The actual nominations for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmys won't be announced until July 3, but since we're so often flummoxed by the selections of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, we've taken it upon ourselves (for the third year in a row) to make a few suggestions. This way, as members of the Academy dicker and deliberate, they'll know which shows they should and might not have thought to vote for. To that end, today we submit our recommendations in the comedy-series category. Listen to us, Academy, and for once, the noms might be a laughing matter in a good way.
The Bernie Mac Show: Turning the family-sitcom format on its ear (and, just for good measure, beating it till the white meat shows), this sharply-written Fox breakout scores with its believably bratty moppets, red-hot mama figure and, best of all, a forum in which stand-up comic Mac can earn a standing ovation.
Curb Your Enthusiasm: If only Mr. Personality had had this much personality! Natural born neurotic Larry David's pseudo-reality program succeeds The Larry Sanders Show as the series with the most natural and amusing celebrity drop-ins. That the ripped-from-David's-datebook plots are as ho-hum as everyday life is beside the point; the Seinfeld co-creator is a pro, after all, at making something out of nothing.
Everybody Loves Raymond: Despite its traditional trappings the inclusion of the long-suffering-wife and mother-in-law-from-hell characters, for instance CBS's juggernaut rises above the dreck by continuing to serve up domestic disturbances that are clever enough to suit even audiences with imported tastes. A newfound focus on first-rate second banana Brad Garrett is just the cherry on top.
Gilmore Girls: If Noel Coward and Martha Quinn ever had a child, it could only be the little slice of heaven that is this series. Mercilessly quick-witted and hypersaturated with pop-culture references, the grandmother/mother/daughter dramedy isn't merely girl-empowering, it's that rarest of network-TV anomalies a show that is candy for the brain as well as the eyes. Get with the program, Academy this program!
Scrubs: If this sophomore series about medical residents doesn't give you a chuckle, man, do you need to see your primary-care physician. (We fear you don't have a pulse.) The good-hearted young doctors and their ornery overseers not only check our gag reflexes gags, jokes... get it? their good intentions and earnest gaffes sometimes even manage to warm our hearts.