Emmys: Did 'Bridesmaids' help Melissa McCarthy pull off an upset?
"'Bridemaids' – that's how she did it," huffed a top Emmys honcho backstage Sunday night as we tried to figure out how Melissa McCarthy pulled off that surprise victory for best comedy actress.
He might be right. Normally, TV series stars win based upon the strength of the sample episode they submit to the judges, who are all fellow actors usually swayed by big, over-the-top emoting. That's why most pundits picked Laura Linney to prevail. Linney submitted the pilot episode of "The Big C" in which she battles cancer, wacky neighbors, devilish city officials and dysfunctional family members. She also seemed like a good bet because the three-time past champ had never lost an Emmy bout.
Granted, McCarthy's episode of "Mike & Molly" was a good submission. Titled "First Date," we see her character beset with calamity after she takes a cold medication before her first big date with Mike (Billy Gardell). She passes out in bed just before the big event, but finally makes it to the dinner date where she's so blotto from effects of the medicine and her cold that she blathers crazy talk at the restaurant.
Funny stuff, but Amy Poehler entered a similar episode of "Parks and Recreation" called "Flu Season" in which she battled the flu with equally disastrous results. Many Emmy pundits thought it was a more dynamic performance than McCarthy's, so the latter's victory was widely considered to be a surprise.
That Emmy honcho might be on to something, suggesting McCarthy was helped by her breakout role in the hit feature film "Bridesmaids." In 2007, when Katherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy") pulled off a jaw-dropper in the race for supporting drama actress, her breakout role that year in comedy blockbuster "Knocked Up" probably helped.
-- Tom O'Neil
Photos: Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids" and Katherine Heigl in "Knocked Up." Credit: Universal Pictures