Before you freak out, let us explain why we think Girls should win the 2012 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The competition just doesn’t cut it. Aside from Girls, the nominees this year include Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, Veep, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory. Still awake? We’re impressed! In all seriousness, this category is a mixed bag of golden oldies like Curb and 30 Rock, both of which have been around for at least 6 years; well-established, mass-appeal comedies like Modern Family and Big Bang; and the two feisty newcomers with curse words aplenty on HBO.
30 Rock is heading into its final season, and we wish we could say it’s just as good as it was when it won the Outstanding Comedy Emmy three years in a row (2007 - 2009), but it isn’t. Curb’s nomination is more of an honorary mention, and prime-time juggernauts Modern Family and Big Bang need to come up with some new tricks before they turn into old (but lovable) dogs.
Note the word “Outstanding.” In a perfect TV industry, the Emmys really would celebrate exceptionalism, instead of ratings buzz and bold-faced names. But the Emmys can always be counted on for treating highly talented newcomers well. Lena Dunham may not appeal to the kind of broad audience that watches Modern Family every week, but neither did Tina Fey at first. Emmy voters tend to have excellent taste when it comes to recognizing voices who may need a little help getting heard. We think the Academy's sophistication level will match up with Lena’s often-crabby, always-poignant tone.
Stop thinking of Girls as The Lena Dunham Show, because it isn’t. What makes a truly outstanding comedy series is the ensemble — and not just the main cast, but the writers’ room, the directors, the guest stars (especially the recurring guest stars, which, on Girls’ first season, included Chris O’Dowd, Adam Driver, Andrew Rannells, James LeGros, and Kathryn Hahn), and most of all, the undefinable chemistry between the actors, the words, and the physicality of the characters’ interactions.
Plus, if you don’t think Lena herself is funny, have you ever stopped to notice Zosia Mamet’s nervous bedroom scenes? Or Jemima Kirke’s pronunciation of the phrase, “We’re like, best friends” in the pilot? Even in what was arguably Girls’ most somber montage, when Hannah took a train to nowhere (ie: the F train to Coney Island) and ate cake by herself as the sun came up, we couldn’t help but laugh at her unbearable circumstances. Here was the fragile star of this newbie series, dressed in dirty, mismatched morning-after wedding clothes, robbed of her money and purse (after, ahem, starting out the series robbing from strangers), and she still can’t stop herself from scarfing down whatever food is in front of her.
There’s an old saying that, in every joke, lies a little bit of truth. We think Girls marches beyond that comedy standby and drenches its jokes in the truth.
You don’t have to watch, or even like it. But we prefer the art of verbal volleyball over slapstick situational comedies. And Girls has the sharpest tongue of all.
The 2012 Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Molly Friedman is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @MollyFriedman.
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