TV hall of famer David E. Kelley has created shows that have won 38 Emmys for acting spread out among 30 different performers. While the last of these wins was three years ago (Paul McCrane for a guest spot on the drama “Harry’s Law”), Kelley’s new comedy series “The Crazy Ones” could break that drought with three-time Emmy champ Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” 2002, 2003, 2005) a strong contender for his recurring role as Gordon Lewis, the authoritative, business-minded executive of the advertising agency at the heart of the series.
Garrett has proven to be a worthy foil to Robin Williams’ character Simon Roberts, the eccentric leader of the creative team. As the office curmudgeon, Lewis makes every attempt to play by the book, but often succumbs to the frequent attempts by the free spirits in the creative department to bend and break the rules.
While Garrett has appeared in three episodes, his most recent appearance in “Models Love Magic” is his strongest. Lewis must pretend he isn’t gay in order to land a conservative client. But Simon convinces him to embrace his true identity despite the consequences. As Lewis comes to accept himself, and the unorthodox behavior of his loveable partner Simon, Garrett has the opportunity to do some Kelley “speechifying” about acceptance and the power and importance of brotherly love. This episode also gives him the greatest amount of screen time: a hefty 10 minutes.
His first appearance in “The Stan Wood Account” was a decent introduction to the character but his screen time was limited to only seven minutes and he shared the limelight with another high-profile guest star, Edward Asner, who has won an impressive seven of his 17 Emmy bids. And Garrett’s second episode, “Sixteen Inch Softball,” only featured him sporadically.
“The Crazy Ones” has received a tepid response from critics and audiences alike, and has yet to be renewed for a second season. While this lukewarm response certainly hurts Garrett, Emmy voters have overlooked such deficiencies in favor of Kelley in the past. Most recently, “Harry’s Law,” which also received mixed reviews, earned star Kathy Bates two consecutive Drama Actress bids, won for Guest Drama Actor in 2011 (McCrane) and reaped a Guest Drama Actress nomination for Jean Smart in 2012.
That win by McCrane was the most recent of the 15 Emmys to have gone to guest performers on Kelley’s series while Smart’s bid marked the 43rd such guest acting nomination. However, only one of those bids was for the category in which Garrett would contend — Guest Comedy Actor. John Ritter contended in this race in 1999 for “Ally McBeal” but lost to Mel Brooks who won for the third year in a row for his scene-stealing work on “Mad About You.”