Handicapping the 2010 Emmys: FOX’s Glee

Handicapping the 2010 Emmys: FOX’s Glee

July 5th, 2010

[This is part of a series of posts analyzing individual show’s chances at the Emmy Awards ahead of the nominations, which will be announced on July 8th. You can find all of my posts regarding the 2010 Emmy Awards here.]

While critics have been somewhat divided on Glee’s quality, they have been fairly consistent in terms of its importance to the current television landscape: with its unique business models and its nearly earth-shattering levels of hype, the fact of the matter is that Glee is a phenomenon, so in some ways it represents the ultimate test of how “success” measures with the Emmy Awards.

The show has a lot of things going for its beyond the metric ton of promotion surrounding the series’ first season: it has a breakout supporting performer in Jane Lynch, Broadway imports like leads Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele to lend its musical elements some credibility, and some meaningful messages about difference and humanity sharing space with its elaborate production numbers. While I’d argue that Lynch’s Sue Sylvester was inconsistently used, and that Morrison and Michele were overshadowed from a character perspective by Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley, and that its messaging was highly contradictory at various points, I think Glee is going to get an “A for Effort” by Emmy voters. Sure, the show isn’t perfect, but it’s doing so many interesting and potentially brilliant things that voters seeing only the episodes that work (the Pilot, “Wheels,” etc.) are probably going to look past smaller issues and focus on the parts of the series which brought it so much hype and success.

While part of the show’s appeal is its ensemble cast, FOX’s Emmy campaign has been pretty focused: Morrison and Michele have been labeled as leads and will contend in the category on the strength of their musical performances, while Lynch is the breakout “Comic” side of things and so is a shoo-in for a nomination and a likely favourite to win in the Supporting Actress category. For the most part, though, the more emotional storylines (like Kurt and his father, or Artie and his disability) are being lumped in with the series as a whole, a compliment to the musical performances which set the series apart. And to be fair, while I think Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley gave the series’ best performances, they weren’t particularly comic, although the same could be said for more or less everyone but Lynch and Heather Morris (whose Brittany was the series’ comic highlight in the back nine).

The series’ best chances for wins, to be honest, probably come in the Guest categories: Neil Patrick Harris, shut out for his work on How I Met Your Mother, gets a number of strong performances and a meaningful (but still funny) storyline in “Dream On,” while Kristin Chenoweth (who won for a quasi-musical role on Pushing Daisies last year) has a similar turn in “The Rhodes Not Taken” which is going to garner her a nomination. These roles manage to capture, within a single character, all of the things that make Glee work, which is not always true for the other characters (Michele’s Rachel, for example, only got to become a dramatic character when her birth mother was revealed, while Morrison’s dramatic material with his ex-wife was a series low point). I’ve often argued that Glee would work better without serial continuity, and these guest roles best capture that sort of fleeting, but powerful, emotional connection the series is going for.

The Glee being sold to voters is the Ryan Murphy-led Glee of “Wheels,” which is perhaps the smartest choice: while I prefer Brad Falchuk-led Glee (“Sectionals” and “Journey,” for example), FOX is trying to connect with voters’ emotions immediately, and the show’s finales are sort of dependent on you having some sort of attachment to the characters in question. The fact of the matter is that Glee is the kind of show which will create those emotional reactions for better or for worse, and I think it will play to its favour with voters: while it might be messy and inconsistent, that isn’t going to matter with Emmy voters who pop the screener into their DVD players and see something completely different than everything else on TV and anything that’s been on TV in the last decade.

And that’s going to go a long way for the show on Thursday morning.

Contender in:

  • Outstanding Comedy Series
  • Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Matthew Morrison)
  • Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Lea Michele)
  • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Jane Lynch)
  • Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Neil Patrick Harris)
  • Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Kristin Chenoweth)
  • Writing for a Comedy Series
  • Directing for a Comedy Series

Dark Horse in:

  • Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Chris Colfer)
  • Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Mike O’Malley)
  • Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Idina Menzel)

Should, but Won’t, Contend In:

  • Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Kevin McHale)
  • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Dianna Agron, Heather Morris)


Filed under Emmy Awards, Glee

6 responses to “Handicapping the 2010 Emmys: FOX’s Glee

  1. Gillianna

    I really, really hope Jane Lynch takes the Supporting Actress- I think she will quite easily though.

    Since HIMYM has been well below par this year, I seriously hope NPH gets the emmy for this- he deserves one.

  2. Jack

    I agree with most of your points. Except I would include Lea Michele as giving one of the best all-around performances on the show. Without her take on Rachel, the show and its female protagonist wouldn’t work.

    However, your inclusion of Dianna Agron in the “Should, but Won’t” category is puzzling. Her acting is subpar at its best, and her singing “talents” (if one were to call them that) are equally terrible.

  3. Frank

    I have to agree with Jack. Lea Michele’s Rachel is a very funny character and Lea knows when to bring the funny and when to tone it down. Lea not only does the comedy well, but pulls off the drama while dancing and well her singing is just something beyond special. Lea hasn’t been “labeled” the lead she is the lead in both the show and the glee club. This has been evident since the pilot.

    Rachel doesn’t have the one liners (well not as many) but her overall character is fun and even when she is in the background like during the episode Home her few lines and dressed as a cupcake were the highlights. And if you didn’t find Rachel’s dramatic turn in Run Joey Run funny than I can’t help you.

    I liked the Kurt storyline the first two times they did it but by the 4th time is was enough.

    As far as Dianna, I too think her acting is average at best. She seems like a sweetheart but in comparison to Lea and Jane, well there is no comparison.

    For instance, in Ballads, which should have been all Dianna in the dramatic portion of the show, I had very little sympathy in her crying scene when her father kicked her out, it was just not believable. Next scene a sweet one between Rachel and Mr Shue, embarrassed by her crush on her teacher, Rachel shed some tear and sniffles, turning her head from her teacher while her ensure her should would find a boy who liked her for who she was. Lea was brilliant and I felt her embarrassment. One situation of being kicked out of your home should have bowled people away, but no, Rachel’s bittersweet little scene of the took the show.

    Lea will get nominated and rightfully so, as will Jane but Jane will be the only one to get a win for glee.

  4. Joanie

    Kevina and Dianna really? I don’t think either have shown us they are emmy worthy.

    Jane definitely, Lea definitely.
    Matt not sure that comedic of a role.

    Chris yes, but his best moments were dramatic and well repeatative IMO.

    Of all the guest stars I’d go with Mike O’Malley even if it was more dramatic than comedic.

  5. Sandra

    I completely disagree with Jack and Frank. I think as much as Michele has been the anchor musically for Glee, Dianna Agron has been the emotional anchor as far as character driven plots go. Her acting is far superior to Lea Michele. Michele needs to realise she is infront of the camera and not a live audience. Too much gesticulation and projection and very little subtelty. If I were to submit episodes for Agron, I would submit Ballads &Journey. She did make me cry in Ballads.

    Chris Colfer is also good but he got a bit whiny and over emoting towards the end but those two are the stand out actors in the youngings.

    Jane is a shoo in but much as I love the show, I truly do not think they should get any other nomination than Lynch and O’Malley. With the competition out there, thats the only two they deserve for now. Perhaps if they submitted Journey for writing, then we can add that.

  6. Skrit

    Dianna Agron can sing. When your singing is judged alongside belters like Lea Michele, Amber Riley, Matthew Morrison and the unique Chris Colfer, it’s hard not to be judged harshly. I think she can sing. Besides, her acting is better than many of the better singers, so that makes her a good package for the show.

    I agree with Sandra regarding her emotional contribution to the show and turning what could have been a one dimensional high school bitchy character into a multi dimensional character that viewers can be invested in. That wasn’t due to the inconsistent writing of the Glee writers. It was down to Dianna Agrons acting and that makes her worthy of a nomination.

    Joanie, I think if you watch the 1st 13 episodes, you may remember why Kevin and Dianna are emmyworthy. The back 9 became the Rachel and Finn show, to the shows detriment.

    Lea should be nominated. As should Jane Lynch(which sadly means none for Dianna if there was ever a chance). Mike O’malley. The ensemble cast and the show as a whole. It can be much better but it has enough good moments to make it an alright show.

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