Last year’s winner, Melissa McCarthy, is a terrific performer stuck on a show beneath her talents, or as I call it, Chuck Lorre’s latest “aren’t these people deserving of our mockery?” sitcom, this one about fat people (see also: nerds, airy-fairy hippie chicks, Charlie Sheen). So in real life, she’ll get nominated again, but I don’t watch Mike and Molly, so I can’t vote for her. (I’ll vote for her in “Best Guest Performance in a Single Sketch” for the Hidden Valley taste-testers, though. Or would if that was a real category.)
My choice for this year’s award is Amy Poehler. I don’t think it’s especially close; she deserved it last year, and Parks and Recreation came back with 22 episodes (after last season’s 15) that, while they were a step down and more inconsistent than season 3’s, were still good enough to be one of the three best comedies on TV, and the season was full of episodes and moments that the Emmy voters will love– presumably she’ll submit one of the final two episodes (“The Debate” or “Win, Lose, or Draw”).
Another favorite performer of the Emmys (and of mine) is Julia Louis-Dreyfus, back on TV with HBO’s Veep. Watching Seinfeld reruns over the years increasingly convinced me what an underrated performer she was (as first Kramer, then George, got much more recognition as characters and sources of humor). She’s a terrific fit on Veep as vice president Selina Meyer, juggling her political aspirations with her sense of frustration over the job’s uselessness and a foul-mouthed sense of humor, all while surrounded by the insane machine that is Washington politics. Very deserving of a nomination and it would be a big surprise if she did not get one.
Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 is still a little uneven, but when it’s on, it’s hilarious, and the show’s strongest point so far has been the chemistry between Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker. Ritter makes Chloe a unique spin on the bitchy type and has a gift for selling Chloe’s insane ideas as natural. Walker has the double duty of making June both the straight woman to Chloe and slowly revealing her own crazy side and capacity for Chloe-like manipulation and deception. For that reason, if I had to pick one, I’d rate Walker slightly above Ritter, but they’re both high-energy performers whose performance together is one of the best comic pairings on TV, the core of one of its most unique comedies.
I’ll probably put Tina Fey on my ballot until 30 Rock‘s end (which sadly seems to be just around the corner), but this season, as I’ve mentioned, was one of the funniest and most consistent since the show’s inception (I’d say since the show resumed in ’08 after the writer’s strike), and Liz Lemon got to try on a few new beats, with a healthy, steady relationship, and an absolutely hideous Joker getup in “The Tuxedo Begins”.
I had a tough time deciding on the last spot for my ballot. I was weighing between Martha Plimpton, who submitted as a lead on Raising Hope, and Zooey Deschanel, who was actually outshone by some of her male costars on New Girl but whose performance was certainly fine enough to warrant nominating in this field. But then last week ago I saw my first episode of Suburgatory, decided to catch up on the series, and I found myself charmed by Jane Levy‘s performance enough to add her to my ballot. The show is stylish and fun, if a little inconsistent at being seriously funny, and Levy gives Jane some real personality to the fish-out-of-water + wise-beyond-her-years mashup archetype.
Tune in soon for my Best Actor – Comedy choices.