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They Made Emmy Lol

Actress In A Comedy Series

August 08, 2007|Tom O'Neil

Episode: "Pilot." Betty (Ferrera) lands a job as an assistant to the editor of chic fashion magazine.

Plus: If Emmys are all about hugs (and they are), voters will surely want to embrace the poor misfit forced to pluck gum from her boss' shoe and cabbage from his coleslaw. Especially considering she's TV's Hot New Breakout Comedy Star.

Minus: The role is mostly reactive. Funny things happen to her, at her expense.

America Ferrera "Ugly Betty"

Tina Fey "30 Rock"

Episode: "Up All Night." The mood is far from lovey-dovey when the TV crew must pull an all-nighter on Valentine's Day.

Plus: Fey's skill at caustic comedy is at perfect pitch when she battles a florist on the phone while trying to figure out who sent her flowers anonymously. "No!" she roars. "I'm not with so many men that it's impossible for me to guess!"

Minus: Not much emotional range. Limited screen time. In the TV industry, Fey is perceived chiefly as a writer, not a performer.

Felicity Huffman "Desperate Housewives"

Episode: "Bang." Lynette (Huffman) becomes a hostage when a gun-wielding woman goes bonkers at the supermarket.

Plus: One-hour episodes often beat half-hour rivals. Huffman has another advantage: explosive drama that complements comedic intervals, especially when she summons the nerve to fire back with harsh words.

Minus: Perhaps "Bang" is loaded with too much drama for a comedy race.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus "New Adventures of Old Christine"

Episode: "Playdate With Destiny." Christine (Louis-Dreyfus) can't control her secret crush on her son's teacher when they all hook up for an outing.

Plus: This is the funniest of these five comedy episodes. In fact, it's outrageously risky as the nervous, lovestruck Christine keeps calling the African American Mr. Harris "Mr. Black," then panics, crying, "I can't stop! Help me!"

Minus: All slapstick, no emotional range. That was also true last year when she won, but then she competed against four stars of canceled shows.

Mary-Louise Parker "Weeds"

Episode: "Mrs. Botwin's Neighborhood." Nancy (Parker) must juggle family woes while battling marijuana growers moving into her territory.

Plus: Sweet scenes of a mother comforting her heartbroken son and an especially fiery one in which she faces off against his ex-girlfriend's dad. Parker is one of Hollywood's hippest actresses -- Emmy voters nominated her twice this year (also as a TV movie actress).

Minus: This comedy submission is occasionally amusing but not extremely funny.

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