Can reigning champ “Modern Family” win its second consecutive Best Comedy Series Emmy this year? To do so, it will have to fend off three-time champ “30 Rock” (2007, 2008, 2009), previous winner “The Office” (2006), last year’s prime rival “Glee,” and first-time nominees “The Big Bang Theory” and “Parks and Recreation.” All of our editors and almost all of our experts and users agree that it will prevail once more.
“Modern Family” has earned even more support among TV academy voters this year, going from 14 to 17 nominations in all. All six adult actors in the cast (Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara) are contending. The overall strength of this past season is evidenced by the fact that they all submitted different episodes. One of the highlights of the season, “Caught in the Act,” features the reactions of the kids as they accidentally walk in on their parents making love and picked up a writing nom for Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman.
Having just finished its fifth season, “30 Rock” is starting to show its edge. It dipped from 15 to 13 nominations, a far cry from the 22 it earned in 2009. However, with three consecutive wins in this category as well as two victories for Alec Baldwin and one for Tina Fey, it remains a viable contender. The well-received “Live Show” last fall with guest stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jon Hamm reaped recognition for helmer Beth McCarthy-Miller. The cast and crew did separate versions for the East and West Coasts.
The hour-long “Glee” dropped from 19 nods last year to 12 for its sophomore season which was criticized for being uneven and poorly plotted. Leads Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison were snubbed. However, it still has one of the most enthusiastic fan bases. Supporting player Jane Lynch could repeat while Globe winner Chris Colfer could take home his first Emmy. Another strong possibility is a win for Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow who wowed when she guested in the episode “The Substitute.” She dazzled with her singing and dancing in one of the best installments of the year.
The highly-rated “The Big Bang Theory” finally cracked the series category for its fourth season. Overall, it received five Emmy nominations including another for last year’s Best Comedy Actor Jim Parsons and a first bid by co-star Johnny Galecki. The laffer took a big chance by integrating three new female characters into the mostly male cast, but it worked very well and did not shortchange the chemistry between the regulars. These new storylines allowed Leonard (Galecki) to assert himself more while Sheldon (Parsons) started to loosen up, if ever so slightly.
“The Office” had a resurgence in quality in this, its seventh season, as it dealt with the departure of Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Several of the six submissions center on this storyline — “Garage Sale,” which saw Michael finally proposing to girlfriend Holly (Amy Ryan), and “Goodbye, Michael,” which was the extended finale for Carell and offered a nice blend of laughter and tears. However, with just four nominations in all, it is a longshot to win a companion Emmy to its 2006 series win.
“Parks and Recreation” reaped its first series bid for its third season. With just two other nominations — leading lady Amy Poehler and art direction — this single-camera comedy doesn’t have significant support from academy members. Much of the season focused on preparations for a Harvest Festival and a burgeoning relationship between Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, and Ben (Adam Scott).
Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil discusses the race with senior editors Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria below.
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