Home Television Emmy Episode Analysis: Can the “O.J.” Men Steal a Supporting Actor Victory

Emmy Episode Analysis: Can the “O.J.” Men Steal a Supporting Actor Victory

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets in “Baskets” for episode “Easter in Bakersfield”

louie-anderson-basketsIMDB Synopsis: Easter Sunday becomes more burdensome than expected for the Baskets family.

Few creations have been as strange and wonderful in equal measure as Louie Anderson’s work as Christine Baskets. The male comedian was hired to portray the nagging overweight mother of Zack Galifianakis’ aspiring clown. This episode has plenty of hilarious moments to showcase Christine as she drags her family kicking and screaming through her traditional Bakersfield Easter plans. From being embarrassed by her son in church to meddling in her son’s love life at an Easter brunch at an Indian casino, Anderson nails the punchlines. However, upon hearing how Christine is belittled by her own mother due to her weight, the character deepens and becomes more sympathetic. It might be puzzling for many voters and the show isn’t popular with the Academy. However, for those that are watching the episode, Anderson could steal their vote, and the prize.

Andre Braugher as Captain Raymond Holt in “Brooklyn Nine Nine” for episode “The Oolong Slayer”

27b0a380-0c60-0132-080d-0eae5eefacd9IMDB Synopsis: Jake and Holt both get in trouble when they work on a serial killer case together in secret. The Vulture asks Amy and Rosa set up his birthday party. Boyle introduces Terry to a delicious new snack.

Andre Braugher has long been an Emmy favorite. This is also his third nomination in a row as the stoic gay Captain Raymond Holt. However, the third time does not seem to be the charm for Braugher. It’s been good practice in the past for Braugher to submit episodes where his normally calm character goes up against his arch nemesis Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick). However, in this episode he only gets minimal time with her. Most of it is spent with him, wild card Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and his ditzy assistant Gina (Chelsea Peretti) on a case. Aside from a fake fight between Holt and Peralta in a coffee shop, Braugher doesn’t get any showcase comedic moments. This puts Braugher near the bottom of the pack.

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” for episode “Kimmy Gives Up”

titussburgessIMDB Synopsis: Kimmy needs to study for the GED, but she’s worried about Dong getting deported. Jacqueline puts Buckley on Dyziplen to treat his hyperactivity.

Perhaps the biggest discovery of last year was Tituss Burgess as he became a sensation on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” It was shocking when he didn’t win the Emmy last year for the infamous Pinot Noir episode. This year, Tituss doubled down on singing in his submission to the Emmys. However, one can only suspect further diminishing returns. Titus continuously sings forgotten Broadway musicals throughout the episode because he feels happy. He becomes sad when he realizes his happiness might not last. Tituss is always wonderful in the role and has an immaculate singing voice. However, his character has much less to do in this episode. Much of it is the same joke about him singing repeated over and over. There were stronger submissions Tituss could have done to remain competitive in this category. This puts him further down than he might have been going into the race.

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy in “Modern Family” for episode “The Party”

ty burrellIMDB Synopsis: Manny and Luke are in charge of babysitting Lily so that the adults can enjoy a day to themselves. Claire and Gloria have a lovely trip to the spa planned; Phil and Mitch nerd out in the movies; Jay and Cam go to a sports bar to watch the big fight. Things started going awry though when the fire alarm goes off back at the house, Claire is convinced the boys are secretly throwing a party.

The days of “Modern Family” dominance have been long past. Still, can we really count out two time Emmy winner Ty Burrell? We sure can when he submits a clunker like this. This episode finds nerdy Phil attending a sci-fi movie with his brother-in-law Mitchell. Phil wears a goofy hat and makes a couple nerdy cracks, but he is relatively modulated compared to 90% of the “Modern Family” episodes he’s in. While in line, the two of them are offered pot edibles, and they take them. As they return home to check on their children, the two are very paranoid. Many people have won Emmys for being high or drunk. However, that’s usually because they get in gregarious comic situations. This episode saw Phil become more quiet and passive. Burrell literally sleepwalks through the episode. It’s easily the worst of the pack.

Tony Hale as Gary Walsh in “Veep” for episode “Inauguration”

tony haleIMDB Synopsis: Selina and her staff prepare for inauguration day.

Having won the past two years in this category, can Tony Hale pull off a hat trick? He certainly is using a similar strategy that has worked in the past. His sweet, bumbling bag man of a character, Gary, lashes out at the entire staff as Selina prepares to leave office. He gets one solid, long scene to shine and it is a pretty great piece of work. It’s heartbreaking and funny all at the same time. People are going to remember it. However, outside of this one scene, Gary doesn’t really get anything else to do. There aren’t even funny asides and one-liners the character usually gets to toss around. Unlike his past winning episodes, Hale has very little screen time, which could be his Achilles heel. Still, “Veep” is a juggernaut this season, so good-will could carry him to the podium yet again.

Keegan Michael Key as Various Characters in “Key & Peele” in “Y’all Ready for This”

kp_04_012_screengrabs.jpg_1708526_1920x1080IMDB Synopsis: A football team hypes up before a game; President Obama and Luther meet Hillary Clinton.

Keegan Michael Key has been making quite a lot of plays this past year. From “Keanu” to “Don’t Think Twice,” Key has been popping up everywhere, which will help with his visibility to voters as they watch his episode. There are some good sketches in here too. He once again reprises his role as Obama’s anger coach, Luther, and is quite funny. Perhaps the best sketch involves male feminist pirates singing. However, many of these don’t make Key stand out as much. Him and Jordan Peele play off each other well, but one doesn’t stand out from the other. Additionally, some sketches don’t work at all. The “True Detective” jokes seem stale and the terrorist sketch is quite grating. It’s a good submission, but if no sketch performer has won this category before, I don’t anticipate Key to break that streak.

Matt Walsh as Mike McLintock in “Veep” in “Kissing Your Sister”

urlIMDB Synopsis: As Catherine’s documentary is completed, Congress decides who will be President.

It was so joyous to see longtime supporting player Matt Walsh get recognized for his consistently hilarious work on “Veep.” As the bumbling press secretary, Walsh does a great job of making him the runt of the litter of Selina’s posse. This season saw an increased role for him, as his character and wife (Kathy Najimy) try for a child, through adoption and a surrogate. In this episode, we see footage of Mike pivoting as him and his wife prepare for the new child. His gleeful abandon is quite charming, especially when paired with Selina and company trashing his skills as a press secretary. Each time the camera cuts to him, the joke grows and the character becomes more endearing. Still, it’s not a showstopping turn as Tony Hale’s one scene in “Inauguration.” However, it’s a quietly funny performance that is a delight to watch.