Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MEMO TO THE ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS & SCIENCES: When filling out your Primetime Emmy Ballots this year, please consider....

Dear Emmy Voters:

Before I begin making my recommendations to all those out there currently filling out Emmy Ballots, I want to note that, I don't think many/any of these recommendations will surprise anyone who's followed me, but also that, because of my limited availability to the whole of the television landscape, that I don't think I will have an adequate enough opinion to fully consider. However, I must say that, I don't think TV critics are either. I read a lot about TV critics, and I seem to rarely if ever agree with them. There's a fundamental flaw in television criticism, and that is the ability for a viewer to make a choice. Even I, have including digitial, about thirty for forty channels in which I can make a decision of what to watch on TV, at any given time. I watch as much as I can, but many things I am unable to watch, or even judge appropriately. That doesn't mean I don't have strong opinions on them, and I have very strong opinions on them. That's actually much of the issue, is that, while I can't watch everything, I've watched as much as I can, and it seems to me pretty obvious what are the good TV shows, and which are bad, and continually, I find TV critics picking shows, simply because the things they like, and discussing them. I rarely, if ever pick a show because of something I might be attracted to within the show, in fact, quite the opposite. The only standard for which watching a TV show for me, is that it's good, but most TV critics I see, tend to review and recommend on other standards, and it frustrates me. They're clearly picking out their own preferences, calling it must see TV, nevermind the fact that it's complete. Even if it's popular, all that means is that other people watch it, and that's not a good reason to watch the show. At least with, let's say, a movie critic, they don't really have much of a choice what to watch, the films that come to their town are against their control, they can't go and ask for the good film, and go see that. So, I apologize for this, but especially on the networks, their really is only a small handful of truly talented and good television being made, and it's up to the Emmy voters' job like yourselves, to distinguish it. Emmy voters, like film critics, once they've determined what genre or category they want to look at, they have to watch everything that's been submitted for consideration. So, while sometimes, I may disagree with some of your choices (Seriously, how the fuck did "Lost" ever win a Best Series Emmy?! What the hell were you guys thinking?), I actually applaud the Emmys and Emmy voters, because I've come that your opinions are of the utmost and highest standard in the industry. So, if we can all finally agree that "Glee" sucks ass, and I'm going to now, run through a few suggestions for you guys to consider in select categories, make with them what you will, but do take a second, and consider. Thank you.

Let's start with the sitcom categories, 'cause I have the most expertise on them currently. For Best Comedy Series, and Best Actress, I want to recommend "Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23". It only had seven episodes, this first season, in fact, I'm not even 100% sure it made the eligibility deadline, but it quickly became the best show on TV this year. It's not only funny, it takes more chances and pushes more boundaries than any other TV series has done in a while, and I particularly want to note Krysten Ritter's work for Lead Actress. It can be tricky to play a truly uninhibited and outlandish character, while consistently resisting the temptation to soften her around the edges. This character hasn't softened yet. Until now, I thought the only person who can play this type of character was Gina Gershon, she is worthy of getting a nomination as well as the show. It seems to be a weak year in the Lead Actor category once again, with some predictable surprise nominees like Don Cheadle, not seeming that unpredictable right now, but the Supporting categories remain interesting. Two from "Parks and Recreation," need to be noticed, first off, of course, Nick Offerman, who's Ron Swanson has become one of those character that's developed a cult-like following, similar to Jim Parsons's Sheldon Cooper in a way, with his witticisms, but I want to focus also on Rob Lowe. He plays Chris Traeger, who's almost the extreme opposite of Swanson, and he really sinks he teeth into this overly-polite character. As good as Rob Lowe has shown he can be in Dramas, especially with "The West Wing," he's actually a better comic actor, (Especially if you compare him to the Brat Pack, he's easily the best) and this character really shows you just how great a character he is. "Parks and Recreation," should be nominated in practically every category this year, it really took off actually with it's best year yet, but that doesn't mean shows that falter should even the slightest should be tossed aside. For supporting actress, I want to recommend Ellie Kemper for "The Office," yes, this was a transition year for the show, but the show has constantly been in transition, always adding and subtracting character at will, even from the first season, and Ellie Kemper's Kelly Erin Hanson, is one of the show's constant highlights. For this series, last season was lackluster, but it's still one of the ten best shows on TV right now, and should still get nominated in nearly every category, including Best Comedy, as should "30 Rock". It also had a subpar year for them, funny as hell still though, and Kristen Schall should get a Guest Actress Nomination for her recurring role as Hazel Whatshername, Kenneth's page mentee-turned-competitor. They've created a lot of memorable characters, even in the smallest of roles, and she's become one of my absolute favorites. Back to Supporting Actress, I know that "Modern Family," is gonna to be taking up most of the slots in both Supporting categories, but one name left off last year, and it was the single biggest screwup the Emmys did was Mayim Bialik for "The Big Bang Theory". She's become a regular character now, and if Jim Parsons is worthy of winning the Best Actor Emmy every year, and he is, for Bialik, playing this character that is equally as strange and unusual, she has to be nominated as well. "The Big Bang Theory," is the biggest TV show going right now, with high ratings for premiere episodes and in syndication, and Bialik, is one of those rare, additional characters that joins a series midway, that actually takes something good, and makes it even better.

Now, on the Drama side, the only real recommendation I have is to not completely ignore "Smash" in the supporting actor categories. Most of the best shows are on cable in the drama category, so I'm not going to comment on most of them, although from what I've heard, it sounds like it's time for "Justified" to get recognized in the Drama category. But, "Smash," will cliche, was the Best Drama on Basic TV by a mile actually. Only "House," which was in it's last season, (and Hugh Laurie, should get one last nod) and "The Good Wife," which actually did get close to the level with which others have claimed it's been at until now this year, were even close. "Smash," is still not of the top quality, but the performances were, and I want to showcase Megan Hilty in particular, she's a famed Broadway star in real life, and she was great as Ivy Lynn, one of the actress battling for the coveted Marilyn Monroe part, along with Katherine McPhee, who I also think is worthy, but Megan Hilty in particular, really should get recognized for her many talents in this role.

My recommendation on the Best Reality Series should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who's followed this blog, "The Voice," really has become the preeminent standout show in reality television right now, it should be nominated, and "American Idol," should not. In a relatively week reality-competition year, "The Voice," really is the standout, I expect it to go head-to-head with "The Amazing Race," this year, with hopefully "Project Runway" and "Top Chef," closing in, although "Runway" had a bad year as well, but once again, a bad year for them, still better than the competition.

Well, it's up to you Emmy Voters, to make you selections. Thank you for considering my recommendations, and for allowing me to speak up and voice my thoughtout opinions.

David  Baruffi of "David Baruffi's Entertainment Views & Reviews"

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