Stockard Channing, Out of Practice
Question: What's with the diss of Stockard Channing? She was brilliant on Out of Practice. I'd rank her comic timing right up there with the comedy legends. Can you seriously see Lauren Graham playing the role so well? I can't. Comedy requires a particular ability and talent that dramatic and "light" comedic actresses can't do. Face it. Graham belongs in drama, not comedy. Channing is right where she belongs.
Answer: I've got no beef with Stockard Channing, generally. She's a class act and is especially adept at the highly theatrical and sardonic sort of clowning she was called upon to do on the short-lived Practice. Even so, in my opinion (and clearly fans of this show will disagree), she has done much better work elsewhere — as is the case with everyone on that show, from her costars to the writers. I may have missed an episode or two that showcased her best work on this so-so series, but my impression was that she was pushing it a bit, forcing the sometimes cringe-inducing material. Not that she didn't score some excellent zingers, but I saw nothing new here, and certainly nothing Emmy-worthy from anyone in the cast. It's possible that part of my negative reaction to her nomination could stem from how ubiquitous she has become at these awards, including nominations from seasons of The West Wing where she barely appeared outside of the credits. But that might be unfair, and it's true that this category isn't exactly bursting with choices.

To address your other issue: Could I see Lauren Graham holding her own in a classic farce as opposed to the screwball comedy she now plays? Absolutely. Just because she plays it more naturalistic on Gilmore Girls doesn't mean she can't (and doesn't) get zany. Which isn't to say that Graham didn't err by submitting a dramatic episode for the judging panel. To put it mildly, this isn't the only category where the new system came up way short.

Kim also wrote in to defend Channing: "I'm right there with you on Lisa Kudrow, but I disagree about Stockard Channing. Both were amazing. Kudrow gave her character such a deep inner life and infused all her performances with great pathos and subtext. Channing has some of the greatest comic timing I've ever seen. She knows how to deliver a line, and does so in ways I'd never expect. Any actor will tell you comedy is the most difficult kind of acting, and Channing is frankly brilliant at it. I'd have been surprised had she not been nominated. I'm actually perplexed by your kudos for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who seems to be trying too hard in the role of Christine. She needs to tone it down, a lot."

Can't win, can I? Too tough on some, too easy on others. Compared to Out of Practice, I found The New Adventures of Old Christine a more satisfying comedy, and Christine a most endearing character, one that fits Julia beautifully, even when it compels her to go over the top, acting too silly in her desperation to get back into the dating pool while trying to pretend her ex's new relationship doesn't bother her. Neither of these comedies is a classic, but if I had been filling out the ballot, I would have put Louis-Dreyfus, Graham and Weeds' Mary-Louise Parker over Channing. But that's just me. Knowing the Emmys, watch her win.