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. Today: Supporting Actor in 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, unlike in the writing categories where I decided to give each series an opportunity at only one slot, so these categories won’t be dominated by one writer or team, acting categories have the chance to be filled with multiple performers from one series. I wanted to stick to the one-per-program rule, but just couldn’t in some categories, so with this being my dream ballot, I might as well ignore many “rules.”
Like all the supporting acting categories, this is a very tough one. But I tried — let’s do it.
Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother
I’ve discussed my loathing for season five of HIMYM recently, but that’s not at the fault of Segel, who typically made even the worst episodes humorous for at least a few seconds. A number of the season’s best little moments or stories — because there were few actually great episodes — were Marshall powered: Drunk or Kid, his obsession with pizza, most of “Zoo or False,” the letter from young Marshall and I’m sure there are even a few more rattling around throughout the season I’m forgetting. I know that NPH is the man and Barney is great, but thanks to some poor writing for that character, Marshall felt like the star of season five.
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Ron F*cking Swanson. He loves breakfast buffets, woodwork, a good jazz tune, brunettes and HATES the government. Oh, and he’s awesome. Offerman was one of the few stand-outs in an otherwise drab first season of Parks and Rec, but both his performance and the writing for the character went to a whole new level during the second season. The minimalist performance is comedic gold and Offerman is also able to sell the sort-of heartfelt moments that he shares with Leslie and April. It’s one of the best performances in all of television, period.
Aziz Ansari, Parks and Recreation
I couldn’t keep my two favorite parts of Parks and Recreation down. Although Ansari’s Tom Haverford was perhaps the character to change the least in between seasons and throughout the up-tick in quality, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tom was the funniest part for the weak first year and continued to bring the laughs this season, including his irrational need to impress Leslie’s boyfriend Justin and his introduction of DJ Roomba to the world. Plus, like Offerman’s performance as Ron, Ansari has been able to transition nicely when called upon to handle more emotional and serious moments.
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
…And here’s your favorite. Even when I don’t care for full episodes of Modern Family, I find myself laughing at most of the scenes with Burrell’s Phil. The actor nails the uncomfortable goofball persona to T and also nicely straddles the line between complete fool and misunderstood/occasional genius. I can’t imagine him not actually winning the award, especially if Modern Family gets an overwhelming batch of support that extends further than we expect.
Chris Colfer, Glee
The unknown actor who had little to do in the pilot episode quickly became the series’ secret weapon, no matter what kind of tone a scene called for. Colfer handles Kurt’s random fits of immature smugness just as well as he handles the heartfelt hugs and talks with his father. And of course, he can sing. I have major issues with Glee‘s second half and what that means for the future of the series, this guy is not one of them. Although Colfer got stuck playing the same beats in those episodes, he nailed them every time. I’d guess for most people, he really is the heart of the series.
John Krasinski, The Office
Isn’t it kind of wild that Krasinski has never been nominated for his stellar performance as Jim Halpert? And yet, Rainn Wilson has been nominated for three straight years, playing a character that’s gotten broader as time has passed. That’s fair. Though he is oftentimes the straight man to the insanity unfolding around him, Krasinski has his funny moments and with Jim taking a more active role in the office, there were a number of moments where he made things humorously uncomfortable. Plus, his performance in the season’s two major episodes — “Niagara” and “The Delivery” was on-par with his on-screen wife’s. Both Halperts need to be nominated!
Up next: Movin’ on to drama!
Past days of the Dream Ballot