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The Last Word

September 12, 2007

THE Emmys do a fine job (mostly) of honoring excellence in television -- it's just that they don't go far enough. Sure, it's exciting to see who might be named lead actor in a drama, but television offers such a rich tapestry of characters and special moments that even with 90 prime-time categories, the awards are incomplete. Times staffers Maria Elena Fernandez, Elena Howe and Rene Lynch offer some they'd like to see. (Their picks are in red.)

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Nastiest

reality

show judge

Simon Cowell, "American Idol"

Carrie Fisher, "On the Lot" (winner)

Gordon Ramsay, "Hell's Kitchen"

Nigel Lythgoe, "So You Think

You Can Dance"

Tyra Banks, "America's Next

Top Model"

Maybe we're just tired of insults delivered in clipped English accents, or maybe it's just that Carrie Fisher is bitingly funny, like this comment on a contestant's film: "The only thing worse for me . . . is being left by a man for a man."

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Outstanding

scene-stealing

by an assistant

Pam (Jenna Fischer), "The Office"

Lloyd (Rex Lee), "Entourage"

Marc (Michael Urie), "Ugly Betty"

Kenneth (Jack McBrayer),

"30 Rock" (winner)

Natalie (Traylor Howard), "Monk"

Pam is sweet and Marc is a hoot; Lloyd manages to get walked all over and stand up for himself at the same time. But Kenneth, dear Kenneth, does all that and still has time to fetch nachos from Yankee Stadium for Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan).

--

Best pals who

could be so much

more if only…

J.D. (Zach Braff) and Turk (Donald Faison), "Scrubs"

Marc (Michael Urie) and Amanda (Becki Newton), "Ugly Betty" (winner)

Alan (James Spader) and Denny (William Shatner), "Boston Legal"

Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee), "Heroes"

Vince (Adrian Grenier) and Eric (Kevin Connolly), "Entourage"

Without Marc and Amanda, Mode magazine would just be any other cold and superficial fashionista headquarters. But together as a couple? Maybe we're better off leaving things alone.

--

Outstanding

sidekick support

Sean Garrity (Steven Pasquale), "Rescue Me" (winner)

Matthew (Hamish Linklater), "The New Adventures of Old Christine"

Randy Hickey (Ethan Suplee), "My Name Is Earl"

Don Embry (Joel McKinnon Miller), "Big Love"

Jane (Seana Kofoed), "Men in Trees"

Basic cable subscription: About $40 a month. Time invested: An hour a week. The look on Sean's face when he realizes he has overstepped his bounds with Tommy (Denis Leary): Priceless.

--

Outstanding

comeback for a show teetering on the

creative and/or

ratings edge

"Brothers & Sisters"

"Friday Night Lights"

"Desperate Housewives"

"Lost"

"Jericho" (winner)

Many shows can say they came back from the brink -- "Lost" rebounded from some pretty awful episodes in a big way -- but only one series can claim a literal revival. Congrats, "Jericho"!

--

Outstanding

dire-situation

whisperer

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), "24" (winner)

Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), "Prison Break"

Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia),

"Heroes"

Wayne Palmer (D.B. Woodside), "24"

Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), "CSI: NY"

Honorable Mention: Paula Abdul because while we can hear her on "American Idol," we can't understand her.

The award must go to Master Whisperer Kiefer Sutherland, who can perform this task even when he's yelling, running and jumping out of exploding buildings.

--

Quickest

sizzle-to-fizzle

romantic couple

Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys) and Chad Barry (Jason Lewis), "Brothers & Sisters"

Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), "Grey's Anatomy"

Marin Frist (Anne Heche) and Jack

Slattery (James Tupper), "Men in Trees"

Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) and Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham),"Ugly Betty" (winner)

Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and Simone Deveaux (Tawny Cypress),

"Heroes"

OK, so maybe there was no actual sizzle. In fact, these lovelorn innocents never even got a real first date. But all those awkward moments and shy smiles had us from hello, so we're pulling for them to finally get together.

--

Most

missed

dead guy

Christopher Moltisanti (Michael

Imperioli), "The Sopranos"

Det. Curtis "Lemonhead" Lemansky (Kenneth Johnson), "The Shield" (winner)

Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan), "Lost"

Santos (Kevin Alejandro), "Ugly Betty"

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), "The Sopranos" (if that's what the suddenly black screen meant)

No matter what happened to Tony, the dead guy we miss the most is Lemonhead, the only cop on "The Shield" who carried a heart with his badge.

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