Jake Johnson

2014 Emmy Preview: The Jim Parsons Award

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Bazinga! Sheldon Cooper’s catchphrase has been appropriate for the man who plays him at the Emmys as of late. Jim Parsons has won three of the last four Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmys and received his sixth straight nomination for his starring role on The Big Bang Theory. As much as this era of dominance has upset people, especially considering that Steve Carrell never won one for the iconic role of Michael Scott, it is really not surprising looking at the current state of comedy in television.

The television landscape has changed dramatically over the last 20 years with an expansion of cable networks producing original programming, which has led to new digital platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon, now producing its own original content as well. It has led to a saturation of the market that has lowered viewership of most watched programs and created niche programming that allows people to find the shows that best fit their taste. Comedy has been most affected by this change in that it has moved away from the standard sitcom to an array of tastes that range from dark absurdist, to satirical, to sketch show, to whatever the hell Nathan Fielder is doing.

The variety makes it difficult for Emmy voters to select male leads to nominate since the traditional form they’re used to is all, but disappeared. Parsons is really the only traditional male sitcom lead left that is worthy of a nom, which explains why he wins the award so damn much. Look at the field for this event 20 years ago in 1994.

The former King of this category, Frasier Crane.

The former King of this category, Frasier Crane.

1994 Nominees

Kelsey Grammer, “Frasier” (Winner)

John Larroquete, “The John Larroquete Show”

Jerry Seinfeld, “Seinfeld”

Paul Reiser, “Mad About You”

John Goodman, “Roseanne”

 

Five nominees all from successful sitcoms and all with big name cache. Grammer won four lead acting Emmys for his role as Frasier Crane. Larroquete, while not as successful as a led, won four straight Supporting Actor in a Comedy Emmys for his performance on Night Court. Jerry Seinfeld is Jerry Seinfeld, enough said there. It may be easy to forget now, but Reiser was a big name in the 90s and Mad About You a smash hit. He received six nominations without ever winning. Finally, the multi-talented John Goodman starred as Roseanne’s husband on a smash hit sitcom that was deemed revolutionary for its time. He topped Resier with seven nominations for this role without ever winning. Now, look at the field for this year’s event.

Nominees

Jim Parsons, “Big Bang Theory” (1/1) – As mentioned he is a three time winner and the only traditional sitcom lead actor in this field. Say what you will about Chuck Lorre, but his formula works and a big reason why is the actor’s ability to nail the punchlines while remaining in character.

Ricky Gervais, “Derek” (3/1) – Gervais has been an Emmy staple ever since bringing The Office over to the US. Derek is a special project for him and completely different than anything else he has done. It is a dark comedy on the surface, but packs a lot of heart and filled with wry observations of human behavior. It will be interesting to see how voters compare this performance to a traditional comedic one like Parsons.

William H. Macy, “Shameless” (4/1) – The result of Emmy voters not finding leads from traditional sitcoms to nominate is turning to famous actors on television no matter how good or comedic the performance is. To be fair Macy is excellent on Shameless and the show’s consistent supply of humor. The only argument against his nomination is that he is far from the lead. If he were nominated for a supporting role it would make sense, but he seems out of place in this category.

Louie C.K., “Louie” (5/1) – There is no doubt about whom the lead is on this show, in fact C.K. quite literally does it all on his titular program. Louie is a result of C.K.’s brilliant mind and while it is not always traditionally funny, but never boring. For all the accolades he receives as a stand-up, writer, and director, C.K. is also a brilliant actor more than deserving of a nomination.

Matt Leblanc, “Episodes” (18/1) – “Hey it’s a former sitcom star on a Showtime comedy. It must be good, let’s nominate him.” The thought process of Emmy voters, despite being oh so wrong.

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” (30/1) – “Hey it’s a movie star and Academy Award nominee starring on a Showtime comedy. It must be good, let’s nominate him.” While Cheadle is his usual charming self and does what he can with the material given, the material is too awful to validate a nomination.

Snubs

Andy Daly, “Review” – Review is a fun twist on the sketch show format. Daley stars as reviewer of life, Forrest Macneil. The premise allows for a variety of concepts that break up the show into three or segments of different things that people ask Forrest to review. However, instead of having each review standing alone with no consequences, like every other sketch show, every review impacts Forrest’s life mostly in negative ways. It eventually leads to him ending up divorce and bankrupt, but his unwavering desire to continue reviewing life.

Jake Johnson, “New Girl” – Johnson has really grown into the role of Nick Miller over three seasons. After Max Greenfield grabbed the early headlines with the much showier role of Schmidt, it would’ve been easy for the producers to turn New Girl into “The Schmidt Show.” However, it stuck with its other stars and for good reason as Johnson has become the most consistent supply of laughs and heart on the show.

Best Bet

Jim Parsons fatigue is very possible this year. But if it happens is there any viable candidate to step up and win? The best bet is voters awarding C.K. for all that he does on Louie. At (5/1) it is a great payout if they go in this direction. download

Should Win

Louis C.K. In a weak field he deserves to be recognized for the incredible work he has done. It is more than just rewarding him for writing, directing, producing, starring, and editing the show, he has also delivered a tremendous performance over the last four seasons. It is hard to say if it is more deserving than the others and Daly gave the best performance of the season, but I’m going to break my own rule of ignoring past seasons and awarding the Emmy to C.K.

Will Win 

The Parsons juggernaut rolls on to a fourth Emmy. Gervais is one for one when getting nominated in this category, but he’s made enough enemies in Hollywood that it will be difficult for him to get the necessary votes. Everyone loves Parsons and he is a throwback sitcom start that stands out in this list of nominees.

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Letter to Emma (Watson) – Week 2

Dear Emma (Watson),

It has been a week since I last wrote you. I’ve yet to hear from you. I understand that you’re probably busy shooting a movie or something, and that these kinds of letters need to go through the proper channels to get to you. You’re a big star. I get it. But I can’t help but feel a little sad.

This whole unrequited love thing is starting to take its toll on me. Shakespeare wrote so eloquently about it in a variety of different publications, but there’s nothing eloquent about the actual thing: Unrequited love sucks.

Ask Professor Snape. He loved Lily forever to no avail. Then he had to take care of Harry after she died, the kid produced by James Potter, who banged Lily after she spurned poor Severus.

Poor Snape.

Poor Snape.

Remember this quote?

“Snape’s patronus was a doe,’ said Harry, ‘the same as my mother’s because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from when they were children.” 

I don’t want to have a sad patronus of you from The Bling Ring.

The other thing about unrequited love is that it’s unoriginal. Look at literature, film, and television over the years and there are millions of stories of guys like me who helplessly hope to have “popular” girls like you in our arms.

The Hollywood ending to this kind of story is that another girl in my life – whom I currently underappreciate – gets frustrated with me and tells me she won’t be my friend anymore. Then, just as she heads to the airport, I realize that all this time it was her who I should have loved and that I was wasting my time on you. I hail a cab to the airport, burst through TSA security checks, make it to my friend-girl’s gate, and get tazed by policemen as I give a heartwarming speech to her entire flight.

I say fuck that ending. Let’s create our own brand-new narrative. You’re creative, smart, and most importantly, original. Do you really want to be the movie star who only dates other high profile peeps with ridiculously high net worths?

I’m starting to wonder if I even want to know that answer to that question.

I don’t know my net worth. If you factored in my college debt, I’d probably be in the negative net worth section. But I’d still pay for your dinner, drinks, and movie tickets. I’m not above you paying either. But that’s beside the point.

Listen, you’re at a level of cool that most people can never reach. But everyone can be better. You seem like someone who is into constantly improving and growing. You know what could bring you to interstellar levels of coolness? Dating an average Billy like me.

I promise to be the furthest thing from K-Fed, Britney Spears’s infamous average Joe husband. That guy didn’t get how to play the fame game. I understand your level of stardom. In our relationship, you’d be the sun and I’d be one of the nine planets. Hell, I’d be Pluto for all I care. Wait, what? Pluto’s not a planet? Doesn’t matter. I’m Pluto.

You’ll find that for a planet – or whatever the hell it is – so far away from the sun that Pluto’s not as cold as you think. Pluto is actually a really warm, caring, thoughtful, and somewhat attractive planet. Many people say Pluto kind of looks like Nick (Jake Johnson) from New Girl without as crooked of a nose. Pluto can live with that, and takes it as a compliment.

Pluto kinda looks like this guy.

Pluto kinda looks like this guy.

I really should have paid attention in astronomy. Anyway, you get the point, Emma. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. Why not give me a chance? Let me be your hero, baby. Sorry, I was feeling an Enrique reference today.

Ugh. Unrequited love sucks. It’s like reading poems to a wall. Oh well. I’ll be waiting with a rose, a bottle of the finest champagne (Andre), and a sweet mixtape in my backyard whenever you decide to give me a shot.

Until next week,

Nick Pluto