The Sixth Annual Andy TV Awards – Comedy Acting

Now that the intro and guest acting awards are out of the way, let’s get to some of the categories you may actually care about. Shows that the Academy nominated here I don’t watch include Glee, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly, Hot in Cleveland, The Big C, and Episodes, because I was too busy watching good TV shows. I have seen a few episodes of Raising Hope and enjoyed them, but not enough to nominate anyone from it.

Read on for my nominees and winners in the supporting and leading actor and actress categories.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…

Alison Brie in Community
Gillian Jacobs in Community
Busy Philipps in Cougar Town
Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Recreation
Sofía Vergara in Modern Family
Merritt Wever in Nurse Jackie

I think this list generally doubles for all internet commenters as “actresses I have a not-so-secret crush on”, although I suppose if I were to completely follow that guideline, I’d replace Merritt Wever with Brie Larson or Rashida Jones. Instead, I tried to limit my opinions to picking the six most gifted comedic performances by supporting actresses last year (novel idea, I know). I gave this award to Wever last year, and she stays in contention by remaining the best (and possibly only) reason to keep watching Nurse Jackie. I can’t pick between Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs on Community, so don’t make me! Both had great spotlight moments and deliver the necessary ingredients for that show’s particular alchemy. Sofía Vergara was Modern Family‘s MVP for me in season two, constantly delivering the biggest laughs week in and week out. For an actress that most likely got a lot of her earlier roles for her, er, ample physical gifts, it’s her comedic work that now stands out over everything (making her my only nominee to get an Emmy nomination, so I’ll be cheering for her to upset Betty White). Aubrey Plaza continued to deliver big laughs with her dry delivery as April Ludgate, but managed to bring more to the table this year with some touching work with her relationship with Chris Pratt’s Andy, showing what a deep bench Parks and Recreation has. All six are great, and I could make an argument for any of them to win.

The award goes to…
Busy Philipps in Cougar Town
But I’ll make my argument for Busy Philipps, who not only brings her dim-party girl charm as Laurie, making her the funniest character on one of the funniest ensembles on TV, but also was able to bring some emotional moments to a show that isn’t always comfortable with sentiment. Philipps exhibits a unique chemistry with each character on the show, making her a supporting character who truly supports everyone. Laurie and Jules’ relationship differs than hers with Ellie, or Bobby, or Grayson, and especially Travis, giving the show numerous different stories and beats they can play in ways other characters can’t (for instance, Jules’ relationship with every character is essentially the same, even though one character is her boyfriend and another is her son).
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…

Donald Glover in Community
Ed O’Neill in Modern Family
Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation
Danny Pudi in Community
Chris Pratt in Parks and Recreation
Adam Scott in Parks and Recreation

The Emmys decided to make this the Modern Family category, nominating all four adult males, plus the kid from Glee, and Jon Cryer for surviving Sheen. I’d complain about the lack of variety if I didn’t go ahead and give half my nominees to one show as well (sorry Aziz, I drew the line at three). Ed O’Neill is my only Modern Family nominee, furthering my thesis that the best parts of the show are the Delgado-Pritchett parts. Danny Glover and Danny Pudi are TV’s dynamic duo, with Pudi expanding Abed’s range this season in some of the more interesting Community episodes of the year, while Glover consistently generated the biggest laughs (Troy crying is probably funnier than anything else on TV). As for the P&R men, they are a study in contrasts. Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson is the ultimate alpha male, with a unnervingly calm exterior and complete sense of his manhood. Adam Scott is at first glance your standard straight man, but as his character developed, they found many ways to exploit his straight-laced ways to provide solid laughs (in a way Paul Schneider’s Mark Brendanawicz never did). While Chris Pratt is all high-energy affability, bringing the belly laughs to complement the more subtle humour of Swanson and Scott while developing special chemistry with Aubrey Plaza.

The award goes to…
Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation
Once again, I give the award to Ron Effing Swanson. Offerman does so much with so little wasted motion, whether it’s slowly swiveling in an office chair or demanding all the bacon and eggs. By getting so much laughs within his placid demeanor, it makes the times he goes big, be it reacting to Snake Juice or the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, all the better. At this point, the only thing that will keep Offerman from owning this category is if he moves up to lead actor.

Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…

Toni Collette in United States of Tara
Courtney Cox in Cougar Town
Kaley Cuoco in The Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey in 30 Rock
Mary-Louise Parker in Weeds
Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation

First, to get it out of the way… no, Toni Collette’s performance in United States of Tara is not a comedic one (particularly in the third season). But that’s where her show submitted, and it was certainly one of the best performances amongst those submitted (second best, to be exact). If USoT submitted itself as a drama (as it should have), she would’ve been nominated there as well. While Jim Parsons is undoubtedly the best part of The Big Bang Theory, I think Kaley Cuoco is even more important to the quality of the show. Basically, when the show does well by Penny, it manages to be decent-to-very good. When it doesn’t, it tends to be unwatchable. I know some who think Cougar Town succeeds in spite of Courtney Cox’s performance, but I’m not one of them. I enjoy her manic energy, even if I prefer the work of… basically everyone else on the show. But that’s not atypical of sitcoms, where the lead has to do the thankless work while the supporting players get to bounce off of them and steal scenes. It would’ve been easy for Tina Fey to do the same on 30 Rock, but instead she continually finds ways to reveal that Liz Lemon can be just as crazy as the nuts she works with (well, maybe not as crazy as Tracy, but everyone else). I thought the sixth season of Weeds was a comeback one in terms of comedy, right when I figured the show had nothing left to offer. Going on the run gave Mary-Louise Parker new things to do as Nancy, and even let her bring some genuine emotion in the season finale.

The award goes to…
Amy Poehler in Parks and Recreation
As with Offerman, Amy Poehler repeats as winner, and may do so for the seeming future. Her work as Leslie Knope is the best comedic lead performance on television, male or female. Her dorky enthusiasm infuses the show with the warmth that makes it so easy to love, making it easy to mix up Poehler’s crack comedic timing and manic energy with the hyper-competent spazziness of Knope herself. Once the writers figured out the key to Poehler’s persona, everything else on this show fell into place, resulting in one of the great two-year runs in sitcom history.

Outstanding Leading Actor in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…

Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock
Louis C.K. in Louie
Steve Carrell in The Office
Rob Lowe in Parks and Recreation
Joel McHale in Community
Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory

No, Rob Lowe doesn’t belong in the lead category, but better to honour his hilarious turn as Chris Traeger than throw a nomination at a true lead (but inferior performance) like Thomas Jane or Johnny Galecki. Other than Lowe, this is a pretty strong category, with multiple Emmy and Andy TV Award winner Alec Baldwin doing his Alec Baldwin thing (once as multiples!), Joel McHale anchoring network TV’s most ambitious comedy while expanding the scope of his character as Jeff Winger gets more and more involved in the lives of the study group, and defending champ Jim Parsons continuing his top-notch work on The Big Bang Theory (it’s not his fault that the show sometimes uses his brilliance as an attempt to hide their lack of good ideas). Great performances all, but my pick came down to two: Louis C.K.’s do everything approach to TV in Louie, and Steve Carrell’s swan song season of The Office. It’s very tempting to give the award to C.K. as no one in television did more to create amazing television than he, acting as writer, director, producer, editor, and lead performer on a show that seems to be reinventing the rules of the medium on a weekly basis. But since the award is technically an acting award, I decided I shouldn’t give him extra credit.

The award goes to…
Steve Carrell in The Office
Thus, I went with the sentimental pick in Carrell, who I really, really, really hope wins his first Emmy for his work as Michael Scott. Now, it’s silly to give a fake blog award out of sentiment, so that’s not the only (or even the main) reason I chose him. The past season (like the one before it) of The Office was pretty shaky, but Carrell was fantastic throughout. In particular, his work from “The Search” through to his final episode in “Goodbye, Michael” is among the best of his career. I only wish the show hadn’t done their best to derail it with the completely useless Will Ferrell storyline. That Carrell was able to rise above the Deangelo Vickers garbage and keep it from ruining his send-off is reason enough to give him this award.

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7 thoughts on “The Sixth Annual Andy TV Awards – Comedy Acting

  1. I love Busy Phillips on Cougar Town, always a highlight. She somehow manages to make “dim-party girl Laurie” endearing and not annoying. As I watch very few comedies I have little to say, but I agree that Kaley Cucuo is underrated on TBBT, more and more I find she is the ‘balance’ on the show.

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