The number of really funny comedies out there are far outnumbered by other genres, and the face of comedic television as a whole, is changing. After all, who would consider the chronicles of day-to-day life in a woman's prison hilarious? And while Julia Louis-Dreyfus has proven to be a comedic savant over the course of three separate series, there are some other gems out there that deserve accolades as well.
The 2014 Emmy nominations will be announced Friday July 10. Here are my picks for the Emmy underdogs of comedy. Fingers crossed each one snags a nomination.
Updated: 2014 Emmy Nominations: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Thrones,' 'OITNB' Top Shows>>>
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Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project
hard to imagine going anywhere but down after being part of the stellar
ensemble cast of The Office as well as one of the Emmy-winning show's
writers. But, Mindy Kaling has managed to shed the remnants of the
hapless Kelly Kapoor and create an intelligent female character with a
perpetually complicated love life, Dr. Mindy Lahiri. Kaling's quick wit
makes us nostalgic for the days of Lorelei Gilmore. Kaling portrays
Lahiri as a woman who, despite recognizing her own flaws, defends her
choices regarding everything from wardrobe to eating habits
unapologetically. A sugar coated version of Carrie Bradshaw, she dates more cartoonish versions of the usual stereotypes. And while often
underestimated, she always comes through in the clutch. Sure, Lena
Dunham may be the voice of her generation, but Kaling is the voice of
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation
his role as failed actor turned cater waiter Henry Pollard on Party
, Scott again plays the straight man as Ben Wyatt in Parks and
. As Leslie Knope's soulmate, Scott has to balance achieving
his co-star Amy Poehler's level of enthusiasm and passion but with keeping
her grounded. Wyatt's intelligent, and for lack of a better word,
somewhat nerdy. Unlike The Big Bang Theory
characters, his love of all
things geek chic doesn't define him. It helps his often dry joke
deliveries from pigeonholing him as a perpetual smartass. This would put
Scott at odds with Aubrey Plaza (April Ludgate) and make him a poor
match for Knope. With such a strong female lead, it would be easy for
Scott to come across as emasculated, but thanks to the show's writers
and the actors themselves, Leslie Knope isn't brash and bossy,
subjugating Wyatt into the type of henpecked partner we've seen in
primetime series over and over again.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Allison Williams, Girls
Williams walks a fine line when it comes her her character Marnie.
Judgmental, brutally honest and dismissive, Marnie's often frosty
demeanor can make her unlikable. The realization that most of her
behavior is posturing to cover up for her insecurities and failings
enables viewers to find something salvageable to root for when it comes
to the head-turning, haughty brunette. Williams is more apt to make you
groan and wince as opposed to laugh out loud but, like the show itself,
the humor in Williams' performance is the absurdity of the journey of
"finding oneself." Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
everyone could make a character that could be summed up as the
quintessential ugly American so likable. Deriving humor from Ron Swanson, a meat eating, scotch drinking, stoic libertarian is no easy task.
Offerman's best moments are when he becomes his panty dropping, sax
playing alter ego Duke Silver, or when he conveys that no person is
completely defined by labels slapped on them by society. Surrounded by
eccentric, vocal personalities, Offerman is able to convey his disdain
for the foibles of man with just a look. He's also able to make viewers'
hearts melt sitting in Scotland, overlooking the sea and reading
poetry. A true Renaissance man indeed.
Outstanding Comedy Series: The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project
may not be as cerebral as Veep
or as dark as Orange
is the New Black
, it is a pop-culture junkie's wet dream. Kaling's title
character's life is as fluffy as a giant marshmallow. Any conflicts
that arise are humorous in nature and easily remedied. Kaling's labor of
love is the mental equivalent of a pint of Ben & Jerry's which is
high praise. There's value in entertainment that doesn't require viewers
to ponder philosophical questions. Twenty two minutes of TV that it is
free of pretension or self-importance harkens back to the days of I Love
. The addition of Adam Pally has strengthened the ensemble and it's
nice to see a Happy Endings
alum. Ed Weeks is underutilized as are
other members of the supporting cast, but the show come a long way in
two seasons and should continue find its voice and work out the few
Check back Friday July 10 for the complete list of 2014 Emmy nominations.
(Images courtesy of NBC and FOX)