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Emmy voting is in progress. Confessions from a sitcom agnostic.

by Nathaniel R

Aidy Bryant in "Shrill"

Voting is winding down for the year's Emmy nominations, which is why we've been sharing FYCs.  If past years are any indication the nominee list will look nearly identical to last year's with the exception of shows/performances that are no longer eligible. Their slots will be filled by the new hits (it seems likely, for example, that Pose and Russian Doll and a couple of other freshmen series that got people talking for months on end, will receive attention). But looking over the ballots for performers, it becomes suddenly clear that NO ONE can watch this much television...

Though I pride myself on being mostly aware when it comes to all forms of showbiz outside of music and reality tv (neither of which I can remotely claim to understand/keep up with), I didn't recognize the titles of more eligible shows than I care to admit. With more and more streaming services each year providing original content adding to the hundreds of shows from dozens of network and cable channels, the field is enormous. It's little wonder that Emmy voters just stick to their favourites... which is why they really should have blue ribbon panels doing the nominating, who commit to watching a high percentage of the the submission tapes in their assigned category. The nominations would be a little consistent that way (as juried fields tend to be) but it would, we think, provide a better indication of the quality in a given season as opposed to "shows we watch. the end." Then let the general body of the Academy do the winner voting. You'd have less repeat winners that way for sure.

After the jump my very spotty ballots in sitcoms -- this is perhaps not how I'd actually vote as if I were a voter I would definitely be sampling the tapes of submitted episodes to feel conscientous about things -- but from the series I do watch or have samples, here are the people I'm rooting for... even if they don't have a prayer in hell of making the list. 


Obviously Phoebe Waller-Bridges and Natasha Lyonne have decent shots at Emmy nominations for their miraculous work. But a lot of these other women are deserving of nods, too, even though they are extreme longshots. It's particularly painful that Rachel Bloom and Sutton Foster have never been honored despite years of great work now for their dazzling one-of-a-kind star turns on their respective series. 



Here's the thing -- and this is why it irks that Game of Thrones hogs the Acting Categories each year in drama. You shouldn't always vote for something just because you watch it. Watch your submission tapes, voters!  For example, I've sampled from about 10 of the 75ish male-led shows listed (with 87 men eligible) and watched only two loyally and in most cases, I wouldn't enthusiastically vote for the leading man/ men. The shows I watched didn't scream "AWARD-WORTHY" in this category, probably because I drift more towards female-led TV series. As for Barry, I know it's a critical darling but shows about sympathetic assassins are not for me. If you believe the world as portrayed in mainstream TV and film, assassins and serial killers are up their with doctors and lawyers for most common career tracks. How are any of us still alive with all those professional and amateur-hobbyist killers out there in every city by the dozens? The show I missed that I most wanted to watch that involves this category is What We Do in the Shadows but it's too expensive to screen since we cut the cord long ago and it's not streaming without paying for a full season.

The point is this: there are only three men that really hold my heart in this category, from what I've seen (which again SPOTTY so please recommend shows in the comments). Ted Danson is a likely nominee because Emmy voters love him (and he's doing terrific work on The Good Place in a part that's miles from his previous "signature" role of Sam on Cheers, so the man's got comic range). Drew Tarver and Ramy Youssef are very unlikely as nominees go given the low profile of their shows but they're both perfect whilst adorably struggling through what their shows are comically and dramatically throwing at them. 


I was tempted to just be cheeky and list D'Arcy Carden 10 times due to the "Janet(s)" episode  previously discussed. My love for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel  really nosedived in season two but I think Marin Hinkle is so undervalued in general and on this show, so I want to put in a word for her.

And of course it's absolutely shameful of the Academy that Donna Lynne Champlin and Rita Moreno both haven't won Emmys for their shows let alone even been nominated. What an insane world we live in.


I couldn't get into / finish the last season of Kimmy Schmidt (despite loving the first three seasons) but given that Emmy voters actually watch the show AND nominate Titus Burgess regularly it's unthinkable and embarrassing x ∞ that they haven't given him the statue for what is inarguably an all-time great comic creation. Even if you could only give out one acting Emmy a year encompassing all categories, he already should have been a winner.

Finally, here are the shows I'd probably vote for for OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES (though, again, I'd dutifully watch screeners before voting)

Take all of this with a hefty grain of salt because I'm always behind on television AND not a binge watcher (too busy with movies) so I have not seen every eligible episode of ANY of the comedy series save for the short first seasons of Now Apocalypse, Russian Doll and Shrill. Even with shows I love I am generally at least a half season behind always. Sometimes more than that. 

We desire your ballots and feelings on the state of situation comedy on television and streaming right about now. What are you watching? What should we all be watching or get immediately caught up with? Which shows do you think have overstayed their welcome with the Emmys... and so on. 

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Reader Comments (23)

The last thing I watched was the ending of GoT. Trying to sit and watch Chernobyl from start to finish. The handmaid's tale I will watch one week from the end. The othe shows? One day in the future I will watch

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Killing Eve
The Young Pope
The Shield
The Wire
The Sopranos (stop in season four)
Dear White People
Stranger Things
The Haunting House of Hill

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNatual

100% agree, voters need to see more and choose beyond their favorites year after year

re: your pics, I haven't even heard pf half these shows (wth is shit’s creek? lol). but of the one’s I have seen, we have **VERY** different tastes

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterhuh

I'd include Issa Rae among the lead actresses. She was incredibly strong this year and handled some of the decisions her character made incredibly well, while also being funny.

And, even though she's an awards magnet, it's hard for me to think that Rachel Brosnahan hasn't done awards worthy work. Much like Edie Falco in the Sopranos Allison Janney in the West Wing, Lisa Kudrow on Friends, and Sarah Michelle Geller in Buffy, there are some actors who do excellent work every season, whether their show is at the top of its game or not and earn their recognition.

The male categories are pretty blah. I'd be fine with Michael Douglas continuing his run and wouldn't hate to see Idris Elba making his way in. Elba is funny and charming, and in a season that hasn't been filled with any truly amazing performances he wouldn't be a terrible addition.

I also really hope Gary Cole makes it in for Veep. He's taken a character, that has the same joke over and over again, and just made him really work and shaded him in carefully.

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I know it is a much bigger problem with TV than movies, but I don't think Oscar voters watch enough movies, either.

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

The glut of TV and streaming programs make it impossible to be a fully-informed voter, but that shouldn't matter because there's been a lot of TV for years. (There are also a lot of movies on the AMPAS ballot, and no one complains about that.)

The point I want to make is the more interesting second effect: the glut SHOULD be killing, or at least seriously maiming, the predictive culture we have these days, where entire sites and people work full-time to gauge the Emmy race.

The above post was fine in that it acknowledged viewing limitations, but so many people (who do this for a living) occupy a bubble where they believe their fringe tastes hold mass appeal. Campaigning for the underdog is noble, but they can go overboard. They push a favorite, predict that favorite, and then fault the Television Academy for failing to nominate that favorite. It's a lot of content -- and clicks and comments from the choir -- but an entirely meaningless endeavor.

Just once I'd like someone to conduct an exercise where 10 people each get assigned a slip of 5 shows, and then are forced to debate each other to come to a consensus. The trick is that every list is different, and no show appears on more than one list. The people end up yelling at each other to push their 50 shows, and nothing gets done.

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrevity

Brevity -- well that in essence would be what the blue ribbon panels would be, only instead of assigned shows they'd be assigned a category and watching all the submission tapes. Obviously the shows they watch beyond just the submitted episode, would have an advantage but that's human nature. no way around it, but it would still even things out to recognize outstanding work on less heralded or widely seen shows and thus shine a light on them.

June 22, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

THE OTHER TWO is hysterical!!!!

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy:

Ted Danson - The Good Place
Rob Delaney - Catastrophe
Avan Jogia - Now Apocalypse
Randall Park - Fresh Off The Boat
Drew Tarver - The Other Two
Ramy Yousef - Ramy

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy:

Kristen Bell - The Good Place
Julia Davis - Sally4Ever
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
Natasha Lyonne - Russian Doll
Justina Machado - One Day At A Time
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy:

Charlie Barnett - Russian Doll
Mark Bonnar - Catastrophe
Tituss Burgess - The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmit
Anthony Carrigan - Barry
Beau Mirchoff - Now Apocalypse
Timothy Simons - Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy:

D'Arcy Carden - The Good Place
Donna Lynn Champlin - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Anna Chlumsky - Veep
Sian Clifford - Fleabag
Rita Moreno - One Day At A Time
Kia Stevens - GLOW

Outstanding Comedy:

One Day At A Time
Russian Doll

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

Curious why Maisel and Brosnahan fell out for you this year? I liked the second season even more than the first (especially once they got back from Paris).

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

Rita Moreno deserves to be recognized for her exceptional turn in “One Day at a Time”.

The show, on the other hand, is a mess. I truly despised the last season that I stopped watching after four episodes. It became too preachy. What a shame. The show just did not find a way to get its message across without relentlessly shoving it down my throat. I was so tired of Justina Machado crying and crying and crying every episode.

Ok. I’m venting because I truly enjoyed the first two seasons of that show.

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered Commentergoodbar

Aside from the lack of Corporate (which I realize doesn’t have an Emmy shot - but given how long Anne Dudek has been working in the industry I’ll hold out an unreasonable hope for her, and for Elizabeth Perkins & Kyra Sedgwick re: guest nods) we have similar tastes in sitcoms/sitcom actors. In addition to the more obvious (like Lyonne) I’d dearly love recognition for Charlie Barnett & Miriam Shor. I love their work on their shows so much.

I’m curious who will get this year’s supporting nods from Veep. I guess my top 3 would be Timothy Simons, Anna Chlumsky, and Reid Scott, but there are so many possibilities that who knows how that will come out.

Finally, show is over, and awards aren’t happening, but I enjoyed Teachers, and especially Kate Lambert, quite a lot.

June 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

If you want to get a slightly better look at the TV year, I would check out the TCA Awards.

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Miriam Shor for best supporting jewelry.

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRosa Moline

Schitt’s Creek is my biggest hope for nomination day. They only have this year and next to recognize it. Critics Choice and TCA and freakin’ MTV went for it so here’s hoping. Series. O’Hara. Some mainstream nomination somewhere !

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJW

First off, this may sound like heresy but it's just honesty. I was watching one of those YouTube mashups of funny insults on Veep, and it came to me why I rarely laugh out loud at that show: you can't actually understand a lot of what's said because either they say it too fast or someone else just got insulted 5 seconds ago. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a brilliant comedy, but it strains credulity somewhat that that many people could be that funny all the time.

As far as what to watch, I do most of my watching on streaming services, and I heartily concur about Russian Doll, it's brilliant and fresh and very addicting. Also Black Mirror (not a comedy), while a bit too scary for me, is utterly enthralling. I want to put in a plug for two series that almost assuredly had their day in recent years: Mom, with Allison Janney particularly funny, and the fact that the show TOTALLY gets recovery life, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which never disappoints.

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrrrich7

Two things. Your lead actress in a comedy series slate is so white. And wait for it...O-livi-a Col-man (said in dry strung out Frances McDormand form).

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

was Special on netflix not eligible or submitted? i love the supporting cast especially Punam Patel and Jessica Hecht

June 23, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermj

For my money, Better Things (along with Fleabag) is the standout comedy series of the past couple of years. Louis CK’s involvement kept it out of the awards race, which is totally understandable but also unfair that the stunning work by the majority-female creative team wasn’t recognised (another insidious bit of collateral damage caused by these abusive men is that their actions erase respect/visibility of the other important work being done in association with them). Pamela Adlon severed ties with him for season 3 so I’m really hoping for some Emmy love this year - best comedy, actress (Pamela Adlon), best supporting actress (the miraculous Celia Imrie).

It’s also the last chance to reward the GLORIOUS Broad City, so I’m praying that they show Abbi and Ilana some love.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSally W

I respectfully disagree about Barry. Yes, it's about an assassin, but he wants so desparately to not be one and that life continues to pull him back in, while also making him face his consequences in interesting ways.

Since he is such a delight, I would include Anthony Carrigan in the Best Supporting Actor conversation. His Noho Hank is such a singularly interesting and unique creation and I hope he is rewarded for it.

Also, it will never happen, but I would love some recognition for Sarah Goldberg on the show. Her character is a terrible person, but she brings such an interesting perspective on it filled with narcissism and desperation. This is an unfortunate byproduct of her character not being "likable" that she won't be getting any attention.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Broad City! Pen15! Dead to Me!

But seriously, the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category is comically stacked. There are at least 15 women who deserve to get in. Craziness.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ.B.

I find most half-hour comedies to be really tedious.

I'll be rooting for Veep and Russian Doll this year. Otherwise you can keep all the "underutilized/'marginalized' 'star' headlines too-impressed-with-itself web dramedy with a progressive twist." Shrill, for instance, sounds like an absolute nightmare.

If you listen to NPR or read blogs you'd think there's a Russian Doll on every corner. There's not!

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJF

That lead comedy actor category is really meager. I agree that Rob Delaney should be nominated for Catastrophe, but there's really no one else I'd nominate.

Danson should take it in a walk, but we all know it will go to Bill Hader, who is a fine actor, but I don't like Barry either.

I know the consensus here is that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is excellent, and I loved the first three seasons, but I thought the drop-off in quality was noticeable in the final season. It was frustrating to watch them spend so much time on Rebecca and her three old boyfriends when the show really should have been concerned with the future.

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Tbh I am so excessively out of the loop on TV... but all four Schitt’s Creek leads are deserving, as are the leads in The Other Two, and Ryan OConnell from Special. Agreed with you re: Titus.

July 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBilly

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