Joel McHale and Sofia Vergara aren't a bad way to wake up at 5:30, what with the boobs and the height and the funny, but it'd be nice if a distinctly West Coast medium like television could have the decency to operate on a more humane West Coast time. Please.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised a few times with the 2010 Emmy nominations, and was, per usual, irritated just as often. Tony Shalhoub, again, for real? (eye roll) "Two and a Half Men" taking up valuable space in any category? (bigger eye roll) And why Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" didn't submit his reel in the lead actor category is confounding and shameful -- Bryan Cranston is, arguably, the star of that show but this was Paul's year. His performance as the now-sober meth cooker Jesse Pinkman was, in a word, eviscerating.
But plenty of awesome rose from the ashes of the "eh" this morning. I was fairly certain I heard Triumph the Insult Comic Dog poop on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" when Conan O'Brien's version got the nod for outstanding variety, music, or comedy series. The entire main cast of "Modern Family" submitted their names in the supporting categories, and it paid off for almost everyone. The supporting actor in a comedy field is 66 percent gay, or acting gay, with nominations for Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family") Neil Patrick Harris, and Chris Colfer from "Glee," which was one of the most surprising and delightful developments of the morning. Add to that NPH's guest star nomination for playing has-been Bryan Ryan on the Fox musical, Jane Lynch's double nominations (Sue Sylvester, of course, and a guest spot on "Two and a Half Men,") and the nom for Ian McKellen's turn as Number 2 in the otherwise-dreadful AMC "Prisoner" remake, and you get a better-than-usual representation of the LGBT community this year. We were also spared, thankfully, the torture of Charlie Sheen being nominated. As for the rest...
Today's big winners:
- "Glee." Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison were recognized as lead actors, Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer were deservedly recognized, and the show itself is up for best comedy, among 19 total nominations.
- Funny women: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will go head-to-head in the lead actress in a comedy group, and Kristen Wiig is up for her myriad memorable "SNL" characters in the supporting actress category. That girl is gold, and deserves it, but Jane Lynch will be tough to beat -- Sue Sylvester would chop Gilly into little tiny pieces and blend her in a smoothie.
- "Lost." I felt that series finale, "The End," while poignant and worthy of seven hankies, wasn't quite on the level of the series premiere, "LAX," since I much prefer the bafflement, but Matthew Fox's portrayal of Jack Shephard was impeccable, and I'd love to see him take home the lead actor trophy. Terry O'Quinn could've taught a master class in menacing eyebrows, and belongs at the top of the supporting field, and Michael Emerson (last year's winner) is right there with him. The best drama series nomination was welcome, and if "Lost" wins, it'll be emphatic validation for an oft-derided yet fervently loved program.
- "Friday Night Lights." This show about high school football in Texas has been operating under the "underrated" mantle for so long it almost seemed like it would go the way of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," with rabid critical praise but no Emmy love to shore it up. And while there was no room in the crowded best drama series group ("True Blood," "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "Lost," "Dexter" and "The Good Wife" sucked all the air out of the room), lead actors Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were given a chance to represent their show, even though Chandler's chances are between slim and pigs-will-fly-out-of-my-butt. He's up against Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie, Michael C. Hall and Matthew Fox -- although it'd be a bookie-immolating upset if he did take the trophy home.
- The women of "Mad Men." January Jones is up for lead actress, and Betty Draper's complete and total meltdown last season was a study in human-being-as-pressure-cooker. Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks are both in the running for their supporting roles, and their diametrically opposed character arcs make for a lively comparison. Peggy slept with a rival, gained confidence in the workplace and generally found her voice, while Joan Harris (nee Holloway) thought she had it all figured out by marrying a doctor and playing Holly Homemaker until she saw the monster she was in bed with and had her idea of "perfect" get its ears boxed.
Today's big snubs :
- Josh Holloway. Sawyer's arc in the first half of "Lost" this season was wrenching to watch, the complete undoing of a man who lost the love of his life, and Holloway was never, ever better. A terrible oversight.
- "True Blood." Yeah, it's great that the series was nominated for best drama, but not one actor stood out enough to garner an individual nomination? Are you kidding me? Nelsan Ellis alone should have a shelf weighed down with accolades. Boo.
- Ed O'Neill. The actor-formerly-known-as-Al-Bundy seems to be carrying quite the Emmy curse on his back -- he's arguably the star of "Modern Family," yet he was the only one who didn't get nominated for his work as the grumpy patriarch. O'Neill's gruffness and good-old-boy back slapping as Jay Pritchett successfully masks his creamy center, and after 10 Emmy-less years on "Married With Children," well, it's looking like someone's got a voodoo doll with his face on it.
Watch NBC on Aug. 29 to see how this all turns out, but please consider the "Breaking Bad" video I've included here before you believe a single prediction that doesn't include Aaron Paul pillaging the awards. It's the last scene of the captivating third season, and you must watch the whole thing (the setup -- Bryan Cranston's character is in steaming heap of trouble with his meth distributor, who is about to replace him permanently with another chemist):