Bright and early this morning…by which we mean 8:40 AM EST / 5:40 AM PST…the nominees for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced by Joel McHale (“Community,” “The Soup”) and Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”). It ended up being a worthwhile gig for one of them, at least, with Vergara pulling in a Supporting Actress nod for “Modern Family.” Maybe that’s why McHale seemed so stone-faced. (Seriously, did someone tell McHale that he wasn’t getting paid if he didn’t keep his smart-assery in line ’til after the nominees were read? The only time he cracked anything approaching a joke was when he preempted Vergara’s mangling of Mariska Hargitay’s last name.) Anyway, here’s a list of who got the glory…and, in the case of Best Actress in a Drama, who got the shaft.
Outstanding Comedy Series:
* Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
* Glee (Fox)
* Modern Family (ABC)
* Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
* The Office (NBC)
* 30 Rock (NBC)
My Pick: “Modern Family.” There’s no question that “Glee” is award-worthy, but not necessarily as a comedy, which is also where “Nurse Jackie” falters in this category. I feel like “The Office” and “30 Rock” coasted in on their past merits this year, but “Curb” got a huge boost from the “Seinfeld” storyline, so it’s the only real competition here. Still, the buzz on “Modern Family” is all over the place. I can’t imagine it won’t bring home the glory.
Love him or hate him, it’s hard not feel something during his take on America’s health care companies. Never have I heard words spoken so eloquently on this issue that is so divisive. It’s a shame that people have turned off Bill Maher in the past because he’s crossed a line or spoken so adamantly against one of their views that they retreat towards a safer form of commentary. True, “The Daily Show” might have you laughing harder, but it’s lost that edge over the years that once made it so captivating. I remember when Comedy Central used to tout the show as “irrelevant” and “controversial,” but the show show is mere husk of its former self. The most compelling by far is “Real Time,” which seems somehow to have escaped the attention of young America.
Since I began watching a year ago, I’ve been saying it’s the best thing HBO has in their lineup. Like other talk shows, the schedule is privy to bouts of hiatus because of Maher’s stand-up schedule. Neverthless, new episodes are run throughout the year as it’s obvious this is what Maher enjoys the most. What’s great about the show is that Maher feels like he’s accomplishing something by being engaging.
I think people often forget that you don’t have to like the host. In the past, I thought Maher was smug, wordy, and unfunny. Well, he is smug, but I think that’s part of his appeal. Over time, I realized that I wasn’t tuning in for the jokes. I was tuning in because of his panel discussions and most importantly, his closing arguments. Interspersed with humor, the show’s final minutes are so passionate at times that I can’t help but actually listening instead of mindlessly taking in language. Also, I don’t mean “passion” as in “speaking loudly with force.” When I say “passion,” I mean that Maher feels like he cares about this species in a way that his erudition can actually motivate us to change. That praise is putting him in quite a position of authority, I know, but really, where else are you going to turn to on television to feel motivated about issues? “The Daily Show” abandoned that mission statement a long time ago and it’s obvious that the pundit shows on MSNBC and CNN aren’t very inspiring. Maher’s show is the opposite.
How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.
Hard to feel offended by anyone but the health care companies in that statement. So, give “Real Time” a shot, even if you hate the host.