Last year’s Primetime Emmy winner for Best Comedy Series, “Modern Family,” was not even nominated for Best Comedy Writing. In fact, only one of the five nominated episodes came from a Best Comedy nominee (“Girls,” for its pilot episode).
This year, for the second time, ABC’s “Modern Family” is snubbed for writing, though it has best odds to win Best Comedy. But unlike last year three of this year’s five episodes nominated for writing come from series that are in contention for Best Comedy.
FX’s dramedy “Louie,” which won last year, is the only show from 2012’s lineup to return to the race. “Daddy’s Girlfriend, Part 1” was written by producer/director/star Louis C.K. and consulting producer/recurring guest star Pamela Adlon. In the episode, Louie searches for a girlfriend to be a mother figure to his daughters, ultimately delivering a self-deprecating and heartfelt speech to a bookstore employee (Parker Posey) to convince her to go out with him. That storyline is intercut with stand-up comedy by C.K., hearkening back to the format of NBC’s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which won this category in 1992 and 1993.
In addition to winning this category last year, C.K. also won for writing his variety special “Live at the Beacon Theater.” C.K. is an obvious favorite within the writing branch, as well as the TV Academy overall: he is nominated for nine Emmys this year, shattering his 2012 record for most nominations for an individual in a single year.
But despite all of this and the fact that this season of “Louie” won Best Comedy Series at the most recent Writers Guild Awards, Gold Derby narrowly gives the edge in this category to “30 Rock’s” “Last Lunch.”
“Last Lunch” is the second half of the hour-long series finale of NBC’s “30 Rock”; the first half, titled “Hogcock!,” is also nominated. This is a significant achievement for the show, given that it was snubbed for the first time in this category last year, having won previously in 2008 and 2009. “Hogcock!” was written by executive producers Robert Carlock and Jack Burditt; “Last Lunch” was written by executive producer/star Tina Fey and producer Tracey Wigfield. Series finales are often nominated in this category, but none have won since “The Larry Sanders Show” in 1998. The category much prefers pilots: five such episodes have won since then.
No pilots are nominated this year, but another series finale is in the running: “The Office‘s” “Finale,” written by executive producer Greg Daniels. “The Office” received zero nominations last year, but is up for four awards this year and is concluding its nine-season run having earned writing nominations in six Emmy races, including a win in 2007.
“Finale” jumps forward in time to a point after the long-awaited documentary about paper company Dunder-Mifflin has aired. The episode is more than twice as long as a standard episode, which puts it at a statistical disadvantage: every winning episode in this category since “Ellen’s” two-part “Puppy Episode” in 1997 has been half an hour. Gold Derby ranks this episode in the middle of the pack, ahead of “30 Rock’s” “Hogcock!”
Showtime’s “Episodes” did not air in last year’s Emmy cycle, but scored a nomination for executive producers David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik for the first season finale in 2011. The second season finale, sometimes referred to as “The Award,” is nominated this time around; it’s also written by Crane and Klarik, who pen all episodes of the series. The plot concerns the series’s lead couple reconciling during a “Man of the Year” awards gala for a fired boss. “Episodes” has just one other bid, for lead actor Matt LeBlanc, so the nomination may be its reward in this category, as none of Gold Derby’s experts, editors or top 24 users foresee a victory.