Though the Golden Globes have traditionally been known as the less important cousin in the film awards family, always second to the Oscars, they still set a precedent for the awards season. On the TV front, they are somewhat awkwardly placed four months after the Emmys, evaluating a season’s worth of television far in the back of viewers’ minds. They are also notoriously just a little off, always snubbing what seem like obvious choices and including strange outliers. Most notably, however, this year’s Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical nominations seem particularly error filled.
First of all, since the category is supposedly for both comedies and musicals, it appears to be obligatory to fill at least one of the spots with a music-filled program, regardless of its quality. Though a loyal viewer of NBC’s “Smash” last season, even I cannot deny that it was incredibly inconsistent and often frustratingly committed to keeping its characters flat and its plots outlandish. Yes, the cast is incredibly talented, but no amount of amazing pitch or great comedic timing could outweigh the show’s serious structural issues. For this reason, it seems particularly unworthy of a nomination.
“The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family,” though both certainly funny at times, are committed to their respective formulas, regardless of kinks that need working out. Though “Modern Family” took the big prize at the Emmys in September, it interestingly did not at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. While its inclusion in the nomination list to begin with was a snub to other higher-quality shows, perhaps its loss signals the beginning of the end of its reign as the most-loved comedy on TV.
Still egregiously snubbed is NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Led by the fantastic Amy Poehler, who was downright hilarious as co-host at the Golden Globes telecast, “Parks and Recreation” has only gotten better with age. As the program progressed, each character and each performance has become increasingly complex. The show has managed to make its characters three-dimensional without turning every hint of character development into a teachable moment.
Never having won a major award for Best Comedy, it seems “Parks and Recreation” still suffers from the somewhat lackluster impression its first season made back in 2009. It may not have been a breakout hit, but the show is consistently laugh-out-loud funny and has a lot of heart. Yes, Amy Poehler received a nomination for her work on the program, but if the show itself and its other incredibly talented performances are not going to be recognized as well, something is remiss. Voters must stop sticking with what’s trendy now or what was trendy three years ago and start recognizing true quality.
This is not to say that I have a gripe with every comedy nomination, or with the program that won on Sunday: HBO’s “Girls” was stellar in its first season and is certainly deserving of the praise it has received. Its writing is sharp, its performers are talented and its premise means that it touches a generation of viewers in a profound way. Still, its win may just signal its designation as the new trendy comedy chosen by awards show voters.
Further, if “Girls” represents what voters are looking for in a comedy, it becomes even clearer that “Parks and Recreation” was unfairly snubbed. Though awards are certainly less important than true quality, it still helps when a show — particularly one that has somewhat low ratings — receives recognition. Thus, voters must reevaluate their qualifications for what is truly award-worthy.