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Hold The Ballots: An Emmy Award Wish List

Summertime in Hollywood brings us many things: repeats, reality shows, and full-page Emmy campaign ads in the trades. But with the deadline to turn in Emmy nominating ballots rapidly approaching (um, it's at the end of today, in fact), I thought I'd take this opportunity to come up with a few awards of my own that unfortunately didn't quite make it onto this year's Emmy ballot.

And since the results of my little poll numbered only one (myself), I didn't think I needed to call in the services of accounting firm Ernst & Young to tabulate the results. Sorry, guys.

Unlike the actual Emmy Awards telecast, I've pared down the show to just the actual awards handout (no monologues, musical performances, or montages here, folks), so without further ado, the winners are...

Best TV Non-Couple Couple: The Office's John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer

While The Office is easily one of the most hysterical shows on television, the ongoing will-they-or-won't-they romantic storyline between Krasinski and Fischer's Jim and Pam has given this NBC Thursday night staple the added sting of heartbreak. Kudos to the twosome for keeping their flirtation (and friendship) going over two seasons and to the show's producers for taking the couple in a direction that the British version's Tim and Dawn only reached in the series' Christmas Special finale. Will Jim and Pam wind up a couple after their kiss? I don't know but I do know that what ever happens between their characters, Krasinski and Fischer's loaded banter will keep me coming back week after week.

Best TV President: Battlestar Galactica's Mary McDonnell

Whether she's battling cancer or fending off the political advances of power-hungry conspirators, Battlestar Galactica's President of the Twelve Colonies proves that she's a tough opponent. Mary McDonnell's portrayal of Laura Roslin deftly takes the president's steely resolve and tempers it with a sympathetic sensitivity. Roslin's nuanced transformation from naive schoolteacher to hard-edged leader is astonishing to watch, as is McDonnell's on-screen chemistry with Edward James Olmos, her military chief. Their tenderness, passion, and anger all coalesce into a beautiful portrait of middle-aged marriage, even though neither of them has realized it. And McDonnell's slight frame belies the strength of character and conviction that Roslin is forced to invoke, even when the decisions are far from easy ones to make. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather place the fate of the free world in Roslin's hands than, say, Commander in Chief's Geena Davis.

Best TV Mom (Comedy): Everybody Hates Chris' Tichina Arnold

Is there anyone else on television other than Tichina Arnold who could take the line, "I'm gonna kick her ass; hold my wig" and transform it into the battle cry of a mama bear protecting her turf? As Rochelle, Chris' "ghetto snob" mom, Arnold has crafted a devoted mother who is the very definition of tough love and an even tougher woman. Rochelle might have to slap some sense into her kids, but she's there to tuck them in at night and teach them a lesson or two along the way. (Just as long as no one steals her chocolate turtles.) While Chris' entire cast is flawless, it's Arnold's roaringly funny performance that makes each and every episode of Chris an absolute joy to watch.

Best TV Mom (Drama): Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham

I can't quite decide why the TV Academy has never recognized Lauren Graham (or Gilmore Girls as a whole, for that matter). Is it the WB thing? The "teen" thing? Or the fact that the show was the snappiest written show on television for quite a while? Regardless, Graham has shown her acting chops, comedic timing, and flair for wonderfully random monologues. As Lorelai, caffeine-fueled mother/best friend to daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel), Graham has found the role she was born to perform. In a season marred by lackluster storylines and uneven plotting (to say the least) in which central characters Lorelai and Rory went their separate ways, it was Graham who kept Gilmore Girls going. Her Lorelai is a tangle of neuroses and insecurities but Graham infuses them with a sarcasm and intelligence that keeps her from becoming toothless, giving her a depth of character that's rarely seen in comedy or drama. So come on, Emmy, with Gilmore Girls purportedly wrapping next season, why not smile down on Graham while you still can.

Best TV Crimefighter: Veronica Mars' Kristen Bell

Whether she's solving murders or investigating mysteries of the heart, Kristen Bell's Veronica Mars is tough, focused, and determined to get the job done, even if she has to bend the law a little to do it. If I were ever framed for murder, Veronica is the crimefighter I'd want clearing my name. Bell turns in a beautifully nuanced performance of an outcast that's equal parts noir as it is snark and the theatre-trained actor has proven that she's as adept at heartbreak and drama as she is with action and comedy. Over the past two seasons, we've seen Veronica subtly transform from a girl with a massive chip on her shoulder to a self-confident, altruistic woman filled with promise. And, after leaving high school, I can't wait to see what else Veronica has up her trendy sleeve. Give this girl an Emmy and be done with it already.

Best TV Trailer Trash: My Name is Earl's Jaime Pressly

While I love NBC's My Name is Earl, Jaime Pressly's Joy has got to be the very best part of the show for me. Earl's ex-wife Joy is manipulative, trashy, and painfully honest and Pressly looks like she's having a field day playing her. It's due to Pressly's skills as an actor that Joy, while absolutely hilarious, never becomes cartoonish. Instead, Pressly has created a character that's deeply flawed but who revels in those very flaws before your eyes. Besides, who else but Pressly could imbue a catchphrase like "Oh, Snap!" with such malice and glee and still be so completely and utterly lovable?

Scariest TV Bad Guy: Big Love's Harry Dean Stanton

Big Love's Harry Dean Stanton is a scary, scary man. As cult leader Roman Grant, Stanton exudes a terrifying aura of power gone wrong, wielding his authority over the compound and the Henrickson family with a perverse pleasure. Stanton has appeared in dozens of films, but in Roman he's found his ideal character: morally corrupt and emotionally bankrupt, he's a sly old fox who refuses to give up the power that he fought (and possibly killed) for. His performance appears so effortless and so eerily controlled that it's impossible to take your eyes off of him, even for a second. After all, that's all the time it would take for him to rip out your throat.

Scariest TV Good Guy: Lost's Terry O'Quinn

I'm not quite sure what I'd say to Terry O'Quinn if I ever saw him in the flesh. After all, Locke scares me. And he's supposed to be a good guy. For O'Quinn, an actor used to getting stuck playing FBI types, it seems like he's had a blast portraying Lost's resident visionary, John Locke, whose quest for enlightenment on Lost's haunted island purgatory has propelled quite a lot of the series' otherworldly plots. For an actor used to sitting off on the sidelines, Locke is a meaty role filled with contradictions. Desperate to believe in something larger than himself, Locke has been teetering on a knife's edge between altruistic heroism and obsessive villainy. The look on his face in the season finale when he realized that he was right to keep pushing the button was a mixture of joy and abject horror. Will he make it out of the hatch alive? I'm sure of it but I think we've only breached the surface of Locke's character and I can't wait to see where O'Quinn takes him next.

Best Cancelled TV Show: Arrested Development

Need I say more? Rest in peace, my beloved Bluths.

Best TV Show About Polygamists: Big Love

Okay, it's the only television show about polygamists, but Big Love takes the prickly issue of plural marriage and transforms it into a gripping drama about a rather, um, extended family that might not be as different from yours or mine as one might think. In Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodman, Big Love has given us a deeply complex portrait of the compromises of marriage, the bonds of sisterhood, and the wiles of women. And I am absolutely hooked. While "Mormons" might not seem as immediately interesting as mobsters or morticians, Big Love has proven that there's drama aplenty to be mined there.

Best TV Show No One's Watching: Scrubs

Year after year, creator Bill Lawrence, Zach Braff, and the Scrubs crew continue to deliver a brilliant, witty, and fanciful comedy that's tinged with the pervasive specters of heartbreak, loss, and failure, set in what might just be the world's very worst hospital. And yet somehow no one's watching, a fact that makes me want to bang my head against the wall... if only to let the doctors at Sacred Heart patch me up. Rarely has a sitcom been this funny and this touching at the same time.

While I can only dream about the above actors and series receiving recognition from the TV Academy, the actual Emmy nominations will be announced by Old Christine's Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Garrett on July 6th.

If you live in LA, prepare to wake up at the crack of dawn (5:39 am to be precise) to catch the nominations... or sleep in and check back here for details.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Fear Factor (NBC); Gilmore Girls (WB); NBA Basketball (ABC); House (FOX); America's Next Top Model (UPN)

9 pm: The Unit (CBS); Last Comic Standing (NBC); Pepper Dennis (WB); House (FOX); Veronica Mars (UPN)

10 pm: Tuesday Night Book Club (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: The Thick of It on BBC America (11 pm EST).

If you missed the sixth (and final) episode of this scathingly funny British political satire, here's your last chance tonight to catch it. On tonight's episode, the Department of Social Affairs is merged with that of Citizenship, Hugh doesn't like his new offices, and poor Terri (finally back after the death of her father) is forced to take the fall for a scandal. It doesn't get any more wicked or wickedly funny than this.


ticknart said…
"Best TV Mom (Drama): Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham

I can't quite decide why the TV Academy has never recognized Lauren Graham (or Gilmore Girls as a whole, for that matter). "

The WB keeps sticking Gilmore Girls in the comedy catagory, that what I think is the problem. While I do think the show is funny, its best moments and best acted moments have always been the dramatic ones and I don't know how well that goes over with the men and women voting in a comedy catagory.

Maybe with the new rules the academy will finally realize that they've been overlooking some treasures, many of which are in this post, but I won't be holding my breath.
Jon said…
Sigh. I've been watching Scrubs since its debut, and I consider myself a fan, but best sitcom? I spent all this season wondering what the hell was wrong with it. Yes, it has been great (though not greatest), but not lately. (Apologies if this is a duplicate. Blogger is resisting my verification.)
Anonymous said…
This was great. I especially love the Locke award. As you know, I've been a Terry O fan since 1987 when I saw The Stepfather. He then settled himself into my heart with his FANTASTIC performance in the brilliant figure skating movie The Cutting Edge (only being slightly sarcastic here - I really love this movie. Maybe the best good-bad movie around). He then went on to be brilliant on Millenium (and others, but he was so good on Millenium). So, you can imagine my glee when I saw him on Lost. I think I need to start a fan club.
Anonymous said…
The Emmy Awards are usually so predictable, conservative, and boring (West Wing, Sopranos, Everyone Loves Raymond, yawn, yawn, yawn) that I can't stand to watch. But if this were the awards list, I would definitely tune in!

And Ally, if you do start a Terry O'Quinn fan club can I be vice president?
Benjamin said…
Funny about "Scrubs," because I just don't get it. I don't think it's funny at all. Well, that's not fair; I have chuckled a few times. But I don't watch regularly so, to be fair, I could be missing something. But I've tried and it just strikes me as precious and impressed with itself. And yet so many people whose opinions I respect adore the show...

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