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Emmy Watch: Laura Dern on channeling Lucille Ball in HBO's 'Enlightened'

Photo: Laura Dern in ‘Enlightened.’ Credit: HBO.

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

The first time you see Laura Dern in HBO’s Enlightened, she’s having a full-blown meltdown in the bathroom stall at her office, hurling expletives at her coworkers, storming down the hall toward her least favorite exec, with her mascara streaked down her cheeks, prying open the elevator doors to scream, “I WILL BURY YOU! I WILL KILL YOU! RAGHHHHH!!!” And yet, by the end of the episode, you will have deep sympathy for this woman. This is a huge credit to Dern, who’s funny and cringe inducing and sad and inspiring — sometimes, all at once. (Her character, Amy Jellicoe, is an angry corporate drone who’s sent to anger-management rehab and returns to the office full of bright ideas about how to save the world.) Dern won a Golden Globe for her performance last year, and our critic Ken Tucker’s rooting for her to get an Emmy nod this year. We chatted with Dern about her favorite scene — the opening of the pilot episode. Watch it below, and read our interview with her after the jump. (Warning: the language in the clip below is NSFW.)

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Emmy Watch: Mike White talks about the painfully funny comedy of 'Enlightened'

Photo: Mike White and Laura Dern on the set of ‘Enlightened.’ Credit: Nicola Goode.

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Before it premiered last fall, many people knew Enlightened as “that HBO show starring Laura Dern and her smeared mascara.” Since then, this moving comedy—which follows corporate whistle-blower Amy Jellicoe (Dern) on her journey from scary, “I will DESTROY you!” meltdown toward Zen-attaining enlightenment—has collected a very devoted group of superfans, including EW’s own Ken Tucker, who put it on his year-end list of the Best TV Shows and called it “beautifully acted, with many stand-out scenes (like, every one in which Dern’s Amy interacted with the dead souls at her company).”

We asked Mike White, who created Enlightened (and also co-stars as Amy’s lonely coworker Tyler), to discuss one of his favorite stand-out scene: the ending of the fourth episode, “Sandy,” which guest stars Robin Wright. We’ll let him explain the background: “Amy has this friend, Sandy, who comes to visit her. Initially, she’s projecting this perfection onto her friend. As the episode goes on, her friend starts to disappoint her, because Amy feels like they’re not on the same page. Then Amy’s paranoid that Sandy is sleeping with Amy’s ex-husband. She’s spun out. Throughout the episode, she really wants to read Sandy’s journal, to see what Sandy thinks of her. At the end, we’re left alone with Sandy, and we look into her journal, and…”

Okay, we won’t spoil it. Watch the scene below, and read our interview with White.

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Emmy Watch: Max Greenfield on his almost kiss with Zooey Deschanel on 'New Girl'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19. 

As the obsessive compulsive Schmidt on Fox’s New Girl, Max Greenfield has pretty much managed to do the impossible: He’s made us like…nay, love the douchebag. That’s no small task considering that the first time we met Schmidt, he took off his shirt and referred to his bare chest as “LLS” (aka Ladies Love Schmidt). Since then Greenfield’s shown us that Schmidt actually has some depth beneath those perfectly toned pecks. He’s balanced his character’s arrogance with a layer of insecurity (see his relationship with CeCe), and his neuroses with bursts of self-awareness. And it pretty much goes without saying that he’s kept it really, really funny along the way. Though Greenfield is reluctant to take much if any credit for Schmidt’s breakout success (the character even as a fitness video for goodness sakes!), we’re more than happy to heap on the praise. After all, there aren’t many actors who can recite a line like this—“I want to tell people about us because I think you are the dopest, flyest, smartest, ballsiest, bitchiest, truly terrifying woman that I have sexually enjoyed in really long time”“—and still make us root for him.

No where is Schmidt’s endearing (but let’s face it, totally delusional) sense of self better captured than in The Story of the 50, when he attempts to smooch roommate Jess (Zooey Deschanel) after she goes out of her way to throw him a birthday party. The move inevitably ended up costing him $50—deposited directly into the douchebag jar—but we’d like to think it was well worth it. Check out the clip below and then read what Greenfield has to say about why it was a defining moment for Schmidt, and how he nearly broke character while filming the scene.

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Emmy Watch: Zooey Deschanel talks about her S&M 'New Girl' scene

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19. 

If it were up to Zooey Deschanel, Jess’ wardrobe on New Girl would consist strictly of turtlenecks and floor-length skirts. But for an episode earlier this year, she found herself slipping into skimpy lingerie to seduce on-screen boyfriend Justin Long. “I’m sort of sheepish about [being naked],” says Deschanel. If she was uncomfortable in the scene, you wouldn’t know it. That’s because Deschanel’s performance—which has thus far included zany voices, awkward dance moves, pitch perfect line delivery (“Jessica freakin P?!“) and lots of singing—is so seamless that it’s sometimes easy to forget she’s not playing herself. To top it all off, Deschanel has also managed to keep her character adorkable (how many times did you hear that word before Jess came on the scene?) without compromising her intelligence. Now, if that’s not worthy of a celebratory chicken dance/Emmy nom we just don’t know what is.

Watch the scene below and then keep reading to get Deschanel’s take on what she says is “the weirdest love scene” she’s ever done.

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Emmy Watch: 'The Good Wife' creators talk the drama (and fun) of 'Blue Ribbon Panel'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19. 

In each of its first two seasons, CBS’ The Good Wife earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. Last year, it was the only network show in the category and produced at least 10 episodes more than each of its competitors. Should the length of a season be something Emmy voters take into account? “No,” says Robert King, cocreator of The Good Wife with his wife Michelle King. “Look, we gripe about it because it’s hard work and we get two weeks a year off. But the bottom line is, it still comes down to the show. Do you enjoy the show or do you not? I’m kinda thrilled that there’s a paradigm changing, that you can do 10 episodes or 13 episodes. I’m a TV fan. Really, they should judge it on the quality of the episodes, no matter how many episodes were written or shot.”

To that end, if Emmy voters need to be reminded why The Good Wife, which wrapped its third season in April, is still one of TV’s best dramas, they need only revisit one episode, “Blue Ribbon Panel.” It’s an hour written by the Kings that masterfully weaves together office politics, as Eli (Alan Cumming), Julius (Michael Boatman) and David (Zach Grenier) maneuver to replace suspended Will (Josh Charles) as name partner and fail; the ongoing investigation into Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) finances, which leads back to FBI agent Lana Delaney (Jill Flint); Alicia (Julianna Margulies) serving as the token woman on a panel investigating a police shooting alongside Mike Kresteva (guest star Matthew Perry), the man who would later announce he was running for governor against her husband, Peter (Chris Noth); and flashbacks to moments in the Florricks’ old house, which Alicia was trying to buy back (only her mother-in-law Jackie, played by Mary Beth Peil, outbid her). Watch a clip below as the Kings take us inside the episode. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: '30 Rock' EP Robert Carlock talks 'Murphy Brown' and Liz Lemon's future

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

As 30 Rock nears its final 13 episodes, Executive Producer Robert Carlock knows more than anyone that there’s a lot of ground to cover. And that’s exactly what he’ll do this week as he heads back into the writers’ room with Tina Fey. Last week, with only a few, sweet days left in his vacation, Carlock took a moment to talk about season 6 with EW — in particular, writing episode 518, “Murphy Brown Lied to Us.”

“This was the season where we were using our ammunition and doing stuff with the characters in a fun way that we hadn’t [for a few seasons],” says the three-time Emmy winner. “This season felt like one where we were paying stuff off a lot.” Among those pay-offs, Liz Lemon (Fey) committed to a man and the possibility of motherhood, Jack (Alec Baldwin) reunited with his kidnapped wife Avery (Elizabeth Banks) — only to get a quickie divorce — and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) got engaged.

While many sitcoms limp to their series finales, Carlock assured that will not be the case for 30 Rock. “This is a show that doesn’t tend to go quietly into the night,” he laughed. “The challenge next year will be doing justice to all of the characters and landing everyone in the right place.” Below, check out a clip of “Murphy,” then read what Carlock had to say about everything from Jack’s torture couches, to Jenna’s wedding, and the return of a few of Liz’s old flames.

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Emmy Watch: Joel Kinnaman talks breaking promises and acting crazy in 'The Killing'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19. 

Joel Kinnaman, The Killing
Best Supporting Actor contender
As The Killing‘s Det. Stephen Holder, Joel Kinnaman has been as high as the Space Needle and as low as the depths of the icy Atlantic, emotionally speaking. Despite a viewer-enraging bait-and-switch at the end of the first season, the AMC drama promises to solve the mystery of Rosie Larsen’s murder by the end of Sunday night’s finale. This final stretch “is the resolution,” promises Kinnaman. “All the threads are coming together.”

Holder — a recovering drug addict — has been through the ringer this year, starting with a near-rock-bottom exchange with his nephew Davie (Arien Boey) in this season’s third episode. For the smooth-talking, wisecracking Holder, it was an uncharacteristic moment of vulnerability. Watch the scene below, then find out what it meant to Holder and what it took for Kinnaman (who Ken Tucker says “frequently carried The Killing through its weaker episodes this season) to get him there as an actor. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Casey Wilson talks the most fun she had last season on 'Happy Endings'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19. 

“My dad is giving out nominations for best daughter. That’s probably what I’ll get nominated for this year,” jokes Casey Wilson. Not if we have anything to say about it. As unlucky-in-love but optimistic Penny on ABC’s Happy Endings, Wilson embodies the concept of total commitment — whether the role requires her to wear pajoveralls (or flowy Angela Bassett pants), perform a defensive monologue about having taken a “whore’s bath,” or stage both a sing fight and a “Torn” duet with Penny’s mother (guest star Megan Mullally) at a boat show. “We choreographed the dance moves to ‘Torn’ together, and for that alone, I feel she deserves an Emmy nomination,” Wilson says. “That was the most fun I had all season, just being so happy to work with her.” Watch a clip below as Wilson takes us inside their collaboration. READ FULL STORY

TV Academy shortens Emmys (a little): Actor categories cut down

The TV Academy found one (tiny) way to shorten the annual Emmy telecast: It has consolidated the acting categories in the longform competition.

Beginning in 2013, there will only be two categories for actors who appear in telefilms — Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.  No more supporting actor races for all those men and women who co-star in HBO and  History Channel movies! To widen the playing field, the TV Academy will add a sixth nominee to each category.

The change should shave a few minutes off of the telecast, which often clocks in past three hours.

 

 

'Family Guy' to Emmy voters: 'Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews'

Another year, another headline-grabbing Family Guy Emmy campaign. In 2009, the animated juggernaut tried swaying voters with a threatening overdub of one of its most violent viral moments. In 2010, it cast Peter Griffin as the title character in Precious and told TV Academy members that if they didn’t vote for the show, they were racist. And last year, Seth MacFarlane and co. tried a softer approach, appealing to voters’ sense of fairness and the guilt anyone feels when looking at a sad baby.

But this spring, Family Guy is up to its old, purposefully offensive tricks. Emmy voters received a mailer of the show decorated with the controversial image at left — which boldly invokes old stereotypes about Jewish folks running the entertainment industry from their mansions in western Los Angeles.

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Jimmy Kimmel to host Emmys

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel just got a prime-time gig: Host of the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. The star and executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live! will host the Emmy Awards ceremony on Sept. 23 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.”I hope to be able to do for the Emmys this year what Eddie Murphy did for the Oscars,” Kimmel joked, referring to the comedian who pulled out as host of this year’s Oscar ceremony.

This is Kimmel’s first time hosting the Emmy Awards. Kimmel’s namesake show is in its 10th season on ABC. He previously hosted the American Music Awards and the ESPY Awards and is set to host the White House Correspondents’ dinner next month.

ABC also announced that director and producer Don Mischer will executive produce the Emmy telecast. Mischer recently directed and produced the Academy Awards. This is his 12th time at the helm of the Emmys. He said he’s “thrilled” to produce the Emmys again. “We love television and look forward to working with the television academy and ABC in creating a show that is fast-paced, humorous, unpredictable, and at times irreverent, but clearly celebratory of our incredible industry,” Mischer said in a statement Monday.

The Emmy Awards, put on by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, honor the best in TV.

Read more:
Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar show
Oprah joins Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar special
Clooney! Hanks! Mirren! Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscars spoof outtakes — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

British productions win big at International Emmys

Christopher Eccleston and Julie Walters garnered the main acting awards as British TV productions won five International Emmys, including two for the BBC crime anthology Accused.

Accused, written and created by Jimmy McGovern, received the Emmy for best drama series at the 39th Annual International Emmy Awards ceremony at the Hilton New York Hotel. The anthology tells the stories of people accused of crimes as they sit in holding cells beneath the courtroom awaiting the verdict in their trials.

The ceremony kicked off with a surprise appearance by Lady Gaga, wearing a tattooed-thigh-revealing, floor-length black gown and oversize sunglasses. She presented the honorary International Emmy Founders Award to Britain’s Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. READ FULL STORY

Michael Emerson to former 'Lost' co-star Terry O'Quinn: I won't quit you, either!

Our ongoing lobbying coverage of a potential John Locke/Benjamin Linus TV reunion continues! Last week, Terry O’Quinn (now guest-starring on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 with ex-Oceanic 815er Daniel Dae Kim) told EW he still wants to work with fellow Lost co-star Michael Emerson (now on CBS’ Person of Interest), even though plans for a J.J. Abrams-produced action-drama vehicle fell apart earlier this year. Said O’Quinn: “I was actually looking to do a series after Lost. … Michael and I fiddled around with one and we sort of got through the process of generating some interest in it, and we just didn’t come up with a script that everyone agreed on. Michael and I stay in touch; we still talk about that. Maybe we’ll make it happen before we get too creaky. I would love to have at least one more good experience like Lost.”

“I feel very much the same way,” Emerson tells EW.com. “I was very gratified to read that in the press. We’ve both told each other that even though there may be some bumps along the road, sooner or later, we’re going to work together.” For fans of Emerson’s new show with Jim Caviezel (and there could be a lot of them: Person of Interest launched last week to 13.2 million viewers), the actor has some scoop about tonight’s episode (airing at 9/8 c): READ FULL STORY

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