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The Gold Standard: And the comedy nominees are likely to be ...

The usual returnees ('Modern Family'), the prime contenders (Amy Poehler) and the for-your-considerations (Joel McHale of 'Community').

June 08, 2012|By Glenn Whipp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • "THE MIDDLE" is worth a look for its delivery of consistently funny and accurate observations about middle-class life.
"THE MIDDLE" is worth a look for its delivery of consistently…

With so many great comedies premiering this season, we'd like to think Emmy voters will make way for the new kids on the block and shake up the comedy categories. But then, we'd also like to think that tonight's going to be the night our kids finally hang up their wet towels. Reality has a way of eroding expectations and, if history holds, past results do guarantee future performance. Here's how we see this year's comedy races shaking out, in order of likelihood of a nomination.

COMEDY SERIES

1."Modern Family"(ABC)

2."30 Rock"(NBC)

3."Parks and Recreation"(NBC)

4. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"(HBO)

5."The Big Bang Theory"(CBS)

6. "Louie" (FX)

Prime contenders: "Veep" (HBO), "Glee" (Fox), "Enlightened" (HBO), "Girls" (HBO), "New Girl" (Fox), "The Big C" (Showtime),"House of Lies" (Showtime),"The Office" (NBC).

Bubbling under: "Hot in Cleveland" (TV Land),"How I Met Your Mother" (CBS),"Nurse Jackie" (Showtime),"Happy Endings" (ABC),"The Middle" (ABC),"Family Guy" (Fox),"Wilfred" (FX),"Two and a Half Men" (CBS),"Up All Night" (NBC),"Raising Hope" (Fox),"Eastbound and Down" (HBO),"Life's Too Short" (HBO); "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" (ABC)

For your consideration: "The Middle." Not since "Roseanne" has a series delivered such consistent, spot-on, laugh-out-loud observations about lower-middle-class life. Last month's episode with Whoopi Goldberg guesting as a boundlessly enthusiastic high school guidance counselor showcased the show's ability to blend physical and character-based comedy with sentiment that rarely feels forced. And it reminded us that Whoopi can actually be funny. That deserves some kind of recognition, right?

Analysis: All six nominees from the last year remain on the air, though you could argue that "The Office" is a very different show (and not a particularly good one) minus Steve Carell and that few people remain on board "Glee's" musical bandwagon. That should provide a couple of openings for misanthropes old ("Curb") and new ("Louie"). A quartet of great new comedies — "Veep," "Girls," "Enlightened" and "New Girl" — could challenge the old guard, though voters' love for "30 Rock" and "Big Bang" probably runs too deep to radically revamp the category.

LEAD ACTOR

1. Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"

2. Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"

3. Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

4.Louis C.K., "Louie" (FX)

5. Johnny Galecki, "The Big Bang Theory"

6. Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"

Prime contenders: Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men"; Joel McHale,"Community" (NBC)

Bubbling under: Ashton Kutcher, "Two and a Half Men"; Adam Scott, "Parks and Recreation"; Rob Lowe, "Parks and Recreation"; Josh Radnor, "How I Met Your Mother"; Matthew Morrison, "Glee"; Lucas Neff, "Raising Hope"; Will Arnett, "Up All Night"; Elijah Wood, "Wilfred"

For your consideration: Joel McHale, "Community." He can pull off a leather vest and eyeliner. He can make like a vaudeville comedian. He almost makes a better Danny Pudi than Danny Pudi himself. Whatever McHale does (and the show affords him the opportunity to do a lot), it's always subtle, inventive, original. How about a little love before "Community" sails off into the post-Dan Harmon sunset?

Analysis: Carell, as mentioned, has left the building, and Matt LeBlanc's"Episodes" took the year off. Cryer has slotted himself in lead this year, and, given his five nominations and one win in supporting, he probably has a good shot. But he'll have to beat four-time nominee David and the popular Cheadle, whose uneven show had more than its share of problems but still managed to serve as a fine acting showcase.

LEAD ACTRESS

1. Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"

2. Laura Dern, "Enlightened"

3.Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

4. Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly" (CBS)

5. Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

6. Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"

Prime contenders: Laura Linney, "The Big C"; Martha Plimpton, "Raising Hope"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Felicity Huffman,"Desperate Housewives" (ABC)

Bubbling under: Christina Applegate, "Up All Night"; Kaley Cuoco, "The Big Bang Theory"; Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Eva Longoria, "Desperate Housewives"; Kat Dennings, "2 Broke Girls" (CBS); Lea Michele, "Glee"; Courteney Cox, "Cougar Town" (ABC); Krysten Ritter, "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"

For your consideration: Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl." We realize you may be averse to her adorkable charms. We understand if you're sick of seeing that iPhone commercial. But look closer. Deschanel found many layers in a character that could have been completely defined by her quirkiness, helping turn "New Girl" into the year's best new network comedy.

Analysis: A crowded category became even more packed with the arrival of Dern and Louis-Dreyfus, who have 16 previous nominations and two wins between them. Linney and Falco are also award magnets, so something will have to give. Could last year's winner, McCarthy, find herself on the outside looking in? Probably not. But more than a few people will be griping about snubs in this group.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

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