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My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List

Date July 14, 2011
My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List Every year on Emmy nomination day, as soon as the list of nominees is released, I peruse the roster and start writing. I don't read any reactions or stories until I've read the full list myself, so what follows are my first-blush reactions to seeing the list for the first time.

As I said in my Emmy prediction piece, every year there are omissions...

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List Every year on Emmy nomination day, as soon as the list of nominees is released, I peruse the roster and start writing. I don't read any reactions or stories until I've read the full list myself, so what follows are my first-blush reactions to seeing the list for the first time.

As I said in my Emmy prediction piece, every year there are omissions that rankle me, but this year, I have to say, the number of nice surprises was large. So as I sit here, still not having had coffee yet, I find myself unable to be too mad at the Emmys. I'm actually pretty pleased about a few things. Is it Opposite Day? The Emmys are recognizing 'Parks and Recreation,' Louie C.K. and 'Friday Night Lights' in the best drama category -- things I hadn't predicted but I'm very happy about -- so maybe it is.

Without further ado, here are my Pre-Coffee Emmy Musings (which I may add to later in the day, post-coffee), followed by the Happy Dance List.

• Pinch me. No really, pinch me. 'Friday Night Lights' got nominated by the Emmys for best drama series? That's amazingly terrific! And so very richly deserved.

• Pinch me. No really, pinch me. 'Parks and Recreation' got nominated by the Emmys in the best comedy category? How wonderful! I have no words beyond 'Yay!' Steaks and mustaches for everyone!

• As the Emmy press release points out, five of the twelve nominees in the best comedy and best drama categories are first-time nominees in those categories. This is the year the Emmys get some fresh blood, apparently. And if that fresh blood consists of programs like 'Game of Thrones' and 'Parks and Recreation,' I'm not going to complain too much if they stick around in those categories for a while.

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List • I needn't have worried about 'Game of Thrones,' which I thought might get somewhat ignored by the Emmy voters given that it as genre/fantasy elements. But the HBO brand carried the day, as did, I would think, the show's genuine quality. Thirteen nominations, including one for Peter Dinklage (which I predicted) is a pretty great showing for a freshman drama, even an HBO production. As you may know, I had issues with Dinklage's fake English accent all season, but I never disputed how talented and charismatic he was in the role of Tyrion. At this stage, I'm at least used to the accent issue and I think some of Dinklage's scenes later in the season were outstanding.

• Speaking of somewhat insane HBO worship, fellow freshman drama 'Boardwalk Empire' walked off with a total 18 nomination. What, no 'B.E.' nomination for best craft services? I am outraged! Kidding.

• I truly wish that more actors in 'Game of Thrones' had been recognized, especially Sean Bean and Emilia Clarke. But the truth is, Clarke is a newcomer -- her time may yet come. It's early days yet for the show, and I'm sure more Emmy love is coming if it stays as good as it got in the second half of its first season.

• A show that didn't lack for Emmy love was 'The Good Wife,' which got a total of six acting nominations and which was also nominated in the best drama category. No argument here; it's most definitely one of the best shows on TV and at this point, with 'FNL' ending, it's the best program on the broadcast networks.

• Finally, the Emmys listen to me! Nice to see that Johnny Galecki got a nomination for his work on 'The Big Bang Theory,' as well as Jim Parsons, who's been recognized by various awards-giving bodies for some time now.

• Speaking of the best actor in a comedy category, Matt LeBlanc was indeed the best thing about 'Episodes' but the show itself was a self-aggrandizing, shrill mess. But that's the Emmy name recognition factor working its magic.

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List • I can't believe Louie C.K. got a best actor in a comedy nomination for an Emmy! Normally Emmy nomination day is a sort of Opposite Day for me -- whatever and whoever I hope will get attention is usually ignored. I'm thrilled Emmy voters recognized C.K.'s excellent work on 'Louie,' and also gave him a writing nod for the excellent season 1 episode 'Poker/Divorce,' one of the show's high points. 'Louie' is in the midst of airing its second season now on FX. You should be watching it.

• Speaking of the best actor in a comedy category, Steve Carell's nomination was much deserved. He'll undoubtedly win.

• 'Friday Night Lights' got a writing nomination for its series finale, 'Always.' I'm going to start crying now.

• My tears are drying up. I just saw that Veena Sud got a writing nomination for the pilot for 'The Killing.' I will fully admit that I gave the pilot a positive review. If only I knew the sloppy, condescending horrors that awaited anyone who stuck with that show...

• Well, in any event, 'Mad Men's' Matthew Weiner got a nomination in the best drama writing category for 'The Suitcase.' That must win. It is written.

• I'm of course happy that Andre Braugher got nominated for his work on 'Men of a Certain Age.' I'd have loved more acting and writing nominations for the fine TNT show, but I'll take what I can get. Fingers crossed that a renewal announcement about the show is coming soon. Pleasepleaseplease.

• I told you Betty White was going to get a nomination this year. I told you! It's her seventeenth Emmy nomination. You go, Betty.

• A couple of much-deserved guest actor nominations: Jeremy Davies for 'Justified' and Michael J. Fox for 'The Good Wife.'

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List • Speaking of enjoyable guest acting nominations, Randee Heller got a nomination for her work as Miss Blankenship on 'Mad Men.' Good for her!

• Idris Elba was nominated for his work in 'The Big C,' and for his lead role in the much superior BBC series 'Luther.' I hope he wins for the latter category (which the BBC wisely entered in thea miniseries categories).

• Five of my "who will be nominated" predictions in the Best Drama Actor categories were correct. I'm sorry Ray Romano didn't get a nod for his fine work in 'Men of a Certain Age,' but I'm not sorry to see Kyle Chandler's name in the best dramatic actor Emmy roster that was announced today. Full hearts!

• I did truly think that Mireille Enos was good in 'The Killing.' But I cannot get behind any of the nominations that the show received, including her nod for best dramatic actress. You probably already know how I felt about the show's disappointing season and insulting finale, so we won't go there again, but please. No.

• I know it was expected, but it's nonetheless thrilling to see Elisabeth Moss' nominated for her work in 'Mad Men' in the best lead actress in a drama series category. It's her first year in that category, and she deserves every bit of praise she gets for her performance as Peggy in season 4 of the AMC show.

• I know, I can't shut up about this, but four nominations for 'Friday Night Lights' overall, including best actor and actress. Wow. By the way, come back here Friday for my thoughts on the show's NBC series finale.

• I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that 'Glee' will always get way too many nominations, now until the end of time.

• Six nominations for 'The Pillars of the Earth'? Here's what that says: Aside from HBO's lavish miniseries and movies, this category is a desert, so any miniseries that gets made is likely to get some kind of nomination, whether it deserves it or not. 'Pillars' was awful. It deserves nothing. No, really, it was truly terrible. Argh.

• I was glad to see Melissa McCarthy get some recognition for 'Mike and Molly,' but she is much better than the show she's in. It's not awful, but it's quite broad and shallow most of the time. With snappier, better writing, 'Mike and Molly' could be better, and more worthy of McCarthy's great comic skills.

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List • I should have seen this coming, but I didn't spend much time thinking about the miniseries category: 'Downton Abbey' truly cleaned up, with a total of 11 nominations. Again, this is partly a factor of the present-day situation when it comes to miniseries and movies -- there just aren't as many made, and the ones that do get made are either HBO class-fests or crappy projects on Lifetime or minor cable channels. 'Downton' was terrific, and it's wonderful that it did so well -- it's nice to see a excellent work get recognized, and it'll be good to see a network other than HBO pick up some statues in this category.

• Why did 'The Borgias' get so many nominations? I just don't know. I didn't hate the show -- in fact I enjoyed Jeremy Irons' classy scenery chewing -- but I'm guessing Emmy voters were swayed by film director Neil Jordan's name all over the project. For instance, it's disappointing that Jordan got a directing nomination for 'The Borgias,' rather than, say, Alan Taylor for 'Game of Thrones.' Tim Van Patten did get a directing nomination for the 'GoT' pilot, which was good, but Taylor's episodes, which came later in the show's run, were better, in my opinion. But perhaps calculating that Emmy voters wouldn't truly get how good the ninth or tenth episode of a season was, perhaps HBO didn't submit Taylor's work. I don't know. (It's interesting to note that executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss submitted 'Baelor,' the ninth episode of the season and a truly pivotal one, in the writing category -- and that episode did get nominated for writing. Hmmm....)

• The above item pertains to one of my perennial Emmy complaints -- the effect of the best shows is cumulative, but the Emmy process often penalizes shows, performances and scripts that grows more powerful over time. In many cases, you have to have seen an entire season to know how good a performance was or how great a show became. Emmy voters typically watch one episode per category, maybe two, and they usually see episodes that were chosen because they're good one-offs, not necessarily the most powerful episode of that show's most recent season.

• 'Game of Thrones' got a nomination for hairstyling. Sorry, but I don't think the show deserved it. Some of those wigs were hot messes.

• 'Rubicon'! I never expected to see that show anywhere on the Emmy list, but it got a nod for main-title design. A small but nice surprise. But I'm a little sad that Michael Cristofer didn't get a nod for his guest performance as spy weirdo Truxton Spangler. And of course, the show's cast, directors and writers were generally excellent, but this is one of those times I didn't expect the Emmys to give the show any love.

My Emmy Reactions: Some Joy, Some Confusion and the Happy Dance List • Shows I also didn't expect to see in the Emmy roster, though it would have been nice had they gotten some recognition: 'Terriers,' 'Treme,' 'Archer,' 'Spartacus' (which got a nod for its stunt work), 'Doctor Who,' 'Fringe,' 'Cougar Town.'

• Of course I hope 'Game of Thrones' wins the best title-design category. It's a treat.

Finally, what follows is a list of the Emmy nominations and tidbits that thrilled me most. Let's call this the Happy Dance Category:

• Louie C.K. nominated for 'Louie.' Nice.
• 'Friday Night Lights' getting four nominations, including best drama.
• Walton Goggins nominated for his great work as Boyd on 'Justified.'
• 'Parks and Recreation' getting a best comedy nod. Terrific.
• Margo Martindale getting a nod for her amazing guest work on 'Justified.' All hail Mags.

For a list of info about and excerpts from nominated shows, look here.

Read more http://www.aoltv.com/2011/07/14/my-emmy-reactions-some-joy-some-confusion-and-the-happy-dance/

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