Emmy spotlight: Can ‘Girls’ and Lena Dunham make a bold return for its fifth season?

Emmy Awards Girls Lena Dunham Adam Driver Allison Williams Zosia Mamet Jemima Kirke

Can HBO’s “Girls” make a bold return to the Emmy Awards this year? Star Lena Dunham and her supporting actresses were fully grounded in their characters for the just concluded fifth season. The storytelling was as concrete as ever (maybe better), so I would say that an awards rebound has as good of a chance as ever.

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When “Girls” debuted in 2012, it was a critical darling with hot comedy writer Judd Apatow as executive producer and prime real estate on HBO. People then became quite attached to “it girl” Dunham and the daring, in-your-face comedy writing because she pushed the boundaries on how women were portrayed on television. Some were aghast that a woman who wasn’t thin could be comfortable in her own skin, and many realized that she was doing groundbreaking work for the future of women on screen.

You’ll recall the show snagged Golden Globes for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actress (Dunham) after its freshman season. The Emmys were kind to the show and Dunham as well, gracing it with five total nominations. Four of those were for the producing, directing, writing, and acting of Dunham herself.

But the honeymoon didn’t last forever. It was able to hold onto the series nomination for its second season when it reaped five bids in all but only contended for a pair of awards at each of the last two Emmys (including perennial supporting actor nominee Adam Driver).

PROS:

Dunham is one of very few women who is producing, writing, directing, and starring in a
show she created herself. That kind of female empowerment is rare on television or anywhere in the entertainment business.

The opening episode of the season, “Wedding Day,” is a strong submission for her on all accounts. The attention to detail is present throughout. Hopefully voters will remember her somewhere for all of her hard work on this installment. Her category of Best Comedy Actress has three open slots with Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”), Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback”), and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) departed.

The Best Comedy Supporting Actress race could go in any direction this year. Remember the category was overstuffed last time with eight nominees. This could benefit Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, and/or Zosia Mamet, who have been giving solid performances for years. Mamet probably has the best shot of the three since got the episode “Japan” all to herself. She was able to show a range not allowed her character on previous seasons.

Driver, with his newfound “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” fame, will surely bring him to yet another nomination. It doesn’t hurt that he’s already been a favorite with three straight bids. This could very well be the year he wins it, too.

The race for Best Comedy Series has at least two open slots with both “Louie” and “Parks and Recreation” now gone.

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CONS:

“Girls” faces stiff competition from its own family. HBO is pretty safe for slots with last year’s Best Comedy Series champ “Veep” and nominee “Silicon Valley.” For the premium network to get three program bids would be a major feat.

Other newer shows have claimed the buzz train, including “Black-ish,” “Casual,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Transparent,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Photo Credit: HBO

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