EMMY 2012: Supporting Actor and Actress – Comedy

Lumping these categories together is in no way meant to disrespect these talented nominees by not awarding them their own, respective posts. However, my issue with each category is essentially the same. So rather than repeat myself, allow me to speak my peace.

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR

Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett in Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett in Modern Family
Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker in Modern Family
Max Greenfield as Schmidt in New Girl
Bill Hader as various characters in Saturday Night Live

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS

Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey in Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy in Modern Family
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in Modern Family
Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow in Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig as various characters in Saturday Night Live

Twelve nominees. And six of them are from Modern Family.

Let me reiterate that I like Modern Family. The cast elevates the sometimes formulaic writing, but it is an outstanding cast. And it is an ensemble show. But no one wants to step up to the Lead table. Maybe it’s good for morale on set, but it freezes out so many other worthy nominees. Just off the top of my head: Donald Glover and Danny Pudi from Community, Adam Driver from Girls, and Aziz Ansari and Nick Offerman from Parks and Rec (personally, I’d swap out Burrell and Stonestreet for Glover and Offerman). Burrell as Phil never fails to delight, but if there’s a lead actor on Modern Family, he’s it. And Stonestreet has had better seasons. As for O’Neill and Ferguson, I accept their nominations (only O’Neill submitted it, but both were awesome in “Baby on Board,” especially Ferguson when the adoption fell apart). But these actors need to take stock of who’s driving storyline each season and submit themselves accordingly (just a guess, but Gloria’s pregnancy has the potential to make O’Neill more of a leading man than he has been in seasons’ past). Sadly, this is a trend that shows no signs of changing, and it also excludes Nolan Gould and Rico Rodriguez (then again, I don’t want the Modern Family boys taking over the entire category).

Things are a little more balanced on the ladies’ side. Bowen and Vergara are only taking up two slots. But like Burrell, Bowen is a leading actress (Phil and Claire dominate more episodes than not). If Bowen switched to lead, Gillian Jacobs of Community, Zosia Mamet of Girls, Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock, or Anna Chlumsky of Veep might have received an invite to the dance.

As far as the other nominees are concerned, I love Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, but I still have mixed feelings about SNL performers getting these nods; talented as they are it is not the same thing as someone who nurtures one character though a myriad of plot twists. I have not seen enough (or any) of Bialik and Greenfield to fairly gauge their chances. Wever is something of a dark horse, but Joosten has a real shot at nagging the prize posthumously.

I guess I’m a bit of a hypocrite. Here I am complaining about the glut of Modern Family nominees, and here they are taking up the bulk of my post. So who takes home the trophies? Someone from the Prtichett-Dunphy clan seems to make the most sense. I’d like to see O’Neill and Vergara emerge the winners, but I think Burrell and Bowen will repeat. I’d write in votes for Glover and Jacobs if I could, but I guess you have to play within the bounds of the system.