Our dueling Emmy pundits Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (Awardsheaven.net) agree that "30 Rock" — which has four of the five nominations — will win best comedy writing. However, they disagree on which episode will prevail.
BEST COMEDY WRITING: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1. Robert Carlock, "30 Rock," "Apollo, Apollo"
2. Matt Hubbard, "30 Rock," "Reunion"
3. Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock, "30 Rock," "Kidney Now!"
4. James Bobin, Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie, "Flight of the Conchords," "Prime Minister"
5. Ron Weiner, "30 Rock," "Mamma Mia"
BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: The old theory of vote-splitting doesn't really hold up in the writing categories at the Emmy Awards. Often, when a show has multiple nominations, one of that show's episodes will walk away with the victory. I thought "Apollo, Apollo" from "30 Rock" was one of the two best episodes of any program this past season. Robert Carlock is the most prolific writer on that series (other than Tina Fey herself), so I think a victory by him would be well-earned. The "Reunion" episode was incredibly well written and has such a nice blend of characters and moments at Liz Lemon's high-school reunion. I wasn't all that thrilled with the season finale ("Kidney Now!") and thought it to be a bit bloated and underwhelming (more so the writing than the directing even).
If the voters want to reward another nominee for best comedy series like "Flight of the Conchords," this would be their best chance to win of the night (but I really don't think it would happen). The "Mamma Mia" episode was cute, but nothing all that memorable.
BEST COMEDY WRITING: ROB'S COMMENTARY
1. Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock, "30 Rock," "Kidney Now!"
2. Robert Carlock, "30 Rock," "Apollo, Apollo"
3. Ron Weiner, "30 Rock," "Mamma Mia"
4. Matt Hubbard, "30 Rock," "Reunion"
5. James Bobin, Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie, "Flight of the Conchords," "Prime Minister"
ROB'S COMMENTARY: Logic tells us that having four out of five episodes in this category will hurt "30 Rock" (the dreaded "vote-splitting" theory). But I don't think that will come into play with the particular voters judging this category. I think the "Conchords" are probably out of this, with this year's Emmy nomination leader "30 Rock" winning this, albeit with a big question mark as to which episode will triumph.
My vote would go to "Kidney Now!" as the standout – it's the season finale, it features lots of stars in the music industry and a big "We Are the World"-like musical number. This category is a bit of a toss-up.