Emmys

Emmys 2012: The Comedy Series Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

This season was a successful one for freshman comedies, with a whopping seven broadcast half-hour series making it to a second season, led by breakouts 2 Broke Girls and New Girl, as well as several cable newbies, including HBO’s Veep and Girls. They will likely make the Emmy race more interesting, but it will be hard for newcomers to challenge reigning best series winner, ABC’s Modern Family. Coming off wins two years in a row, and still delivering the goods, ABC’s comedy juggernaut, the highest-rated series on television, remains the one to beat. Its competition includes three critically praised, but ratings-challenged NBC series, 30 Rock, which is nearing the end of its run, Parks and Recreation and Community.

More Emmy Races In Review | Outstanding Drama Series | Lead Drama Actor | Lead Drama Actress | Supporting Drama Actor | Supporting Drama Actress | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress | Outstanding Reality-Competition Series | Outstanding Movie/Miniseries

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the six best. And check back Friday as we tackle the comedy actor race!

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GET MORE: Awards, Dream Emmy Nominees, Emmys, Lists

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189 Comments
  1. Alexis says:

    I didn’t vote for Modern Family and I’m totally ok with that!

    • JB says:

      I never understood the hype. Its not that funny overall. There are definitely fall off your chair moments but few and far between

    • jenna says:

      I’m a huge modern family fan but I’m not voting for them (I guess out of spite?) because I think it was overkill last year

    • Taylor says:

      I think Modern Family is overrated too. The only time I liked it was when Shelley Long guest starred on it. Otherwise, I don’t like any of the other characters. I can’t relate to them nor do I find them funny. To me, the best sit-com on TV right now is Parks & Recreation. Not only is it funny, but I like the characters. And this was probably the best season ever. I liked the whole “campaign” thing this past season. If Parks & Recreation doesn’t win then the Emmys are a joke.

  2. T. says:

    Yeah right, because Glee was funny this year. It looked more like The Young and the Restless than the Glee we knew in season 1.
    I liked Cougar Town, Happy Endings and New Girl. Modern Family will probably end up winning again though.

    • guest says:

      A show doesn’t have to be funny to be good. People are under this impression that “Best Comedy” means “Funniest Show” but that’s not it at all. A show can have funny jokes and be poorly written. Best Comedy is best written show with a lighthearted approach which Glee fits. Unfortunately, season two was such a failure people love to kick Glee so much that they didn’t even bother to notice what an improvement this season was. The stories were consistent, the episodes were solid (I can name the number of bad episodes on one hand) and the finale was the most satisfying conclusion in the series. I could see not liking it if you’re not a Finn/Rachel fan but this was the best season yet in my opinion and it’s sad that it won’t ever get the recognition it deserves because it’s not “cool” to like Glee anymore. That’s fine, go ahead and praise Modern Family which has kicked around the same fives jokes for three years now.

      • Paul says:

        Modern Family finds new ways to make me laugh on a weekly basis. I love Glee and Modern Family and I’d be satisfied to see either win.

      • sam says:

        i couldn’t agree with you more — the season before this season was an absolute train wreck and there was like a night and day difference between this past season and the second season — there were actual storylines and the music actually related to the storylines — so many great moments this year. This has been the best year since the first 13 episodes and it should be nominated.

      • I totally agree with you, what an amazing critic! I love Glee, and this season was so much better than the season 2 , !

      • R says:

        It’s hilarious how you say Glee is well-written……you’re clearly not a writer. I am, and I can say, for the most part, the writing is terrible. The last 2 episodes this season really shined, but previous to that…..let’s just say if Glee gets another nomination this year for best series, the Emmys have become a huge joke. Glee’s best hope for a nomination is in Jane Lynch for supporting actress.

      • JustMy2Cents says:

        I LOVE Modern Family. I’m a HUGE fan of Community and Parks & Rec and would never miss these shows, and would likely name them my very favorites on TV. With that said, Glee was good this year. Not just okay, not ‘meh,’ but a damn good show. The writing was significantly improved from the subpar Season 2, the songs were great, the acting solid. Is it the best on TV? No, I don’t think I’d make that argument, but it was a very strong season.

      • murley says:

        totally agree that hating on glee in the new national pastime. personally I want to see parks and rec take home the emmy but glee’s funny moments, particularly dialog, makeme laugh out loud as much as anything else on that list. glee does drama, comedy and musical theatre week after week and trying to balance that with doing service to the characters and staying relevant to pop culture is no easy feat. when what you do is risky there are bound to be things that hit and things that miss and I don’t think glee gets nearly enough credit for how often they hit the mark. and i don’t think their comedic writing is where they fall short.

  3. Phoebe says:

    30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Happy Endings, Louie, Parks & Rec and Veep – with Parks winning is my dream scenario.

    • Lili says:

      My choices are:
      PARKS AND RECREATIONS (NBC) – they spent the entire season campaigning. they HAVE to win!
      VEEP (HBO) – it is a shame that everybody will act like Julia IS the show. she’s brilliant – but so is everybody else in it.
      WILFRED (FX) – it is in the race, right? this show is even bolder than HBO’s Girls. And it does not show you parts of the actor’s bodies you definitively don’t wanna see!
      THE MIDDLE (ABC) – my favorite comedy from ABC, it only gets better!

      The last two won’t be nominated, I’m sure. But I’ll be glad to see 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Office – my favorite TV show -, Community, Girls, Louie… making the list… any show but the short dramas from Showtime. Please, no Nurse Jackie and no cancer.

    • Kat says:

      Love your list Phoebe. The only difference I had was Community instead of Louie, but I love Louie too so they’re kind of interchangeable.

  4. salim says:

    lets be honest, happy ending will not get a nomination, it has to been in the game for atleast 2 to 3 year then get nommed like himym. wait speaking of himym why is it not on the list?????

  5. Craig says:

    So you have Enlightened on there but not Apt 23. Respectfully, that makes zero sense

    • Shannon says:

      I wonder if it is because Apt. 23 only aired 7 episodes??? Is there a set number that needs to have aired to be considered for nomination? Not that I know but I was just thinking that since Apt. 23 had such a short 1st season maybe they didn’t have enough material that they would even be in the running. But I agree that Apt. 23 is great. It will be nice to see how it progresses when it comes back for more episodes!

  6. Phoebe says:

    I was happy for Modern Family the past 2 years, but I don’t think this season was quite as good. And so many other fab shows deserve the recognition.

  7. sasha says:

    Oh God stop with Modern family, others shows deserves it & some more! I love TBBT but they win too so for me Cougar Town as an ensemble show they’re are so great

    • Sam says:

      TBBT is not as funny as it used to be, but it’s better than some shows on this list. Plus they have the added bonus of having an incredibly talented cast.

  8. Taylor says:

    if community doesn’t at least get nominated, i’m going to be so mad. this season was amazing.

  9. I love Glee, but I don’t think it fits in this category…

    • Sam says:

      I’d rather have Glee be listed as a comedy than a drama. There’s no dramedy category or a musical dramedy one so we have to settle for having it clog up all the comedy categories.

  10. Craig says:

    Love how everyone feels its cool to beat up on MF and then want to nominate Enlightened and Veep over it. More insanity

  11. Dr. Bombay says:

    As much as I still enjoy Modern Family, it’s definitely time for Parks and Recreation to win. And I’d be okay with 30 Rock winning again after a huge rebound season.

    • Tenney says:

      I completely agree. This season of MF wasn’t as funny as the previous seasons but I still enjoy watching it and 30 Rock really came back strong this past season. My hope is that Parks & Rec gets a nod and the win. It just somehow keeps getting better and better. I would love Community to get nominated also. That show is just strange blend of odd comedic genius!

  12. JoannePistonFan says:

    I voted for Archer under “other.” All hail Pam Poovey!

    • B says:

      That’s a very under-appreciated show…it’s one of the few that consistently requires me to pause and rewind to hear something that I missed due to my laughter drowning out the follow up lines.

    • Thari says:

      Me too! This show was the highlight of the year comedy-wise. Every single episode was laugh out loud funny. I nearly died watching ‘Lo Scandola’, I was laughing so hard and almost choked on a pretzel haha!

    • murley says:

      that is a long shot for sure but I would be so excited if archer was nominated. that shows is so g.d. hilarious.

  13. Community, HIMYM, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, Cougar Town and Happy Endings…. Am I a dreamer or what?? Enough with Modern Family!! This season was not good at all… and if 30 Rock or The Office are nominated again over Community I don’t know what I’ll do

  14. K says:

    Community and Parks & Rec. They both were great this year.

  15. LilAngel says:

    Glee (and Cougar Town too)

  16. JB says:

    How on earth is 2 Broke Girls not on this list? Best comedy on TV

  17. Petra says:

    No Episodes?

  18. A.J. says:

    Glee is awful, and shouldn’t even have the honor of being considered a comedy. And Modern Family is way overhyped these days. I watch most of these shows, so it was hard to pick just six. But my first love, 30 Rock, is definitely my top pick. Community and Parks & Rec, absolutely. I have surprised myself in how much I love Happy Endings and New Girl, and I couldn’t choose between Louie/Veep/Girls, so I just picked 5.

  19. MP says:

    I don’t watch any of these shows.

  20. Jess says:

    It’s somewhat disturbing that I’m watching 90% of these. what can I say? I like my comedies. I’m really crossing my fingers for Parks & Rec (!), Happy Endings, TBBT, and Community. I’m even warming up to 30 rock again after the past couple of seasons, but that might be because Tina Fey’s Bossypants has endeared the cast (and crew) to me. A few others on the list entertain me but I just don’t think are quite emmy material. To each their own.

  21. sasha says:

    oh and Glee for me it’s NOT a comedy sorry but no so stop with glee, modern family & I loved HIMYM but the fiest season were the best

  22. heather_kaye says:

    Interesting that Chuck is on this list – don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it, but I never thought of it as a Comedy…interesting.

    Quite frankly, I think Happy Endings and Parks and Rec are the only shows that have distinguished themselves this season. (Haven’t seen Veep, so: caveat) Can they do this like Pulitzer and just give it if there’s something to reward?

  23. Sawyer says:

    Chuck….always Chuck…

  24. I’d still like to see Glee get some kind of recognition for what they do (as always as the show can be, it does have it’s moments) but definitely nothing COMEDY related.

    Parks and Rec all the way. It’s disgusting that it’s always ignored. But of course, we’re gearing up for the Modern Family Awards, so… (Which is ironic considering how the show has fallen).

  25. Danny says:

    Come on Community and Parks & Rec! Let’s kick som generic comedy ass!

  26. Fed Up says:

    Not even an acknowledgement of The Middle? Will pass on your poll.

  27. EvaPapa says:

    Should be nominated: Parks and Rec, VEEP, New Girl, Community, and Cougar Town
    Will be nominated: Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, Girls and Louie

  28. maf23 says:

    What about Raising Hope?

  29. Michael K. says:

    How can you mention 2 Broke Girls and then not give us the option to vote for it? It can’t be because its new – New Girl is there………

  30. soarin829 says:

    5 of the 6 I voted for are in the lead (for now)! Woo! If only this were the real thing…
    The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, Happy Endings, New Girl, and Modern Family.

  31. Becks says:

    I love lots of these comedies, but Parks and Rec sticks out as the best for me this season. Particularly the latter half, those episodes involving the election were outstanding.

  32. bob says:

    How can New Girl be on the list? It’s not even funny. There must be a lot of hipster around here to have so much vote.

    • Jenn says:

      I’m a 45 year old mother of two living in the burbs in a small state, I don’t even know what a “hipster” is. (Seriously, someone tell me!) My point is this: I LOVE NEW GIRL! I think it’s by far the funniest show on TV. Just sayin…..

    • Shannon says:

      I’m sorry but New Girl is hilarious! I was worried it would get old because it was focusing so much on the “adorkable” shtick in the beginning but as the season progressed and they toned that down it because one of my favorite new shows. The character of Schmidt alone should earn them a nomination!!!

    • Giovanni says:

      Bob, Apologize and get out.

    • misha says:

      New girl is SO predictable I can’t even stand it. Schmidt is the best thing about the show for miles!

  33. Leo says:

    What about Raising hope & The middle!

    Modern Family is still very good! So people chill out a little bit! And come on, I mean, really? Enlightened and Veep! I’m not so sure! Not so good shows! (IMO)

    Dream nominees: Community, Parks & Recreatio, Cougar Town, Raising Hope, The Middle and Modern Family!

    30 rock and Girls were also amazing this year! But I prefer my dream nominees!

  34. Heather says:

    Happy Endings FTW! It probably won’t but I’d love to see them at least get a nomination. That would definitely be ah-MAH-zing! =)

  35. Sue says:

    Will be nominated:
    30 Rock (Certainty!)
    The Big Bang Theory (Near Certainty!)
    Modern Family (Certainty!)
    Parks and Recreation (Near Certainty!)
    Curb Your Enthusiasm (Previous Nominee 6 times so, maybe?)
    Glee (If it does get nominated, there is no GOD!!!)

    Should be nominated:
    30 Rock (Best season since 2009)
    Cougar Town (Penny Can?)
    Parks and Recreation (Knope We Can!)
    The Middle (Eden Sher is a national treasure)
    Louie (Best comedy on cable)
    Archer (Stir-friday all the way!)

  36. Rebekah says:

    Glee shouldn’t even be considered. It is awful.
    Fun in the first season but has gone completely downhill. The writing is arguably the worst on television, so if it is nominated I’ll be very disappointed.

  37. Brian Nord says:

    I was really surprised to see The Middle missing.

  38. Tv fan says:

    Modern Family all the way! It is still funny! I guess the people out there that think it has gone downhill, do not know real comedy!!!!!!

  39. Liz says:

    COUGAR TOWN!

  40. Alan Tudyk's pirate costume says:

    Totally agree that Suburgatory may be the most under rated show on television.

  41. ingmarhappy says:

    I know it’s a show that’s quite old, but I definately think ”Desperate Housewives ” deserve a final nod. Not a win….but a nod. Other than that I voted for Modern Family ( althought, I’m not a huge fan ), Big Bang Theory ( should win ), New Girl, and Parks and Recreations.

  42. Goat Girl says:

    OMG Where’s RAISING HOPE on this list! Hello???? Girls is most horrible show ever. The Office needs to be put out of it’s misery. Agree Suburgatory gets no buzz and is amazing!

    • Giovanni says:

      How can I take seriously a comment from someone called “Goat Girl” ?
      Girls is amazing. Shut up.

      • tripoli says:

        Goats are amazing so by association so is Goat Girl(although her comment is full of sentiments I do not share). Take your own instructions and shut it. Oh and Girls sucks! Suburgatory is awesome!!

  43. Myke25 says:

    No Mike & Molly? Melissa McCarthy is sure to get a nomination and the show only got better in season 2.

  44. Jay says:

    Modern Family and 30 Rock have gone downhill big time. I only discovered Louie and rediscovered Big Bang Theory this past year and found them to be great. Hope they get nominations.

  45. Josh says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again but I just find Happy Endings extremely unfunny, which is strange because I’ve TRIED to like it…I really have. It’s my type of show. It’s Friends meets Cougar Town meets Community sort of meets 30 Rock with a little Scrubs in there..And I do laugh sometimes but overall I find myself saying “Really?” then I do say “ha”. Overall it never measures up to the show I feel it’s emulating(Friends…) and sometimes I feel it tries to hard to make a joke. The best shows are when the jokes are subtle…But with Happy Endings each joke is like a hammer down on your head. It feels like the characters are delivering punchlines….

    • murley says:

      i kind of agree with you. i like the show and sometimes it is really funny but it just feels like it is trying too hard to be over the top funny every single moment.

  46. K says:

    I forgot to add it to my list but what about Psych? It’s one of the best comedies on television and it never gets any love.

    Community, Psych, and Parks & Rec would be on my dream ballot.

    • Jamey says:

      Agreed. Pysch should definitely be there!

    • Elf says:

      Yes! I just watched five seasons of Psych (thank you Netflix and a newborn baby). It is hilarious, and should definitely be on the list! The first season wasn’t my favorite, but once they toned it down a bit it got SO GOOD. Give it a try if you haven’t already.

    • Cris says:

      Agreed about Psych. It’s probably the most consistently funny shows on TV. This was like their 6th or 7th season and it still feels fresh.

      I think it never gets the award recognition because critics didn’t like Shawn in the 1st season and didn’t bother watching anymore. That’s at least the opinion I read early on from some critics. I personally think Gus balances out Shawn, and Shawn’s character has developed out of some of those traits most would find annoying. I’ve been rewatching the old episodes lately, and it’s impressive how the characters and their relationships have subtly and organically grown through the seasons. I like how Shawn’s relationship with Juliet has made him a better guy but not a different guy and not by having the woman change the man in a pushy, argumentative or forced way. That’s not something most TV shows accomplish.

      And the show is still hilarious.

  47. Brad says:

    Love that Community and Happy Endings are rated high.

  48. Jamey says:

    where is two broke girls?

  49. Megan says:

    Modern Family was just not good this season. It’s time to embrace some new shows that had amazing seasons and not just go with same shows and actors in every single catagory. Happy Endings, New Girl, and Cougar Town!!

  50. Mark P says:

    Am i the only one who thinks that New Girl is not Emmy-worthy? nor any award-worthy at all? Zooey is the only bright light of the show. Awful awful awful comedy.

    PLEASE COMMUNITY! And it’s about time for Pars and Rec to be nominated

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