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. D says:

    Stop submitting Weeds as a comedy, Showtime.

  2. Alexia says:

    GLEE, Come on! Glee all the way :)

  3. Ange says:

    Voted “Chuck” because it is AWESOME!!!

  4. Alex says:

    CHUCK IS WINNING!!!!!!! YAY! (Chuck is my life- becuase of Adam Baldwin) Vote Chuck!

  5. Tony says:

    Dream List:
    – I think you should vote CHUCK!! plz.

  6. Laugh says:

    PSYCH!!!!! They really deserve a nomination.

  7. jess says:

    LOL the two shows who are the the first is not the pure comedy for me, I like Chuck but not the best comedy and glee I hate it

    So for me : Cougar Town, HIMYM, The Big Bang Theory, Parks & Recreation, Community, Modern Family

  8. Didesola says:


  9. Hannah says:

    Glee should deffinently win! Its my favorite tv show. I love it. I went to the concert. My favorite is Sam. Glee !!!!

  10. 41 says:

    my picks:

    The funniest and most innovative comedy on TV now, in my opinion, with sharp writing and well-defined characters. How this didn’t get nominated last season, I don’t know, but it needs to WIN this season. the only one that I’d be fine winning over it would be…

    I didn’t think Parks and Rec could top its amazing second season, but it did. The third season was damn near flawless — even its lesser episodes, like “Time Capsule” and “Ron and Tammy II,” were still filled with hilarious lines and heart. I honestly think P&R should win the OCS Emmy — it’s more consistent than Community (which I love more, for the record) and more, for lack of a better term, ‘marketable’ to the Glee/Modern Family/Big Bang Theory-loving Academy.

    I have no idea how this show is even classified as a ‘dramedy’ anymore — its absolute best moments are dramatic, ranking up with the best of any drama. Still, showtime wants to pretend they’re unique or whatever, I can’t control that, and that doesn’t change the fact that United States of Tara is one of the best shows on TV today. Toni Collette is amazing in her role(s), which she won a well-deserved Emmy for two years ago, and the writing, while occasionally bordering on twee (it’s Diablo Cody, what do you expect?), is generally excellent. If any Showtime show is going to get nominated, I hope it’s US of Tara and not the shrill Big C, lackluster Nurse Jackie, or why-is-it-still-on-air Weeds.

    This show needs a title change. It’s not about cougars (though a show about the puma type of cougar would be cool), at least, not anymore; rather, it’s a touching, witty and well-written ensemble comedy about a group of friends living in a Florida cul-de-sac. By the end of its first season, Cougar Town had already surpassed its ratings-endowed lead-in Modern Family to become the best show of the night.

    Always Sunny should have won years ago. This wasn’t even its best season and it was still better than most shows out there. Always Sunny is raunchy and offensive and refreshingly real, with characters you can’t help but hate. Seriously — if I met these characters, I would want to do terrible things to them because they’re horrible people. But damn, this show is funny. I’d like to see it nominated, though I know it’d never happen.

    6. 30 ROCK
    Yeah, I know, it’s old and doesn’t deserve to win, give Chuck a chance cause it’s the best show ever and it deserves to win! (to the hordes who are saying that — really?), but 30 Rock is still funny and it’s rebounded immensely from its mediocre fourth season and uneven third. It’s still one of my favorite shows and since I know it’s going to get nominated I might as well have one play-it-safe show on my list.


    What’s probably gonna actually happen:

    30 ROCK

    Such is life.

    • Jake says:

      I love your picks! I would have switched Always Sunny with the newer FX comedy Louie, but Always Sunny is still better than any of the shows that will get nominated (Glee, Modern Family, The Big C or even worse The Big Bang Theory or Hot in Cleveland. Oh the horror..) Not sure who I’d pick between Parks & Rec or Community because they are both fantastic. I guess Community had most momentum creatively while Parks & Rec has the most consistent plotting. I really wish shows like USoT and Cougar Town would even be considered given how terrific they both are (and not necessarily just as comedies), but given that this category suggests actual laughs, I would love to see an actually funny sitcom win this year like Community or Parks.

  11. LoveMeSomeCougarTown says:

    LOVE THIS SHOW! Deserves the nom. Can’t wait for Season 3!

  12. Linda says:

    GLEE IS NOT A COMEDY!! In the words of GOB “C’MON!!!”

  13. Mishal says:

    I thought Glee’s second season was amazing, but not for its comedic moments which were few and kind of stupid (see: the Justin Bieber experience). I think Parks and Rec and actually The Office had really good seasons.

  14. Liz says:

    I am a fan of glee, but I do not think the writing is strong enough for it to be nominated, in whatever category. Some of the actors should be recognized for their acting, but in general the writing was poor this season. The plots were all over the place, and I even started to lose interest in the musical numbers they performed. My six would be: Community, Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, Couger Town, 30 rock, and Big Bang Theory. I hope Parks and Rec or Community wins!

  15. ricky says:

    I vite the Hulu’s best show,…Chuck!!!

  16. jenn says:

    Chuck! Chuck deserves at the least a nomination. It
    always makes you laugh.

  17. jackie says:

    glee, united states of tara, weeds, etc. are not comedies. they might have a few jokes in there, but they are dramas. they take away votes from deserving COMEDIES.

  18. henry says:

    gooo chuck gooooooooo =)

  19. scsj says:

    Parks and Rec and Modern Family were both pretty much flawless this season, but Modern Family won last year, so I think it’s P&R’s turn. Glee is terrible. I don’t understand why it gets attention. It’s a badly written show that professes to be about “being yourself” and “being proud of who you are” while simultaneously perpetuating every stereotype it can find. Also it’s not funny.

  20. juan says:

    Cougar Town truly needs to get nominated, it was truly one of the funniest, smartest, and well written series this season and I laughed hard in every episode. The show Courtney Cox and Busy Phillips should def. be nominated at least.

  21. Lulu says:

    Honestly, I think The Big Bang Theory or How I met your mother deserve to win. They’re both AMAZING shows and there’s been a lot of surprises, comedy and drama in both tv shows. Especially in How I met your mother; with the death of Marshall’s father and the Barnery’s reunion with his father.

  22. joe says:

    In a fair world it would be a battle between Community and Parks and Rec for the title of best comedy

    Glees not even a true comedy, nor is it anything close to its source material, show choir.

  23. Amber says:

    Chuck all the way!

  24. mitali says:

    1)Big Bang Theory,2) Modern Family and 3)Parks and Rec in order of ranking.
    Glee is extremely stupid. A complete no-no.

  25. Spencer says:

    Why the heck isn’t Archer on this list? I was thinking because it’s animated, then I saw Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, really?! Archer is at the very least top 3 on my list, I think I would put it at number 1 to be honest. It’s really really difficult to beat a spy action thriller smashed together at the core with a witty ass hole of a lead character who does everything how he wants and wrong but somehow still manages to have it all work out to boost his ego. Amazing supporting characters as well, Cheryl’s development, along with post-Lana Cyril, continue to be phenomenal.

    If I’m not entirely sober, It’s Always Sunny is the hands down winner because Dennis is just such an ass hole. On my break from work I went home and watched Season 5s The Gang Gets a New Member, and Schmitty was exactly where I imagine myself if inserted into that group of people haha. Too funny.

    While I have not seen Community, or Parks and Recreation, which I will explore both of upon entering my house, my list resides as such:

    1. Archer I dont care if its not a selection.
    2. HIMYM – I don’t care if other people find it incredible for their own reasons or bandwagon it, after all, i started watching them all this year, still one of the funniest shows.
    3. It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia
    4. Chuck – While I enjoy this as a show more than nearly everything else, in terms of comedy, I find it funny, but the 3 above it hysterical.

    I’m sure the 2 shows I am going to watch will enter my list so I will select them for voting purposes.