Well, the Emmy award nominations were announced last week. Hugh Laurie and his drama series House, M.D. have again been nominated in their respective categories (Best Dramatic Actor and Drama Series). Other than that, House came up dry, scoring only a sound mixing nomination for "House Divided" (which was totally deserved). No writing or acting nominations, and no nominations for any of the supporting or guest cast, which is unfortunate. I would have thought that "Simple Explanation," "Locked In" or one of the finale episodes had a chance. But I was wrong. Again.
Thanks to all 420-something of you who voted in last week's poll to suggest the six episodes David Shore and company should submit for the final Emmy voting. (Readers selected up to six episodes, which is why the numbers don't add up to 100%.)
You selected great episodes: "Birthmarks" (56%), "Joy" (48%), "Unfaithful" (32%), "Social Contract" (36%), "Locked In" (39%), "Simple Explanation" (30%), "House Divided" (36%), "Under My Skin" (58%), and "Both Sides Now" (61%). Other episodes also go votes, but there was a steep dropoff after "Simple Explanation." They all showcase what makes House unique among network offerings: great, snappy writing, a compelling story to tell, and wonderful performances, especially that of the brilliant Hugh Laurie. (But more about him later.)
Now think good thoughts, and hope that David Shore and company happen upon this humble space to read your intelligent suggestions. The series is overdue, but the competition is very… well, competitive. House and Lost (on ABC) are the only two network nominees in a sea of cable dramas, including Mad Men (AMC), Dexter (Showtime), Damages (FX), Breaking Bad (AMC), and HBO's Big Love.
The House "powers that be" (TPTB) cannot submit a whole season of episodes for the Emmy panel to judge, and although nearly everyone (at least in the Emmy community) would have at least heard of the show, not all would have necessarily seen more than an episode or two. They would have heard the standard hype: it's a medical CSI, featuring a crabby, sarcastic doctor who says and does outrageous things and gets away with it because he's a genius. But you all know that's not the whole story, or even half of it. So, the series producers will have to select their best and most representative episodes carefully. They can submit six. The six episodes are submitted in three pairings; the episode pairs are then randomly distributed to the Emmy panels for consideration.
So. Which six to choose, and how to pair them? If TPTB submit "Under My Skin" and "Both Sides Now" so they are seen together that could be an effective combination. Or how about "House Divided" with "Both Sides Now," if I wanted to give voters the "whole effect" of House's emotional collapse. On the other hand, maybe pairing two different types of episodes would work better, say, "Birthmarks" (which is a "road trip" with some nice comedy, good character development, and some serious exploration of House's psyche) with "House Divided," which had some hysterically funny bits, but was very, very dark, atmospheric—much darker than "Birthmarks." Neither of them are straight-up formula episodes.
I might also pair "Locked In" with "Both Sides Now." "Locked In" is really the start of House's decline, and would lead nicely into "Both Sides Now." Both follow the formula, but are not trapped by it, and have a lot of good character drama, fantastic writing and performances.
"Joy" and "Under My Skin" would work well together, because they, too are bookends of a sort, playing on the dynamic between House, Cuddy, and Wilson. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below!
Now to the genius of Hugh Laurie. Why that man has yet to win an Emmy is simply beyond comprehension. He's received nominations in all years the series has been on except one (a highly criticized oversight). Unlike the series, Laurie can only pick one episode. But which one? It's not a formal poll, but write your choice in the comments section — and why. I'll tabulate in a week or so. It's a nearly impossible task. But I have faith.
My pick? I wouldn't want to bias you, now would I? Okay. Fine. Toss up: "House Divided" or "Under My Skin." Brilliant, subtle acting at its absolute finest. "House Divided" had much more humor and the definite advantage of House doing some cool stunt juggling. It was one of those episodes where Laurie could make you laugh and cry in the same scene. But either episode would do nicely.
Special Announcement: Coming soon (in about two weeks, or so): the "Welcome to the End of the Thought Process" Trivia Contest. Yes, you read it right, folks. Contest. With prizes—several of them. (And maybe even a grand prize, but I'm still working on that one.) So stay tuned, tell your friends, and stop back frequently.