“Glee” competes as a comedy series at the Emmys and Golden Globes because that’s where it has the best chance to win, but a good case can be made for “Glee” really being a drama series — especially when weighing the performance of Chris Colfer.
Colfer recently competed in the Emmy race for Best Supporting Comedy Actor for the “Laryngitis” episode, which was quite dramatic – the one in which he belts out “Rose’s Turn.” So far this TV season, his best work was in “Grilled Cheesus,” a poignant segment in which his character, Kurt, deals with the aftermath of his father’s heart attack and sings an emotional cover of the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The episode screams “Emmy submission,” but it’s also an episode that would fit much more comfortably on the drama side of the Emmy Awards.
In order for Colfer to be nominated for Best Supporting Drama Actor, “Glee” as a whole would have to move over. Series don’t make the switch often, but two examples are “Moonlighting” and “Gilmore Girls,” which first entered as comedies, then switched to the drama contests. “Moonlighting” made the move in 1986 with its second season and immediately received a much higher number of Emmy nominations. “Gilmore Girls” submitted itself as a comedy until 2007 when it entered as a drama for its final season. However, the switch made no difference, and “Gilmore Girls” was still snubbed at the Emmys.
Switching from the comedy side to the drama side can be a strategic move, but because “Glee” received 19 Emmy nominations this year, the show likely won’t enter as a drama just because it has the ability to make viewers cry.
But is this fair to an actor like Colfer? Is he better suited to compete against Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) and Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) or Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”)? His performances fall somewhere in between pure comedy and pure drama, which might hurt his chances against both a more straightforward comedic actor like Stonestreet and a dramatic actor like Paul. Colfer could be further handicapped on the comedy side because “Glee” is an hour-long show instead of a half hour. An actor from an hour-long series hasn’t won Best Supporting Comedy Actor since Peter MacNicol for “Ally McBeal” in 2001. Colfer’s work is certainly deserving of an Emmy, but there doesn’t seem to be a category that properly suits him, which is no fault of his own.
Photo: Chris Colfer in “Glee” (Fox)