Saturday, September 13, 2008

Poll Results - What Show Do You Think Should Win The Emmy For Outstanding Comedy Series?

I realise that in a year that features polling for both a US Presidential and a Canadian parliamentary election this isn't the most important poll that you're going to be confronted with, but still only four respondents is hardly what I was expecting. Still It's what I've got so I'll make the best of it.

As I said, I had four voters this time around and here are the results. With no votes, in a tie for fourth place, are The Office and Entourage. With one vote each (25%) are Two And A Half Men and Curb Your Enthusiasm. And the winner, with two votes (50%) is 30 Rock.

I don't really think that I can disagree with this result. As I've often said, I don't watch many sitcoms. In fact in the past year I know I haven't watched a complete episode of any of the nominated shows. So what you're going to get now is less a critique of the nominations and more a diatribe about a couple of aspects on the current state of the sitcom business.

Even thought I don't watch most of these shows I do know that Two And A Half Men is the top rated comedy on any North American network – and probably gets less respect than most of the comedies out there. Okay, it gets more respect than Carpoolers and Cavemen, and looks like Shakespeare when compared to Do Not Disturb (but something on the lines of Taming Of The Shrew rather than Twelfth Night). Certainly it gets far less respect than either The Office or 30 Rock, despite the fact that both – but 30 Rock in particular – get substantially lower ratings than it does, meaning that far fewer people are watching. All this despite being vilified by the Parents Television Council. And Two And A Half Men shows no signs of getting tired... though honestly who would know.

Okay, that was a gratuitous shot at a lot of things, like the poor quality of sitcoms in general, like the fact that when you do get top quality intelligent material it doesn't draw an audience, like 30 Rock and to a lesser extent The Office, and I suppose the fact that network executives seem not to be listening to their most important constituency namely the people who watch their networks. I mean let's face it, 30 Rock is a great show, one which deserves to win the Emmy that it's almost certainly going to collect later this month but the show averaged 6.4 million viewers last season and ranked 94th in the season ratings. Compare that with Two And A Half Men which averaged 13.6 million viewers last year and finished 16th in the ratings, or a show that wasn't nominated, How I Met Your Mother which averaged 8.2 million and finished 60th in the ratings finishing ahead of The Office which had
8.1 million viewers and finished 77th. Some people worried that How I Met Your Mother was at risk of being cancelled, while there seemed to have been little worry about 30 Rock, and The Office is touted as a huge hit by NBC. Either the networks are wrong, the public is wrong, or there is a different standard being applied (I think it's the latter – The Office in particular has a strong appeal to affluent audiences).

But yeah, I do think that 30 Rock will win the Emmy and deserves it. It is funny in an urbane, intellectual way and – probably more important to Emmy voters than ratings are – has a certain prestige factor going for it that a show like Two And A Half Men doesn't possess. In this field (to use the current political catchphrase – this is not meant as an insult to Governor Palin) Two And A Half Men is the pig in lipstick. Then again while I'm sure that everyone attached to the series would dearly love to win an Emmy, I'm sure they're content with laughing all the way to the bank.

New poll – the last in the Emmy series – will be up in a few minutes. At least the Drama category is one that I know a little something about.

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