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From 'Broad City' to 'Game of Thrones,' an Emmy Nominations Wish List

by Matt Brennan
July 7, 2014 7:15 AM
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Comedy Central's "Broad City"
Comedy Central's "Broad City"

When the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences doles out Emmy nominations each summer, I often wake to the announcement like a naughty kid on Christmas Day: staring down a lump of coal. In that spirit, here's a wish list of gifts I hope to find under Emmy's tree Thursday morning in the major categories. I promise I've been very good this year.

Outstanding Comedy Series: "Broad City"/"Trophy Wife"

"Trophy Wife"
"Trophy Wife"

In a strong field of energizing drama/comedy hybrids ("Girls," "Louie," "Orange is the New Black") and HBO's bracing political satire, "Veep," two series deserve recognition for their assured use of comic structures that defy prestige sensibilities. ABC's sorely neglected "Trophy Wife" mined the moribund sitcom format for warm irony, pitching the blended family at its center as a lighthearted team of rivals; Comedy Central's "Broad City," ballsy and bawdy, transformed the sketchy humor of its web series origins into a hilariously impolite portrait of modern friendship.  

Wish List Nominees
"Broad City" (Comedy Central)
"Girls" (HBO)
"Louie" (FX)
"Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)
"Trophy Wife" (ABC)
"Veep" (HBO)

Outstanding Drama Series: "Masters of Sex"

"Masters of Sex"
"Masters of Sex"

In the murderers row of dramas poised to dominate this category, several series might qualify for the final slot: "The Good Wife," "Scandal," "Hannibal," and "Boardwalk Empire" all come immediately to mind, with the much improved "Bates Motel," the declining "Downton Abbey," and the uneven "Orphan Black" peering in from the margins. But if I may be so bold, let me stump for Showtime's deliriously great 1950s period piece "Masters of Sex," which follows William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) as their pioneering studies of human sexuality expose unforeseen shoals in an Eisenhower-era university town. Nuanced, novel, and beautifully wrought, it more than stands up to its brasher dramatic brethren.

Wish List Nominees
"The Americans" (FX)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
"Masters of Sex" (Showtime)
"True Detective" (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor (Comedy): Jonathan Groff, "Looking"

Jonathan Groff, with Raul Castillo, in "Looking"
Jonathan Groff, with Raul Castillo, in "Looking"

As I wrote in March, following the season finale, "Looking" struggled in the early going to discover a structure with enough space to maintain its loose pacing and enough focus to develop its central trio of gay men in present-day San Francisco. But with the exceptional fifth episode, "Looking for the Future," the series stumbled upon bumbling, strait-laced Patrick (Jonathan Groff) as the prism through which to view the other characters' peaks and valleys, and thereby forged an affecting portrait of the blind spots that prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly. The underrated Groff ably navigates the tension between desire and expectation that thwarts Patrick throughout the season's accomplished second half, capturing the quiet vulnerability of an otherwise privileged young man learning to be comfortable in his own skin.

Wish List Nominees
Louis C.K., "Louie"
Jonathan Groff, "Looking"
Chris O'Dowd, "Family Tree"
Chris Messina, "The Mindy Project"
Andy Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Bradley Whitford, "Trophy Wife"


  • Alexa | July 9, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    How sad you don't seem to have watch any of The Good Wife this season.

  • Brittani | July 9, 2014 10:27 AMReply

    Melissa McBride is on my wish list for Supporting Actress in a Drama for The Walking Dead. I don't think that's normally an Emmy worthy show (outside of make up) but she was WONDERFUL in it, and I'd love for her to be recognized.

  • Tommy Tenhet | July 8, 2014 3:30 PMReply

    So Amy Schumer isn't the lead actress in "Inside Amy Schumer"? HUH???

  • Matt Brennan | July 9, 2014 2:13 AM

    I know. Totally senseless. But apparently it's all the rage among stars of sketch comedy shows since "Individual Performance (Variety/Music Program)" went the way of the dinosaur. If she had submitted in "Lead Actress (Comedy)," I would've chosen her over Dolly Wells, that's for damn sure.

  • Matt Brennan | July 7, 2014 10:27 AMReply

    Max, you're right. I admittedly didn't pay terribly close attention to eligibility rules (it's a wish list, after all), but Kate Mulgrew is the well-deserved OITNB frontrunner for S1. I'd still argue that Wiley and especially Brooks deserve consideration, though, and I'll take any occasion to celebrate Taystee and Poussey.

    Mikey, I can only say that "Modern Family" has really fallen out of favor for me, and I never liked it quite as much as other people in the first place. Even if I don't want them, though, you can be assured "MF" will get plenty of love from Emmy voters.

  • Max | July 7, 2014 9:43 AMReply

    Only the first season of Orange is the New Black is eligible for the Emmys. For the second season I could see Taystee and Poussey, but season 1 will be Kate Mulgrew.

  • Mikey | July 7, 2014 8:41 AMReply

    No love for ABC's "Modern Family"? At bare minimum Ty Burrell & Julie Bowen deserve nods in Supporting Comedy categories...

  • Ryan Lattanzio | July 7, 2014 1:09 PM

    Does their awards luster really need more burnishing though?

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