to deliver the best drama on TV not named 24. So: WTF?!?!
A few other obvious snubs: Only Will Arnett of Arrested Development is nominated? No Jason Bateman? Jeffrey Tambor? David Cross? Come on!
What about Rainn Wilson for The Office? Bar none, Dwight was the biggest source of laughter on the show this year, and was the true breakout character.
Those gripes are just a few of my own personal pet peeves, but looking up and down the list this year there's a mixture of been there done that and odd randomness. I mean, so much of these awards are just pure hype. Look at 24 - it's been deserving of this level of recognition for YEARS now - but only now are any of the supporting players actually recognized. Jean Smart and Gregory Itzin were great, yes, but it's just odd to me that they get nominated in Year 5 to the exclusion of all of the great supporting actors who have appeared on the show prior.
And once again, let me add: screw the Lost defenders claiming that that show deserved a Best Drama nom - Season 2 of Lost did not live up to Season 1's promise, and more often than not, the show disappointed rather than delivered this past year. That's not to say that Season 3 won't be great (those mysterious EW ads already have me hyped), and I really hope the show gets back on track ... but Season 2 of Lost was not in 24's league this season.
One other comment -- no, The Simpsons as a whole did not have a good season, and definitely not a great season. But it DID deliver a few gems, including the best episode in YEARS, penned by Ricky Gervais. So I see no problem with perhaps the greatest TV show of all time bringing home an Emmy at the expense of South Park, a show which is 80% hype and only about 20% humor. Yes, it's a blast to tune into South Park and see insta-commentary on the latest celebrity scandal or whatever, but the show rarely has any real intelligence behind it, and the humor is never that sharp from a writing standpoint. In this day and age, plenty of animated shows are praised the crazier and more random they get, but crazy and random doesn't always mean good. So instead of talking baou South Park was robbed just because it had the balls to directly reference easy targets like Tom Cruise, let's talk about how the real best animated show on TV was snubbed once again -- King of the Hill!
And about the Emmy show itself -- I am really hoping that Conan goes all out and makes his mark tonight. I realize the Emmy's are not exactly an ideal showcase for one's comedic talents, but I hope that Conan can go out there and convince the doubters of mainstream America that he is the man when it comes to late night. I know that there are many, especially older people, out there who don't really get Conan per se, but I really believe that Conan's humor has just the right amount of classical comedy and heart to be mainstream, even if he can be really out there, and maybe too intelligent for some weaned on Jay Leno's Middle-American king-of-the-obvious-brand of humor.
So yeah, Conan kicks ass, so watch the Emmys tonight and show some support!
Now, my picks:
NOTE: Honestly I don't care who WILL win, per se, because the Emmys have no real history of honoring who is most deserving. As for what to expect, well, I expect a bunch of recently-ended shows like West Wing and Will and Grace to clean up, though likely personal faves that recently called it quits, like Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development, will get snubbed. I DO think that this is finally the year that 24 will clean up, for whatever reason, so Jack Bauer may FINALLY get his due. I don't care about reality TV, as pretty much every reality show is sleazy crap in my opinion, so whatever.
But anyways, here are some picks of nominees who I DO actually care about and would like to see get an award:
Lead Actor in a Comedy:
Steve Carell for the Office.
The only other guy nominated who I'd consider is the always-hilarious Larry David, but Season 2 of The Office was a true break out season of TV. It had it's ups and downs, but The Office put together a streak of classic episodes that was the best comedy on TV for a while there. Carell deserves it, and I think he'll get it, too.
Chance of Winning: Excellent
Lead Acress in a Comedy:
Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle
I'm probably the only person on the planet who doesn't work for the show that is actively rooting for this choice, but any true Malcolm fan knows that Lois is one of the absolute most horrifying, most cringe-inducing, and best TV moms of all time. I think of Malcolm's great series finale, where Lois reveals to Malcolm her "plans" for his future, in a speech that embodied all the cynical humor, blue-collar tragedy, and pure hilarity that Malcolm was about. I know, I know, people ask "That show was still on?" It was, and this past season one of the best comedies of all time in Malcolm ended, and went out on a high note to boot.
Chance of Winning: Terrible
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Bryan Cranston for Malcolm in the Middle
Again, like I've said many times on this blog, Cranston was the heart and soul of Malcolm and one of the out and out funniest characters on TV in Hal. I of course am also a HUGE fan of Will Arnett as Gob on Arrested Development, but I'd love to see Cranston get some recognition for his years of hilarity on Malcolm in the Middle.
Chances of Winning: Terrible
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
None of the great actresses from ARRESTED were nominated? Okay then, don't care.
As good as The Office was at times this year, Arrested was just awesome - years from now it will be looked back on as one of the funniest, most underrated shows ever made. The last 4 eps of Arrested were plain and simple some of the best television I've ever seen. While the Office got mired in soapy romance plotlines as the season progressed, becoming more and more sitcom-y, Arrested stayed true to itself and became even more obscure, witty, and offbeat as it went on. Long live ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.
Chances of Winning: Medium - has a shot but I think The Office will take it.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Kiefer Sutherland for 24
Do I really need an explanation here? Kiefer has made Jack Bauer the most fun character to watch on TV over the last 5 years. He has created a true action hero for the ages. Give him his freakin' due already.
Chances of Winning: Excellent, though you never know, as the West Wing sympathy vote may come into play.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
No Kristen Bell? No Lauren Graham? Screw you, Emmys. I guess I'll root for Geena Davis or something.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
Gregory Itzin for 24
You know, too bad nobody from the pretty kickass Prisonbreak was nominated for this category - where's the love for Abruzi and T-Bag? But of the choices we've got, Itzin was one of the great 24 villains this season, and did some damn fine acting as the Nixon-esque Prez on 24.
Chances of Winning: Pretty darn good, though again I feel like I shouldn't count out the West Wing.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Jean Smart for 24:
While Smart did an excellent job as the first lady on 24, I have to say - she is getting a little bit overhyped by the press, and in fact I would probably count her as one of the weaker elements, overall, of this season. Still, I could care less about the other nominees, and there's no question Smart had some ultra-intense scenes on 24 that render her worthy of recognition.
Chances of Winning: Excellent
Best Drama Series:
What more can I say? I'm no bandwagoner - I've been a 24 fan since Day 1 (literally), and this has been my absolute favorite show on television since the X-Files went off the air. 24 is a thrill-ride every week that is more intense, more satisfying, and yes, more packed with gravitas than just about any other feature film in the same genre. This show should have won Best Drama in SEASON ONE, which is still the best, but hey, Season 5 was a consistently amazing seaon as well that deserves its props. Sure, many of my other fav shows were snubbed, but it will be nice to see 24 finally get its moment in the sun.
Chances of Winning: Count on it ... and screw the West Wing if it wins.
No Beauty and the Geek? Don't care. Since it's our big seller on I-Tunes I'll root for Project Runway.
Okay, that's it for now - be back soon with reactions, and a lot more.
If nothing else, watch for Conan.