When I put up the poll for Outstanding Drama Series I fully intended to post the results for the Outstanding Drama Series I fully intended to get these results out within a few hours. Stuff kept popping up that had to get done (like digging potatoes) or that had a definite time line. Or that I've become increasingly involved with. eRepublik you are a harsh and unforgiving mistress... but if anyone is interested in giving it a try please sign up using this link (for every ten people that I "invite" and who make Level 6 I get a lollipop – well really some in-game gold. If you do sign up and are American or Canadian be sure to sign up in a region that is still American or Canadian – right now theres a big war going on and Canada is partly occupied by Hungary(?!) and Iran (?!?!) while the USA is partly occupied by Hungary, Russia(!) and Colombia (?!?!?!)).
Okay, there's the plug. Now the results. There were seven votes cast, which in a way isn't surprising since I suspect that my dislike for Comedy Series is apparent from the fact that I don't write about too many of them. This poll is rather unusual in that a number of votes arrived later than I expected and they were enough to tip the tide. In a tie for fifth place (remember there were seven shows in this category) with no votes are Family Guy, Flight of the Conchords, and Weeds. In a tie for second place are Entourage, The Office, and 30 Rock with one vote each (14.29%). But the winner is How I Met Your Mother with a massive (for this poll) four votes (57.14%).
Right. I'm now going to tell you not only why How I Met Your Mother not only won't win but maybe why it probably doesn't deserve to win. As I have said numerous times Flight of the Conchords or Weeds (though the latter is more accessible for me than the former was) but I think that applies for a lot of viewers. I also don't watch Entourage but reports that I've seen in various media – including other blogs of course – is that this season is nowhere near as good as previous seasons have been. A big clue in this is that Jeremy Piven, who won in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy the past three years wsn't even nominated this season. That has to say something about the quality of the show. So with four shows pushed to the side We're left with The Office, 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother.
Of these three, the most conventional sitcom – although the definition of "conventional" has changed significantly over the past few years – is How I Met Your Mother and I think that notion that it's convientional is why it probably won't win. Don't get me wrong; How I Met Your Mother is a staple in my house, one of only two sitcoms that I actually watch (the other is The Big Bang Theory). When How I Met Your Mother debuted I saw it as being an American version of the British series Coupling done right, and that is an assessment that still holds. I like the characters and for the most part I like the situations. But if you ask me whether it is better than either The Office or 30 Rock I'd have to say "no." Part of my reaction is to that very conventionality. How I Met Your Mother is, dare I say it, safe. It doesn't push the envelope too much in terms of creativity and really doesn't "advance the form" the way that either the British or the American versions of The Office have. Both versions of The Office took the conventions of the workplace comedy and turned them on their ear through the use of the pseudo-documentary. Instead of the jerky boss being an aloof figure who is something of a nemesis for the lead characters, the jerky boss is the principal figure through whose eyes we see the rest of the office. But while doing this humanizes him somewhat it doesn't make him entirely sympathetic. Our sympathies – for the most part – are mostly with the poor schlubs who work for Michael Scott rather than with Michael himself. As for 30 Rock, which I think is likely to win, and which is not a bad choice, the key is the strength of the performances of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin and the palpable but non-romantic chemistry between the two of them. Add to that the fact that it is a satire not just of television but of NBC – with all the problems (which are the obvious seeds for comedic situations) that that implies – and I think it is a show that people within the TV industry can identify with. I think it's going to win for those reasons – it's seen as being cutting edge, a satire on the Television industry that people in the industry can identify with (or maybe just recognise people that they're familiar with), and it just happens to be extremely funny.