Emmy nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 10 by Mindy Kaling and Carson Daly. The pundits and critics have come to a consensus on the most likely nominees out of the numerous television shows on the air: a showdown between Breaking Bad and True Detective in Best Drama Series, Modern Family accruing a number of nominations at the cost of other comedy series. But what about the long shots? These performers and series would make deserving nominees, but for various reasons, are not expected to hear their names called. Here are five dream nominations in each of the major Comedy categories.
(Note: I only considered a nominee a long shot if it was actually submitted to that category. For example, I could not select Bob’s Burgers as Best Comedy Series, since it was submitted in the Animation categories instead. I also considered nominees only in the category they were submitted; for example, even though Amy Schumer’s name is in the title of her show, she was submitted in the Best Supporting Actress category due to a quirk in the Emmy rules.)
Best Comedy Series: Broad City
I have been waiting for the next great television female comedy duo since the last of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Weekend Update segments aired in 2006. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Comedy Central series seems to have ended that long wait. Adapted from their web series of the same name, the show puts their absurd (and absurdly funny) twist on the typical twentysomethings in New York formula, from finding an apartment to living with gross roommates to attending weddings. Perhaps starting as a web series first worked to their advantage, as it had the most audacious debut of a comedy series in recent memory: the pilot literally opened with a Skype sex scene. The season finale, which opens with Abbi and Ilana guessing the length of several basketball players’ penises, continues with a hilarious fancy dinner complete with a cameo from executive producer Poehler, and ends with the two friends comparing their list of the worst people they would have sex with. The show might be too raunchy, younger-skewing, or under the radar for most Emmy voters, but it certainly was not short on quality. It ranks right up there with Veep and Parks and Recreation as one of the best comedy series currently on television.
Best Actor in a Comedy: Jonathan Groff, Looking
After debuting to much hype but low ratings, Looking overcame being categorized as “the gay Girls” to become one of the best shows on television. (Though I would really question categorizing Looking as a comedy, it’s the category to which the show is submitted.) Jonathan Groff, already a Tony nominee for his performance in Spring Awakening, deserves a nomination for his work here as software engineer Patrick Murray. As a character, Patrick is awkward and incredibly frustrating, so it’s up to Groff to endear the audience to him, which he does thanks to his bashful charisma. And while it is occasionally mind-boggling that someone as attractive and gainfully employed would be so unlucky in love, Groff does excellent physical work in making Patrick’s lack of self-confidence come through in his mannerisms and posture. He also deserves plaudits for “Looking for the Future,” the series’ best episode. The episode is almost all dialogue between Patrick and his boyfriend Richie, and Groff and Raul Castillo manage to make it one of the most absorbing half hours of television.
Best Actress in a Comedy: Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project
Most pundits consider this a long shot, but maybe the Emmys know something they don’t, since Mindy Kaling was recently announced as one of the performers to announce the nominees. Could a surprise nomination be on the horizon? It would certainly be well-deserved. Fans of Kaling from The Office or her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) know that she has the comedic timing and writing talent to excel in the showrunner-star role, but in the vastly improved second season, she demonstrated some real dramatic chops as well. The will-they-or-won’t-they storyline is well played out in romantic comedies, but Kaling’s chemistry with Chris Messina made this iteration feel like a classic romance.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Somehow, despite six amazing seasons as everyone’s favorite American patriot, Nick Offerman has never garnered an Emmy nomination for his performance as Ron Swanson. The scenes Offerman shares with Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope are always series highlights for me, as Swanson continues to mentor Knope. And in the sixth season, Ron Swanson became a father and husband, giving him more of a storyline than ever before. But it didn’t change him from being the same disgruntled Ron Swanson we all know and love, as evidenced by his amazing, strongly worded letters to things he hates (“Dear Canada: F— you.”) His newfound fatherhood also gave his scenes with Chris Pratt’s Andy a new gravitas, as he embraced his quasi-father-mentor role, rather than shun it. Offerman has prevented Swanson from becoming a complete caricature, imbuing the character with emotional depth and maintaining his role as one of the most original characters on television.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I considered all three of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actresses for this spot, and if the Emmys had ensemble awards, the show would demand a nomination. Yet as great as Stephanie Beatriz is at selling no-nonsense cop Rosa Diaz, and as endearing as Melissa Fumero manages to make Amy Santiago’s sucking up to the Captain, nothing in the show made me laugh as hard as Gina Linetti interpretive dancing to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” during a motivational speech to troubled youths. Gina could easily be a one-note, overly zany character, and admittedly, her style of humor probably isn’t for everyone, but in the hands of Peretti, she’s kept admirably grounded. Gina is especially delightful when paired with the series’ main character Jake Peralta, building on Peretti and Andy Samberg’s real-life childhood friendship. Gina truly is “the Paris of people,” and in this role, Peretti is the Paris of comedians.