Despite what Jon Stewart said, this year the Emmys were not so predictable. Or sure, there were a few expected trips to the podium; Modern Family swept again, The Daily Show won for the tenth year in a row and The Amazing Race took home its ninth award, but the upsets far outnumbered the standbys.
The biggest, and the one that causes me the much pain, was Mad Men getting completely shut out. Going into Sunday it led with 17 nominations and by the end of ceremony that’s still all they had. I’m all for the Emmys recognizing new shows, but you know, not when it effects the shows I feel so strongly about. Because, not only was Mad Men ignored, so was Breaking Bad. (Besides Aaron Paul’s win for supporting actor which made me oh, so happy. Also, I’m sure Giancarlo Esposito is a wonderful person, but every time he smiles it looks like he’s up to something and it makes me very nervous. The smooch he gave Aaron was uber adorable, but still. Nervous.) Nope, instead it was newbie Showtime drama Homeland that swept through the drama categories taking home the top prize in writing, acting and overall series. I’ve never seen Homeland (though it’s at the top of my list as of this morning), but I happen to live with someone who has and he was even more upset about the sweep, so I stand by my indignation.
The surprises that made me most happy came at the expense of those shows trying to beat the system. Both Downton Abby and American Horror Story switched up their categories in the hopes of improving their odds. Last year Downton Abby dominated the miniseries categories, but this year being included in as a drama series left them empty handed. Similarly, American Horror Story chose to run as a miniseries because Ryan Murphy is a douchebag (Sorry kid, 12 episodes does not a miniseries make). But luckily the Emmy voters saw right through that little move and left the heavily nominated SERIES with nothing. Besides Jessica Lange, but she would have won in the drama category too because she is just that freaking good.
The comedy category saw the least amount of surprises. Modern Family continued to win everything it was nominated for, Emmy voters continued to ignore Amy Poehler’s talent and in turn she continued to be the classiest consistent loser ever. The only real upset came in the lead actor category where, after eight years of being simultaneously the most popular comedy on television and universally ignored by awards shows, Two and a Half Men finally received some recognition. Jon Cryer seemed just as shocked as everyone else, which of course was too endearing. I really can’t be too upset about it; Cryer has been consistently strong on the long running series and deserves a few accolades for holding the show together for as long as he has. In my predictions post I commented that Louis C.K. deserved the win for his fresh take on comedy, but instead he took home two writing awards, which is much more prestigious anyway (in my totally unbiased opinion).
As far as the reality portion goes, this Amazing Race domination is getting a little old, but I was thrilled that Tom Beregron won for best host. I was pulling for Cat Deely because she truly is one of the best. She keeps the live shows running smoothly and you can tell she genuniely cares about the dancers. But if it couldn’t be her, Tom is certainly equally deserving. As the host of another live show he keeps everything on point and also has the wit to come up with one liners on the spot.
As for the show itself, it was a highly entertaining three hours, which is quite a feat for most award shows. They continued with the format from last year of breaking down the categories and showing one long clip package of the nominated (and un-nominated, but still stellar) shows. I do wish that we still got some clips with the nominees, but I know that’s not realistic with the time constraints. I also felt like they got through the comedy and drama categories a bit too quickly for a show that’s supposed to be celebrating those forms.
Jimmy Kimmel was on fire as the host. The opening bit was perfect and his jokes walked that line of being funny to the home audience without offending too much of the live audience. The bit with the Modern Family cast complaining about the young actress who plays Lily was funny; if not highly suspect that they were the only series to get their own taped bit. But the best bits of the night came from the nominees. When they started listing the nominees for best actress in a comedy I was sad that it seemed there was no Poehler orchestrated bit to go along with it, but I supposed having your marriage fall apart doesn’t put one in the joke making mood. Luckily I was wrong and when Julia Louis Dreyfus won she began her speech thanking the Parks and Recreation cast and Archie and Abel (Poehler’s sons), what followed was a hysterical swapped speeches bit that was carried out through the end of Julia’s real speech. Like I said, classiest consistent loser. Although I would like to know what was planned had Amy won.
The other stand out bit was in the variety show category. When The Daily Show was inevitably announced, fellow nominees Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon tackled Jon Stewart to the ground in an attempt to keep him from collecting his 10th Emmy. The roughhousing went on longer than I expected, and probably longer than Stewart expected too. When he reached the podium, out of breath, he delivered the line of the night, “I’m not in good enough shape to do a bit with Jimmy Fallon”.
There we are fellow TV watchers, another TV season out to bed and now it’s onto the next one. Let premiere week begin!
– Devin Mainville