This week I’ll be pretending that I have an Emmy vote and discussing my picks for all the major categories. Once it gets closer to the time that nominees are actually announced, I’ll do an official “picks” column. Up first: Writing for a Comedy Series!
Two things before we get going: First, I’m only choosing performers or writers that are actually on the ballots, so these choices are all real possibilities. Second, in the writing categories, I’ve decided to give each series an opportunity at only one slot, so these categories won’t be dominated by one writer or team like the real nominations will be. I think that’s so disappointing and uninteresting as a viewer and fan of the awards. Thus, I won’t be doing it.
The comedy writing is obviously tough, especially when it comes to choosing between certain episodes of the best series. I tried to think things over and decide which episode was actually the best-written, because sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in the performance or direction and overlook how good the actual writing was. At the same time, I’m not ignoring those things either because the execution of good writing is also crucial.
Let’s do it.
The Office, “Niagara” (written by Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling)
Thankfully Emmy awards are not given out based on whole seasons because if that were the case, this great episode would have no chance in hell at even being nominated. However, The Office has been nominated in this category three times in its run, with its one win coming from the Daniels-penned “Gay Witch Hunt” and “Niagara” is a high-profile success that had a lot of press hype behind it. As I said in my comments about the best episodes of the television season, this effort nailed the Jim and Pam moments and also included a number of hilarious beats for the Dunder Mifflin crew.
Parks and Recreation, “Telethon” (written by Amy Poehler)
Though I’d imagine “The Master Plan” will get the series its nomination because it was buzzed about by the media thanks to the two new cast members and because it was written by the aforementioned Schur, I have a soft spot in my heart for this one. It offers nice moments for everyone on the cast and still serves as a humorous vehicle for Poehler’s Leslie Knope.
30 Rock, “Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” (written by Kay Cannon)
Cannon has never been nominated for her work on the series, so why not give her a nod this go-around? This effort includes that wonderful scene with Liz trying to film opening titles for her talk show and although some of that might be ad-libbed on the set, I’m not exactly sure how the voters would find out. This episode was overwhelmingly praised amid a season or so of negative backlash, and for good reason.
Modern Family, “Pilot” (written by Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd)
This is probably your winner for Writing For a Comedy Series at the 2010 Emmys and I can’t really disagree with that. It’s wonderfully scripted with loads of funny lines and solid dialogue. Moreover, it sets up the relationships between the family members very well without seeming too contrived or clichéd.
Community, “Pilot” (written by Dan Harmon)
I wish Community would have submitted more, better episodes but I understand the desire to not split the vote for a series that not a whole lot of people — especially Emmy voters — watch. Thus, they went with the most obvious choice in the pilot and although I don’t think it’s nowhere near the series’ best, I can’t not put my favorite new comedy on this list. That’s not to say that the pilot of Community isn’t funny — because it’s hilarious in multiple spots and consistently funny throughout.
Your thoughts? Anyone I’m missing?
Up next: Writing for a Drama Series