2011 Dream Emmy Ballot: Outstanding Comedy Series

It’s that time again, folks. The Emmy nominations will be announced on July 11, which means I have almost an entire month to flood this space with hopes, dreams and predictions about what could happen come nomination time. To kick things off, I’ll be bringing back the Dream Emmy Ballot. It’s something I did last year and even with my much smaller readership back then, folks seemed to enjoy it. You can find the archives of previous Dream Emmy Ballot posts here.

In any event, just a qualifier or two: This is obviously my Dream Emmy Ballot. Meaning, these initial picks are going to be who I would love to see be nominated for the awards. I know that many of these people don’t actually have a chance in garnering a nomination, just as I know that I will miss some of your personal favorites because I don’t watch that series. I watched more television than ever this season, so I imagine my personal picks will more closely align with more “official” selections, but nevertheless, this is all based on my personal taste and wishes. I’ll do more concrete, objective analysis as we get closer to the actual nomination announcement. Secondly, these picks are all based on the official nomination ballot, just so you know.

With only a few days until the nominations are announced, I have finally reached the series categories. I’m going to knock out Outstanding Comedy Series today and take on Outstanding Drama Series tomorrow, giving me just enough time to bash out some official predictions before the nominations are revealed on Monday. The comedy category is a bit top heavy, with three of my favorites top-lining things. I’m less enamored with four through six on this list. Which reminds me: For the series categories, I’m listing my nominations in order of who I want to win. I wasn’t really doing that with the performer categories.

Community

I think you folks know how I feel about Community. It is my favorite program on the air right now, I named it the best series of the 2010-11 television season, etc. With that being said, you probably are not surprised to see it top this category. Season two took was full of risky, high-concept episodes and nearly all of them paid off. Community continued to be as funny as it was in season one, but put so many other things on the table, from Pierce’s arc, Troy’s not-so-secret rise to the center of the series and everything about “Critical Film Studies,” “Advanced Documentary Filmmaking” and “The Paradigms of Human Memory.” There seems to be a sense online that Community has a chance in this category. Unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet a lot of money in that not being the case. But we can dream!

Parks and Recreation

Though I spend a lot of time pledging my allegiances to all things Community, my admiration for this other NBC comedy is nearly as high. Parks and Recreation wasn’t as flashy or adventurous in its three season, but that is because it really didn’t have to be. In those 16 episodes, the series expanded the world of Pawnee even further and deepened the relationships between its wonderful characters in fun, moving ways. I like Community more, but Parks and Recreation is probably better, or at worst, more consistent. And unlike Community, it feels like Parks actually has a chance to break through in this category. Amy Poehler was nominated last year and more people were talking about the series this year. Fingers crossed.

Louie

I mentioned risks in my little blurb on Community up there, but that word could definitely apply to FX’s Louie as well. In fact, the whole enterprise was sort of a risk for FX, but oh boy has it worked out well. There is no series better at managing its internal tonal transitions like Louie, which can be a hilarious, straightforward comedy one week and an awkward, uncomfortable drama the next. If this series were nominated, I would love to see which episodes FX and Louis C.K. decide to submit and how they’re matched up together.

30 Rock

As I have said numerous times over the last few weeks, 30 Rock had a nice little comeback in season five. I enjoyed this season more than any other one but the glorious second, which is certainly high praise for a multiple winner in this category and general Emmy darling. The series was sharper, smarter and much more focused in season five.

Cougar Town

I don’t mean this in a bad way, but Cougar Town doesn’t feel like an “Emmy series” at all. Even something like Community, I could see the voters noticing because it is so intriguing and complicated, but Cougar Town is just pure fun. After a somewhat bumpy first season, the series really came into its own in season two with a nice balance between running gags/games and worthwhile character moments. The performances are all great, the series is damn funny, there’s basically nothing to dislike about Cougar Town. But I’m unsure how the series’ easy rhythms would play to unknowing viewer, especially in just a few episodes. Cougar Town works better when you know the characters. OH WELL. It still deserves my fake nomination, anyway.

Raising Hope

I’ll be honest: This last spot came down to two series: The Office and Raising Hope. The former had more obvious highs, but also stumbled numerous times during the Michael Gary Scott Farewell Tour of 2010-11. Raising Hope gets the nod because it was very, very consistent throughout its first season. If I were to grade each episode, I don’t think I’d give many an A or many much lower than a C, but a swell of Bs and B-plusses is worth something, especially if we are only talking about the last spot. Hope was surprisingly funny and even more surprisingly, heartfelt and emotionally satisfying in its first season.

Notable series left just off the list: The Office, The League, Modern Family, Happy Endings

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