The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 8 Eastern on CBS, with Neil Patrick Harris as host. From now until Sunday (sometimes multiple times a day), Dan Fienberg and I will be making our usual picks for the major categories – for both what should win and what will (and keep in mind that Dan is much better historically at predictions than I am).
As we head into the home stretch, we’re dealing with the nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series, which includes two past winners in “30 Rock” and “Modern Family,” two shows that expanded their nomination footprint this year in “Louie” and “Veep,” plus the wildly popular “Big Bang Theory” and critically-adored “Girls.”
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
Alan’s pick: When “Louie” season 3 ended, I felt it was a slight step down from the Hall of Fame second season. But the more I thought about individual episodes, scenes, and arcs, and the way that Louis C.K. put his aversion to continuity on hold for a year so he could tell bigger, more powerful (and at times sillier) stories about his fictional self, the happier I was with it. I’d be happy if “30 Rock” concluded its victory lap with the big Emmy here, but “Louie” was the best of these six.
Dan’s pick: I didn’t and don’t have Alan’s reservations about the third season of “Louie.” It had Melissa Leo, F. Murray Abraham, the Parker Posey two-parter, the Letterman three-parter, Miami, China and Christmas Eve. Classics, all. I thought it was another excellent season of “Girls,” that the “Veep” home-stretch was superb and that “30 Rock” did itself proud in its final season. But for me, “Louie” continues to be the best show on TV that we call a comedy. I’d have entertained discussion or debate if “Enlightened” and “Parks and Recreation” had been here instead of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family.” But honestly, I don’t think I would have picked either of them over “Louie.” I enjoy me some “Louie.” I’m also somewhat amused by the idea of Louis C.K. winning like 13 Emmys.
Alan’s pick: Until the Academy gives me a reason not to, I assume “Modern Family” is the frontrunner in any category it’s nominated for. And if there’s a chance that this is the year the love lessens ever so slightly, I’d bet on “Big Bang Theory” to swoop in, as it’s a show that fits my friend Rich Heldenfels’ Chamber of Commerce theory about awards: that the organization would like to choose what’s best, but will always favor what’s best for the organization. “Big Bang” isn’t the strongest show here, but it’s funny and it’s a gigantic hit that says good things about the state of both TV comedy and broadcast network TV, and I can picture the Academy wanting it as its standard-bearer.
Dan’s pick: This was another down year for “Modern Family,” which really only feels consistently executed three or four times per season at this point. I still watch whole seasons to get to those episodes, but it’s still not a great ratio. The question is which show is properly positioned to usurp “Modern Family” in this particular year. I don’t get why *this* would be the year for “The Big Bang Theory” to make that leap. It got a bit more popular, sure, but why would these episodes make voters check that box? Dunno. “Girls” felt like it had its hype peak last year. “Veep” feels just a but further down the ladder. And just because I want to see “Louie” win everything, Emmy voters are going to have a hard time airmailing all of the trophies to Louis CK’s living room. So for me, it comes down to whether “30 Rock” gets a climactic send-off, or if complacency reigns. But for all that I like to talk about Emmy nostalgia, shows that win big awards for their last season are the exception and not the rule. So I’m picking “Modern Family” again, just because I can’t figure out anything else that feels right.
Previously: Outstanding Miniseries or Movie | Outstanding Directing for Comedy & Drama | Outstanding Writing for Comedy & Drama | Outstanding Supporting Actress for Comedy & Drama | Outstanding Supporting Actor for Comedy & Drama | Outstanding Lead Actress for Comedy & Drama | Outstanding Lead Actor for Comedy & Drama