I don’t want to give too much due to the Emmys, for which the 2012 nominations in all the major categories were announced last week. The Emmys simply don’t have the cachet that the Oscars do, even if you want to argue that the Academy Awards’ relevance is rapidly declining, and handwringing about each and every category two months before the show even airs simply doesn’t seem to be fitting.
Still, it was hard not to notice what wasn’t there in the Best Comedy Series category — namely Louie and Parks and Recreation. Yes, despite there being six nomination slots available, the two funniest shows on television didn’t merit a nod from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
According to the Academy, The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, Modern Family, 30 Rock and Veep have all achieved more than the chortle-worthy Parks and Recreation and the innovative, introspective, brilliant and beautiful Louie.
Look, other than The Big Bang Theory, I have no qualms with any of these other nominees being there individually, but I think it’s hard — with a straight face — to claim that anything on that list except for Curb and Veep exceeded the heights reached by the snubbed pair over the past season, and even then you’d be making a pretty subjective argument. Girls took about four episodes just to be amusing to me, and there are many people who still aren’t there yet. Modern Family, while still excellent, dipped this past season just as it became the most overrated show on television (and I’m not even touching on the four nominations for Modern Family actors in the Best Supporting Actor category alone, which cost Parks‘ Nick Offerman a deserved slot again). 30 Rock, meanwhile, is the third funniest show on its own network on the night it airs.
I don’t even know where to go with this, particularly because of the Louie snub. The FX show, which is almost entirely the creation of comedian Louis CK, essentially defies genre. It’s a mashup of CK’s standup and noir vignettes that are painful and raw and honest as often as they are laugh-out-loud funny. It is pure brilliance, and that was true during Season 2, even as we hurtle through Season 3 and Louie makes a strong case for being the best show on television right now — period.
That it isn’t recognized with even a simple nomination for Best Comedy Series is unfathomable, especially when you take a look at the Best Drama category and see a bunch of worthy nominees (Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men) and only one real snub that you can even make a legitimate case for (Justified).
Does an appreciation for great dramas make you humorless? That seems like a ridiculous question, but I’m looking for ridiculous answers to explain the Best Comedy Series nominees.