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Monday, September 23, 2013

The Emmys: The Good, the (Breaking) Bad and the WTF?

Well, at least Bob Newhart got a standing ovation and his very first Emmy (as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance on The Big Bang Theory). The 84-year-old comedian/actor definitely deserved both.

As for the rest of last night's 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, it was a mixed bag of good, bad and WTF? - and, unfortunately, it wasn't Neil Patrick Harris's best outing as a host. He wasn't terrible - and you can't help but like the guy - but most of his jokes just weren't funny. Now here are my highlights and lowlights of the evening (the pink categories are the eight out of 34 that I correctly predicted to win):

Hit-and-Miss Opening: I did not care for it at first - with an odd cameo by the Chairman and CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves, as a security guard and NPH chatting with various TV characters via clips (this dismal scene went on for way too long). However, once all of the past Emmy hosts began appearing on stage - including Jimmy Kimmel (2012), Jane Lynch (2011), Jimmy Fallon (2010) and Conan O'Brien (2002, 2006) - things finally got funny. Add in a deliciously demented cameo by Kevin Spacey as his House of Cards character as well as some hilarious lines from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in the front row of the audience - telling NPH to take off his pants and "twerk it" - and this opening bit was transformed into comedy gold.

Best Acceptance Speech: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie) told the audience, "Thank you so much. I gotta go. Bye." Short and sweet and very funny.

Confused Question #1: Why did some acting awards get to show clips of the nominees and others didn't? This was confusing and unfair.

Confused Question #2: Why didn't they show any clips of the honored deceased (Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton, etc.) instead of just having people talk about them? I found this weird - and don't get me started on why Larry Hagman - one of TV's most famous stars - was not one of the chosen few.

Confused Question #3: Why did the nominated directors get to answer lame questions on camera? Did we really need to see them try to be funny?

Best Shout-Out: Melissa Leo, who won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her appearance on Louie, gave a nice shout-out - "hope you're doing well" - to her fellow nominee, 88-year-old Elaine Stritch, who now lives in Michigan.

Former Hottie Who Is Aging Well: 58-year-old Scott Bakula, who was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Behind the Candelabra, is looking mighty fine these days.

Lamest NPH Joke: When he said Jimmy Kimmel was excited to be presenting with "them" (i.e. the breasts of Modern Family's Sofia Vergara). Whomever was writing Neil's jokes should be slapped.

Most Annoying Person of the Evening: Having actor Shemar Moore as a backstage reporter was totally pointless - but the guy is handsome.

Most Annoying Person of the Evening Runner-Up: The off-stage announcer lady who told us that actress Anna Gunn - who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad - was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Just shut up already!

Best Acceptance Speech Runner-Up: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) thanked everyone except her co-star Tony Hale, who amusingly helped her with her speech on stage.

Lamest Promotions of the Night #1: Will Arnett and Margo Martindale (The Millers) and Anna Faris and Allison Janney (Mom) who were only presenting together to promote their new CBS sitcoms - neither of which I plan to watch based on their laugh-free trailers.

Lamest Promotion of the Night #2: I like Elton John, but his song had absolutely nothing to do with Liberace. It was just a way for him to promote his new album - and they didn't even show any clips of Liberace's TV series while he was singing.

Hit-and-Miss Comedy Sketch: Having NPH's How I Met Your Mother co-stars talk about his EHD (Excessive Hosting Disorder) was kind of amusing at first, but the sketch went on for too long.

Hit-and-Miss Musical Number: NPH's song, "The Number in the Middle of the Show", was mildly amusing - with unexpected appearances by Castle's Nathan Fillion and comedian Sarah Silverman - but it paled in comparison to his musical numbers on the Tonys.

Best Presenter Runner-Up: It was great to see actress Diahann Carroll again - and I loved that she mentioned her former leading man, Lloyd Nolan, from her 1968-71 sitcom, Julia.

Most Surprising Couple: I didn't know that actor Bobby Cannavale - who won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Boardwalk Empire - is dating actress Rose Byrne (Damages).

Most Surprising Win: I wasn't expecting Jeff Daniels to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance on the HBO drama, The Newsroom - but he was quite funny as he talked about winning Best Actor over 50 from the AARP.

Weirdest Segment: It's perfectly fine to remember the 50th anniversaries of JFK's assassination and the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but putting them together made for an odd combination - and did we really need to hear Carrie Underwood sing "Yesterday"? Why not give this precious time to the winners so their acceptance speeches don't get rudely interrupted by music?

Funniest Cameo: I enjoyed seeing Oprah introduce and push all of the Jimmy Kimmel Live writers who were nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.

Best Tribute: Edie Falco's emotional speech about her late Sopranos co-star James Gandolfini.

Sassiest Winner: 80-year-old Ellen Burstyn - who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Political Animals - thanked creator Greg Berlanti for writing a woman over 65 who still had a lot of juice.

Biggest Waste of Time: Did we really need to see an entire production number for Outstanding Choreography? Dancing with the Stars' Derek Hough is a cutie, but just give him his award and get on with the show!

Worst Dress of the Night: Project Runway's Heidi Klum - but she and Tim Gunn did win Outstanding Hosts for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.

Best Acceptance Speech Honorable Mention: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra) who amusingly asked his onscreen lover and fellow nominee Matt Damon if he wanted the bottom or the top of the award (Damon chose the top).

Best Presenters: Will Ferrell and his three kids - give them their own sitcom!

Outstanding Comedy Series: As much as I like Modern Family, did it really deserve to win for the fourth year in a row?

Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad won for the first time.

Below are the rest of the winners whom I haven't already mentioned - and my grade for this Emmy Awards telecast is a C+.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland

Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Carrie Preston, The Good Wife

Writing for a Drama Series: Homeland

Directing for a Drama Series: House of Cards

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Tony Hale, Veep

Writing for a Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Directing for a Comedy Series: Modern Family

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum

Miniseries or Movie: Behind the Candelabra

Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: The Hour

Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special: Behind the Candelabra

Variety Series: The Colbert Report

Writing for a Variety Series: The Colbert Report

Directing for a Variety Series: Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Variety Special: The Kennedy Center Honors

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special: Louis C.K.: Oh My God

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special: The Kennedy Center Honors

Reality-Competition Program: The Voice

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics: "If I Had Time", 66th Annual Tony Awards (30 Rock's "Rural Juror" was robbed!)


Anonymous said...

You nailed that recap. I did like the musical numbers and the Choreography number especially the one for American Horror Story.

One of the best jokes came at Paula Dean's expense.

Unfair to compare to the Tony's - the Tony's has fair superior material to work with and focuses on showcasing mostly unseen work.

Marc said...

Thanks, Sean - but I don't think it's unfair to compare the Emmys to the Tonys. Both shows can hire the same people to write a musical number, jokes and comedy sketches. And I would think it's much easier to find humor in television than Broadway because almost everyone watches TV and there are a lot more shows on TV than on Broadway. Just my opinion.

Matty C said...

You forgot to highlight Jim Parson's as a pink category... He is extremely out and proud....

Marc said...

If I ever highlight the extremely out and proud in pink, I will definitely include Mr. Parsons. :)