"Glee" fans and critics alike have found plenty to criticize about the show over the past two seasons, but it was still a bit of a shock to discover the huge ensemble cast got shut out of the Emmy Awards this year. The lone acting nod came for "guest actress" Dot-Marie Jones, who plays tough-but-tender Coach Beiste. While the writing and character development aren't always consistent, one can typically expect good acting.
Even with separate comedy categories, these series often land nominations for their most serious moments. It's no surprise, then, that Beiste's spousal abuse storyline netted Jones her second Emmy nomination for "Glee." Some of her best work has come when the football coach shows her vulnerability, and the episodes "Choke" and "Props" allowed the actress to dig into the most fragile parts of the character's psyche.
The show can get a bit heavy-handed with its "issue-of-the-week" plots that often come out of nowhere, but this time the surprise was realistic. Those seemingly perfect couples are often the ones hiding dark secrets, and it's been made clear that Coach Beiste suffers from low self-esteem. It was easy to see that she was just the type to stick with an abusive husband because she didn't think she'd get another man willing to have her.
While the Emmy nomination is a sign to Jones that she succeeded in moving people with her portrayal, the more meaningful reinforcement came from the "Glee" viewers. After the pivotal episodes, the actress was moved by messages she received on Twitter and Facebook. "The people I heard from were so thankful for that episode," she explains, "and a lot of them were telling me it gave them strength."
Overachiever Rachel Berry has often had a polarizing effect on "Glee" fans, particularly when her narcissistic ambition goes way too far. Lea Michele has been stuck with some impossible plot lines over the years, but she got the chance to bring all the aspects of her character full circle at the end of Season 3. Seeing how the relentlessly positive, gold-star seeking ingenue reacted when all of her lifelong dreams started to crumble around her gave viewers some of the best moments with the character yet.
Michele perfectly captured that teenage roller coaster of emotions that starts with denial and ends in tears. In between we got the forced positivity that shattered under the cruelty of her judgmental peers, the fight to reassess and set new goals, and a succession of sacrifices. Rachel once again grabbed "Glee" viewers and made us feel for her plight, and suffer along with her, and that kind of complex and riveting portrayal is surely worthy of an Emmy nomination.
Kurt already gets a lot of story arc, and Chris Colfer gets a lot of love, so I'm going to give a nod to step-brother Finn on this one. Perhaps because he has what's perceived as the simple, dorky jock role, Monteith often gets unfairly overlooked when it comes to handing out accolades. To start with, it never ceases to be amazing how the very adult actor (he turned 30 in May) so convincingly portrays the awkwardness and emotional confusion of a teenager.
Finn had an ongoing struggle this season, trying to figure out if what everyone else wanted him to do was actually what he wanted for himself. Monteith is a master at finding the humor in the football player's cluelessness, then transitioning into some pivotal moment that totally tugs on our heartstrings. Whether you empathized or were enraged by Rachel's ditching of her dreams to stay in limbo with him, it was impossible not to react to Finn's selfless break-up in the finale. Any actor that can inspire so many audience tears deserves an Emmy Award nomination.
What do you think, "Glee" fans? Which one of your favorite actors do you think deserved an Emmy nomination this year?
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