Emmy episode analysis: Will Gaby Hoffmann win for brave birth episode of ‘Girls’?

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Can breakout star Gaby Hoffmann win at least one of her two Emmy nods this year? That’s what she’s hoping to do in the Best Comedy Guest Actress category with her performance as Caroline Sackler on the HBO comedy “Girls.” The episode she submitted was the Season 4 finale, “Home Birth.”

Emmys exclusive: Which episode is submitted by Gaby Hoffman for ‘Transparent’?
 

SYNOPSIS: Hannah (Lena Dunham) goes to Laird’s apartment and hears very loud moaning coming from the bathroom. She then sees that the noise is coming from Caroline, who’s completely naked in the bathtub, having gone into labor a month early. As Hannah tries to convince Laird of the insanity of a home birth, Caroline’s brother Adam (Adam Driver) shows up and immediately says she has to get to a hospital. Caroline, however, is determined to have this baby free of any drugs, doctors or tubes.

Caroline’s screams get worse and it becomes obvious that something is not going right with the birth, which convinces Laird that it’s time to go to the hospital. Since an ambulance would take too long to get to the apartment, the whole gang (now including Jessa) physically carries Caroline through the streets of New York, with her screaming in pain the entire way. Later at the hospital, Caroline has given birth to a healthy baby girl, which she names Jessa-Hannah.

Can Hoffmann win for this memorable performance from “Girls”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:

PROS

Hoffmann is completely naked for most of the episode and some Emmy voters might view that as a “brave” performance for her. The nudity is not gratuitous since it’s in the context of her character giving birth.

Episodes with characters having babies has been a good Emmy strategy in the past as it helped net trophies for Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”) and Jennifer Aniston (“Friends”), both in the Comedy Actress category.

Hoffmann is riding high this year with an additional nomination for Comedy Supporting Actress for “Transparent.” If voters aren’t likely to check her name off in that category, this would be a good place to reward her.

CONS

Hoffman’s only 33 years old and although she’s been acting since she was seven, older veterans usually dominate this category like Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Emma Thompson, Kathryn Joosten, Elaine Stritch and Kathy Bates.

Other Emmy voters might find the nudity unnecessary and the performance to be only of a single note since she’s screaming and moaning for most of it.

Pregnancy storylines aren’t always guaranteed winners. Just ask Jane Kaczmarek from “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Emmys 2015: Complete List of Episode Submissions

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