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: Lead 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.”
Honestly, this is much stronger category than the lead actress side of things. Not a referendum on the performances from the ladies, just the truth is that the opportunities aren’t there for them. Sad, but true.
Adam Scott, Party Down
He’ll never come close to a nomination because A.) no one watches Party Down, B.) no one watches Party Down and C.) his work here is too sarcastic and not flashy enough for Emmy voters. But of all my picks on the dream ballot, Adam Scott might be the one I feel the most strongly about. There’s a lot of wacky stuff happening on the series and yes, he’s required to be the straight man and simply react with an eyebrow raise or quippy comment, but there is absolutely no one better at those things. And when Scott is called upon to actually drive the comedy, he nails it just the same. Man, why can’t more people recognize how awesome Adam Scott is?
Zachary Levi, Chuck
If Adam Scott is the performer I’d most like to stump for on this ballot, Zachary Levi might be in the second slot. He’s yet another actor in a comedy who is required to do a lot more than simply be funny — in his case, provide emotion- and action-oriented work — but he shouldn’t be docked for that. When called upon to be funny, Levi does it. When called upon to be an action hero, Levi does it. And when called upon to be a romantic anchor, Levi does it. And much like Party Down (although its not bad as off), not too many people watch Chuck. Simply put, it’s going to be very difficult for Zachary Levi to be even close to the conversation, especially in such a stacked category.
Joel McHale, Community
Man, what a stacked category, even with my probably-not-likely candidates. Joel McHale is right there with Scott and Levi in terms of my favorite television leading men and I’d guess that his previous stature gives him much better of a chance of being nominated for real. And again, he’s oftentimes required to be the straight, sarcastic man while a bunch of nutty people act like insane goofballs around him, but damn he’s good. Perhaps even more than the above two performers, McHale is given more outwardly comedic material that he also handles very well.
Steve Carell, The Office
For as much as this season of The Office blew, Steve Carell handled even the most terrible material with the up-most class and grace. It’s not his fault that Michael toggles between lovable goof and despicable idiot from an episode to episode basis, right? Carell is always charming and still sympathetic even in the most ridiculous and cartoony of Michael episodes — like this season’s “Mafia” or “Scott’s Tots” — and even if his character has gotten worse, the performance has not.
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
He’s a repeat winner for a reason. Everyone loves Alec Baldwin. He’s charming. He’s funny. His performance on 30 Rock is sometimes the only way to enjoy the series when it kind of sucks. And when the material is good like it was this season, Baldwin takes it to another level. I think he was better in season four than he was in season three, which probably means he’s winning.
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
I don’t watch The Big Bang Theory often, but when I do, it’s because of Parsons. He’s one of the most charming and appealing lead actors in comedy and even if I think the series he’s trapped in isn’t that wonderful, he makes it as good as it is. His performance is also one that will play more appealing to Emmy voters than those from Scott or Levi. He’s probably the lead contender to take down Alec Baldwin and I’m also okay with that.
Next up: Drama leads!
Past days of the Dream Ballot