Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.
THE BIG BANG THEORY
"The Hawking Excitation" / "The Countdown Reflection"
"The Russian Rocket Reaction" / "The Beta Test Initiation"
"The Ornithophobia Diffusion" / "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver"
This is the only nominee in this category I don’t watch regularly, but I always enjoy parading through episodes at Emmy time each year. Tape one features Sheldon trying to act nice to elicit a meeting with Stephen Hawking and the wedding-centric season finale. Tape two focuses on Sheldon’s feud with Wil Wheaton and Leonard and Penny dissecting their new relationship a bit too freely. Tape three finds Leonard seeming attractive to Penny and Sheldon attempting to apologize to Amy after offending her. They’re fine submissions, but it’s not this show’s time this year.
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
"Vow of Silence" / "The Hero"
"Palestinian Chicken" / "Car Periscope"
"Mister Softee" / "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox"
This show has been nominated in this category for every season except its first, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at the years it was nominated: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. This current season finished airing over a year ago now, so it’s hardly fresh in voters’ minds. Tape one sends Larry to New York, where he meets and clashes with Ricky Gervais. Tape two includes an Arab-Israeli conflict epitomized by Larry and an outdated invention. Tape three features Larry being billed for out-of-office therapy and multiple confrontations with Michael J. Fox. It’s never clear whether this show is going to continue, and I don’t see why it would win this year if it couldn’t any other time in the past.
"Pilot" / "Vagina Panic"
"Hannah's Diary" / "Hard Being Easy"
"Leave Me Alone" / "She Did"
This funky freshman series surprised with a bid in the top category. It would be really cool to see it win, but I think a victory in the writing category is all it will get this time. Tape one includes the first two episodes, where Hannah gets cut off by her parents and then fears having an STD. Tape two is great, focused mainly on the dissolution of Charlie and Marnie’s relationship. Tape three sees the friendship between Hannah and Marnie decay in the final two episodes of the season. It’s easy for people not to like this show, and these episodes will only put them off, while those of us that do like it find them spectacular.
"Door to Door" / "Aunt Mommy"
"Leap Day" / "Baby on Board"
"Punkin' Chunkin'" / "Egg Drop"
This show is the undefeated champ in this category, eligible now for its third season. It still amassed a staggering seven acting nominations, indicating that it hasn’t fallen out of favor with voters just yet. Tape one sees the family rallying to help Claire get change accomplished and the adults fretting over imagined incest. Tape two celebrated February 29th and dropped a bombshell revelation in the season finale. Tape three positioned the Pritchetts against their partners and the Pritchetts against each other. This show is still popular, so with these episodes, there’s no reason it won’t triumph again.
"Idiots Are People Two!" / "Idiots Are People Three!"
"The Tuxedo Begins" / "St. Patrick's Day"
"Meet the Woggels!" / "Murphy Brown Lied to Us"
This show, which won three times in a row before being dethroned by “Modern Family,” is officially ending with its upcoming seventh season, which means that there’s no reason for its sixth season to be rewarded. Tape one was full of ridiculousness with self-proclaimed idiots like Tracy Morgan and Denise Richards protesting their maltreatment. Tape two included a parody-heavy episode and a mockery of the whole Irish people. Tape three saw Jenna trying to Yoko a band and a skewering of the American work ethic. They’re generally par for the course for this show, but it’s seen better days.
"Pilot" / "Catherine"
"Nicknames" / "Baseball"
"Full Disclosure" / "Tears"
It’s extremely exciting that this terrific political satire made the cut in this category. Boasting just two other nominations, one for casting and for lead actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, this series easily has the most hilarious submissions this year. Tape one introduces the Vice President and finds her being politically manipulative in her relationship with her daughter. Tape two alerts her to some unfavorable nicknames and a pregnancy scare. Tape three involved a lot of damage control and attempts to get Selina to cry. I can’t imagine that enough voters will like this show, but it’s definitely a great pick.
What should win (based on entire season): “Modern Family,” “Veep,” or “Girls”
What should win (based on individual episodes): “Girls” or “Veep”
What will win: It’s very likely to be Modern Family again.
Next up: That’s a wrap!