Give Laurie That Emmy; It's Later Than You Think
Emmy should be paying a House call next fall.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has one final chance to rectify a glaring oversight.
Unlike in Time Tunnel, various Star Trek episodes, and Bullwinkle, ATAS can’t set the Wayback machine and give Jackie Gleason an Emmy for The Honeymooners, or honor Martin Sheen, who never won an Emmy despite statues going to virtually all of the main supporting cast members of West Wing.
That is painful and unchangeable history.
But with House and Laurie, the academy has a chance to make up for some of that by finally honoring Hugh Laurie for his title role as Dr. Gregory House, the acerbic unreformed cynic at the center of one of the best-written and acted TV dramas.
Few shows leave their cynics unredeemed. Seinfeld did, and now that I think of it, House would have been the perfect doctor to treat those characters. The House writers never waivered in their belief that not every character is redeemable. Mr. Potter didn’t throw any money into the bowl at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, and Dr. House did not exchange his cane for a shepherd’s crook at the end of House, well not exactly.
The show closed Monday (May 21) with a two-hour sweeps stunt combination retrospective/cast/crew salute–”Swan Song,” with Laurie narrating in his native accent–followed by the final episode. I appreciated the Dead Poet’s Society reference in that finale, a nod to Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. Wilson), who committed suicide in that movie. Spoiler alert: Suicide is a theme of the finale. But then again, self-destruction and House are hardly strangers.
Leonard is another great, underappreciated actor.
But Laurie has been, in a word, unforgettable. I am not saying that the Academy needs to take one of the four best supporting comedy actor Emmys away from John Larroquette, though he probably would not miss it. He was even a guest star on West Wing for several episodes as I recall. But I digress,
And I know, the award does not take into account how the character is created, but the fact that Laurie, an Englishman, can pull off an American better than any English actor and most Americans, should count for something.
If there is a TV god who rights Emmy injustices–OK, there clearly isn’t or The Simpsons would have won a best writing Emmy somewhere over the past two decades.
Prime time Emmy nominations will be announced July 19. Awards will be announced Sept. 23.
If Hugh Laurie is not on both of those lists, you can expect more of these “angry man” blogs, adding him to my list of TV actors or shows that got royally shafted.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.