Sunday, August 01, 2010

Poll Results - Who SHOULD win the Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy?

I'm a day late with these results, which has allowed three more votes to be cast. I spent most of Saturday afternoon installing a new screen door on the back of my house, and most of the rest of the day recovering from the job. It was hot out and that door was heavy. So was the one it replaced.

There were nineteen votes cast which is actually down from last year's total of twenty two votes, but is still the highest number of votes that we've seen this year. But what is really impressive is the margin of the winner's victory.

So to the results. In a two way tie for fourth place, with no votes are Larry David from HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Tony Shaloub from Monk on the USA cable network. In fourth place with one vote (5%) is Matthew Morrison from ABC's Glee. In third place with three votes (16%) is Steve Carell, the star of NBC's The Office, while in second place is another NBC star, Alec Baldwin from 30 Rock with four votes (21%). But the winner, with eleven votes (a whopping 58%) is Jim Parsons from CBS's Big Bang Theory. I think the poll is right, in that I think that Jim Parson's performance as Dr. Sheldon Cooper really is the outstanding performance by a lead actor in a comedy by a long shot. After last year however, I'm afraid the person who should will again be robbed.

Turning to the two "also-rans" in this category who failed to earn a vote, we have one actor from When it comes to the Tony Shaloub nomination, I have seen some early episodes of Monk although that was some time ago, and I've been told that the show has slipped in quality over the years. I don't deny Tony Shaloub's talent. What I do know is that Shaloub being nominated seems to be a reflexive action on the part of the Television Academy to the point where, as I've said before, I wonder if he'll get a nomination next year despite the fact that the show no longer airs. I suppose that it's possible that he could win this time around because the show is ending it's run. As for Larry David's nomination, since I've never seen show I can't say anything constructive about it or his performance.

I can't evaluate Matthew Morrison's performance however it seems to be fairly rare for a freshman show to be nominated for an Emmy unless it is outstanding. There have been those who have questioned whether this show really belongs in the Comedy series category. The problem is of course that if it doesn't belong there, where does it belong? Since I've never seen it, I don't know. I'm also not sure to what degree Morrison's nomination is based on Glee being the past season's hottest new show, at least in terms of critical buzz at least (NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife had higher ratings than Glee).

Turning next to the second and third place finishes, taken together, it is difficult not to call them the favourites in the category, even though both The Office and 30 Rock have had off seasons (or so I've been told). Steve Carell's performance as Michael Scott is inevitably good, even if the character is someone who is totally clueless – or maybe because the character is totally clueless and Carell just does such a good job portraying him as totally clueless. Whatever the case, even though you don't actually root for Michael there are sometimes moments when you feel something for him. Just that little bit of sympathy is what it takes. As for Baldwin, well, it's hard to argue with someone who has won the last two Emmys in this category for the role of Jack Donaghy and was nominated for the role in the show's first season. I have a suspicion that Jack reminds many members of the Academy of the various network weasels they've met over the years, but Baldwin manages to bring a great deal of comedic talent, not to mention a bit of his own reputation, to the role. But again, I don't really watch either of these shows.

The Big Bang Theory is a show that I watch, and a big part of the enjoyment that I get out of it is as a result of Jim Parson's portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. If there is an indispensable character in any sitcom it is Sheldon. The show would be just another comedy about a group of friends without Parson's portrayal of the highly eccentric – to the point where some viewers come to believe that Sheldon suffers from Asperger Syndrome – condescending and self-centered character. In most cases these traits would make Sheldon a totally unsympathetic character which people would reject. In Sheldon, these traits are part of the charm. Beyond that Sheldon has a sort of vulnerability that builds sympathy despite the character's traits. Parson's deserves a lot of credit for bringing these traits out, particularly when you consider just how different the character is from his portrayer (Parson's plays the piano and is a sports fan; I don't know is Sheldon plays the piano, but while he's knowledgeable about Football at lest, he's totally inept at sports and doesn't really see any point in them). Friend of the Blog Toby O'Brien provided our only comment again this week (or at least the only one that didn't lead back to Taiwanese porn), and it is one that agrees with my own sentiments: "I went with Parsons because it has to be a fine line to walk making that character funny and not (too) uncomfortable for the audience. And Parsons handles it expertly."

As much as I want Jim Parsons to win in this category, I fully expect the Academy to reject the performance that is clearly the funniest and reward either Baldwin or Carell for their work. It's the safer, or maybe just the more elitist, way to go.

New Poll up in about an hour.


Judith said...

I agree that Parsons gives a fine performance. Big Bang Theory is a big hit here in NZ, mainly because of Sheldon!

I enjoy your blog, even though many of the programmes you mention never reach here.

Ben said...

Either Carell or Baldwin would be acceptable. Carell leads a great cast. If there's a problem with 30 Rock it's not with Jack or Liz, but with the fact that the writers haven't done much with the other characters. But Baldwin is excellent.

That said, I do think Parsons deserves to win. He gives such a unique charm to his character. Of course regardless of how many viewers like him, you're probably right that he won't win.