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Will 'Modern Family' end winning streak for '30 Rock' at the Emmys?

August 23, 2010 |  3:25 pm
Rob Licuria (AwardsHeaven) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum both believe that "Modern Family" will bump out "30 Rock" for best comedy series at the Emmy Awards. If "Modern Family" manages to keep "30 Rock" from a fourth consecutive win, the critically acclaimed comedy would join an esteemed group of shows to take TV's top honor for their freshman seasons. Among those laffers that managed this laudable feat: "All in the Family" (1971, the first of four wins); "Taxi" (1979, the first of three in a row); "Cheers" (1983, the first of four); "The Cosby Show" (1985); "The Golden Girls" (1986, the first of two in a row); "The Wonder Years" (1988); "Frasier" (1994, the first of a record five in a row); "Arrested Development" (2004); and, oh yes, "30 Rock" (2007).

Modern Family Promo Poster Season 1 COMEDY SERIES: ROB'S PREDIX
1. "Modern Family"
2. "30 Rock"
3. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
4. "Glee"
5. "Nurse Jackie"
6. "The Office"

ROB'S COMMENTARY: I could make an argument for all six series nominated in this category, as all chose strong episodes (with a couple of minor exceptions) that showcase each series in their best light. My expectation is that Academy members will be reluctant to award "The Office" because it was widely seen as having a substandard season, and although "Nurse Jackie" has six very strong and funny episodes on their reel, showcasing its excellent cast led by Emmy Queen Edie Falco, I still have a feeling that the show is too small and perhaps too “dramatic” to claim this prize with this level of competition.

"Glee" was probably the standout hit of the season, becoming an iTunes and Billboard phenomenon and top moneymaker for the Fox network. It started very strong, but after an extended hiatus midseason, I (and I suspect many others) felt that it did not return to the same form that it showed in its first batch of episodes. Some commentators began to tire of the formula for each episode, where it felt as though some episodes were written around the songs (instead of having the songs propel the story). I also think that out of its six chosen episodes, a couple of them were not the best that "Glee" had to offer.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" has its fans in the Academy, and it last season was undoubtedly its best, and most nostalgic, harkening back to the "Seinfeld" days. I don’t think it will win, however, because I think in terms of production values, it is a little slight in comparison to the other shows in the mix. Normally one would expect that "30 Rock" is the frontrunner, given its very “Inside Baseball” perspective, top notch writing, and Hollywood fave Tina Fey. But there have been murmurings that the show lost a little steam in its fourth season, which may affect its chances here. That being said, the six episodes on offer here are among its absolute best, so don’t be surprised if it wins its fourth Emmy here.

However, what other comedy series this year came storming out of the gate as a critical and commercial hit like "Modern Family" has. Almost unanimous praise from all quarters, with almost all of its main adult cast nominated, and the pedigree of Levitan and Lloyd behind the scenes. I think it might be time for some fresh blood to win this category, and I think this is it. My only caveat is that the six episodes chosen were not a perfect home run in my book. Will that hurt its chances? Possibly. So expect a photo finish with "30 Rock" here.

Modern Family Cast Photo Season 1 COMEDY SERIES: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1. "Modern Family"
2. "30 Rock"
3. "Glee"
4. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
5. "The Office"
6. "Nurse Jackie"

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY: I am not really sure why people are having trouble predicting the winner of this category, many of them unfortunately choosing the wrong one. Don't overthink the situation! In the same year that three-time victor "30 Rock" had a topsy-turvy season in terms of quality, the producers and crew of "Modern Family" created an amazingly funny comedy that not only is a throwback to traditional family favorites but jumps into lots of new frontiers as well. It feels fresh and new but comfortably familiar all wrapped up in a fun 30-minute package.

Most of the "30 Rock" episodes chosen for the judging panel are good ones, but I find it hard to believe that they will be rewarded yet again for a season that was creatively off balance. Looking at other tea leaves, you can also see that the show doesn't have nearly the same Emmy love, with far fewer nominations in the acting and writing categories. On the other hand, five out of six "Modern Family" adult actors were nominated, plus the series received very important nominations in other categories. I would be shocked if it does not win the top Emmy.

Most pop culture fans who do not follow Emmy history will certainly be surprised when "Glee" loses this race. It has all of the industry buzz, plus major Golden Globe and SAG victories. The Emmys are much different, however, and I remember other buzzy, hourlong shows ("Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty") that piled up the nominations but couldn't win the comedy series award. The only one that accomplished this was "Ally McBeal," but it was written and produced by one of Emmy's all-time favorites, David E. Kelley. Even if voters were seriously considering "Glee," the show's producers submitted only three great episodes and three mediocre ones.

I would not mind at all if "Curb Your Enthusiasm" finally won this category. It doesn't have a directing or writing nomination, so that would be a huge uphill battle that only one show ("Friends") was able to ever accomplish. Nobody thinks that "The Office" is still producing the same type of quality work that it offered its first few seasons. Showtime should be very proud to have "Nurse Jackie" among the nominees.

Top photo: "Modern Family" promotional poster. Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: "Modern Family" cast photo. Credit: ABC

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