On July 8, when Glee receives an Emmy nomination for best comedy (and it will), it won’t be the first show to defy the nomination categories.
As EW.com’s “Hollywood Insider” noted last week, Glee joins the ranks of dramedies like Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty as an often-heavy, one-hour series competing in the Emmys’ Outstanding Comedy category. Ally McBeal was the first such show to win the award 11 years ago. (Hi, Portia! Hi!)
Glee has captured the hearts of many of us at AfterEllen.com — and not just because we are all in mad gay love with Jane Lynch.
We love it because it can go from funny to heartbreaking in a matter of minutes. And the way the show deals with homophobia makes it a must-see for LGBT audiences. In fact, Kurt’s coming out to his dad Burt and subsequent scenes in which Burt deals head-on with homophobia are some of the most moving things I’ve ever seen on TV.
But that quality is what makes some question whether Glee should compete in the same category as shows like 30 Rock and Modern Family. To be sure, the shows bear little resemblance to one another in look and feel. Salon.com goes so far as to say that Glee is “one of the most stylistically bold broadcast network shows since Twin Peaks.”
I’m not sure about that, but Glee certainly has broken ground in the way it deals with high school angst via musical numbers. The more recent episodes have been downright amazing, especially the Madonna show (which is one of the episodes submitted for Emmy consideration). But the LOL moments are often confined to times when Sue Sylvester delivers a zinger. And that doesn’t set well with sitcom writers.
One veteran writer told EW, “We bust our asses trying to get as many laughs into the shows as possible. Dramedies don’t do that.” Another said, “I like [Glee] okay. But it has never, not even once, made me laugh, which seems like something any comedy should do.”
I’m a little worried about a comedy writer who finds nothing to laugh at in Glee. Still, if Glee isn’t a comedy, what is it? I can’t see it competing against Dexter or Mad Men for Outstanding Drama. But the Emmy powers-that-be aren’t ready to create a “dramedy” category, for fear that it would dilute the comedy and drama categories.
Ryan Murphy, Glee creator, says that he doesn’t really see a problem comparing Glee to other comedies. “Every time I watch 30 Rock or Modern Family, I am moved. The more heart that a show has, the bigger laugh you get in the payoff … Just because it’s a sitcom, doesn’t mean it’s not moving. And just because it’s a one-hour [show] doesn’t mean it’s not funny.”
You see the problem. Personally, I want the winner of Outstanding Comedy Series to be the funniest show on TV. And Glee really isn’t. Yet, it definitely is one of the best shows on TV. And it deserves recognition as such.
What do you think? Can Glee compete with funnier shows for best comedy? Do you think a dramedy category is warranted and, if so, what shows would you include?