By Mandi Bierly
May 10, 2011 at 04:25 PM EDT
Byron Cohen/NBC
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Rob Lowe has taken to Twitter to explain his decision to enter the lead actor Emmy race instead of supporting for his work on Parks and Recreation: “Re: Emmy category. Having 3 guys from the same show all submit in ‘supporting’ didn’t seem like a good idea in Pawnee. #spreadthewealth.” Perhaps Lowe is thinking back to last year’s Modern Family debate: The adult cast decided to all submit as supporting because they are a true ensemble comedy, and Ed O’Neill got snubbed. Many in the industry thought O’Neill could have gotten away with calling himself a lead actor because of his position as the show’s patriarch and his years on Married… With Children (which, by the way, netted him zero Emmy nominations). With Lowe’s character Chris Traeger at the top of the government ladder in Pawnee, the actor receiving the all-important “and Rob Lowe” billing on the show’s opening credits, and his previous lead actor Emmy nod for The West Wing, does it make sense for him to step up if someone from the show has to — even though it feels like the only male he tops in screentime is Jim O’Heir (Jerry)? Well… yes. Nick Offerman is the only other logical choice, but somehow that just feels so anti-Ron Swanson, the man who never wants to lead anything (other than a movement to keep hamburgers on the menu). 

The question is: Will Lowe’s move pay off? I could definitely see voters wanting to reward his bold, surprising move to join a comedy and the fact that he’s so brilliant at making Chris optimistic enough to frighten a goth while not making him into a caricature. If he were to go supporting, he could split votes with his castmates, and none of them could end up in the crowded category. (If at least Offerman doesn’t crack it this year, we will not be happy.) Will Lowe make the lead category? Looking at last year’s nominees, two of them (Larry David and Tony Shalhoub) definitely won’t be back, so there are openings. Still, Chris Traeger isn’t as indispensable as Jack Donaghy, so it’s a tough call. Let’s take it to a vote!

Read more:

‘Parks and Recreation: Come back soon, Parker Posey!

‘Parks and Recreation’: Sing, muse, of government goddess Leslie Knope

‘Parks and Recreation’ earns early pickup for fall

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