Which of these long-running comedies had the best-written hurrah? Was it “30 Rock” for its handling of the show-within-a-show’s cancellation or “The Office” for its emotional time jump into the characters’ post-documentary lives?
“30 Rock’s” two-part finale takes up two slots here, first for “Hogcock!” by Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock and then for “Last Lunch” by Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield. “The Office’s” goodbye was scripted by series creator Greg Daniels.
Receiving nominations in the writing or directing races shows a level of support that helps clue us into what the TV academy might vote for in the best series races. If a show doesn’t get recognized by these branches, their chances of winning the top prize aren’t nearly as good.
The last show to win Best Comedy Series without either a writing or directing nomination was “Friends” back in 2002 when it was on fire with critics, in the ratings and, most importantly, within our pop culture.
Of this year’s writing nominees, only “30 Rock” and “Louie” are up for Best Comedy Series this year. Two of the other series nominees — “Girls” and “Modern Family” — made showings in the race for Best Comedy Directing. The other two series contenders — “Veep” and “The Big Bang Theory” — need just be happy to have been nominated.
But hold on. Doesn’t “The Big Bang Theory'” sound eerily similar to the “Friends” situation 11 years ago? It’s at the top of its game ratings-wise, it has vast critical support, and more people than ever before are talking about the show thanks to the series entering syndication. And, perhaps most importantly, it was snubbed for writing and directing. Might we see another “Friends”-like shocker in the form of a win for “The Big Bang Theory” this year?
Let’s examine each Comedy Writing nominee for possible strengths and weaknesses:
“30 Rock” — “Hogcock!” — Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock
The first of “30 Rock’s” two-part finale, I think it’s safe to say this will not win. All of the acclaim came at the end of the final hour, not the beginning.
The good news for Burditt and Carlock? They’ve already won eight Emmys between the two of them — five for Burditt for writing/producing “Frasier” and producing “30 Rock” and three for Carlock for producing “30 Rock” — so they can hold their heads up high.
“30 Rock” — “Last Lunch” — Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield
This is the obvious frontrunner thanks to Fey’s name being on the ballot. While it’s true she’s fallen out of favor over the past few years, Fey has amassed seven Emmys thanks to her work on “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live.”
The bad news for Fey and Wigfield? Any other year, “30 Rock” probably would have easily claimed a writing trophy for its final adieu, but it’s not the only departing series on the ballot.
“The Office” — “Finale” — Greg Daniels
As a past Comedy Series champ (2006) and Comedy Writing winner (2007), “The Office” is ending its nine-season run on NBC with its seventh bid for writing. If Emmy voters have a soft spot for this show they once adored, we could be seeing “The Office” take home one final trophy on Emmy night.
The bad news for Daniels? The TV academy is notorious for its lack of sentiment, as evidenced by denying Steve Carell an Emmy for his much-heralded final episode of “The Office” two years ago.
“Episodes” — “Episode 209” — David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik
Crane and Klarik return to this same category that they lost in 2011 for the first season finale, but are hoping the same fate doesn’t befall them again. In the second season ender, everything comes to a head at the network’s Man of the Year reception, with Matt LeBlanc and all of the other characters getting into a hilarious physical brawl.
The good news for Crane and Klarik? Voters may want to go with the funniest episode on the ballot as opposed to the most emotional, in which case “Episodes” might be their choice.
“Louie” — “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)” — Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon
Hoping to repeat in the same category he won last year, C.K. is joined this time by producing sidekick/actress Adlon (“Californication“). In the episode, Parker Posey makes her first appearance as Louie’s fan-favorite girlfriend and bookstore employee Liz.
The good news for C.K. and Adlon? From “Arrested Development” to “30 Rock” to “Modern Family,” the Emmys love repeating in this category. All three shows won two writing trophies back-to-back, so don’t count out “Louie” just yet.
What episode do you think will score with Emmy voters for Best Comedy Writing? Use our easy drag-and-drop menu below to cast your vote.