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Comedy, the Emmys, and Making Distinctions


The nominees for Best Special Class-Short Form Live Action Entertainment Emmy are:

The Daily Show Correspondents Explain
Web Therapy
Children’s Hospital
Parks and Recreation: April and Andy’s Road Trip
30 Rock: The Webisodes


Nominated for Best Comedy Series:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
30 Rock
Modern Family
The Big Bang Theory


Why is there a separation between these two Primetime Emmy categories?

All those nominated shows are comedies. The qualification for their nominations is being so funny, they made enough people laugh (well, people = members of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) to warrant a nod. That’s my theory, at least. There are politics involved in the nomination process, since the members of the Academy either are or were working on TV shows and at networks, but that doesn’t explain why there is an overall compartmentalization of categories, especially comedy.

The fact that an Adult Swim show, Children’s Hospital, got nominated is wonderful, and the expansion of awareness of different formats of televised comedy to include web series and the 15 minute show on Adult Swim is great. Still, the category of Best Comedy Series still covers those shows, though they would never be up for that premier Emmy. Well, how about having 10 nominees? How about having no cap on the nominees, as long as a show gets a certain number of nominations?

Look, the Emmys probably have too many categories as it is and, as such, people (this time, people = general public/viewers) don’t care about the peripheries of awards ceremonies. The Best Variety Special, Variety Series, Short Form Animated Program, and more largely pass by the attention of the people that are supposed to be watching the comedies that are supposedly rewarded for their across-the-board hilarity.

Award the Best Comedy Series for being, literally, the best comedy series. If it’s Veep or Modern Family or Louie or Children’s Hospital or The Chris Gethard Show, if it’s comedy on a form of TV and undeniably funny, it deserves top honors, the kind that people (people = everyone) will notice.

On top of all that, realize that the Emmys, an awards show with a nationally televised broadcast, has categories like Best Variety Special that rewards award shows with an award. Wholesale change for the Emmys, perhaps?

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