When you count on The Emmys to be disappointing, they rarely disappoint. And yet, there were more than a few astonishing surprises this year (most of them surprisingly incompetent, even for The Emmys). I’m actually a bit flattered because I think that Emmy voters must have been reading this site – unfortunately, they misunderstood the “Who I don’t want to be nominated” heading, because almost everyone I included under that got nominated (24, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace, Larry David, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Brad Garret, Peter Boyle, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Stockard Channing).
A few nominations of note:
Futurama, Outstanding Animated Program and Outstanding Music and Lyrics - I was worried this series might be forgotten or ineligible since the only episodes aired last year were a few Fox burned off during the summer. Thankfully they seized the opportunity to honor this mistreated show one last time.
Nip/Tuck, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series – Sure it’s the only major nomination for the series, but hey, it’s one more than The Shield got this year, so I can’t complain too much.
All the variety nominations across the board for Chappelle’s Show, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Late Show With David Letterman.
Jeffrey Tambor, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – I know I said I didn’t want him to be nominated, but any acting nomination for Arrested Development is better than none, even if it proves that Emmy voters prefer a familiar face to a fresh one (Amber Tamblyn excepted).
All four Sex and the City girls got nominated, including first-timer Kristin Davis.
Drea de Matteo and Janel Moloney, Outstanding Supporting Actresses in Drama Series – Both got much deserved nominations for their exceptional work this season on their respective shows (if de Matteo hadn’t been nominated, I would have personally burned down The Shrine).
We didn’t get the dueling Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman nominations tabloid junkies were salivating for this year at the Oscars, but as a consolation we get both Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche up for Emmys. This should be fun (and make for a classic segment of Girls Gone Wild).
Arrested Development, Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – I really didn’t think they could pull it off this year, but the Emmy love for this series almost makes up for all the other inane nominations. Almost. Hey, maybe this show really will experience a Cheers-like trajectory after all. Maybe not.
The Outstanding Reality-Competition Program is good across the board (and Last Comic Standing is a welcome surprise), though where is Forever Eden? I’m not talking about among the nominations, I’m just throwing that question out into the universe so that hopefully I can find it again. I miss it. I yearn for it. I lament the fact that it has the most dishonest title since The Never-Ending Story Part II.
Scrubs, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – Scrubs finally gets a teensy bit of Emmy love, and rather than cry about all the richly deserved nominations it didn’t get, I’ll celebrate the fact that a great episode of television was nominated for its writing.
See the above list of "Who I don't want to be nominated" picks that were nominated.
Did Curb Your Enthusiasm really need three nominations in the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series category? Is that just because they can’t nominate it for writing? Did voters even watch those two episodes that weren’t “The Car Pool Lane?”
I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the Angels in America phenomenon. Granted I’ve only made it through half the miniseries so far (and even that was a chore), but I certainly can’t understand what the hype and praise is about. I can’t knock its record-setting nomination tally though, since I don’t watch enough TV movies to know if the competition is any better.
Fred Willard, Anthony LaPaglia, Georgia Engel, Christina Applegate, Cloris Leachman; Outstanding Guest Actors/Actresses in Comedy Series – All have been nominated or won before for playing these same roles, and none did anything special this season (LaPaglia in particular had little more than a glorified cameo in the finale of Frasier). Shouldn’t this category be about recognizing the truly surprising and revelatory guest turns of the year? Then again, Danny DeVito, John Cleese and Laura Linney weren’t exactly stellar choices either.
Sex and the City, “An American Girl in Paris (Part Deux),” Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series – Any other episode they want to nominate is fine by me, but this finale was such a disappointing deviation from what made the series great, that it just seems wrong to reward it. Especially when the monumentally well-written season finale of Gilmore Girls failed to garner a writing nom.
And The What the !@#$ Were They Thinking?
South Park’s choice of episodes to submit for the Outstanding Animated Program category, “Christmas in Canada” – This isn’t a blunder on the part of the Emmys (for once), it’s on the part of the show’s producers. In a pretty strong year for the series (see “The Passion of the Jew,” “You Got F’d in the A,” “The Jeffersons” and “Goobacks”), why chose this mediocre-at-best episode, notable only for working in a reference to the recently captured Saddam Hussein within a matter of hours before airing?
Two and a Half Men, Outstanding Main Title Theme Music – Quite possibly the most shocking, absurd nomination of them all. Have you heard it?
John Ritter, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Okay, maybe this is the most shocking, absurd nomination of them all. I didn’t know he was even eligible, let alone that anybody would submit his name or campaign on his behalf. It’s an insult to his legacy, an insult to the other actors in this category and an insult to the fine actors (Jason Bateman) whose spot he occupies. This nomination is the greatest proof that The Emmy voting has little to do with quality.
James Spader, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – I almost put this in my no guts no glory prediction, but then it just seemed to crazy to write down. While it was definitely a surprise, based on the few episodes I watched last season, I can’t say it’s undeserved. He gave a fun performance.
Mariska Hargitay, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Wow that came out of nowhere! I can’t comment on whether or not she deserves it, but I was shocked.
Joan of Arcadia, Outstanding Drama Series – Only God saw this one coming. Maybe I’ll actually have to try watching this show now.
So there you go. Finally. Look for my thoughts on who will and should win closer to the actual ceremony on September 19.