Saturday, September 19, 2009

MTVP 2009 Emmys Coverage Part 2: The Players

I’m not an Emmys expert like the folks over at Gold Derby. I’m just a big fan of television. So, I’m not going to try and predict who the big winners will be tomorrow night. If you want that, go check out Gold Derby (and its forums) or rustle up a copy of last week’s Entertainment Weekly. What I plan to do here is talk about four Emmy categories where I really care about who wins. Anyway, on with the list!

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

· Steve Carell (The Office)

· Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

· Tony Shalhoub (Monk)

· Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

· Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords)

· Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)

My Pick: Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons plays neurotic (in an endearing way) theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. I would love to see him win the Emmy because he is never afraid to go all-out for a comedic performance. And some of Sheldon’s neuroses definitely require Parsons to go all out. For consideration by the Emmy judges, Parsons submitted the episode “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis.” I really do think this was a perfect choice. There are plenty of comedic Sheldon moments as he ponders what he should get Penny for Christmas, since she inconveniently gave him a gift. The end of the episode also showcases both Parsons' comedic and dramatic chops. It turns out that Penny’s gift to Sheldon was an autographed napkin Leonard Nimoy used at the restaurant where Penny waits tables. Sheldon is flabbergasted that Penny gave him “Leonard Nimoy’s DNA.” Not sure he can possibly equal that gift, he runs back to his apartment and grabs every Bath and Body Works-type gift basket he had purchased (he purchased a variety to anticipate different gifts Penny might have given) and gives them all to Penny. Then he actually tries to give her a hug. You can’t help but “aww,” tear up a little, and laugh all at the same time.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

· Kevin Dillon (Entourage)

· Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)

· John Cryer (Two and a Half Men)

· Tracy Morgan (30 Rock)

· Rainn Wilson (The Office)

· Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

My Pick: Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris plays the womanizing best friend (some of the time) to Ted Moseby, Barney Stinson, on How I Met Your Mother. I would like to see him win the Emmy this year as an acknowledgement of how he has taken a character that was originally supposed to be a comedic sidekick and turned him into something much, much more. I’ve already talked about the evolution of Barney Stinson in my “Classic” Recap of the Season 1 HIMYM episode “Okay Awesome,” but a few points bear repeating here. Barney was much more of a caricature in Season 1 with his goofy entrances and constant delivery of catch phrases. Now, he’s dating (or at least probably will be soon) the leading lady, Robin Scherbatsky. The character has his own blog on the CBS website, and the writers of HIMYM also published a book supposedly written by Barney called The Bro Code. The only thing that could possibly deny Harris the win is his choice of episode submission. He chose to submit the episode “Benefits” for consideration. This isn’t an awful choice, by any means. Like Jim Parsons’ entry, it showcases both comedy and drama. There are the comedic moments of Barney violently throwing television sets in a dumpster every time Ted talks about being “friends with benefits” with Robin. There are also more emotional moments such as when Ted asks Barney if he has feelings for Robin, or the moment at the end of the episode where Ted, with a nod, gives Barney silent permission to pursue Robin, and Barney’s acknowledgement is equally as silent. Harris did, however, have an even better submission, the Season 4 premiere “Do I Know You?” This again shows great comedic and dramatic range, leaning a little heavier on the dramatic side. It also has one of my favorite Barney quotes. “It's like a disease! I slept with Robin one time and I caught feelings. I caught feelings bad! I used protection and everything!”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

· Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)

· Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)

· Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)

· Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live)

· Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)

· Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)

My Pick: Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth played Olive, the short and spunky pie waitress, on Pushing Daisies. Kristin’s performances as Olive were always charming. She got comedic scenes, like the fit she throws in the Season 2 premiere “Bzzz.” My favorite quote from that episode is when Olive says “I’ve got something to say. And I’m going to say it to you, and you, and you…and your hump.” She also got dramatic scenes when she was pining for Ned, for instance. Also, she got to sing. Some of my favorite moments on Pushing Daisies were musical moments, like Olive and Aunt Vivian happily singing “Birdhouse In Your Soul” in the first season episode “Pigeon” or Olive singing “Eternal Flame” after she and Ned win the Comfort Food Cook-off in Season 2’s “Comfort Food.” Chenoweth chose to submit the episode “Bad Habits,” which was a good choice because it is Olive-centric and is a good showcase for every one of Chenoweth’s talents except for singing. As supporting actor nominees only submit a compellation of scenes that they were actually in from their episode (as opposed to the full episode), more face time certainly can’t hurt, and Olive was an integral part of “Bad Habits.”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

· William Shatner (Boston Legal)

· Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal)

· Michael Emerson (Lost)

· Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

· William Hurt (Damages)

· John Slattery (Mad Men)

My Pick: Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson plays Ben Linus, the super creepy ex-leader of the Others, on Lost. I hope to see Michael Emerson win this award due to his uncanny ability to deliver the perfect one liner. He can even pack one word such as “So?”- delivered in the fourth season finale “There’s No Place Like Home”- with layers upon layers of meaning. Emerson chose the episode “Dead is Dead” for his submission. Like Kristin Chenoweth’s choice, this episode is good because it is Ben-centric. There’s an amazing scene near the end where Ben has to confront a vision of his deceased “daughter” Alex that should provide excellent “Emmy bait.” The only other scene involving Ben this season that was as powerful was in the episode “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” where Ben strangles Locke to death. That was a very Locke-centric episode, however, so it wouldn’t have been as good a choice for Emerson to submit. Overall, this wasn’t as good a season for Michael Emerson as last season was, simply because Ben didn’t have as much to do. He had been ousted as leader of the Others, so this season was all about his scheming to get everybody back to the Island. I enjoyed the character more when he was creepy and in charge and loving it. Nevertheless, I’d still love to see him finally win as an acknowledgment of several seasons of amazing work.

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