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Emmy Watch: 'Revenge' creator on the season's best moments

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. 

Whatever you do, don’t call Revenge a soap opera to creator Mike Kelley. Okay, we’ll call it a smart, addictive, complex, original, hilarious, heartfelt, and yes, occasionally sudsy drama about Emily Thorne’s (Emily VanCamp) return to the Hamptons to take down the family responsible for her father’s death. With a first season full of murder, romance, and fabulous parties aplenty, the highlight had to be the season finale, which wrapped up enough to keep us sated, but left enough questions open to keep us intrigued all summer long. Kelley, who is already writing next season’s scripts (no, he won’t answer anything about Victoria getting off that plane), shared his favorite moments of that episode and the rest of the season.

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Emmy Watch: 'Happy Endings' EPs reveal Mandonna was almost Sex Pants None the Richer

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.

There’s a moment in Happy Endings‘ season 2 finale, “Four Weddings and a Funeral (Minus Three Weddings and a Funeral),” in which guest star Stephen Guarino (as groom Derrick) tells the show’s regulars he doesn’t have time for their endless bantering: “The back and forth, it’s exhausting. I don’t even know what you’re saying half the time. So slow down!” As a fan of Arrested Development, 30 Rock, and Aaron Sorkin, creator David Caspe admits he’s preconditioned to enjoying a fast-paced show. (Exec producer Jonathan Groff says EP/director Joe Russo even told the cast — Casey Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr., Adam Pally, Zachary Knighton, Elisha Cuthbert, and Eliza Coupe — to go see The Social Network as they began work on the series.) But Caspe can think of two other reasons for its rapid-fire dialogue, which he’s been told some fans have to rewind to catch: The show’s writers find the six characters so funny, they want them all to get jokes in every episode and pen scripts that are too long, and his own insecurity.

“A window into my troubled soul is I tend to think well, f—, if we just keep throwin’ them at ‘em, they won’t have any time to hate any of them,” Caspe says, with a laugh. “In my opinion, it kinda takes the pressure off the jokes. If you didn’t like this one, maybe this one! It’s sorta my desperate attempt to be liked. I sometimes watch the show and feel like it’s just me screaming out ‘Love me! Love me! Love me! Love me! Love me!”

Here, Caspe and Groff take us inside the ABC comedy’s season finale and tease what’s to come.

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Emmy Watch: 'The Middle' boss on turning real-life tragedy into relatable comedy

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.

Despite a bevy of critical love in the course of its first three seasons, Emmys have eluded The Middle. Why? We’re not entirely sure. But Eileen Heisler, co-creator of ABC’s quiet comedic gem, has an idea or two. Atop her list? Ironically, the show is sort of stuck in, well, the middle. “We had a line in the beginning of our pilot that was, ‘Yeah, we’re in the middle — the place you fly over on your way to somewhere else,’ and I think that sometimes that happens to our show, too,” she says with a laugh.

The so-called destination, in this case, is of course that other ABC comedy, Modern Family — which, with six Emmy statues, is dripping in award riches. Not that buzz is undeserved; quite the opposite, in fact. If anything, it simply makes it hard to shine, says Heisler. “I think that we’ve always been in the shadow of Modern Family, which we have to be thankful for because it made it a night that gets attention,” she says. “I think there are still some people who are simply not aware of it and not aware that there’s more than one great family show on Wednesday night…But I think there’s also something, maybe, unsexy about [The Middle] and its description — until they watch it. I think there’s always a bit of a bias against something that’s perceived as less hip.”

But the show is edgier than some might think, Heisler says, and relatable. The latter being among the things The Middle does best, which is why Heisler chose “The Map” to take a deep dive into with EW. The episode, in part, dealt with the death of the Hecks’ Aunt Ginny and was a nod to the passing of beloved actress Frances Bay, who portrayed her. See a clip below and read about how the late Bay inspired the episode. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Madeleine Stowe looks back at the 'Revenge' finale

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. 

Thanks to a surge of great roles for women on cable and in broadcast, Supporting Actress in a Drama could end up being the most competitive category when Emmys are handed out Sept. 23 on ABC. With the balloting process beginning June 11, EW asked Madeleine Stowe to reflect on Revenge‘s first season and what episode she would submit if she’s fortunate enough to hear her name read as a nominee next month.

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Emmy Watch: Nick Offerman talks the toughest thing he's had to do as Ron Swanson

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.

Four seasons into NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Nick Offerman has turned burly libertarian Ron Swanson into one of TV’s most well-defined characters. It’s impossible to read the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness and not hear his voice in your head, which makes it easy to take Offerman’s deadpan performance for granted. Perhaps that’s why we’re hoping Emmy voters revisit the September 2011 episode “Ron and Tammys,” in which Ron’s first ex-wife, Tammy 1 (guest star Patricia Clarkson), turns him into the anti-Ron Swanson (a “neutered wimp,” to borrow Leslie Knope’s words). Watch a clip below. Offerman reflects on his transformation.  READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: 'Modern Family' co-creator talks about surprise finale

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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.

Steve Levitan, the co-creator of the Emmy-winning Modern Family, talked to EW about Gloria’s surprise pregnancy in the finale, and why he opted to expand her family with Jay rather than another little one to the Cameron-Mitchell household.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Should Modern Family receive another nomination in the Outstanding Comedy, what episodes will you submit?

STEVE LEVITAN After much debate, we decided “Aunt Mommy,” “Baby on Board,” “Door to Door,” “Punkin Chunkin,” and “Leap Day.”

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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

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