Emmy Spotlight 2007: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Karen Walker has relinquished her squeaky-voiced hold on the Academy. Now that Megan Mullally’s final acceptance speech for “Will and Grace” has been heard, this could be the year for Jaime Pressly, the critics’ pick last year for her seemingly out-of-the-blue, so-good-you-wonder-if-she’s-like that-in-real-life turn on “My Name Is Earl” as Jason Lee’s conniving ex-wife, Joy.
The fresh-faced Pressly, whose redneck beautician actually had one of her sitcom’s bigger story arcs this season, likely will be joined by “Weeds'” Elizabeth Perkins, an Emmy nominee last year and the only sitcom star to make it into the catch-all TV supporting actress category at the Golden Globes in January.
As Mary-Louise Parker’s uptight neighbor Celia, Ms. Perkins “still manages more expression with her eyes and lips than most actresses accomplish with a bloody steak knife or a little black dress,” San Francisco Chronicle TV writer Tim Goodman said in his review of the Showtime series’ second season.
Speaking of little dresses, it is Nicollette Sheridan of “Desperate Housewives” who may have the breakthrough come July when nominations are announced. After three years of being “woefully underused,” according to TheEnvelope.com’s Paul Sheehan, Wisteria Lane’s resident femme fatale had a much more poignant season than usual, including a season finale that left Edie Britt hanging, literally.
“They really had to beef up [Ms. Sheridan’s] role,” said Bill Carroll, director of programming for Katz Television, commenting on the plot twists that directly affected the actress’s character, “and this year has been a really good year for her.”
Meanwhile, Ashley Jensen will be submitting an episode from the biting HBO comedy “Extras” to the Academy, but she’s a double threat as Mode’s resident stylist Christina on “Ugly Betty.” Although the hit ABC sitcom is the more accessible of the two, it’s Ms. Jensen’s turn as chronically clueless Maggie on “Extras” that’s the performance to watch. The episode the Academy will get to consider features Maggie asking Ricky Gervais’ character’s ex-girlfriend why she thinks he once called her “the most boring woman in the world.” Amazingly, the poor woman doesn’t really have an answer for that.
Reliable standbys include Holland Taylor and Conchata Ferrell of “Two and a Half Men,” both nominees in 2005 and still a welcome foil for the testosterone-fueled antics on the hit CBS sitcom.
Jane Krakowski is one to watch for her role as the self-absorbed Jenna, star of the mediocre “Girly Show,” on “30 Rock.” The Golden Globe nominee for “Ally McBeal” is doing herself a good turn by submitting the episode in which Maxim magazine misquotes her as saying that she “hates the troops,” although the one in which an inbred prince played by Paul Reuben falls in love with her would have been a good choice as well.
Another possibility is “Scrubs'” Sarah Chalke, who plays the hopelessly neurotic Dr. Elliot Reid, although it’s the oft-overlooked Judy Reyes as nurse Carla Turk, n%E9;e Espinosa, who gives the more subtle performance.
“The others are the ones that keep the engine running,” Mr. Carroll noted. “It’s a really tough category. They do such good work it’s almost seamless and you really don’t see. When they’re so good, you identify with them as their character.”
That fate has befallen “The Office’s” Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who, as lovelorn receptionist Pam and uptight Angela; both give performances that can only be described as remarkably natural. But while it’s tough to be singled out in any SAG Award-winning ensemble, both are submitting episodes for Emmy consideration and both deserve as much of a shot at a win as any scene stealer.
At a Glance
Leading Contender
Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl” (NBC)
Other Likely Nominees
Ashley Jensen, “Extras” (HBO)
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds” (Showtime)
Nicollette Sheridan, “Desperate Housewives” (ABC)
Holland Taylor, “Two and a Half Men” (CBS)
Deserve to Be Nominated but Won’t Be
Jenna Fischer, “The Office” (NBC)
Angela Kinsey, “The Office” (NBC)

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