Below the cut, Darwin and I offer our takes on the Emmy nominations, which were announced today.
Darwin: I suppose we all already knew this, but ‘man the Emmys are stupid, huh?
Hilary: What I don’t understand is how I can still get upset about them.
Outstanding comedy series
“The Office,” NBC
“30 Rock,” NBC
“Two and a Half Men,” CBS
“Ugly Betty,” ABC
Darwin: This is going to one of the only categories in which I’ve seen all the nominated shows. And yet, I have little to say. Obviously, The Office ought to win. Especially since winning awards is the only thing it has going for it. [What does that mean?—Hilary] [It means that’s what keeps it on the air, since not enough people watch it to justify the slot it inhabits.]
Hilary: I guess that’s not even true for me. The most I’ve really watched of Two and Half Men is a Chuck Lorre production card or two. So it’s clear I only want The Office to win here. And I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t. Though I suppose 30 Rock and Ugly Betty are its only competitors. I wish Ugly Betty were funnier. Then I wouldn’t mind it being nominated so much.
Outstanding drama series
“Boston Legal,” ABC
“Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
“The Sopranos,” HBO
Darwin: Even though I haven’t caught up yet, it’s comforting to know The Sopranos will win this fairly easily.
Since they’re so fond of splitting categories, you’d think they’d have separated the commercial-free shows from the rest by now. It’s not really fair, especially in drama. Because House is rarely less than perfectly structured as a network program and uses commercial breaks to its advantage. It might collapse without them. Never mind all the other obvious things it can’t do that an HBO show can.
Hilary: This is where I get most annoyed. I don’t think I ever thought both Deadwood and The Wire could get nominated, but having neither there feels really, really wrong. And in their (and Friday Night Lights’) places? Heroes and Boston Legal. Not to mention Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t even really want House here, but that’s definitely taking things too far. Anyways. Go Sopranos. Save us all.
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series
Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman, “Extras,” HBO
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, “Monk,” USA
Steve Carell as Michael Scott, “The Office,” NBC
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock,” NBC
Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper, “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
Darwin: I’m not saying I want to see them switched, but Jon Cryer is in the Supporting Actor category and Alec Baldwin is here. And that doesn’t make any sense.
Tony Shalhoub and Steve Carell seem to be establishing a rivalry in this category, but as far as I can tell, neither one is progressing all that much from what they won for previously. Which might be a good strategy for an Emmy, and is obvious good for their shows because change is the enemy on comedy shows (even hour long ones, I guess), but Ricky Gervais has won before too and he was much better in Extras than he was then. And since apparently most Emmys are decided based on one episode, it shouldn’t matter that there were only six for him to be better in.
On another matter, shouldn’t these limited foreign series get put in with the mini-series people? Prime Suspect‘s had multiple incarnations and gets to go conquer that Best Actress category whenever it wants. Should Extras be treated any different just because they might make another six episodes someday if they feel like it?
Hilary: I think it’s all about how you submit yourself. The Starter Wife–all six episodes just like Extras–called itself a miniseries and got itself nominated but good. Extras called itself a series, and here we are.
I think Alec takes this easily. People want him to want to stay on the show.
Darwin: Wow. You think people think about things. That’s cute.
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
James Spader as Alan Shore, “Boston Legal,” ABC
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, “House,” Fox
Denis Leary as Tommy Gavin, “Rescue Me,” FX
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, “The Sopranos,” HBO
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, “24,” Fox
Hilary: I can’t stand Denis Leary here. Ideally in his place I’d put Ian McShane or even realistically Matthew Fox or definitely Michael C. Hall. I guess I should just be happy Gandolfini made it back.
Darwin: You’re more upset about Denis Leary than Kiefer Sutherland? I can’t imagine he could be any less interesting. Maybe there’s more potential to be terrible on a show like Rescue Me, but if barely registering is a qualification you might as well nominate Gary Sinise.
Hilary: I should qualify that Denis Leary is pretty good on Rescue Me, probably better than Kiefer. But I don’t resent Kiefer for making 24 all about Jack.
Darwin: That’s a dumb reason to kick him out of this category. If it came out that Kiefer Sutherland thought this season of 24 was stupid and boring and tried to change it, it wouldn’t then make him more qualified to be here.
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series
Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, “Desperate Housewives,” ABC
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell, “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” CBS
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, “30 Rock,” NBC
America Ferrera as Betty Suarez, “Ugly Betty,” ABC
Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin, “Weeds,” Showtime
Hilary: It is awfully nice the way they keep nominating Felicity Huffman, just because the world loves her and Bill Macy. But really now. She’s probably even embarrassed by this. Though too professional to ever say so. From this list, I’d give to Mary-Louise Parker in a second, though I hate the idea of Weeds as a comedy. Funny as it sometimes can be.
Darwin: First of all, this is Bill Macy. Anyway, Felicity Huffman always seemed like the most realistic character on that show in the limited time I watched it. I’m sure that’s mostly disappeared by now, but I don’t believe the best rated shows shouldn’t be represented at all, and this is certainly the easiest to take. Obviously Tina Fey does not meet such criteria and while I don’t think she’s bad by any stretch, I really hate the idea of her having anything she’s doing validated in this way. Clearly though, it’s Julia Louis-Dreyfuss that should put us off the most. But really, unless we’re saying Gilmore Girls belongs (which we should) in this category, the only viable replacement I can come up with is Leah Remini.
America Ferrara wins, right? Doesn’t seem fair. She has a lot more time and opportunity to, you know, act.
Hilary: Yeah, America wins. Unless some kind of big 30 Rock-sweep thing happens. Or Mary-Louise does. I guess I’m just saying Julia Louis-Dreyfuss can’t. Which means she will now. (Oh and yeah, clearly Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel would be here. Or even, I don’t know, the girl from My Boys, whose name I can’t even remember.)
Darwin: My Boys is back July 30th. But seriously. Not her.
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
Sally Field as Nora Walker, “Brothers & Sisters,” ABC
Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, “The Closer,” TNT
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson, “Law & Order: SVU,” NBC
Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois, “Medium,” NBC
Minnie Driver as Dahlia Malloy, “The Riches,” FX
Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano, “The Sopranos,” HBO
Darwin: Why six nominees all of a sudden? Couldn’t bear to not include Nora Walker? Actually, Mariska Hargitay is the one whose appearance I fail to understand year after year. Especially when Christopher Meloni doesn’t seem to make it.
I know Edie Falco will no doubt run away with this, and deserves to, even if I didn’t see why, but Minnie Driver would be really nice. Better accent than Kyra Sedgwick and better facial expressions than anyone in any category.
Hilary: Edie Falco got robbed last year. She had less to do this year, but she’ll win to make up for that. I’d have trouble filling the rest of the category, with the exception of Connie Britton. She’s clearly the female lead on the show, right? Or maybe Martha Burns from Slings and Arrows? And totally off topic, but couldn’t it have been nominated for something? Paul Gross at least?
Darwin: Yeah. I like to try and stay in the realm of possibility, but sure, anything Slings & Arrows related would be great.
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series
Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama, “Entourage,” HBO
Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold, “Entourage,” HBO
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, “How I Met Your Mother,” CBS
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, “The Office,” NBC
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper, “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
Darwin: With the Entourage vote split, I suppose Neil Patrick Harris has a chance. At second place. But I’m not so sure he doesn’t deserve to win, which I realize is weird for me to say, but in a category full of ridiculous characters, his is the most realistic one that isn’t Jon Cryer. And no one cares how realistic you are on Two And A Half Men.
Hilary: I was a bit bummed to see Rainn Wilson listed, for some reason. He is wonderful as Dwight, but Dwight wasn’t as wonderful this year. Still, I want him to win. As much as I like both guys from Entourage… well, you know how I feel about Entourage. And neither has done anything new on the show. I’d be fine, I guess, if Neil Patrick Harris won too. If only because it’d be great to listen to the HIMYM fancast after that.
Darwin: Are you kidding? They’re thrilled enough right now.
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series
William Shatner as Denny Crane, “Boston Legal,” ABC
T.R. Knight as George, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura, “Heroes,” NBC
Michael Emerson as Ben, “Lost,” ABC
Terry O’Quinn as John Locke, “Lost,” ABC
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, “The Sopranos,” HBO
Darwin: Good ol’ Squishy Face. Maybe if Omar Epps had had a bout of constipation instead of silly identity issues he could be here too. Actually, I’d like to make the case for Eric King, but since Dexter got shut out of everything that wasn’t editing or camera related, that seems pointless. And if Patricia Arquette can get nominated, surely there’s room for Jake Weber, the only reason to watch Medium.
Hilary: What a weird range of people. I am happy Michael Emerson is here properly (instead of just as a guest like last year). Verbal Kent or not, I deem him awesome. But I think Michael Imperioli will take this in a walk. My missing people are all, clearly, from Deadwood and The Wire. My short list, since their names aren’t going to appear anywhere else this awards season: W. Earl Brown, Sean Bridgers, Dayton Callie, Jim Beaver, Wendell Pierce, Jim True-Frost, Clarke Peters, Seth Gilliam, J.D. Williams, Andre Royo, Michael K. Williams, Robert Wisdom, Jermaine Crawford, Maestro Harrell, Julito McCullum and Tristan Wilds.
Darwin: Short list?
Hilary: That’s pretty much the point.
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series
Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner, “My Name Is Earl,” NBC
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, “The Office,” NBC
Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper, “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
Conchata Ferrell as Berta, “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater, “Ugly Betty,” ABC
Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes, “Weeds,” Showtime
Darwin: I realize I’m supposed to fall to my knees at the thought of Pam Beesly (not Beasly, really?) but I think I’m okay. I don’t want to minimize what Jenna Fischer does either, because of course it’s consistently amazing, whether it’s with Jim or Michael or just us and the camera guy. But while she is great on an otherwise great show, Jamie Pressly is a whirlwind on hers. Maybe it’s easy to seem that way among all the kind of bland characters of Camden County, but seriously, she stands out. And that’s what these things are supposed to reward, right?
Hilary: In theory, yes, but I think it’s a big nomination for Jenna Fischer. The standout roles get nominated. Jenna has to do kind of the same thing every week. I like rewarding that kind of consistency. (Though here’s where I ask why she’s a supporting nominee. She’s the female lead again, right? I know this is how she submitted herself, and probably wisely, but she seems misplaced.) I bet Vanessa Williams wins. It’s got a redemptive vibe to it to give it to her.
Darwin: I think the idea is there’s only one lead on The Office and that’s Michael Scott. Of course, that seems like an idea left over from the British one because it’s just not the case. Oh yeah, and where’s Becki Newton? Seriously, find her for me.
Hilary: And now that you mention it, where’s Ashley Jensen? Not for Ugly Betty, but for Extras.
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series
Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Whedon, “Brothers & Sisters,” ABC
Katherine Heigl as Isobel “Izzie” Stevens, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC
Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano, “The Sopranos,” HBO
Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi, “The Sopranos,” HBO
Darwin: With two Sopranos nominations, this was one category where the other guys (girls) had a chance. But then they go and nominate three from Grey’s Anatomy? Not smart, guys (girls.) You’d think that would give the edge to Rachel Griffiths, but I simply refuse to accept that. I’d like Katherine Heigl to win actually, despite the fact that my grandmother, who barely knows how to turn her television on, says she can’t act. She probably loves Chandra Wilson too, which I still don’t get. What is it people? There’s not a more predictable weekly performance out there.
Hilary: I don’t get any of these. Not even the Sopranos nominees, really. There’s just no person in this category who is remarkable beyond the material (which in the case of the Grey’s Anatomy actresses is damning indeed). I mean, yes, Lorraine Bracco and Aida Turturro have both been amazing on the series before. But this was not their season.
Darwin: I get Sandra Oh. I don’t like that I get it, but I do. And Katherine Heigl is the one person on that show I can sort of stand. So I guess I get that too. And if any show deserves two supporting nominations, it’s the one the most people watch. But there are way too many other possibilities. So many Hilary could make a tiny list out of them.
“Broken Trail,” AMC
“Prime Suspect: The Final Act (Masterpiece Theatre),” PBS
“The Starter Wife,” USA
Darwin: Seeing as how I only watched The Starter Wife, I shouldn’t even bother. But I’d really like Broken Trail to win some stuff for Walter Hill’s sake. Still, I don’t want to encourage anymore basic cable Westerns. They do seem boring and are quickly canceling any good will Deadwood might have built for the genre.
Hilary: I don’t understand how The Starter Wife can be listed anywhere near Prime Suspect. What’s kind of funny is that they purport to kind of do the same thing, to give women a voice in a situation where men have dominated (divorce settlements and law enforcement, I guess). But they’re not in the same league. I keep thinking Jane Tennison wouldn’t give Molly Kagan the time of day. Or even Judy Davis’ character. Jane Tennison knows how to drink for real. Anyways. Prime Suspect must win. If I’d seen it in time for our best-of posts last year, it would’ve snuck in one way or the other.
Darwin: When is the man ever the good guy in a divorce settlement? On TV or otherwise?
Hilary: Not the good guy. The powerful guy. The one with the better lawyer. I don’t know. My point was The Starter Wife thinks its about an empowered woman. And that’s cuter than my believing the Emmys matter.
Outstanding made for television movie
“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” HBO
“Inside the Twin Towers,” Discovery Channel
“The Ron Clark Story,” TNT
“Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy,” Lifetime
Darwin: I saw a little bit of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and it was terrible (see above about Westerns.) So anything else would be fine. Except that Lifetime thing. That sounds even worse.
Hilary: The Lifetime thing has Sarah Chalke in it. And got kind of good reviews. But yeah. Having seen none of these, I vote Longford, just so HBO will keep employing actors I like.
Outstanding lead actor In a miniseries or a movie
Robert Duvall as Prentice “Print” Ritter, “Broken Trail,” AMC
Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, “Jesse Stone: Sea Change,” CBS
Jim Broadbent as Lord Longford, “Longford,” HBO
William H. Macy as Clyde Umney & Sam Landry, “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, Umney’s Last Case,” TNT
Matthew Perry as Ron Clark, “The Ron Clark Story,” TNT
Darwin: Not sure why we’re still doing this and not cinematography or editing where I could actually type something useful, but William H. Macy played two characters, so I’m willing to overlook the fact that he was in something based on a Stephen King book.
Hilary: Tomorrow we can do the other “useful” categories. Blame whoever decided these were the important ones.
Darwin: I still blame you.
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a movie
Queen Latifah as Ana, “Life Support,” HBO
Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, “Prime Suspect: The Final Act (Masterpiece Theatre),” PBS
Mary-Louise Parker as Zenia Arden, “The Robber Bride,” Oxygen
Debra Messing as Molly Kagan, “The Starter Wife,” USA
Gena Rowlands as Melissa Eisenbloom, “What If God Were the Sun,” Lifetime
Darwin: Debra Messing! Hooray!
Hilary: If Mary-Louise Parker somehow wins, she will try to give her award to Helen Mirren. And she should. (If Debra Messing wins, well, I’m right to be an atheist, but also, someone should make sure she speaks up.)
Darwin: Is this their way out of having Mary-Louise Parker win for Weeds? And I realize Helen Mirren is great and all, but at what point do you have to stop letting an actor win for the same role?
Hilary: Now. It’s her last one. I mean The Final Act. It says it right in the name.
Outstanding variety, music or comedy series
“The Colbert Report,” Comedy Central
“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central
“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC
“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS
“Real Time With Bill Maher,” HBO
Hilary: Nothing to say here? Me neither, really. Except that I’m still not TiVoing The Daily Show. And I don’t miss it like I thought I would.
Darwin: If Bill Maher could stop the smug bookends of his show, it would be far and away the best thing here. But he can’t. Colbert is obviously the new force in this category, but I’m not sure the vote swings young enough for that to matter.
Outstanding reality program
“Antiques Roadshow,” PBS
“Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan,” National Geographic
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” ABC
“Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” Bravo
“Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” Showtime
Darwin: Can’t wait until whoever presents this has to read the nominees. I suppose this is what Penn & Teller have been after all this time.
Hilary: Wrongly, probably, I really want Kathy Griffin to win.
Darwin: It just seems like there’s an endless well to drink from for this category and they seem to be content with waiting for it to rain. Oh, metaphors, you’re the best.
Outstanding reality-competition program
“The Amazing Race,” CBS
“American Idol,” Fox
“Dancing With the Stars,” ABC
“Project Runway,” Bravo
“Top Chef,” Bravo
Darwin: It’s ridiculous that Survivor doesn’t get nominated anymore. I’m not sure what they want. It’s still gets pretty good ratings and it’s better than everything else on the list. I know giving this to the The Amazing Race every year makes them feel better about themselves, and understandably so, but I don’t even care that Survivor would lose. It just belongs on that list. Make it six if you want, Academy. Just stop being such a collective jerk.
Hilary: Yeah, even I’m mad Survivor isn’t here. Or America’s Next Top Model. My prediction is that somehow American Idol wins it this year. Or Top Chef. Or maybe even Project Runway. I guess my actual prediction is that The Amazing Race doesn’t win this year.
Darwin: This would be a much better awards show, done your way. Just tell us which one absolutely does not win. And make sure the people responsible are there. This would work best with actress categories. Especially if they told everyone precisely why.