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!

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. bamabunny says:

    I don’t think Glee OR Chuck should be nominated for Best Comedy, because the best moments were the DRAMATIC ones. Take “Finchel’s” goodbye at the train station. AWESOME acting, but not at all “funny.” I think the arbitrary splits between “comedy” and “drama” are outdated. Can’t we just do “Half-Hour Scripted” shows and “Hour Scripted” shows instead, to allow for great dramatic moments in comedies and great comedic moments in dramas?

    • guest says:

      But then Glee would be going up against Game of Thrones and really wouldn’t have a shot.

      • bamabunny says:

        Maybe not the series, but at least some of the actors would have a fighting chance. But admittedly even I would have a hard time choosing between Chris Colfer and Peter Dinklage (and John Slattery and Alan Cumming and Robert Sean Leonard…).

        • tripoli says:

          Peter Dinklage stomps all over Colfer, who is a complete waste of TV time. Not worthy of being in the same room as Dinklage, who is always phenomenal.

    • Becks says:

      Yeah I wish they would split up the half-hour “sitcom” comedies and hour-long “dramedies”. There are definitely enough hour-long shows that have elements of comedy and drama to warrant their own category. Plus, I think the actors in each require a completely different set of skills. But unfortunately these old school award shows aren’t big fans of changes.

    • Sara says:

      Glee’s biggest problem is that though it has had some fantastic episodes this season, you can really tell each episode is put together by a different writer. So First Time is worlds apart from Props, one very drammatic one very funny but somehow not connected enough. And the ensemble quite frankly has a significant number of actors more suited to community theatre than network TV.

      I feel bad for the actors like Cory Monteith and Lea Michele who have coped wonderfully with both the comedy (seeing Sam at a strip club for example) to that epic scene in the finale when they parted which showed their drama chops. Each deserves an Emmy nom because they have succeeded in a much higher ask than others in their catefories but Glee’s stock is so low I’m not sure they’ll even be given much consideration. Which is a shame because the power to move people as that relationship has done this season is not to be sniffed at.

      • Sg says:

        “I feel bad for the actors like Cory Monteith and Lea Michele who have coped wonderfully with both the comedy (seeing Sam at a strip club for example) to that epic scene in the finale when they parted which showed their drama chops. Each deserves an Emmy nom because they have succeeded in a much higher ask than others in their catefories.” As others have said a different category for comedy and dramedy would allow the different skillsets to be accounted for.

        • Sean C. says:

          The Emmys don’t have a problem with drama-heavy performances in comedy (Edie Falco has won Comedy Actress despite the fact that her character isn’t at all funny, something she herself acknowledged in her acceptance speech). Glee simply isn’t a comedy anymore. There’s barely any laughs. And it’s terribly written.

  2. guest says:

    My six dream nominations are Happy Endings, Glee, Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, Subergatory, 2 Broke Girls, Community.

  3. Mikael says:

    Happy Endings and Cougar Town are so underrated. I’ve come to like Suburgatory; it just takes a while to get into it.

  4. iluvbears says:

    Community, Community, Community. And Parks & Recreation. But mostly Community, Community, Community.

  5. Rolfe says:

    Girls! Best show on television!

  6. Eric says:

    The Middle???!!!! One of the best comedies out there today!!!

  7. Michael says:

    Should be nominated:
    Happy Endings
    Parks and Rec
    New Girl
    30 Rock

    Will Be Nominated:
    Modern Family
    The Big Bang Theory
    30 Rock
    Parks and Rec
    New Girl

  8. Kel says:

    To be honest, comedy shows this year did not have a good year. New Girl and Two Broke Girls are not funny! I am a devout fan of Glee and Modern Family but BOTH shows have gone down in quality since its first season. *sigh* I think we all know MF will win again this year though. My point is none of these shows deserve to win.

    • kim says:

      If you are a devout fan of glee — you should clearly have noticed how greatly improved each and every episode of this season has been.

  9. davey says:

    I voted for Community, Suburgatory, and Happy Endings, the shows I watch most consistently.

  10. sam says:

    Just like mad men and frasier — if the emmys love something they will continue to reward it — it’s fast becoming the mtv movie awards with twilight winning — so I don’t expect modern family to NOT win.

  11. tom says:

    i saw a couple of episodes of Veep and I just didn’t think it was funny at all, does it get better?

  12. Ally says:

    The only comedy I watch on TV is Big Bang Theory which has spectacular creative writing, great acting and good character development. I also watch Glee but I don’t consider that a comedy. Sure it’s a musical and for whatever reason musicals share a category with comedies but I find Glee to be more of a drama than a comedy. And Smash, though a musical, is in the drama category so that doesn’t make sense. I also don’t think that hour-long shows should be competing with half-hour ones because its a whole different playing field. Glee could be considered a Dramedy but in the end it is more dramatic than comedic. Maybe there should be a separate category for dramedies and musicals for shows like Glee, Smash, Castle, Bones, Gilmore Girls, Hart of Dixie, etc.

    • Ally says:

      And Chuck. How honestly do you compare a half-hour comedy with an hour-long dramedy? Their purposes and methods are very different. A dramedy’s larger purpose is to be dramatic so if anything it should be put into the drama category. However, I still think a whole other category is needed for dramedy/musical because they ate both fairly different than a solid drama. Musicals must strike a balance between musicality and drama or comedy while dramedies must strike that balance between drama and comedy. As a critic, these balances are what would be a main part of my criticisms so it would make a lot of sense to judge dramedies and musicals together. It would certainly make a critic’s job somewhat easier.

      • Britta Unfiltered says:

        So you’re a TV critic, but the only comedies you watch are Big Bang Theory (which you say has fantastic Chuck Lorre written character development) and Glee? Be honest, this whole TV critic thing in just a fantasy in your head, right?

  13. Hamish says:

    The Middle??? It’s a very funny show which always seems to take you in a direction you don’t expect. Eden Sher needs to get an Emmy nomination – it’s long overdue.

  14. xwiseguyx says:

    This list is CRAZY awful… who’s dream list is this anyway – someone who couldn’t find a hit comedy if there life depended on it. There seems to be a total anti-CBS bias here.. I’d take 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly over 90% of that list and 2 1/2 Men over 50%. Even Whitney (the only NBC comedy outside of Park and Rec worth a damn) was a more fitting selection than this god-awful season of The Office- They could have pasted a Test Pattern for the last 15 minutes of every episode of community and you probably would have still nominated that one. I hope the Academy has better dreams than TV Line…

    • elr says:

      I agree with you as I posted later where is Raising Hope (the funniest half hour around) and now that I look back at the list NO Mike and Molly, How I Met Your Mother, and 2 Broke Girls. Who made up this list?

  15. xwiseguyx says:

    And I just noticed The Middle is missing – are you people INSANE?

  16. Laa says:

    Parks & Rec, Happy Endings and Veep– all miles ahead of anything else

  17. chrisjroof says:

    In a world where Modern Family constantly wins…Happy Endings seems to be right in their wheelhouse. I would not nominate MF this year (or any) with so many great comedies, new and old, to choose from.

    The winner to me is between Cougar Town, Happy Endings, or Big Bang Theory…coming from someone that considers HIMYM my favorite comedy.

  18. Melissa says:

    Happy endings, community, parks and recreation, how I met your mother, 2 broke girls, new girl, and 30 rock. I know that’s 7…but I couldn’t narrow it down. I’m really hoping happy endings or community gets some much deserved Emmy love at least!

  19. elr says:

    Why isn’t Raising Hope included in your list? It’s the funniest vomedy out there!

  20. ElKabong says:

    I’m amazed at the different ways Emmy looks at Comedies and Dramas. If they used a similar approach the nominees would be:

    It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
    Life’s Too Short
    Parks & Recreation
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    South Park

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      We are two of a kind, I was just writing about that very thing in my post. They like to vote for higher rated comedies, but higher quality dramas. Isn’t that strange?

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Oh, and I gotta disagree with you on Sunny. Sorry about that! This used to be my favorite show, but something happened to it after season 4. That was the last season I remember it being really good. It was all downhill from there. If I was an Emmy voter no way could I vote for it for anything at this point. I’ve been theorizing for a long time now on how that show can get its magic back, because I really miss the way it used to be.

      • ElKabong says:

        In this scenario it’s getting nominated based on its previously established reputation. Much like 30 Rock in reality.

  21. Charpa says:

    Where is HIMYM?

  22. Jen says:

    Hey for all you Modern Family haters I just got one thing to say: Scoreboard but then again haters gotta hate.

  23. YowzaPowza says:

    Since when is Modern Family the highest rated series on television? Am I misreading this?

  24. Sid says:

    People got to realize that the Emmys are for mainstream shows, and if your show doesn’t win so what, it just one award show.

  25. Giovanni says:

    Girls is amazing! I watch Modern Family, and I don’t think it went downhill, still funny for me but… I think Girls is better.

  26. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I wish I had the power to make Community win this category. That would be my choice. My dream nominees would be, in this order:
    1. Community
    2. Parks & Rec
    3. Modern Family
    4. Louie
    5. Girls
    6. Nurse Jackie (though I voted for Happy Endings in the poll since it wasn’t available as a choice)

    I just watched the first 4 episodes of Girls last night, and I am already falling in love. That show is awesome, and so familiar in so many ways.
    I have a hard time with why people seem to like New Girl so much. I think it’s okay, it’s a nice way to spend a half hour, but it’s not a show I’ve ever looked forward to watching or felt like I had to watch right away as soon as I got home from work. I guess I am in the minority. If it had been cancelled for the second season, my life definitely would have gone on. The 6 shows I picked as dream nominees I can’t say that about.
    Now what I think will really get nominated is: Modern Family, New Girl (since so many people who are not me seem to love it so much), Parks & Rec, Big Bang Theory, Community (don’t ruin my fantasy on this, I have to believe in the power of imagination!), and possibly Girls will be the one edgy cable show they allow themselves to vote in. Though that spot could also go to old standby 30 Rock. Hard to say. Modern Family gets the win (shocker). I think when it comes to the comedy category, the Emmy voters way prefer to nominate higher-rated shows then some of the lesser-rated, higher-quality shows, and I can’t figure out why. They don’t do that in the drama category. The drama category always feel like it’s stuff that’s actually good.

  27. rob says:

    veep should run away with it

  28. fet says:

    I just want Glee to be nominated because I want to see the whole cast on the show. But please Cougar Town? Parks and Rec? Community!!! TBBT!! No more MF please?

  29. Reid says:

    Community should win, it probably won’t even get nominated because emmy voters don’t seem to like it, they usually stick with the mainstream comedies (which are usually pretty bad like the Big Bang Theory). Modern Family could be considered a mainstream comedy but it is very good and while I don’t think it is the best show on TV it is still very funny. This season was slightly worse than the rest but it will still probably win. I also hope that if Community can’t win then 30 Rock (which had a great season, maybe its best other than Season 3) or Parks and Rec.

  30. Ashley says:

    HIMYM and Raising Hope FTW!

  31. godzilla's_foil says:

    Chuck and Glee aren’t even comedies. They’re just not. Deal with the fact they’re dramedies at best, and not funny at all (like a comedy should be).

    • Catherine says:

      For seasons 3 through 5 of Chuck, no one that actually watched the show thought of it as a comedy. It was a drama through and through, and the fans know that the show was not mainstream or popular enough to win an award like an Emmy. I started watching the very first episode and have watched every episode since up until the series finale, I bought Subway sandwiches, I tweeted advertisers, just like other devout Chuck fans, but we’re not stupid. Chuck has a place in a lot of people’s hearts as their favorite show or at least a show they loved. Zac Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Adam Baldwin, and the rest of the ensemble cast were fantastic and worked together amazingly, and they deserve recognition, but they won’t win. It’s sad but true. :/

  32. Tom says:

    Glee was horrible this season. I’m sorry to say to those people who think it deserves a nom this year. I am an avid watcher of the show and loved the first 2 seasons but Season 3 was dreadful for the most part. the final 2 episodes can’t make up for a poor season, despite the fact that the writing was okay. they just kept re-hashing nonsense.

    Community is the best show on television, but won’t win. Parks & Rec is absolutely hilarious and again won’t stand up to the dribble and repetitiveness of Modern Family.

  33. shane says:

    What about Raising Hope??

  34. Amy says:

    So glad to see your dream nominations are basically my dream nominations! If Parks & Recreation won, I would be so, so excited. I would probably do a bigger happy dance than when Kyle Chandler won last year. Parks & Rec is literally the best comedy on TV right now and definitely one of the all-time greats. No other show makes me laugh really hard one minute and then cry the next. It is so smart, the cast (Amy Poehler NEEDS to win) is brilliant, and it has so much heart. The only other show I can watch over and over again is Friends.

    • vbarkley39 says:

      Soooo agree about Parks & Rec. I had a hard time even choosing 6 shows – awful, awful submissions in a sub-par TV season.

  35. darcywilson says:

    I just don’t get the appeal of New Girl!! Which is so weird because I see the comments here and it’s all the same people who love Cougar Town and Happy Endings, which I think are better than any of NBC’s comedies. New Girl is just not funny.

  36. M says:

    I’m sorry but where is How I Met Your Mother and The Middle. These two shows are so unrecognized but some of the funniest stuff on television.

  37. Grace says:

    I still love THE BIG BANG THEORY!!

  38. Angela says:

    If “Community” FINALLY gets the proper Emmy recognition it deserves, I will be a happy girl. I’m rooting for that show all the way.

  39. vbarkley39 says:

    Where’s The Middle????? I added that under my Other. Actually, I had trouble choosing 6; most of them just aren’t that funny.

    Everybody vote for Chuck!!!!

  40. hello says:


  41. Ali says:

    How come Psych isn’t nominated? It is a really funny and I was a huge fan of Chuck, but their is no way their getting nominated for an Emmy.

  42. Connor says:

    I don’t understand why critics are so in love with Girls on HBO. I mean, the show was funny at times, but like most comedies, it just wasn’t all that interesting. I cared about maybe one of the characters and was there really any discernible plot at all? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is bad, it’s just not all that good either. I don’t watch most of these shows, so I don’t really know how good or bad most of them are in comparison to Girls. But just going off of having seen Girls, I don’t think it is strong enough to be nominated.

  43. Lea says:

    What are you talking about? I seriously think that, as a comedy New Girl should win! I love Glee with my whole heart, but If I have to be honest it’s most for the emotional parts.. I’ve never laughed how I did for New Girl!! I mean, the episode “landlord”, have you seen that? EVERY SINGLE TIME I watch it I start tearing for the laughter! I seriously think it’s worth it.
    About Modern Family..I honestly can’t understand the success..I’m watching every episode because it’s entertaining, funny..but It’s not the tv show I’m dying to see every week! Well, this is just my opinion!

  44. LOL! You are so right! Glee!

  45. Connor says:

    Glee has completely fallen apart since Season 1. It is terrible now. Doesn’t deserve to be nominated for anything.