2011 Dream Emmy Ballot: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

It’s that time again, folks. The Emmy nominations will be announced on July 14, which means I have almost an entire month to flood this space with hopes, dreams and predictions about what could happen come nomination time. To kick things off, I’ll be bringing back the Dream Emmy Ballot. It’s something I did last year and even with my much smaller readership back then, folks seemed to enjoy it. You can find the archives of previous Dream Emmy Ballot posts here.

In any event, just a qualifier or two: This is obviously my Dream Emmy Ballot. Meaning, these initial picks are going to be who I would love to see be nominated for the awards. I know that many of these people don’t actually have a chance in garnering a nomination, just as I know that I will miss some of your personal favorites because I don’t watch that series. I watched more television than ever this season, so I imagine my personal picks will more closely align with more “official” selections, but nevertheless, this is all based on my personal taste and wishes. I’ll do more concrete, objective analysis as we get closer to the actual nomination announcement. Secondly, these picks are all based on the official nomination ballot, just so you know.

Day 5 and we’re finally into the “major” categories. Kicking off the group of supporting categories is Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, which is one of the most insanely competitive categories around. There probably won’t be much movement when the official nominations come out, which makes this large pile of worthy nominees even more disappointing. My original “shortlist” for this category included more than 20 names and that was with some general discretion on my part. I also considered limiting the number of actors from one series, but it just didn’t seem right.  Yikes. In any event, here are the six supporting actors I deem to be the most worthy for a nomination.

Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, Community

There was absolutely no way that I was going to pick between these two. It feels like Danny Pudi has more of a legitimate chance to actually garner a nomination here (even though it’s still not much of a chance), but most fans of Community will acknowledge that Donald Glover’s Troy was season two’s MVP. Together, Glover and Pudi have created one of the most infectiously likable duos in recent comedy history. Troy and Abed stories never, ever disappoint and the series continues to find new ways to deepen the relationship without it feeling stale. Separately, both performers had tremendously strong seasons, albeit in different ways. Because of how his character operates, Pudi was given the more “showy” episodes, including “Critical Film Studies,” “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” and even “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.” In those episodes, Pudi really shines because he finds a way to give a wonderful depth to a character doesn’t easily show depth. Glover’s Troy didn’t have as many episodes explicitly built around him — “Epidemiology” and “Mixology” being notable exceptions — but his work is truly supporting because he makes even the smallest stories or scenes or jokes memorable. Glover is a massive movie star in the making, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, if I had a ballot, these two would probably go numbers one and two on the list for this category.

Garrett Dillahunt, Raising Hope

Garrett Dillahunt is one of the business’ most dynamic and versatile performers, as he’s played so many complex, interesting roles over the last few years. But even though I loved him on anything from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles to Deadwood, I did not really know what to expect from him when I heard he was playing a dad and grandpa in a Greg Garcia comedy. Well, Dillahunt is just as hilarious in Raising Hope as he was insanely intense on something like Burn Notice or in his various film work. When Hope was still figuring itself out in those early episodes, Dillahunt was carry a lot of the comedic weight with his intoxicating enthusiasm for all this goofy, low-rent and minuscule. In less capable hands, his character Burt could have been portrayed as much more unintelligent and therefore unlikable, but Dillahunt does a lot of great work to make sure that we’re often laughing with Burt instead of just laughing at him. This was secretly one of the best performances on a new series this season.

Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother

Before the last stretch of episodes, I found this season of HIMYM to be perfectly fine, if not pretty good. Although my opinion was altered by those problematic final efforts, it doesn’t take anything away from Jason Segel’s fantastic performance. His Marshall carried the middle part of the season in the aftermath of his father’s death and all the stresses that came with it. Segel’s work was heartbreaking, raw and yet oftentimes, still very funny. Every single episode that was built around Marshall’s traumatic state ended up being wonderful and Segel even propped up a few of the season’s later efforts that were focused more on Barney or Ted. Because of NPH’s general awesomeness and great work, it feels like Segel has somehow been the underrated performer on the series for a few years now. That doesn’t really make sense considering he’s had the most success outside of Mother, but it’s really time that he actually gets acknowledged for being the emotional center of a pretty emotional series.

Nick Offerman and Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation

Another NBC comedy, another wonderful duo. In all honesty, I could have stuffed this category full of Parks and Recreation actors because both Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt are fantastic in their roles as well. There was no way I could leave Nick Offerman off this ballot, though. I think it’s fair to say that after three-ish seasons, Offerman has established Ron Swanson as one of the all-time great sitcom characters of all time. Though I was worried that the series was over-doing it with Ron a little bit in the early goings of S3, Offerman washed away those fears with his fairly complex performance. He can do ridiculously broad comedy (“Ron and Tammy: Part Two”), hilariously poignant (“Lil’ Sebastian”) and all points in between. Although Nick Offerman is the obvious standout performer on Parks, I really enjoyed Adam Scott’s work in season three just as much. He quickly ingrained himself into the series’ quirky world and rhythms and his Ben ended up being a much weirder character than initially thought. Scott played the character’s nerdiness (both with Amy Poehler’s Leslie and Ansari’s Tom) just as well as he played the more sarcastic, smart-ass beats we’ve grown to expect him to knock out of the park. Sometimes, his Ben is the Jim Halpert of the series and other times (like in the glorious “Media Blitz”), he’s the massive butt of the joke. It’s wonderful.

Performers left just off the ballot: Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation; Adam Pally and Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings; Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; Nolan Gould and Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Kyle Bornheimer, Perfect Couples; John Krasinski, The Office; Dulé Hill, Psych; Chris Colfer, Glee; Scott Adsit, 30 Rock

Well, thoughts?


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