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Hourlong laffers make case

Comedy

Is bigger the key to Emmy’s heart?

Both Barry Sonnenfeld with “Pushing Daisies” and Paul Lieberstein with two episodes of “The Office” sandwiched together have an hourlong canvas to showcase their skills. The two are going up against solid half-hour skeins.

 

DAN ATTIAS

Series: “Entourage” (HBO)

Episode: “No Cannes Do”

Visual highlight: Ari (Jeremy Piven) goes through verbal gymnastics as he tries to placate both Mrs. Ari (Perrey Reeves) and underappreciated assistant Lloyd (Rex Lee) after Ari weasels out of a promise to take them both to Cannes.

Why it might win: It’s a credit to the direction when auds feel like they’re part of Hollywood’s inner circle.

Maybe not: “Entourage” doesn’t feel as fresh as the other nominees.

 

JAMES BOBIN

Series: “Flight of the Conchords” (HBO)

Episode: “Sally Returns”

Visual highlight: The slapstick routine emanating from Jemaine’s (Jemaine Clement) move out from living with Bret (Bret McKenzie) to life in his new minuscule “compartment.”

Why it might win: “Conchords” was definitely a love-it-or-don’t-get-it kind of show. Bobin’s hoping the former dominates the voting.

Maybe not: Kudos from a loyal but niche audience might not be enough.

MICHAEL ENGLER

Series: “30 Rock” (NBC)

Episode: “Rosemary’s Baby”

Visual highlight: Capturing the different sides of Alec Baldwin while he role-played with Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) during a session with an NBC therapist. In this wild ride, Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy played out Tracy’s whacked-out family in a hilarious fashion, then hit one to the heart by convincing Tracy he was loved by his NBC family.

Why it might win: All “30 Rock” episodes are shot well, capturing all the chaotic activity without making the audience dizzy.

Maybe not: When Engler went up against Sonnenfeld’s “Pushing Daisies” episode for the DGA, it lost.

PAUL FEIG

Series: “The Office” (NBC)

Episode: “Goodbye, Toby”

Visual highlight: Jim (John Krasinski) funds the blowout going-away party for Toby (Paul Lieberstein) with a Ferris wheel and fireworks to set the mood to propose to Pam (Jenna Fischer).

Why it might win: Feig offers up some intriguing moments, from the subtle ping-pong camera work when Michael (Steve Carell) and Jim have a chat about Michael’s obsession with Toby’s comely replacement, Holly (Amy Ryan), to the awkward moment when Jim opts out of the proposal.

Maybe not: With two episode of “The Office” in the running, it could split the vote and leave both standing in the parking lot.

 

PAUL LIEBERSTEIN

Series: “The Office” (NBC)

Episode: “Money (Parts 1 & 2)”

Visual highlight: This double episode offers up a dim-sum feast of moments in its homage to film — “Blair Witch” shots at Dwight’s farmhouse, which is now a Beets Motel for agro tourism, to Dwight (Rainn Wilson) sitting by the trash bin playing Bon Jovi’s “Shot Through the Heart” on a plastic flute.

Why it might win: This would be a great opportunity to recognize the multitalented Lieberstein, who also wrote the episode, acts and is co-exec producer.

Maybe not: Having more time on the clock wasn’t necessarily a good thing for this episode, which had a tendency to lag in spots.

 

BARRY SONNENFELD

Series: “Pushing Daisies” (ABC)

Episode: “Pie-Lette”

Visual highlight: From the opening sequence to the final curtain, the pilot episode created a visual feast with mesmerizing characters, taking viewers into a magical world.

Why it might win: Sonnenfeld won this year’s Directors Guild of America award for this episode.

Maybe not: Some voters might believe the DGA kudo is enough.

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