This may seem like a silly thing to ask, since it is something that I am in control of – I am not decrying the fact that the Television Academy has never honored Aubrey, but that I myself have never thought she quite deserved that honor. But it is not so silly when one considers how serious I am when I wonder what would happen if I were in charge of the Emmy winners. Aubrey Plaza’s performance as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation is undoubtedly unique and entertaining enough to garner multiple Emmy nominations, which she has not received, but which she would have received if I had been in charge. She is SO unique and SO entertaining that when viewed independently of all other contenders, I do not know how I could ever vote against her. But there are other strong contenders in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy field, and the way that competition has played out suggests that the fates are simply not in Aubrey’s favor.
Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of how the race would have played out if I were in charge:
-2009: I did not watch Parks and Rec‘s first season, nor does it seem like I ever necessarily should. From what I can gather from the episode synopses, April did not yet play that big a role anyway.
-2010: “I would be completely behind the absurdly idiosyncratically deadpan Aubrey Plaza winning here,” I wrote … “if not for Jane Lynch.” Once upon a time, Glee was a halfway decent show and Sue Sylvester was more or less the best character on TV for a year.
-2011: Glee wasted no time in beginning its descent into oblivion, and Jane Lynch was harmed by her show’s decline more than anyone else in the cast. “This would have made room for Aubrey,” I reasoned, “except that Alison Brie became even more essential to Community,” a show which had quickly become the best on TV. (It’s possible that Alison was already that good in Season 1, and I just didn’t completely notice at the time.)
-2012: Another year of Community at the top of its game, another year of Alison Brie blowing my mind. Further against Aubrey’s favor, I finally realized exactly what Alison’s co-star Gillian Jacobs was doing. “[O]h how I wish I could also pick Aubrey,” I screamed.
-2013: The marked decline of Community should have cleared the way right for Aubrey … except that I believed (unlike a lot of critics) that Parks declined even more than Community. However, April was actually the least harmed during Season 5. But, though she was never bad, she did not often enough get the screen time to be great. This year has been wacky enough that I would actually be in favor of Toks Olagundoye of The Neighbors , an excellent performer on an otherwise decent-to-merely good show.
So, Aubrey’s most consistently major competition has been Alison Brie. Thus, for her to break through and be number one for the year, then likely at least one of two things will need to happen:
1. Community will need to remain in decline.
2. Community will need to be cancelled before Parks and Recreation.
With the returns of Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna, Number 1 is now less likely. So that leaves us with Number 2, which not only seems possible but probable, considering how Community is perpetually on the bubble. But somehow it keeps surviving, and if there is a bump in quality, it may even be more likely to survive again (Dan Harmon vowed at Comic-Con that he was going to “do everything [he] can to get us the sixth season”). And Parks and Recreation is not too far above the bubble itself, really. I guess the solution here is … A TIE!
Now, onto the real Emmys and making that tie an actual occurrence! I know plenty of people who would enjoy the sight of Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza standing next to each other.