Emmys 2011: Sizing Up the Best Comedy Race — And Sharing Our Dream Nominees

Summertime isn’t all about pool parties and picnics — at least not here at TVLine. No, for us this week marks the official start of Emmy season, seeing as the nomination process is about to begin, culminating in the July 14 reveal of who did/didn’t got a nod. In the coming days, we’ll be taking a close look at all the contenders in the major races and highlighting our dream candidates — the six shows and performers in each category that we think voters should recognize when they fill out their ballots.

First up: Outstanding Comedy Series. This year, to put it mildly, the competition is no laughing matter. For starters, the showdown between Glee and Modern Family is more intense then ever, as the ABC comedy tries to match the Fox musical’s back-to-back Golden Globes victories with its own consecutive Emmy win. Also, if one or more of a trio of buzzed-about up-and-comers — Community, Parks and Recreation and/or Cougar Town — sneak into the running, that would shake things up as much as seeing an Emmy stalwart — say, 30 Rock or The Office — get bumped by one of Showtime’s female-skewing dramedies. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ Globes-nominated The Big Bang Theory finally scoring itself an Emmy nod.

Ready to dive in? Review this slideshow of contenders — including our half-dozen Dream Nominees — then vote for your own favorite six below. And check back tomorrow for our review of the Lead Actress in a Comedy race!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Paul says:

    The Top Comedy of the year was Louie on FX. Way To Go and not even have it on here.

    • V says:

      Louie is extremely funny. WAY funnier than this season of 30 Rock and HIMYM COMBINED lol. I think team TV line just doesn’t watch it lol.

    • bhm1304 says:

      “Louie” should be on the list as well as the other two FX comedies that didn’t get a mention, “The League” and “Archer”; shows you know aren’t going to make you cry or take seriously. Shows with good writers that can make you laugh without just churning up old stock material like most shows on this boring list.

  2. Mike says:

    MF is the clear cut winner I feel

  3. mawhi says:

    My six… if only:

    Parks and Recreation
    Modern Family
    Cougar Town (which I don’t watch yet, just going off what I’ve heard)
    The Office

  4. scorpo says:

    Didn’t Cougar Town just finish its second season, not its third?

  5. Mel says:

    PSYCH!!!! Just saying funniest show around town that is made up of miniature sized buildings in which i can crush in a Godzilla like homage

  6. torontogirl98 says:

    I only have one request do not let 30Rock or Glee win, overrated shows that have nothing on spectacular shows like P&R and Community!

  7. Katherine says:

    How I Met Your Mother and Parks & Rec need to be nominated. How I Met Your Mother had such a strong and satisfying season this year and Parks & Rec had a consistently funny season. The Office was an improvement over last year, and there are definitely some strong episodes to feature.

    Glee really doesn’t deserve the nomination, but it will most likely receive one anyway. Modern Family was less funny this year than the last, but still better than many other comedies on television. Not sure about that last spot, but it will probably go to 30 Rock (which did have a stronger season this year)

  8. tad says:

    Why is nobody mentioning Drop Dead Diva? Have we suddenly forgotten about how awesome and hysterical that show is? I know it really doesn’t have much of a chance because it is on Lifetime which seems a shame because it has proven to be a great show with such a fantastic ensemble. Brooke Elliot for sure deserves a nomination for best Actress in a Comedy Series. If that show were on this list, it would have gotten one of my spots for sure. Oh well, I guess it will be forced to be relegated to one of those shows that will perenially be ignored by the Emmys (which is a pretty good crowd to be in, really).

  9. Mafalda says:

    30 Rock with an amazing redeeming season,
    Parks & Recreation with a completely flawless season,
    Modern Family, not as good as the previous season but still pretty good
    Community with some soberb episodes
    Cougar Town, the dark horse but still damn good
    and i’d love to see Episodes get a nomination, but Glee is way more likely although for me it’s still not a comedy. That said Shameless has to have some kinda recognition but it’s more likely to come to Emmy Rossum or William H. Macy.

    • Jeremy M. Boegel says:

      Supposedly SHAMELESS is getting submitted into the Drama categories – At least that’s what I’ve heard! – and so Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy have shots in the Lead Actress and Actor in a Drama categories, respectively. I don’t know why its going in the Drama categories, it seems like another Showtime “Dramedy” (a la NURSE JACKIE). I’ve never seen it as I don’t get Showtime, but by what I’ve heard its interesting if it gets any Drama nominations.

  10. ann says:

    PARKS AND RECREATION – Hoping for a nomination and the win

    I used to be a big fan of Modern Family, but it has become incredibly inconsistent. Season 2 has been too hit or miss to deserve a win.

    To be frank, Glee does NOT deserve to be nominated, but it will be. I have no idea why this terribly written show is such a critic favorite..

    30 Rock is a tremendously well-written show. It deserves a nomination.

  11. Sarah El says:

    COMMUNITY FOR SURE. Funniest show on tv IMO.
    Chuck for another (mostly) solid season of excellence.
    The Big Bang Theory for a generally strong season.
    Modern Family for another generally strong season.

  12. Crittle says:

    I think deserves a nomination, its not as good as the early seasons, but its still pretty darn good and its kinda sad its been largely ignored.

  13. melissa says:

    parks and rec, parks and rec, parks and rec. enough said.

  14. Boiler says:

    where are Better with You and Mad Love???

  15. Sally says:

    If Glee gets a nomination over Community this season I will rage. Season 2 of Glee was horrible beyond means.

  16. wonj says:

    Remember when “Desperate Housewives” (yes a “comedy” in it’s first two seasons) was a SHOE-IN to get nominated for EVERYTHING in its second season. What happened? Oh yeah, second season was not a strong, and it got shut out of a LOT of categories.

    Glee’s had a very similar popularity tracking chart and equally if not more lack-luster second season. I would not be surprised if it DID get shut out come Emmy time. If only the gods would be so sweet! Show has just been terrible, and nowhere near it’s peak of the first 13 episodes.

  17. Jem says:

    PARKS AND RECREATION has a batting average of 1.0 this season. It’s hilarious but not at the expense of the characters. It’s sweet but not overly so. Season 3 has been perfect and I wonder how long can Mike Schur and co. keep this up for. It SHOULD get nominated and it SHOULD win, but it WON’T.

    It probably won’t even get an Emmy nomination – boo to you Emmy voters and their closemindedness – but as long as the fans and critics appreciate it, that’s all that matters to me. Hopefully that’s all that matters to NBC. Wishful thinking, I know.

  18. Emily says:

    Community, definitely.

    Even though I love Glee, I honestly hope it doesn’t get nominated. It would be a wake up call to the writers, and get them to start making it funny again like it was in season 1. It used to be so different and outstanding, and now it is run of the mill.

  19. sladewilson says:

    Shameless should’ve been on here. With that said, Modern Family – FTW…

  20. Jess says:

    LOVE Raising Hope. I like Martha Plimpton but to me the real star is Garret Dillahunt. The man is hysterical. :)

    • Jess says:

      Oh and the babies who play Hope. Those girls are amazing actors. Their reaction shots are really funny!

  21. VBarkley says:

    My 6, in this order:

    1. Chuck
    2. Parks & Recreation
    3. The Middle
    4. Raising Hope
    5. The Big C (it’s a comedy???)
    6. Modern Family

    Actually, I would have been fine with just voting on my top 2. Chuck and Parks & Recreation were pretty near perfect this season; the other, not so much. As for Glee, when was it funny? A lot of it was unbearable this season. And The office, well, The Office just breaks my heart. I can honestly say this show once singlehandedly changed not only the face of TV comedy, but also my life, and now … now it’s just … sad. So very sad.

  22. Ella says:

    Am I the only one who would love to see Chuck get a nomination?

  23. T says:

    Where’s Archer? or Happy Endings both seriously funny!

  24. TJ says:

    My Six:
    1: Parks and Rec
    2: Archer (Only slightly behind P&R)
    4:Modern Family
    5: Psych
    6: Happy Endings/Cougar Town(too hard to choose)

  25. Kelly says:

    I think Raising Hope was excellent… well written and a few laugh out loud moments per episode. I love a lot of the other shows, but I wasn’t expecting much from Raising Hope and it far exceeded my expectations, whereas I found that a lot of the other shows (including Big Bang Theory, How I met your mother, Glee etc..) only had so-so years.

    • JenaM says:

      i agreee. i always end up watching “Hope” because it’s after “Glee.” It’s under-reported for how genuinely laugh-out-loud funny it is. I love “Glee” but it isn’t very funny and never really was.”Glee” deserves an “Emmy” for sure for the Kurt/Burt, Kurt/David and Santana/Brittainy story lines but not because it’s funny because it isn’t. Too bad there isn’t a “Best Musical Dramedy” catagory.

  26. A says:

    I’m baffled at what people find funny nowadays. Glee is not funny. Modern Family, HIMYM, and The Office are overrated. Parks and Rec is probably the funniest network comedy.

    But really they are all nothing compared to It’s Always Sunny. My only explanation is that most people don’t watch it, cause it’s the funniest show on TV since Arrested Development was cancelled. And how is Curb Your Enthusiasm not nominated? Californication? The actual funny shows on TV are never mentioned for some reason.

    • Christine says:

      Do you watch Community? Because I love most of the shows you mentioned and I absolutely LOVE Community. It’s hands down my favorite comedy on right now. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should!

      • V says:

        Agreed. If you loved Arrested Development (who didn’t? lol) you will LOVE Community :)

      • V says:

        I am so glad to see that Community, Modern Family and Parks & Rec are dominating this poll. EMMY VOTERS, don’t succumb to the pressure and let go of 30 ROCK. IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!! :p

  27. Bill says:

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, I guess no one watches it (it is on FX afterall) because it’s way, way funnier than every other show. Unless you get offended easily.

  28. heather says:

    Big Bang is the funniest show of them all. IMHO. But then it would have the be Mike and Molly,The Middles is good for some solid laughs. That’s about it for my comedy. Well,no,not quite,The Mentalist is funny. Jane just cracks me up!

  29. jules says:

    The two front runners from last year, Glee and Modern Family will be locks no matter what. I’m also sure that constant nominees 30 Rock and The Office will be back as well. The other two nominees are the one up in the air. I’m pulling for Big Bang theory and Parks and Rec, but would also be happy with Raising Hope being in there as well. Who really knows what the Emmy voters will nominate, but I can’t wait to find out!

  30. Community was hands-down the absolute best and most innovative comedy this past season, followed by Parks & Recreation in a close 2nd. Modern Family had a sub-par year to follow its superb first season. I am crossing my fingers that the Academy will not be skewed by ratings and popularity.

  31. Justin says:

    My favorite six, in order, are:
    1. Modern Family
    2. Parks and Recreation
    3. Cougartown
    4. The Big Bang Theory
    5. Chuck
    6. The Office
    Truthfully, I would put MF and Parks and Rec in a tie for 1st since they’re both the best comedies on tv right now. These two, in my opinion, should be the frontrunners for best comedy. Whichever one won wouldn’t matter to me.

  32. maggie says:

    if glee gets a nomination over basically any other show, i’ll know that something is wrong with the emmys. glee was horrifically bad this year and honestly, it hasn’t been good since the first half of the first season. it’s so bad sometimes i want to cry and throw stuff at my tv

  33. amy says:

    The Vampire Diaries should be nominated.

  34. kika says:

    COUGAR TOWN beacuse it’s funny as hell, It’s not about cougars anymore (juste the 6 first episodes) it’s about Friends, Whine, Crazyness, crazy songs, dances, Love….People watch the show!!!!!!!! This show is so underrated! Best finale this year!

    2.The Big Bang Theory

    3.How I Met Your Mother

    Glee is not funny for me

    but again, it will be the same show to be nominated and win
    It’s so predictable

  35. S says:

    Sooooooooo…..Im the only one to vote for United States of Tara! lol and Nurse Jackie

  36. Danny says:

    Has no one has seen “Episodes” ? For a season of 7 episodes.. I really thought it was very funny and smart..

  37. Sharada says:

    Should be: BBT, Community, Cougar Town, Modern Family, Parks and Rec, The Office (only because the end of the reign of Micheal Scott deserves, at the very least, a tip of the hat)
    Will be: 30 Rock, The Office, Glee, Modern Family, Nurse Jackie, Curb (or MAYBE Parks and Rec)

  38. Sheikia says:

    1. Community
    2. Parks and Rec.
    3. Modern Family
    4. 30 Rock
    5. Glee
    6. Big Bang Theory

    Community SHOULD win.
    Modern Family WILL win.

  39. Marina Augusto says:


  40. bhm1304 says:

    This list is bullsh#t. Where are the F/X comedies “Louie”, “The League”, and/or “Archer”? If you’re going to include the p.o.s. “Family Guy” you have to include a cartoon that could legitimately compete for best comedy. “Archer” is in so many ways superior to “Chuck” as well. “The League” is one of the funniest, most original ideas for a comedy on television with great scripts that are actually funny. Where is “Shameless”? Where is “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” that just finished its final run? Where is the Chris Elliott Adult Swim tour de force “Eagleheart”? Where is “Psych” which had a fantastic season? Where are the good HBO comedies “Bored to Death” and “Hung”? I guess they should have said vote on TV Line’s staffs favorite comedies.

  41. Patton says:

    Raising Hope is hilarious. Very underrated, but has great writing. Once you start laughing, you don’t stop until the end of the episode. I also agree about Community, TBBT, Parks and Modern F.

  42. juli says:

    “Community” should be nominated; but, I think, “Parks and Rec” should win

  43. Kristen says:

    I’m one of the biggest 30 Rock fans, but even I have to give this race to Parks and Rec. This season has been BRILLIANT.

  44. Soso says:

    #1 Parks & Recreation
    #2 Modern Family
    #3 Community
    #4 The Big C
    #5 Hot In Cleveland
    #6 It’s always sunny in philly

  45. Sabrina says:

    Season 3 of Parks and Recreation has been absolutely flawless, and it deserves to win for best comedy, as well as a best actress in a comedy series for Amy Poehler!

    I also love to see Community and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia get nominated as well!

  46. Todd says:

    “Archer” should be on that list. It exceeded everything else on television.

  47. Jo says:

    Although United States of Tara is no comedy (I don’t entirely think Showtime knows what a comedy program is…), it has been wonderful this season, in my opinion. It’s been one of the best in a while and they cancel it. My bitterness aside, I do think it deserves nominations. And Nurse Jackie, on the other hand, has been really disappointing this season. Nothing much seems to happy and the addition of the new nurse has done nothing.
    Chuck, as always, gets better every season. 30 Rock, as has been mentioned, has really recovered. And Matt Damon was simply wonderful. Please say he’ll be up for nomination within the guest area? He had me laughing the most.
    Big Bang was mostly funny and had some brilliant episodes this season.
    Glee had moments of brilliance but doesn’t deserve another Emmy.

  48. laulau says:

    i think that the key is in the episodes they submit
    glee has had rollercoaster season, but they’ve had some really good episodes wich could get them at least a nomination
    parks and rec has had the best season between all shows this year so i hope that at least they get a nomination
    TBBT and HIMYM both had really solid seasons, so i’m hoping for a nod
    modern family was much better during its first season….this second one was like glee, much like a rollercoaster
    and cougar town should get a nom too.
    my picks: parks and rec, glee, cougar town, TBBT, HIMYM and the final slot to any other show
    hoping parks and rec wins
    i don’t follow comunnity, or chuck or any of the others, so i cam’t say anything lol

  49. Kate says:

    Parks and Rec should sweep the comedy awards! It has been so amazing and consistently funny these last two seasons. I can’t think of another cast where every character is as loveable and hilarious! They very much deserve the recognition!

  50. Maddie says:

    My votes went to:
    1. Community
    2. Parks and Rec
    3. Modern Family
    4. 30 Rock
    5. How I Met Your Mother
    6. The Office
    I think Community is the most deservingg of winning, but really it will barley get nominated if it gets nominated at all. My bet is on either Modern Family or 30 Rock.