Everybody Hates Raymond: Terrible TV performances that somehow won Emmys
The nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards drop this week and we’re already anticipating that most of our faves will be left off the ballot with a lot of mediocre work rewarded instead. It’s something the Emmys arguably does better than any organization, failing to even provide a nomination (nevermind a win) to such powerhouse performances as Nick Offerman in Parks and Recreation, Eva Green in Penny Dreadful, and Kaitlin Olson in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The Emmys are supposed to recognize outstanding work on the small screen and sometimes it does. But sometimes the prestigious TV awards ceremony goes horribly wrong and not only nominates people who are far from outstanding, but also gives them the damn award – sometimes multiple times for the same terrible performance. Here are nine less than outstanding TV performances that the Emmys have rewarded over the years.
Jon Cryer: Two and a Half Men (Lead Comedy Actor, 2012 & Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, 2009)
Although we’re loathe to say anything bad about the dude who played Duckie in Pretty in Pink, we’re absolutely floored to remember that Cryer has been nominated for an Emmy countless times for his role in this bottom-of-the-barrell Chuck Lorre sitcom, and has even won twice. Cryer’s obnoxious performance in the role is about as funny as sharing a house with Charlie Sheen (Wall Street) and definitely not worthy of any merit.
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock: His Last Vow (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, 2014)
Look, we know you’re all hot and heavy for Cumberbatch and his strange otter face and private school British accent, but we’re so over it already. The bottom line is that he just isn’t as great an actor as people seem to mysteriously give him credit for. His performance as Sherlock Holmes borders on cringeworthy, particularly in Sherlock: His Last Vow in which he chewed the scenery so heavily, he was shitting vintage books and quirky wallpaper for weeks.
Jaime Pressly: My Name is Earl (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, 2007)
It’s an awful show and as underclass moronic redneck Joy, Pressly’s performance was borderline offensive. The actor’s only show of talent in the role is to throw on a generic Southern drawl, scream at stuff, gurn at her boyfriend, and wear really tiny outfits while accidentally shooting a gun at anything and everything.
Patricia Heaton: Everybody Loves Raymond (Lead Comedy Actress, 2000 & 2001)
Heaton was awarded the accolade two years in a row for her performance in the mysteriously beloved sitcom. While we understand the appeal of Heaton’s comedic charm and timing, her performance is peculiarly one-note – as highlighted by her very similar recent performance in The Middle where she basically plays the exact same character.
Ray Romano: Everybody Loves Raymond (Lead Comedy Actor, 2002)
Not only is it an annoying performance, but it’s also utterly mediocre. Romano (The Big Sick) does little else with the role of “aloof straight white dude” than hundreds of other sitcom stars in near-identical roles have achieved over the years. Still, the Emmys gave him a big, shining round of applause for his efforts at the end of it all.
Jim Parsons: The Big Bang Theory (Lead Comedy Actor, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2015)
The sad thing about this one is that Parsons is genuinely a terrific actor – his performance in The Normal Heart was absolutely staggering, which makes his continued appearance in The Big Bang Theory all the more painful.
There’s an argument to be made regarding Parsons’s performance as neurotic scientist Sheldon Cooper, somehow turning an impossibly turgid script into something passable. But there’s also an argument to be made that we shouldn’t award such a waste of great talent – Parsons’s performance in the role hasn’t developed since day one, and neither has the dreadful script he’s had to work with.
Michael Emerson: Lost (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, 2009)
We genuinely love Emerson, who has built a fantastic career out of playing unhinged creepos in a variety of films and TV shows including Saw, The Practice, and Person of Interest. As mysterious weirdo Ben Linus in Lost, Emerson’s performance was delightfully soapy, but it wasn’t award-worthy. If Emerson’s OTT performance in the role is deserving of such an award, we can think of about a million other wild trash TV performances also worthy of a shiny celebration.
Terry O’Quinn: Lost (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, 2007)
John Locke was undoubtedly an interesting character, but he didn’t exactly have much depth to him – at the end of the day, Locke was just a wise old dude with a crumbling face who could grunt at stuff really well. O’Quinn did a fair job with the material, but is anyone still talking about how his performance is one of the best of all time? Unlikely. Hell, his performance wasn’t even the best in the whole show!
Katherine Heigl: Grey’s Anatomy (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, 2007)
If you have some time to kill, by all means throw yourself down a Google rabbit hole of discovery by reading about the salacious controversy surrounding Heigl’s time at Grey’s Anatomy and her less than favorable comments about the show. Somehow the actor, who has since become better known for starring in truly terrible romcoms, thought she was better than Shonda Rhimes’s everlasting medical drama. The truth is, she wasn’t and still isn’t – she might have won an Emmy for her role as Izzy, but her performance owed more to a sharp script and crazy plot twists than it did to her skillset as an actor.