Emmys 2016: Outstanding Comedy Series — Our 7 Dream Nominees!
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: ABC’s sophomore comedy got into a wicked comedic groove by tackling serious issues of concern to modern African-American families — guns control, the N-word, religion, even barbershop loyalty. Led by the pitch-perfect Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross (plus the scene-stealing Jenifer Lewis), the show’s multigenerational ensemble juggled rapid-fire punchlines with genuine emotional moments — the Black Lives Matter-themed “Hope” was gut-punchingly honest — and proved that the specific is indeed the universal(ly funny).
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: 2015 might have been Amy Schumer’s year, but 2016 saw her crown snatched by a pair of broads from her very own network. Broad City’s flawless third season felt like a 10-week parade of everything we’ve come to love about Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s Emmy-worthy comedy: madcap shenanigans, including being robbed by a handsome Airbnb guest; instant viral moments, like that unexpected Sister Act recreation (with Whoopi Goldberg!); and ridiculous new terminology, like the “moil-high club,” in which one has sex with a Jewish person on an airplane. It was truly a season fit for a kween.
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: Because it’s the perfect vehicle for co-creator/star Rachel Bloom’s snark-by-way-of-musical-theater sensibility. Because the music is insanely, earwormingly catchy. (If you weren’t humming “Sexy Getting Ready Song” the morning after the premiere, we don’t want to hang out with you.) Because in Darryl/White Josh, it contains one of the most heartfelt gay relationships on TV right now. Because Donna Champlin’s Paula is a revelation. Because West Covina is two hours from the beach, four in traffic. But mainly because it’s fresh, fun and really freaking funny.
MASTER OF NONE
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: The 10-episode freshman season of Parks and Rec vet Aziz Ansari’s Netflix comedy series played out like an array of meditative, moving and mercilessly funny indie films set in an evocatively filmed New York City. As Ansari’s struggling actor Dev and his highly diverse inner circle navigated love, gender politics, Hollywood bigotry, and even the struggle to understand their parents, they unearthed both thought-provoking truths and genuine guffaws in a beautifully understated, organic way. Dev may not have mastered the art of adulthood in Season 1, but Master of None made his struggle feel like masterful art.
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: We understand if you initially let out a long, loud groan when news first broke that New Girl would be losing its leading lady for a string of Season 5 episodes. After all, how often does an established TV series succeed without its star? But rather than crumble under the pressure of bringing in Megan Fox to temporarily replace Zooey Deschanel, the Fox comedy’s change of pace made way for its most charming, unique and downright hilarious year yet — and Deschanel’s eventual return reinvigorated the wacky dynamic of Jess and her loftmates. In an ever-growing landscape of critically acclaimed comedies, this veteran series struck the perfect balance of humor and heart in Season 5, re-establishing itself as a must-watch series.
UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: Netflix’s Kimmy Schmidt went from Unbreakable to unstoppable in its hysterical second season. (And don’t tell us those words mean the same thing, OK? That’s like telling telling Titus that his short pants, aka “shants,” are the same as shorts!) The stellar sophomore effort was truly an ensemble effort: Jane Krakowski reached new levels of comedic brilliance in portraying Jacqueline’s return to the top; Tituss Burgess proved that Titus, via his relationship with Mikey, can handle heart as well as humor; and Ellie Kemper continued to thrive opposite Emmy-worthy guest stars like Tina Fey and Lisa Kudrow. Unlike that glamorous sad sack Mimi Kanasis, Kimmy didn’t need to work overtime to earn our love. It can simply do no wrong.
WHY IT DESERVES A NOD: No one would’ve blamed HBO’s scathing political comedy if it had entered its fifth season with all the energy of a February 2016 “Jeb Bush for President” rally: essentially defeated, going through the motions and looking like a pale imitation of what had worked in the past. But the Julia Louis-Dreyfus-fronted series — which lost creator/showrunner Armando Iannucci at the end of last season — is just as cuttingly funny as we remember it. (Look no farther than the season’s outrageously titled sixth episode, “C–ntgate.”)Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer is still so terrible as Commander-in-Chief, yet the series — and its whipsmart ensemble — continue to mine the American election cycle with the unflagging enthusiasm of an eager Bernie Sanders volunteer on primary day. Yes, the comedy took home Emmy gold last year… but like any good administration, it deserves another year on top.