The primetime Emmy nominations were announced Thursday.
First, let's focus on the positive. The comedy series Scrubs got its first nomination, as did its star, Grammy winner Zach Braff. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Naveen Andrews of Lost and Sandra Oh of Grey's Anatomy (minorities!) among the short-listed. And it was nice to see Hugh Laurie of House and Marcia Cross of Desperate Housewives get their anticipated nominations.
But my charity pretty much ends there. I'll accept Desperate Housewives as a comedy, but only because I figured it would get Eva Longoria nominated as a comic lead. (Of course she didn't have a big dramatic moment like Cross or Felicity Huffman. That's the point.) That oversight pales in comparison to the continued industry-wide ignorance, now 5 years strong, of Gilmore Girls and the peerless Lauren Graham. I have to accept that it's like the Oscars and Martin Scorsese: either we don't like you, or we don't care. To put things in perspective, I think actress Blythe Danner got more nominations (3) than the entire WB network (2).
I'm going to try to refrain from an extended complaint against the Television Academy of Arts and Brick Walls. Instead, I'd like to talk about The West Wing, nominated once again as Best Drama Series but thankfully kept out of most of the acting races.
There are many good arguments as to when this series jumped the shark. The very special 9/11 episode. Rob Lowe left. Aaron Sorkin left. The Republican House Speaker takes over. They started doing entire episodes about Allison Janney's character.
But I know exactly when I lost interest in the show. In a late stroke of genius, the show runners cast Gary Cole as the befuddled replacement Vice President. Here was a golden opportunity to do something that had never been done on TV before: end the show as a drama and begin again as a comedy.
Oval Office Space. Think about it. You have Bill Lumbergh as the nation's president. Throw in Ron Livingston and Ajay Naidu as a couple of low-level speechwriters, and also that Michael Bolton guy. Maybe John C. McGinley could drop by as a campaign advisor, and Stephen Root could be, like, the red-stapler-hoarding Karl Rove! It'd be a ratings bonanza if Jennifer Aniston decided to make her triumphant return to television.
"Yeah, I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday to work on that speech."
Ah, what could have been.