E: Just when you think its not possible to love Neil Patrick Harris more, he goes and does something like this. And I know, the title’s a bit corny, but you have to acknowledge it: there weren’t a lot of shocks in the big categories, but Harris was so winning that he made the night enjoyable anyway.
What I liked:
From his white jacket tux (M: the ultimate in suiting up!) and his opening number (“Put Down the Remote”) , Neil Patrick Harris killed. Even the schtick about losing (again) was entertaining instead of awkward. He snarked about the relevance of broadcast television, he introduced presenters using their most obscure and hilarious credits, and he won the respect of former Emmy hosts good (Jon Stewart) and bad (Jeff Probst, of last year’s disastrous reality show host experiment). AND we got a fantastic Dr. Horrible short when the would be supervillian captured the airwaves to laud online programming only to be foiled by slow connections and his dim witted nemesis, Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer. Sure, I’d have loved it if the bit were longer or included more singing, but leaving your audience wanting more is probably the best way to go. Speaking of which, the millisecond we got to see of Felicia Day made me wonder if the Glee people have called her yet, and if so, why not? How brilliant a fit would that be?
As far a the actual results are concerned, well, my love list is a bit shorter. I bear no ill will towards Tina Fey – I think she’s brilliant (and dressed beautifully as always – a real 40s starlet look) – but I was thrilled to see someone else (namely Toni Collette) take the prize. I haven’t seen a minute of Collette’s gig doing multiple personalities, so I can’t judge if it’s better than Fey’s work. I understand the temptation with TV to keep rewarding the same people. Generally I believe that the work should be rewarded, no matter who does it. But as a viewer, no matter how much I love a show or a performer, I hate seeing the same people get nominated year after year, and the same people win. Michael Emerson’s win for Lost was thrilling; he’s an indelibly creepy villain and it’s fantastic to see him rewarded (M: To me another instance of someone deserving being rewarded at least one season after they deserved it. Emerson is fantastic, but should have been up for it two or three seasons ago, when he was even better than this season). And Kristin Chenoweth, tiny and sparkly and adorable, winning for the late great Pushing Daisies? Kudos to the Academy for supporting a show canceled too soon. Our Dad loves 24, and was thrilled to see Cherry Jones win a supporting statuette for that role. And Huzzah, Little Dorrit! I was thrilled for them, as well as sorry for Susanna White.
OH! The self proclaimed nerds who wrote Hugh Jackman’s Oscar opening number last year were fantastic. And not nearly as bad looking as they think. That number was pretty great, too. And Ricky Gervais as a presenter? Outstanding. Does that have anything to do with the winners? No. But Ricky skewering the Hollywood set? Wouldn’t be without it. John Hodgman’s color commentaries? Amazing. That’s PC from the Mac commercials, in case you were wondering why his voice was familiar. Love that man.
I wasn’t half as wowed by the dance number as I wanted to be, and I think that was because they didn’t use any of the So You Think You Could Dance dancers (or at least that I could tell). I will always have a soft spot for Jon Cryer, like I said, but I’m mildly bummed that Harris didn’t win. I mean, how fun would that have been to see?
What I didn’t like:
Alec Baldwin, Glenn Close, Brian Cranston, 30 Rock, Mad Men – I mean, I KNOW they’re brilliant but it’s just so boring to see the same shows over and over again. Maybe that’s why I prefer the Oscars – it’s always new work. Of course, the movies and miniseries are all new, but Grey Gardens wasn’t much of a surprise as a winner, so that takes a bit of the bloom off the rose. Anyway, I’ve read that Close had a disappointing season on Damages (more about the show than her?), but when Emmy latches on to someone, it doesn’t seem to matter (M: and more fuel to the fire of the point I made about Michael Emerson). Maybe I’m just pissed that Mary McDonnell didn’t make the cut even with extra slots added. And I’m not sorry that there are great roles for women on cable. It’s just that you feel like people check off those boxes without thinking. Maybe that’s not fair, but when half the big awards or more go to the same shows as last year, you have to wonder. The Amazing Race? Again? I have seen The Amazing Race, and while it is an entertaining show, it in no way is the dominant force its Emmy wins would have you believe. Better than Project Runway? Better than Top Chef? Better than Survivor in its heyday or the top show on television, American Idol? Seriously, that show has won this category every year since 2003. I’m pretty sure that’s every year the category has been around. (M: I think this is where the Emmys have it so much harder than the Oscars. You can, with some effort, see every nominated movie and performance for the Oscars. Can you watch every episode of every series, miniseries, reality show, variety show, fake news show and made for TV movie in a given year? It’s just not possible for almost anyone to do, let alone for just about everyone to do. So you end up with a lot of lemmings.)
The best seat in the house? That was Harris’ one bit that fell flat. Sorry, Barbie.
Also, Jon Cryer’s bumblebee vest. What was that about? Was he trying to look like a Hufflepuff? (M: Funny you should mention that. I was out of the room while my wife was watching the red carpet, but the one thing she called me in and rewound it for was so I could see his vest. Then we shut it off and watched Harry Potter…. I wonder if it was the power of suggestion in the Jon Cryer Helga Hufflepuff Vest!)
Orange seemed to be the color of the night – and not just namby pamby peaches, but serious, ballsy, tomato oranges – and sparkles of all sorts dominated. I loved January Jones’ art deco gown – very architectural looking.
Drama guest actress winner Ellen Burstyn came dressed as the mother of the bride. Blake Lively’s cleavage came without her. Why did Lorne Michaels’ hair look like it had yellow streaks in it? (M: Were they eeeevil yellow streaks?)
Here’s a list of the winners, in case you’re wondering who won Best Costumes in a Movie, or Casting in a Comedy Series, or Best Main Title Design:
You’ll notice that So You Think You Can Dance picked up a so called creative arts Emmy (for Tyce DiOrio’s “Adam and Eve/Silence” piece – not as thrilling as if Tabitha and Napoleon had won for “Bleeding Love”, but still, nice.) as did Battlestar Galactica and Legend of the Seeker.
And that’s it, folks! Lots of little things to love, even if I wasn’t emotionally invested in any of the big winners. I know some of our readers are big Mad Men and 30 Rock fans, so I hope you guys are pleased this morning! And I suppose (grump grump) that rewarding quality is more important that having a shocking awards show; I know these shows are high quality, so from that standpoint, it was a great night for TV. What did you guys think?