Culture of Pop

Emmy Picks 2015: My Choices in the Comedy Categories

The Emmys are coming up in September and the nominees have been announced. So, it’s time to look back on all the great comedy of the past year. Here are my personal Emmy picks for 2015.

Outstanding Comedy Series

The nominees:

Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My choice:

Parks and Recreation: The show made a bold choice for their final season, doing a time jump that led to the creation of an entire sci-fi world. The season wrapped things up in a satisfying way. It was all about wish fulfillment, but they managed to do this in a way that felt earnest instead of obligatory. This is one of the best sitcoms of all time and it deserves acknowledgment in its final year.

Outstanding Lead Actor

The nominees:

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man On Earth
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

My choice:

Anthony Anderson: Many of the other actors in the category have high-concept and novelty on their side, but Anthony Anderson is funny and authentic as Dre Johnson and that should be what matters. He understands how to balance playing up Dre’s overzealous nature for laughs with reeling it in for the emotionally earnest moments.

Outstanding Lead Actress

The nominees:

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

My choice:

Amy Poehler: First off, this is by far the strongest acting category this year and I could easily see a case for any of these women winning. But, to me, Amy Poehler deserves it the most for her final year as a truly iconic character. Leslie Knope has been my favorite character on TV for years now and this season wasn’t any different, as she continued making her one of the funniest and most interesting characters around.

Outstanding Supporting Actor

The nominees:

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep

My choice:

Andre Braugher: Braugher’s performance as Ray Holt is uniquely impressive. He brings a great sense of stoicism, but he’s no straight man. He’s responsible for some of the most laugh out loud funny moments of the series, especially in the second season when they allowed him to really get silly, like when he’s gleefully mocking his nemesis Madeline Wuntch.

Outstanding Supporting Actress

The nominees:

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Julie Bowen: It’s a predictable choice, but Julie Bowen really does give a great performance. Her portrayal of Claire Dunphy is not only funny, but at times gut-wrenchingly sympathetic. The character herself tends to be pegged as the serious one, but Julie Bowen is able to brilliantly play that serious nature for laughs.

Outstanding Guest Actor

The nominees:

Mel Brooks, The Comedians
Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Bradley Whitford, Transparent
Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My choice:

Bradley Whitford: Honestly, I wish Bradley Whitford was nominated for Brooklyn Nine-Nine instead of Transparent, but regardless of the material, he was great in this episode. His earnest approach to the role was very effective.

Outstanding Guest Actress

The nominees:

Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffmann, Girls
Pamela Adlon, Louie
Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My choice:

Gaby Hoffman: Caroline Sackler is a tough, sometimes viscerally hard to watch character. The character’s writing is uniquely ambitious and properly bringing her to life was a huge challenge that very few actress would be up to. Gaby Hoffman makes her feel completely real and even manages to make you laugh as you cringe.

Outstanding Writing


David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik for Episodes, “Episode 409″

Will Forte for The Last Man On Earth, “Alive In Tucson” (Pilot)

Louis C.K. for Louie, “Bobby’s House”

Alec Berg for Silicon Valley, “Two Days Of The Condor”

Jill Soloway for Transparent, “Pilot”

Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche for Veep, “Election Night”

My choice:

Alec Berg: I may never get over just how good “Two Days of the Condor” is. The episode flawlessly brought together threads from throughout the season for its pay offs, each character had their moment in the son and the tension and pacing were absolutely brilliant. It’s one of the most well-crafted pieces of TV writing I’ve seen in my life.

Outstanding Directing

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for The Last Man On Earth, “Alive In Tucson” (Pilot)

Louis C.K. for Louie, “Sleepover”

Mike Judge for Silicon Valley, “Sand Hill Shuffle”

Jill Soloway for Transparent, “Best New Girl” os

Armando Iannucci for Veep, “Testimony”

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller: “Alive in Tuscon” is a unique and visually stunning piece of television that could easily stand on its own as a great short film. It balances comedy and its specific brand of melancholy perfectly and made the show come out of the gate as a strong and interesting series.

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