To paraphrase Doug Benson, every year I watch the Emmy nominations, and every year I’m outraged that an old gay man’s opinion doesn’t match my own. This year was no exception. And while many deserving shows were snubbed, the complete absence of Community was by far the most insulting omission.
So, what is to blame for Community’s complete lack of nominations? In my opinion, it’s a bizarre fixation with the show Modern Family on the part of the nominators.
To be fair, given the nature of the Emmys, there will always be shows that are left out. After all, there are only so many spots to fill. If every deserving program was nominated, the nominations themselves would be meaningless. Take the Oscars. Being nominated for Best Picture used to mean something. But for the past few years, the Academy expanded the nominations to include 10 films, and the entire process become a joke, the punch line being that at least half of the nominees have absolutely no shot at winning. But with the Emmys, the old cliché stands, and it is still an honor to be nominated. That’s what makes Community’s absence so glaring.
How does such an innovative, ground breaking show get snubbed on so many different levels? More importantly, how is it that not one member of its talented ensemble cast received a nomination in the supporting actor category? Well, of the 12 available supporting actor nominations (six male, and six female), two went to cast members of Glee, and six went to the cast of Modern Family. When two-thirds of the available nominations are monopolized by two shows, with half going to one show in particular, there’s a problem. Throw in a few ridiculous pity nominations for Jon Cryer (he had to deal with Charlie Sheen) and Betty White (ha, the old lady made a sex joke), and you’re left with only two available spots for all the other shows on television, both of which can only be given to women. Given these circumstances, it’s easy to see how Community was left out.
Modern Family isn’t a bad show. In fact, it’s a great show, and it has a very strong cast. But the idea that almost every adult member of that cast should be up for an Emmy is ludicrous. Yes, it’s hard to pick and choose, but that’s the whole point of an award show. Does Sofia Vergara’s exaggerated broken-English really warrant a nomination over the performances of Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, and Yvette Nicole Brown? Does Eric Stonestreet’s over-the-top portrayal of a gay character really deserve a spot over Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, both of whom play hilarious characters that manage to defy traditional stereotypes? More importantly, do the people who nominate these shows actually watch anything other than Modern Family and Glee?
Of course, Community was overlooked in other categories as well. If ever there was a need for a laugh track, it was when Big Bang Theory was announced as a nominee for best comedy. And to be fair, there were some pleasant surprises. Louie C.K. is up for best actor. That in itself is a joke, but it’s nice to see such a talented guy getting the acknowledgment he deserves, even if it is in the wrong category. It was also nice to see that Martha Plimpton from Raising Hope and Amy Poehler from Parks & Recreation both ended up with noms, as did Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones. But with one of the best shows in recent memory sitting on the sidelines, even these deserving nominations rang hallow.
Again, I’m not bashing Modern Family or its cast, and I’m not even saying that Community is a better show (I happen to think it is, but we’re talking about nominations, so the point it irrelevant). Wha I am saying is that allowing one show to dominate the nomination process is a sure fire way to alienate a lot of talented, deserving artists. It’s also a surefire way to make the Emmys seem even more out of touch and irrelevant than they are.