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2011 Emmy Predictions: Comedy

Allegra Tepper |
September 15, 2011 | 2:52 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

With the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards fast approaching, the blogosphere is abuzz with both praise and critique for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ choices of nominees. But alas, the die has been cast. Laughs abound in the 2011 crop; from both old fan favorites (like 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory) to awards show newcomers like Louie and Mike & Molly. 

Before you place your bets for this Sunday’s winners, consult one NT writer’s stance on who’s holding the hottest hand. 


Should win: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

Will win: Chris Colfer, Glee

Other nominees: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Talk about too much of a good thing. The Academy nominated four (that is, 100 percent) of the regular male cast members of Modern Family, plus their female counterparts. Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cameron, took home the golden statue last year. This year, his onscreen partner Mitchell, as played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, stole the show. From his hunt for a prestigious yet nurturing preschool to boys’ night out to the most glorious Spiderman ever to hit the screen, he always delivered. 

But Modern Family voters will be splitting their votes between actors, leaving it a race between Chris Colfer and Jon Cryer. After taking home not one of their 12 categories’ statues last year, Gleeks are back with a vengeance, and Chris Colfer’s their best bet. 

This season, Colfer proved veteran at balancing a heavy role with his openly gay character Kurt, with excellent comedic timing. While they’ve all got the melodic chops, Colfer’s dramatic prowess sets him apart from the ensemble of misfits. His laughs may not be quite as big as Ferguson’s, but they’re also not being drowned out by three very similar competitors. 


Should win: Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Will win: Jane Lynch, Glee

Other nominees: Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock

Perhaps a pattern is arising? The nominations seem to reveal that when it comes down to it, Modern Family is an ensemble show, but Glee has some powerhouse individuals. Lynch is already a winner a few times over. She earned this honor for her role as Sue Sylvester last year, and she’s hosting this year’s festivities. 

Last year, the honor was deserved, but this season has proven to be a sophomore slump for Lynch, who has fallen into the shadows with underwhelming plot lines and not enough screen time. 

Vergara is a sure thing; it’s impossible not to find her spicy, charming, and side-stitchingly funny opposite onscreen hubby O’Neill. But if precedent counts for anything, the prize is heading to Lynch (and she’ll already be on deck to accept it). 


Should and will win: Steve Carrell, The Office

Other nominees: Matt LeBlanc, Episodes; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory; Louis C.K., Louie; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

This isn’t Steve Carrell’s first time in this category. It isn’t his second or third either. It’s his sixth time. And after churning out seven stellar seasons and bringing the NBC Thursday Night Comedy Block into a golden era, Michael Scott is saying farewell to Dunder Mifflin. The warm fuzzies that oozed from his funny and touching final episodes are just what the voters needed to tip the scale (not to mention a heaping bit of guilt). 


Should win: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Will win: Laura Linney, The Big C

Other nominees: Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope; Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Laura Linney is an Academy favorite. She’s won all three of the Emmys for which she has been nominated over the last nine years. She manages to pack comedic finesse into an otherwise painfully grave storyline. 

But while Linney acts, Amy Poehler performs. As Leslie Knope, a restless and ambitious city official who gives us entrée into the trials and tribulations of Middle American bureaucracy, she’s shined. Poehler has shepherded an underrated ensemble from a chuckle-inducing first season into an absolutely riotous third season, and for that, she deserves our praise. And a statue. 


Should win: Parks and Recreation 

Will win: Modern Family

Other nominees: Glee; 30 Rock; The Big Bang Theory; The Office

Modern Family took home the winged woman last year for best comedy series, because it was just that. It was fresh and relatable and raucously entertaining, leaving its competition in the dust. But while, yes, Modern Family has continued to deliver its razor sharp perfection, Parks and Recreation has been on the comedic upswing for the last two seasons. For fans, it’s made the journey all the more rewarding, and all the more entertaining. 

Parks and Recreation has a killer ensemble, with new faces Adam Scott and Rob Lowe packing it in even tighter. Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman have become comedic heavyweight champs, and the whole cast and crew deserve the belt. 

That said, Modern Family is a safe choice for the voters. 30 Rock is layered with brilliant comedic strokes, but they’ve had their day in the sun. The Big Bang Theory is a Nielsen ratings winner, not an Academy pick, and both Glee and The Office feel like yesterday’s issue of Variety. A year after stealing this category last year, Modern Family still feels worthy of headlines. 

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