Emmy Rossum

2014 Emmy Preview: Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy

Over the weekend we discussed the rapid decline of the Lead Actor in a Comedy series category, which has led to an era of dominance by Jim Parsons. This category is on the verge of having an actress win it three years in a row. However, unlike her male counterpart it is not from a dearth of competition, but rather sheer brilliance. The only question to ask in this category is can anyone stop Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

Nominees

When you come at the Queen, you best not miss.

When you come at the Queen, you best not miss.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (1/4) – Emmy royalty, she has won four awards and received 15 nominations, eight for lead and seven for supporting actress in a comedy series. All signs point to her taking home a fifth golden statute tomorrow night. Veep is the best comedy on television and Dreyfus is the main reason why. The way she rips through the profanity laced Iannucci dialogue or plays Selina Meyer’s determination to matter in Washington is pure gold. Right now she is playing in a higher league than the rest of her competition.

Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black” (9/2) – Fan opinion is split on Piper Chapman as a character. Count me amongst the fans, as a suburban boy she reminds me of home. But even the haters must admit that Schilling’s performance is impressive and worthy of a nomination. It is hard to match Jenji Kohan’s last leading lady, Mary Louise Parker from Weeds, but Schilling seems to have a great grasp of Kohan’s wry sense of humor and brings it out in her performance.

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (7/1) – This was Poehler’s worst season on the show, which is still better than 99% of the female leads in comedies. Another black mark on the Emmy’s record. It astonishes me that Poehler has never one for playing Leslie Knope a character that against all odds has become more iconic than Michael Scott from The Office. Over the past six seasons no one has been better at making an audience run the gambit of emotions than Poehler as Knope. She makes us laugh, cry, get angry, laugh even harder, feel embarrassed, and then laugh harder than we thought possible. Sadly it appears,  just like Carrell, Poehler will never take home the gold.

Lena Dunahm, “Girls” (30/1) – I hate Dunham with a fiery passion, but that she brings such passion out of me may speak to the level of talent she has. I’m just not sure if my hatred is jealousy or because she actually sucks. It is a complicated matter and I need to explore my feelings on it further before I decide if she is worthy of this nomination.tumblr_mp5tiekfvN1r0dgn4o1_500

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly” (30/1) – Everyone loves Melissa McCarthy. Except for Jenny McCarthy, but that is a complicated story. She is a bona fide movie star that seems to crap out hundreds of millions in box office. But that does not mean she is delivering an Emmy worthy performance on TV. First off, the material she is given is not nearly up to the caliber she deserves. This shouldn’t count against her, but it only allows her to glide by on tired gags. Emmy voters quickly realized that Jason Segal’s movie success did not translate to a stellar performance on How I Met Your Mother and must do the same with McCarthy. This will be the last year she gets nominated.

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (30/1) – Falco sneaks in to the field because she has won this award playing this character before and she is a phenomenal actress. However, Nurse Jackie is suffering creative fatigue and Falco has been forced to cycle through the same character beats as earlier in its run. Again, this is not her fault, but it also lessens the appeal of the role.

Snubs

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, “Broad City” – An Emmy first is needed, nominate a pair of actress for one spot. Broad City is the best new comedy of the year and also the comedy that made me laugh the hardest. The credit all goes to Glazer and Jacobson who not only serve as the show’s stars, but its creators as well. The majority of scenes in the show feature just the two of them improving off one another. Their chemistry is unmatched on TV today and it is impossible to separate them.

Rossum has grown to outshine the immensely talented William H Macy on Shameless.

Rossum has grown to outshine the immensely talented William H Macy on Shameless.

 

Emmy Rossum, “Shameless” – This is a tough year for Shameless to submit in the comedy category. It spent the previous three seasons in drama, while being a twisted dark comedy about a family surviving on Chicago’s South Side. Then switched to comedy and delivered its most dramatic season yet as the weight that the Gallaghers have been holding up all came crashing down on top of them. The focal point of this crash was Rossum’s Fiona whom nearly killed her toddler brother by leaving cocaine out on the table, then proceeded to have a prison arc of her own, but without all the humor that Schilling got to play with on Orange is the New Black. Never the less, comedic or not, Rossum deserves more recognition for her work on the underrated Shameless.

Best Bet

There is a great case to be made for a Schilling win. Orange is the New Black is a trendy new show that has a groundswell of support and might have a huge night, racking up award after award. Schilling could very well be a beneficiary of that support and topple Queen Dreyfus. But in reality talking up anyone else in this category is like betting on Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent. Yeah, it sounds fun and tempting to correctly pick the man that takes him down, but in the end Money Mayweather is going to win by decision. Bet big on Dreyfus.

Should Win 

Dreyfus is the Queen, but Veep has a tremendous supporting cast, while Glazer and Jacobson carry the show on their own. Yes, it is cheating to pick a pair over one person, but it takes something special like this to topple a legend. And while Veep is a better overall show, no one made me laugh harder than Jacobson and Glazer on Broad City.

Will Win 

This is the biggest lock of the night. Dreyfus makes it a three peat. You’re welcome Pat Riley. She is just too good and Emmy voters love her too much for anyone to beat her.

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My Subjective Ranking of TV This Week – Part 3

5-3

5. Shameless – Admittedly for awhile I was considering dropping it out of the top 10, if not off the list entirely. However, cooler heads have prevailed and I realized that I admire the parallelism of storylines this season, even if I’m not totally digging the details of each one. Shameless Season 4

The Gallagher clan is all trying to escape from situations they’ve been trapped in for a long time and then reinvent themselves into something they strive to become. Fiona is trying to find a semblance of normalcy and has a great opportunity to do so with her corporate job, but is struggling to shed the “South Side” girl mentality and her thirst for danger. Lip is also trying to shed his delinquent ways, but is having trouble dealing with his new environment where all his old tricks do not work. Kudos to Kevin for challenging his manhood and inspiring him to work harder in order to find the loopholes in the college system.

Kevin is also trying to reinvent himself from simple bartender to successful bar owner in order to take care of his future children. I’m liking the idea of Mickey setting up a brothel at The Alibi Room from a story perspective, but as a fan of Kevin I do not see this ending well for him. While the other Gallaghers are fighting sociological and psychological battles, Debbie is struggling with a biological one. She is trying to act well beyond her years and desperately wants her body to mature in order to be considered a woman. Even Ian is fighting a battle to reinvent himself, albeit entirely off screen, by trying to become a soldier before reaching the proper age. Right now he is having the most success, but I have a feeling that is going to change very soon.

Uh-oh. Where's that hand going?

Uh-oh. Where’s that hand going?

As for the details that bother me, it is not that I do not like Fiona struggling to fight her old urges its more who she is doing it with that bothers me. Nick Gehlfuss’ Robbie is totally lacking any charisma or charm. At least Steve, for all his faults, especially dragging down the story, had some charm and was suave enough to be believable as someone Fiona would keep going back to over and over again. Robbie just comes off as a creepy, stalker douche and a total anarchist who rebels in ways that even Mitt Romney thinks are lame. I’d dig this storyline a lot more if Robbie was convincing as someone Fiona would be rabidly attracted to. Right now all he has is the magic “clitoris touch” on trains.

4. Parks and Recreation – Last week Parks and Rec said goodbye to Chris and Ann. No other comedy on TV can make you swing the full gambit of emotions like this one. The key is never overplaying an emotion. Schur and Goor make sure that the show never swings to wildly in the direction of being cartoonish, nor the other way by being too sappy.

It's tough to let such a beautiful person go. I'll miss Rashida Jones too.

It’s tough to let such a beautiful person go. I’ll miss Rashida Jones too.

It is sad to see Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones go. They will be “literally” missed terribly, but Parks is not a show lacking in characters. The bench is so deep that really any character not named Leslie or Ron could leave and it would not be a huge detriment. I would almost put Andy on that list too, but the show did not suffer terribly in his absence last fall. Though it is certainly much nicer to have him back. It was a simple and sweet send off for these two regulars, but there absence will allow for the writers to have more time to fill out the remaining characters story arcs for the end of the series run over the next year.

Bravo Parks and Recreation. Bravo.

Archer Vice

3. Archer Vice – New name, new concept, same old laughs. This complete overhaul in the concept of the show is more than just a cool, creative gimmick. It has brought such freshness to the series. I didn’t think it was possible for Pam to get any funnier, but Pam on cocaine is a whole new level of comedy. Along with the change in concept, Adam Reed has slowly turned this show into more of an ensemble than a vehicle to show off H. Jon Benjamin’s incredible voice and comic timing.

Every show has to fill out the supporting cast with more details as the series chugs along. A series just cannot withstand putting too much story on the shoulders of one character. An audience will get easily bored and start to turn against the character. The problem is that if you do not have a dependable supporting cast, then the show may fall apart anyway. Luckily that is not a problem for Archer Vice as Pam, Cheryl, and Krieger are all funny enough to carry their own shows. Add in the always dependable Mallory-Archer mother-son relationship and the show will be chugging along just fine for the foreseeable future.