Earlier this week, we introduced our nominees for this month’s Hall of Fame. Today, Rabin returns with his statistical analysis to assist you in casting your vote for this month’s race.
In January, I introduced you to ACTOR, and as we move into the comedy category of nominees, the equation remains the same. So how do these eight nominees compare?
Well, they stack up impressively. We’ll explore their rankings within the comedy lead actress sample set shortly, but it’s worth noting that many of these selections hold high positions among the 300 actors and actresses for whom ACTOR scores have been calculated over the past three months.
Among the eight nominees this month, three are in the top five, five are in the top twenty, and seven are in the top fifty.
Furthermore, five of this month’s nominees have higher rankings than the previously highest-ranked inductee, James Garner as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files.
Even the lowest-ranking nominee this month is two spots ahead of one of last month’s inductees, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Let’s now examine how this month’s nominees compare to each other:
These scores are remarkably high.
Here is a list of all the nominees from the past three months, with this month’s nominees highlighted in purple, inductees in blue, and rejected nominees in green:
Now, let’s proceed with the comparisons between the nominees!
Lucille Ball, Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy
Lucille Ball’s portrayal of Lucy Ricardo secures the top spot, not only among the 100 lead comedy actresses in this sample set but also among all 300 characters I have assessed using the ACTOR formula.
Even more noteworthy is Ball’s remarkable performance in her lesser-known roles in The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, where she ranks 17th and 53rd, respectively, among lead actresses in a comedy.
Lucille Ball unquestionably sets the standard for television comedy, irrespective of gender.
I am confident that she warrants 100% approval votes, although there may be some who disagree.
Jean Stapleton, Edith Bunker, All in the Family
Jean Stapleton received admiration from both the Emmys and Golden Globes.
From a statistical standpoint, there isn’t much to elaborate on; her iconic role makes her an unequivocal “yes.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elaine Benes, Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus received significant recognition from awards shows, and this continues to be the case.
JLD, along with fellow nominee Marilu Henner, delivered an unusual “lead” performance in a comedy.
In this case, she wasn’t the unquestionable primary character like Ball, Moore, Bergen, and Barr, nor a member of the central couple in the series as Stapleton and Rashād were.
Today, very few similar roles would be classified as leading roles rather than supporting roles (Martha Plimpton in Raising Hope being one of the rare exceptions).
JLD even submitted herself in the supporting category at the Emmys.
However, as Elaine was undeniably the central female character of Seinfeld and was once considered in this category, she is a clear choice for induction.
Mary Tyler Moore, Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Once you move past Mary Tyler Moore ranking lower than Jennifer Aniston in Friends (likely due to the immense popularity and longevity of Friends, with all three female leads ranking high, Lisa Kudrow at 5 and Courteney Cox at 22), MTM becomes another clear yes vote.
MTM, like fellow nominee Lucille Ball, stands out as a dominant presence on this list, with her portrayal of Laura Petrie coming in at the 11th spot.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show itself was a statistical powerhouse, akin to the Oakland Athletics of television comedy.
Beyond MTM, the spinoffs of the series gave rise to Cloris Leachman’s Phyllis Lindstrom, ranked 9th in the sample set, Valerie Harper’s Rhoda Morganstern, ranked 12th, and, shifting to the men’s drama category, Ed Asner’s Lou Grant, ranked 18th.
However, this wealth of information is merely trivia, making MTM an unquestionable yes vote.
Candice Bergen, Murphy Brown, Murphy Brown
Murphy Brown is a show that may not have aged gracefully, featuring numerous cultural references of its time and having limited syndication exposure.
However, Candice Bergen’s portrayal earned her an astounding FIVE Emmy Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy, setting a record for any woman in a single role.
Even more noteworthy, after securing those FIVE Emmy Awards, she opted not to submit herself for consideration during the last three seasons of the series.
This, too, makes her an unquestionable Hall of Famer.
Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Conner, Roseanne
Roseanne ranks sixth among these nominees, which is usually the threshold for discussing borderline selections.
However, Roseanne also holds the 13th position overall. Surprisingly, she surpasses Carol Burnett from The Carol Burnett Show!
Barr boasts the highest Ranked Points score in the sample set, underscoring the substantial impact of her character. Therefore, another affirmative vote for her.
Phylicia Rashād, Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show
Rashād faces some challenges due to a notable lack of award recognition.
Despite being part of a highly successful series (Rashād’s Televised Points score ranks fourth, trailing only the three Friends actresses), The Cosby Show didn’t accumulate many awards, possibly because Bill Cosby chose not to submit himself for nominations.
It’s challenging to ascertain whether Rashād submitted herself for consideration, but she received only two Best Actress nominations.
Nonetheless, Rashād portrayed a legendary character and, in any other category, would be a definite inclusion based on her ACTOR score. Therefore, this is another yes vote.
Marilu Henner, Elaine O’Connor Nardo, Taxi
And that brings us to Marilu Henner. Taxi had a reasonably long run but modest ratings, and Henner received five Golden Globe nominations for her role without securing a win.
Beyond that, there isn’t much to highlight.
This is not to diminish Taxi, which is a legendary and influential series (and one of the first shows covered by this website).
However, Henner’s role, while commendable, doesn’t reach the level of memorability and greatness exhibited by the other seven nominees.
In a field as competitive as this, Henner falls just short of making the cut.
Consequently, we have an exceptionally strong Hall of Fame ballot with resounding “yes” recommendations for Lucille Ball, Jean Stapleton, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mary Tyler Moore, Candice Bergen, Roseanne Barr, and Phylicia Rashād, and a “no” vote for Marilu Henner.
Whom will you vote for?