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A Bit of Emmy Awards Speculation for House, M.D. Fans

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When the Emmy award nominations are announced July 16, it is likely House, M.D. will receive at least a couple of award nominations. It is reasonable to expect Hugh Laurie will be nominated once again in the best actor (drama) category. Five years into the series, Laurie still never fails to amaze with a complex, nuanced performance week in and week out. His Dr. Gregory House is every bit the bitter cynic, but Laurie grants us access to House’s heart and soul through body language and facial expression. His eyes alone should receive some sort of acting award, because they are a major ingredient in his actor’s toolkit. It is a crime he hasn’t yet won the Emmy, although he has taken just about every other major television acting award out there (and multiple times).

The series itself will probably collect a nomination in the drama category. Season five is perhaps the series’ strongest in cohesiveness, featuring several episodes that are among the finest. Several of the series’ supporting players turned in outstanding performances as well, although I’m not certain those achievements will be honored with nominations (being totally honest). It would be nice for Robert Sean Leonard to be nominated for “The Social Contract” or “Birthmarks” and to see Lisa Edelstein to be nominated for “Joy,” or “Joy to the World.”

Anne Dudek and Colleen Camp (“A Simple Explanation”) both submitted episodes for their guest actress turns on House. Dudek, especially, is worthy of a nomination for the eerie Amber, who tormented and terrorized poor House as he suffered his mental meltdown.

Meat Loaf Aday (“A Simple Explanation”), Mos Def (“Locked In”), Jay Karnes (“Social Contract”), Breckin Meyer (“Adverse Events”), and Jimmi Simpson (“Unfaithful”) all submitted in the guest actor category. I thought Simpson was excellent as the disillusioned priest; Mos Def was great, but simply didn’t do enough to warrant a nomination in a competitive field. Zeljko Ivanek submitted for his Heroes guest appearance and not for the House episode “Last Resort.”

Several House directors submitted episodes, including Deran Sarafian (“Joy”), Katie Jacobs (“Last Resort”), Greg Yaitanes (“Simple Explanation”), and David Straiton (“Under My Skin”). “Last Resort” was visually interesting, as was “A Simple Explanation.” But I really liked David Straiton’s work in “Under My Skin.” Any or all three could get nominations. Yaitanes is last year’s winner for “House’s Head.”

Several House writers also submitted episodes for consideration: Doris Egan and David Foster (“Birthmarks”); Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner, and David Foster (“Locked In”); Leonard Dick (“Simple Explanation”) and David Hoselton (“Unfaithful”). All the submitted episodes are Emmy-worthy with intricate, multi-layered plots.

Assuming House receives a nomination for Best Drama (fingers AND toes crossed), David Shore and the rest of the “powers that be” are required to submit six episodes for consideration by the judging panel. (Judging takes place in August). Until nominated, neither the best/supporting actors/actresses submit specific episodes for consideration. (Although many shows send out “for your consideration” DVDs to the voting membership, and House seems to have sent out copies of “Locked In,” which is certainly a very good choice.)

But the question will be which six episodes to submit. If I were a “decider,” I’d pick “Joy,” “Unfaithful,” “Social Contract,” “Locked In,” “Last Resort,” and “Simple Explanation.”

“But, wait!” you cry out in anger. “What about ‘House Divided?’ Where’s ‘Under My Skin?’ ‘Both Sides Now’?” Mind you, I think the final several episodes were some of the most brilliant television of the year, and some of the best House episodes in six years. The problem with submitting them is they are of an arc. To get dropped into the middle of House’s meltdown, say, in “House Divided” or “Under My Skin” — or even the season finale, would confuse panel judges who do not watch the show. I avoided including them for that reason. I do think, however that any one of them would make an outstanding submission for Hugh Laurie’s individual achievement nomination.

So, those are my choices; I’ll explain my reasoning in the next column. But, more importantly, what are yours? Participate in this week’s poll to vote for which six episodes the House team should submit to the Emmy panel. Then explain your choices below in the comments section. It’s my way of trying to have a little fun during these long House-free summer months.

Next week, after the nominations are announced, and we (hopefully) hear Hugh Laurie’s name (and maybe a supporting player or two — but not as likely) read, we can speculate about his best shot to go home with the gold this year.

The nominees will be announced early in the morning of July 16. The Emmy Awards show airs on CBS September 20, the night before the House two-hour season premiere.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • nno13

    I have to disagree with the reasoning behind not including House Divided, Under My Skin and Both Sides Now (respectfully of course!). It is an arc but the emotion conveyed in those episodes, especially the last two, is unparalleled in the series. Hugh’s depiction of a man losing all sense of reality was the Emmy winning performance. To not include those would be to show great episodes, yet ones that lacked that giant risk they so bodly and beatifully took. I also am not as much of a fan of Locked In as everyone else. I think the voice over was not that great an acting job. It seemed like Mos Def was just reading off a script in comparison to the other steller guest stars. I absolutely think Anne Dudek deserves an Emmy. Her huanting portrayal MADE those scenes of House’s demise. She was bone chilling with that creepy devious smile. And I would be rather bummed if Lisa didn’t get a nod. She probably won’t as she has so often been looked over, but her acting has been superb. I fully believe if they submit the last couple episodes there is no chance Hugh will not win. Whether you’ve been following the arc or not the emotion he depicts in one look is more than most actors can achieve in a lifetime of work. He truly left me speachless. If there was ever a season for him to earn it, this was the one.

  • nno13

    I’m also shocked Ivanek didn’t submit for his House episode. I thought it showed much greater range than his Heroes guest appearance. And Judy Greer did a great job too. Did she not submit? Part of what makes House so great is the quality and tallent they are able to pull in for their guest stars. I secertly still want Mira Sorvino to come back from Antarctica and throw herself into the mix. Talk about chemistry and they never even filmed in the same room! (Hugh and her that is) That was one steamy webcam physical! But I can’t wait to see who guest stars in the looney bin with Hugh. That could make for some great television! Okay Barbara….I’m done…. =)

  • Val

    Well, only two of my choices were below the 25% mark so far, which I think is pretty good:) When I picked the six I tried to choose those I thought represented what I love about House…all of it. And, the two that I actually thought represented House as a whole ensemble quite well were Emancipation and Painless.

    Emancipation, I thought, was such a cohesive episode. I remember thinking that it felt like it was an episode from the first two seasons(though I am not a fan that particularly misses those days–I’ve enjoyed the evolution). For someone who watches House mainly for the character(s), I enjoyed the medical side of this one right along with the character story. It was a great ensemble episode.

    Painless gets better every time I see it. I like Barbara’s idea, if I recall correctly, that that it was a turning point for House the show and character. The medical story directly impacted the character. Though House and the patient were both in extreme pain, House does take a different approach to it and illustrated IMO that he does value his life despite the pain. Excerpts from each of these episodes would, I think, be good choices.

    My other choices were all (so far) among some top vote getters and are some of the best episodes in an excellent season and as much as I might include them for an ensemble submission they actually display some of the finest work by stars and guest stars.

    I’d love to see RSL with a nom (Birthmarks-wow!) and LE (Joy-same wow!)as well. Here’s to wishing…

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara
    This poll is harder than it first appears!
    I chose: Joy, The Itch, Last Resort, Unfaithful, Softer Side and Social Contract.
    Whenever I ask people if they watch “House” they say, isn’t that the show with the grouchy doctor? Those of us who adore the show know that it is so much more. With that in mind, I picked the 6 above because I feel they give a lot of insight into the complexities of the man, his self image and the people in his world.
    This season has been my favorite and with the exception of the boob grab in Let Them Eat Cake, I have enjoyed all of the episodes.

    I chose Joy because I love the dilema that the adoption presents to House. The kiss, which comes from such a needy, yearning place in both of them was so poignant,(even after 20 or so viewings!)
    The Itch was both humorous and indicative of House wanting to move forward, even making tentative steps and yet not being able to take that leap.
    I enjoyed Last Resort. I know some people have commented it was not among their favorites, but I thought it showed what makes the show unique: tension, humor, characters that make you think and always the element of surprise.
    Unfaithful was a nice character study of both the priest and House. I loved the quiet moments between them.
    The Softer Side broke my heart. It was a case of “what if…” as with the ketamine, what if House didn’t have to deal with pain, what would his life be?
    The Social Contract because it did a lot to further explore House/Wilson; what each of them gets from “this screwed up friendship.”
    The acting, writing and direction of these episodes, to me, highlighted the superiority of this series.
    I thought that Under My Skin and Both Sides Now were among the most gripping, heartbreaking and well written episodes of any series. As you said, they depend a lot on prior knowledge of “House”, and might not resonate with the judges, if they are unfamiliar with the show/characters.
    Looking forward to the results and your choices.
    One last point, although I think that RSL and Lisa Edelstein will be overlooked, AGAIN, I think it is a shame. They are just incredible.

  • Houseian Daze

    I mostly agree with your comments and I’d dearly love to see the writers particularly Doris and David Hoselton win something. Doris is consistently brilliant and deserves all glory and I thought that Unfaithful was outstanding in the calibre of its writing.

    I don’t agree that the final 3 episodes are too difficult to watch as stand alone episodes – I think that after 5 seasons, most of the judging panel for the emmys will be au fait enough with the show to be able to drop into such an intense story and follow what’s going on – particularly House Divided. In my opinion, Under My Skin was the best of the season – not because of the Huddy moment but the episode as a whole was extraordinary and really gave a wonderful insight to the mind of House.

  • xinyuActor

    I’d rather pick the whole Season 5 to show to the panel members who have not seen House ever and let them know how strong the story is! After the agony of choice, my list is:
    The Itch
    Softer Side
    Simple Explanation
    House Divided
    Under My Skin
    Both Sides Now
    I can’t ignore the strong existent of the last three epsodes though I tried. HL’s acting was unbelievable brilliant.
    I don’t think I can comment further more judging by my poor English skill. So, I wanna hear your points of view!
    Last, hope HL & House got there long deserved wards!

    Greethings from China

  • Grace

    If Hugh doesn’t win an Emmy this year, something is seriously wrong with the Emmy voters. If Hugh doesn’t win this year, I wouldn’t even show up next year. Why should he give the show extra viewers if he’s not going to win? I’d tell them where to put the Emmy statue!
    Now on to episodes. I am in favor of submitting the finale. I think it shows Hugh at his finest.
    I also liked Jimmi as the priest. Do you know he plays an intern on Letterman? He’s very funny too.
    Writers: Gotta be Doris because of RSL.

  • Muireann

    I’ll be VERY surprised if Anne Dudek doesn’t get a nomination. Hugh Laurie is a given, he just better win! I really hope that Lisa Edelstein gets a nod. Peter Jacobson was excellent this season aswell. I chose Birthmarks, Lucky Thirteen, Emancipation, Joy, A House Divided and Under My Skin. All of these were really great episodes in my opinion but I’m sorry to see that Lucky Thirteen and Emancipation both got well under 10% of the vote.

  • Barbara S Barnett

    nno13–I agree about the greatness of those last several episodes, and if they can be packed as three of the six, and seen by the panel–fantastic! Emmy voters are a bit strange (and these are volunteers from the voting membership who sit on the panels.) So it’s hard to know what they’re going to be looking for. If I knew they would “get it” I’d put House Divided and that DVD.

    I thought Mos Def did a credible (but not great job) as the patient (who would be a big foggy anyway.) Not an Emmy performance, though, IMHO.

    A lot of people agree with you (check the GoldDerby site from the LA Times) about Ivanek’s choice to submit for Heroes. I don’t watch it, so I don’t know, but he gave a really excellent performance on House.

    Sera–It’s an incredibly difficult poll. Six episodes in a season of really excellent work. Lots of emotion; lots of drama, some really interesting cases.

    I respectfully disagree that the panelists will know the show well enough to follow the arc. As someone said above, many people think of House as that medical show about the grouchy doctor. If the last three can be shown as a package, I’d say yes for those and pick another three “stand alones” like Unfaithful, Social Contract and Simple Explanation (which has the impact of everyone reacting to Kutner’s death).

  • Flo

    This season was so great that having to choose only 6 episodes is incredibly difficult and almost criminal!

    I chose “Birthmarks” because it was the first big and really important episode of the season. We discover many things about House. The road movie thing was great.

    “Joy to the World”. Admittedly “Joy” is a better episode, it was better done but I liked this one too. I chose it because it was interesting on particularly one level: House and Cuddy likeness. In this episode it is Cuddy who have a heart to heart talk with the patient and it is her who has the epiphany instead of House. This season really emphasized House and Cuddy similarities and I think this episode did it very well.

    “Unfaithful” for the priest. It was very a great episode. Fantastic writing and performance by all the actors.

    “Simple Explanation”. This episode is a turning point of this season and it was really well done. Love the directing and lighting.

    “Under My Skin” and “Both Sides Now”. Simply the best season finale of the show. Two magnificent episodes.

    Hugh Laurie deserves the Emmy of course. It would be justice to give him this year even if I have to say that, like all the award ceremonies (oscars, GG etc.) the list of the nomminees are more prestigious than the list of winners.
    There is absolutely no justice or even common sense in those things.

    Only, for the sake of argument I’m gonna pretend that this year will prove me wrong about that.
    Hugh Laurie and the show will be nominated (and I hope win) but also Lisa Edelstein totally deserves one this year.
    We constantly praise Laurie but let’s not forget the other actors. They often are undererstimated.
    RSL should have been nominated last year for the season finale. Lisa should get one for “Joy”, “Joy to the Wolrd” or even “Under My Skin”.

    David Hoselton deserves a nomination for his great writing of “Unfaithful” and Greg Yaitanes for all his work, really, but if I had a pick one let’s say “Simple Explanation” or the finale.

    Fingers crossed.

  • blacktop

    Thinking over this stellar season, what a tough choice it was! I picked:

    “Birthmarks” for the reveals about the origins of the House-Wilson friendship and about House’s birth family dynamics;

    “Joy” for the strong follow-through on Cuddy’s years-long search for a baby and the absolutely truthful and wrenching performance by Lisa Edelstein, who definitely deserves an Emmy nomination this year;

    “Last Resort” because who can resist a doctors in peril story that features such a superb performance by Zjelko Ivanek. House’s courage and peculiarity was underscored in wonderful fashion and the breakthrough for Thirteen’s self-understanding made this a great episode all around;

    “Unfaithful” for its complex and insightful priest who challenged House’s cynicism and for Cuddy’s squandered chance to reconcile her heart with her head. The piano seranade at the end tore my heart up;

    “Locked In” because the out-of-the-box lighting, camerawork, script, and acting were quirky, compelling and entrancing, and

    “Simple Explanation” for its thoroughly fresh and hard-hitting examination of sudden tragedy and its impact on a group of gifted but emotionally stunted comrades.

    I agree with Barbara that the final three episodes of the season were stunning examples of television art, but they appeal more to those of us who are long-time fans and devotees of this difficult show. The casual Emmy voter will have a hard time getting into the layers of meaning that rewarded those of us who are deeply invested in House. Frankly, I think that the final reveal that House’s hoped-for detox and intimacy with Cuddy was all a delusion of his broken mind may be a decisive turn-off to Emmy voters.

    While fans who watch the show closely cherish the “Housian” twists and reversals of expectation as the central character is painstakingly revealed, I fear that the average Emmy voters will be confused, disappointed, or just dismissive.

    I continue to hope that Hugh Laurie will get his Emmy this year, but I think that the voters had their chance to recognize his remarkable work in previous seasons and for one reason or another were not so impressed. My feeling is that without the big blow-out dramatic speech or break-through scene of shattering verbalized emotional revelation, Laurie’s restrained, dignified (and underwritten) performance will continue to go unappreciated by Emmy voters.

    My fingers are crossed again this year, but I am not so optimistic.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, great article, as usual. But OMG, it’s not enough to have a poll – you have to assign summer homework??

    I’m so tired at the end of the day that I’m going to have to wait until I get my second wind. I hope that happens soon. Because just like all the best professors’ papers and projects – I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it 🙂

  • KelseyKat

    I heard Ivanek did send his House episode in consideration for the Emmys. It says “GUEST ACTOR, Drama: House (Zeljko Ivanek)”

    The only guest actors who submitted Heroes were as follows:
    Heroes (David Anders)
    Heroes (Dan Byrd)
    Heroes (Robert Forster)
    Heroes (John Glover)
    Heroes (Malcolm McDowell)

    House also has two other guest stars Mos Def and Carl Reiner submitting their work on House from Emmy as well as Anne Dudek and Judy Greer.

    I’m confused about where your information is coming from.

  • Barbara S Barnett

    Kelsey–according to the ATAS ballot (as reported on GoldDerby from the LA Times Zeljko Ivanek submitted: Heroes “Turn and Face the Strange”.

  • Alex

    Honestly, I don’t think the show stands a chance to get a nomination this year

  • Barbara S Barnett


    Hey, I teach. Homework is my life 🙂
    Thanks everyone for voting. Still tallying: one week till the nominations are announced.

  • x

    Actually, according to this list, zeljko ivanek DID put in for House, not Heroes.

  • x

    but i could be wrong- this may have been a guess or it changed. goldderby is probably more up to date

  • x

    and PS – i was just trying to give an fyi to the original post, not contradict the follow-up which i didnt read til after i posted sorry! i wasnt trying to be snarky! i hate snark!

  • Barbara S Barnett

    I never mind being corrected. My info is based on the latest LA Times/GoldDerby info. People on that site were scratching their heads about why on earth Ivanek would submit for Heroes and not House. So maybe the ballot’s wrong! I suppose it can happen 😉

  • wackjob

    Quoting from blacktop, because I simply could not say it better:

    Thinking over this stellar season, what a tough choice it was! I picked:

    “Birthmarks” for the reveals about the origins of the House-Wilson friendship and about House’s birth family dynamics;

    “Joy” for the strong follow-through on Cuddy’s years-long search for a baby and the absolutely truthful and wrenching performance by Lisa Edelstein, who definitely deserves an Emmy nomination this year;

    “Last Resort” because who can resist a doctors in peril story that features such a superb performance by Zjelko Ivanek. House’s courage and peculiarity was underscored in wonderful fashion and the breakthrough for Thirteen’s self-understanding made this a great episode all around;

    “Unfaithful” for its complex and insightful priest who challenged House’s cynicism and for Cuddy’s squandered chance to reconcile her heart with her head. The piano seranade at the end tore my heart up;

    “Simple Explanation” for its thoroughly fresh and hard-hitting examination of sudden tragedy and its impact on a group of gifted but emotionally stunted comrades.

    I also chose “Dying Changes Everything,” but that was a sentimental choice and might not be understood by judges unfamiliar with House. I love how it sets up the season and House/Wilson’s breakup.

    “Simple Explanation” had me bawling at the end.

    Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Edelstein are outstanding actors, I hope they get a nod! I also hope that Ivanek submitted for “House.” I saw a little of his work on “Heroes” and it just wasn’t that interesting in comparison.

    Barbara, I agree with your feelings about the ending arc. Many years ago, I worked for the International Emmy Awards as a screener. Our job was to watch each submitted show, make sure it had an English track or English subtitles. The most important part, I am sorry to say, was choosing approximately 30 minutes out of any show longer than an hour to show the judges. We chose three chunks: beginning, middle and end. Sometimes the choices were incredibly difficult. (I did, however, have the privilege to watch the entire “Cracker” series in one night!)

    I don’t know if that’s how the American Emmys work; I hope not. Does anyone know?

  • wackjob

    Sorry, I meant longer than a HALF hour. Half hour shows or less were shown in their entirety.

  • Flo

    It’s official now, only three nominatons for House.

    Emmy voters distinguished themselves by their stupidity again.

    Hope Hugh Laurie wins.

  • wackjob

    Quite agree, Flo.

  • DebbieJ.

    Flo, what is the third one for? I know of Hugh’s for Best Actor and the show for Best Drama. I didn’t see the nominations being announced and Emmy’s website is no help.

  • Barbara S Barnett

    Sound mixing for House Divided.

  • DebbieJ.

    Thanks Barbara. So, a technical award, eh? Guess it’s better than nothing. I was really hoping one of the writers would have been nominated. I would’ve been happy for any of them. The writing in this season was phenomenal.

  • savta

    Signed on to the Emmys 2009 site after sundown at my son’s house outside Jerusalem. Expected to see a long list of House nominations and was astonished and stunned to see the talent, writing and performances that were overlooked. Of course, I was pleased about the three nominations that did appear there – House, HL and the sound mixing.

    Numerous examples of superb writing and acting pop into my head and have gone unrecognized again this year though I do think that this year the entire House team outdid themselves – more than any other season.

    I have read all of the analyses written here and agree with many of past posters’ insights. I also understand that only pieces of episodes are viewed by the Emmy reviewers/judges. However, I think that the writing and acting in Both Sides Now could stand alone as an exceptional episode.
    In fact, when I think about the nuanced acting by RSL as he escorted House to the hopital – the slight twitch of his cheek, or the tears, fury and then comfort offered by LE as House continued his deterioration and she escorted him to Wilson’s office, or as she arrived late, carrying Rachel to her seat at the wedding – the look on her face – WOW!
    Anne Dudek – amazing performances in the last few episodes and Carl Reiner – who breaks me up with laughter and tears everytime I watch his scenes in Both Sides Now.
    Truly – an amazing show with a superlative group of writers, actors and directors. I can’t think of any show or actors more deserving of Emmy nominations. I am really disappointed and upset on their behalf!

    I look forward to Season 6 and to watching how the PTB bring House out of the hospital, back to his life, work and relationships. I hope that they weren’t just teasing when they intimated that there was still more to develop in a Huddy relationship with a perhaps healthier?? House.

  • Orange450

    To #28:

    savta – I absolutely agree with your take on BSN. And S5 was so replete with exceptionally good episodes, that I think one could do a similar analysis for any number of them, and identify many, many consistent examples of extraordinary acting. The scarcity of nominations in specific categories really makes me wonder about the perception and acuity of those who decide these things.

    Mah haba’ayah shelahem??

  • savta

    Orange 450 – There is an expression – those who get it, get it and these guys for sure don’t. Another expression that fits is “HaMayveen Yaveen”. Means exactly the same thing.
    I just have to say that there are many people who think House is a really obnoxious, coarse, uncouth etc. character who is so abrasive that watching the show isn’t an interesting or pleasant experience.
    My parents, who are 82 years old, were like that and one day, the light bulb went on and they got it and started explaining it to me! I loved it. Even those in my family I have little in common with join me in discussing the genius of the writers and actors in House. The admiration for this show is a unifying factor in our extended family.
    Though this, my 33rd trip to Jerusalem, is packed with a very full agenda, I still had to find the time to log on and comment on the Emmy ommissions.

  • ann uk

    Hello Barbara, I am sorry this is a bit out of sync., but I am only just catching up on series 5.

    I just wanted to say what a pleasure it is reading your reviews before I watch each episode for the second time as you often alert me to nuances I have missed.
    About that odd gesture of House in ” Last Resort” – he is asking the gunman if his breathing is improved as this confirms his diagnosis – trust House to stick to the essentials !

    Your Fiction about House’s collapse was very moving, but breaking off where it did left me feeling in despair about House.
    Did you mean to rescue House in futher episodes ? With at least 3 series to go , the writers must have a cunning plan.

    If Hugh doesn’t get an Emmy this year I shall write to the President terminating the Special Relationship.

  • Flo

    The thing is a the nominations are not based on talent and brilliance of a show but on the PR campaign the network did for its shows.

    AMC Did an agressive campaign spending a lot of money on ads, press conference and all. As a result, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” have record of nominations this year.

    I’m not saying that they don’t deserve to be nominated but this vote system is not good. I don’t think a show should be nominated based only on a PR campaign.
    The talent and the quality should play THE leading part in the nominations process.

    Maybe the Emmys should separate the cable shows and the network tv…I don’t know…

    Anne Dudek should have been nominated. Writers too. Not to mention the two actresses of “Grey’s Anatomy” nomminated in the same category but nothing for Lisa Edelstein.

    This is just simply outrageous!!!

    “House” and Laurie better win!