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).
Next up, we’re dealing with the comedy and drama writing categories. The former has a pair of series finales going against “Louie” and “Episodes,” while the latter has the episode that could single-handedly lead to another huge night for “Homeland.”
Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
“30 Rock” – “Hogcock!” by Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock
“30 Rock” – “Last Lunch” by Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield
“Episodes” – “Episode 209” by David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik
“Louie” – “Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)” by Louis C.K.
“The Office” – “Finale” by Greg Daniels
Alan’s pick: In the directing category, the “30 Rock” finale was treated as a single episode, apparently because Beth McCarthy-Miller directed both halves. Here, they’re separate, and Fey & Wigfield’s script for “Last Lunch” is a perfect closing note for the series, mixing the heartfelt (Liz and Jack’s conversation by the river) and absurd (Lutz’s Blimpies fixation). Daniels’ series finale for “The Office” was splendid in its own right, but I’ve rewatched “Last Lunch” many, many times since it first aired.
Dan’s pick: Boy, I would have loved to see “Leslie and Ben” from “Parks and Rec” in this category. There are also two or three “Girls” episodes and roughly 10 “Louie” episodes I’d have included here over “Episodes.” But anywho… I’d give my support to Greg Daniels’ script for “The Office” finale, which made me laugh, but also made me just a bit teary-eyed at a half-dozen points, giving almost every member of the ensemble a fitting send-off. So much of the past three or four seasons of “The Office” was an erratic mess, but the finale brought the series full-circle in the best way possible.
Alan’s pick: C.K. won last year, for an episode I didn’t think was that great or his best submission choice. (Since he has sole writing credit for every “Louie” episode, he can only submit one each year.) I also don’t think the first part of “Daddy’s Girlfriend Part 1” was the best that season 3 had to offer (the concluding installment, the season finale, “Miami” or perhaps the end of “Late Show” were all much stronger), but I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers once again consider the episode less than the achievement of the show and season as a whole. But I also have a feeling there may be a a nostalgic groundswell for “30 Rock,” so I’ll pick “Last Lunch.”
Dan’s pick: I think it may depend on how many times voters want to check Tina Fey’s name on their ballots. If they want to give Best Actress to somebody else and Best Comedy is going someplace else, this would be a great place to honor Fey. Of course, Louis C.K. won this category last year for an episode that was far from that season’s best and “Daddy’s Girlfriend Part 1” is a better episode than “Pregnant.” However, this is the only meaningful place to honor “The Office,” so I’m gonna predict a Greg Daniels win. [Side note: I HATE my predictions this year. Normally I feel much more confident about Emmy voters and their whims.]
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” – “Dead Freight” by George Mastras
“Breaking Bad” – “Say My Name” by Thomas Schnauz
“Downton Abbey” – “Episode 4” by Julian Fellowes
“Game of Thrones” – “The Rains of Castamere by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
“Homeland” – “Q&A” by Henry Bromell
Alan’s pick: “Q&A.” “Homeland” season 2 had a whole host of problems with its storytelling, but this individual episode (with the interrogation of Brody) was a masterpiece of tension and despair, as the late Bromell put his two leads in a room and let them hash out their relationship and finally be honest about exactly who and what Nicholas Brody has become. Gorgeously written, and strong enough that it should make both actors the favorites in their categories.
Dan’s pick: Zero nominations for “Mad Men.” Come on, Emmy voters! I feel like protesting against this entirely category. In any case, “The Rains of Castamere” should win, for taking an arc that fans of the books had been anticipating/dreading for three solid years and somehow managing to execute it — pun intended — in a way that left nearly everybody satisfied.
Alan’s pick: “Q&A.” Not only does it stand on its own better than the other nominees, not only is there a sentimental factor for Bromell, who died suddenly earlier this year, but it’s just a tremendous hour of television. Unless there’s a “Breaking Bad” groundswell, it’s an easy winner.
Dan’s pick: I like how everybody has erased all of the non-interrogation sides of “Q&A.” Remember Dana’s boyfriend and the hit-and-run accident? That happens in “Q&A,” too. The interrogation aspects of that episode are phenomenal, easily the best part of the season. But that wasn’t the whole episode. Regardless, an award for the late Henry Bromell would be an emotional moment. But don’t count out Julian Fellowes for That Episode of “Downton Abbey,” which was as well written as it was directed and acted. Still, Bromell seems like the sentimental choice and that’s just fine.