Best Comedy Series
There are some quality comedies I simply don’t have time to watch. I’ve only seen the pilots of Girls and Veep. I’ve also completely missed out on some Emmy-friendly shows, like The Big Bang Theory. So those aren’t here. I was also pretty conflicted about Community. I love the show, but Dan Harmon was such a huge presence that there was no way that this season could measure up. Hopefully it will bounce back to my Emmy dream team next year. Considering this, here are my nominations…
Even in its worst years (looking at you, Season 4), 30 Rock was one of the best shows on television. Its last season was about as perfect of a goodbye as I could have hoped for. From Liz Lemon getting married in the Princess Leia dress to the crew tanking the show so Liz could meet her twins, this season had some wonderful emotions to ground its never-ending assault of jokes. Its last two episodes mocked the notion of a sentimental finale while still bringing a couple tears to my eyes. NBC, please give Tina Fey a new sitcom ASAP.
Parks and Recreation
The show deserves a nomination for that wedding episode alone. The unquestioned love between Leslie and Ben, Ron Swanson DIY-ing the wedding rings, and Ann’s makeshift dress all combined to make a wedding too perfect for real life. The rest of the season was also pretty great, nailing Leslie’s ethical dilemmas as she struggles to adjust to what she thought was a lifelong dream. And of course, there was Ben’s perfect proposal. Parks and Rec, I love you and I like you.
When a friend tells me they’re looking for a new sitcom, I order them to watch The Middle. They do not always listen, and this makes me sad. The Middle is the most underappreciated comedy on TV right now. It has an incredible cast, and they’re only getting better. Every episode has at least one plotline that makes me suspect that the writers are spying on my family. The Middle is much more realistic than Modern Family, and it’s all the better for it.
The first ten episodes of New Girl were pleasantly amusing. The rest of the first season solidified the ensemble. During the second season, the writers have really figured out who these characters are. (Except Winston. “Likes pranks” is not an adequate personality trait.) The Schmidt-Cece arc has had some great emotional beats that parallel Jess and Nick’s struggle to figure out their relationship. Although the Schmidt-isms alone would give this show a spot on my list, New Girl tops off its more dramatic plotlines with some incredible zingers and superb physical comedy.
I considered giving this last spot to Modern Family. It’s not as good as it once was, but it still has a very good cast and some pretty good writers. Then I watched Season 4 of Arrested Development. It’s not perfect, but Mitch Hurwitz has mostly succeeded in making the world’s most complex comedic layer cake. Although the first few episodes were a little confusing, the setups paid off in some pretty great ways. This additional season could have easily just been some callbacks to the old seasons, but they did a pretty good job of creating some innovative comedy. It also doesn’t hurt that one of the best sitcom casts of all time was just as good as it ever was.
Coming whenever I feel like posting: Best Lead and Supporting Actors!