Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TV TOPIC: My Picks for The 2012 Emmy Guest Star Category

I skimmed the 2012 Emmy nominations last week and noticed something extremely alarming. While others were running through the comically long list of actors who may have deserved a nod over repeated nominees, I stared at one particular category in awe: Outstanding Guest Actress in A Drama Series.

There, at the end, behind the shamelessly malevolent Martha Plimpton ("The Good Wife"), the heartbreakingly altered Loretta Devine ("Grey's Anatomy"), the sophisticatedly seductive Julia Ormond ("Mad Men"), the frantically obsessive Joan Cusack ("Shameless"), and the always entertaining Jean Smart ("Harry's Law") was Uma Thurman. No, not Kill Bill-Uma Thurman. "Smash" Uma Thurman. The Bollywood-singing-and-dancing, cleanse-demanding, wannabe Broadway "diva" from the overhyped NBC musical melodrama "Smash."

So while everyone else was trying to decide if Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") really deserved another nod after that lackluster season or if perhaps it was too soon to induct Zooey Deschanel ("New Girl") and Lena Dunham ("Girls") into the Funny Girl Hall of Fame, I was cooking up a list of my favorite guest stars of the Fall 2011 - Spring 2012 season, who most definitely outdid the poorly cast Thurman.

The Good Wife • CBS
Mamie Gummer as Nancy Crozier
Mamie Gummer is 29, but she looks fresh out of college, sweet, fragile and obedient. Don't be fooled, because for three episodes last season she was deceptively innocent, manipulative, and crafty. Her evil side was like the Road Runner. You never saw it coming. Through a pursed smile she cut you down, threatened you, and gloated in your face. That's a hard thing to pull off opposite veteran actresses and under the constant microscope of the media expecting her to fall short of her mother, Meryl Streep's, legacy. But she does, and it appears effortlessly so.

New Girl • FOX
Justin Long as Paul aka The Ugly Crier
The new comedy series had a little trouble getting off the ground, but right around the Thanksgiving episode it really started to pick up speed, and I partially credit Long's performance for that. He helped introduce a less juvenile and more sexually mature Jess into the storyline while also maintaining a healthy and hilarious amount of immaturity in the process. Long is like the hipster version of Paul Rudd, a lovable everyman plagued by a lethal case of dorkiness that you can't help but chuckle at.
Gossip Girl • CW
Michelle Tratchenberg as Georgina Sparks
I know the CW never ever ever gets any sort of recognition for anything unless teenagers or publicists are involved, but Tratchenberg's Emmy nod is long overdue. She's the irredeemable mean girl that keeps the "Dynasty" tradition of backstabbing in couture alive today. She has an endless supply of schemes, a quick wit, and a shatterproof backbone. I type this with a straight face and steady hand: She could go head-to-head with Glenn Close's Patty Hewes ("Damages") and Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess of Grantham ("Downton Abbey") without breaking a sweat.

Glee  • FOX
Dame Helen Mirren as Becky's inner voice
This was inspired. The decision to not only give the special needs character Becky Jackson a different and non-special inside voice, but make the voice that of a regal and distinguished individual was very unexpected. And the fact that Mirren didn't even show up on screen but managed to nail poignant and comical moments nonetheless was quite impressive.

Big Bang Theory • CBS
Stephen Hawking as Stephen Hawking
Yeah, I know. He doesn't move much or actually speak, but I dare you to say that wasn't funny nor perfectly executed.

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