Emmy 2011: Post-Mortem

E:  YES, PBS!

Last night’s Emmy awards contained few major surprises, but they were there, and not least among them was pulpy Downton Abbey‘s upset of pedigreed serious Mildred Pierce, the presumed winner in the movie or miniseries category.  Mildred Pierce has been sitting on my dvr since it aired; on the one hand, it’s a brilliant cast lead by Kate Winslet, but on the other, it looks depressing as hell.  I’ll be the first to admit that Downton Abbey was just soapy costume fun,  and not a patch on true masterpieces like North & South or Miss Austen Regrets, but still, it was quite enjoyable.  It’s about time PBS got recognized for what they do so well!  And it was a treat to see Rebecca Eaton of our own local PBS station (WGBH) first getting a shout out from Julian Fellows during his writing win and then getting on stage herself as a producer.

I’ll say it again.  Yay, PBS!

In other pleasant news: Maggie Smith won the supporting actress in a miniseries category for her work in Downton, which was marvelous as ever.  Best actress in a comedy was clearly the most hilarious moment of the night, when the nominees rushed the stage and held hands as if they were finalists in a beauty pageant.  I’ll maintain forever that Melissa McCarthy was nominated, and won, more from affection for her role in Bridesmaids than in Mike & Molly, but her joy was pretty delightful to see.  (I don’t know about you, but until they brought out the tiara, I was wondering if it was a spontaneous bit on Amy Poehler’s part.)  I was shocked and thrilled for veterans Jason Katims and Kyle Chandler, who won for writing and acting in Friday Night Lights (even if I love them for My So-Called Life and Early Edition).  It certainly seemed like a treat for FNL castmate and new Charlie’s Angel Minka Kelly to be able to hand him the award.

Even though he beat Josh Charles and Alan Cummings (and my God, you saw that clip, how could anyone beat Alan Cummings?) I was happy for Peter Dinklage.  His roguishly likable Tyrion Lannister charmed and irritated in equal measure – but he was never boring, and always relatable.   Plus, he’s great friends with Josh Charles, so that softens the blow.  And even if Margo Martindale did as predicted beat Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi, she was adorable and heartfelt in her thanks to the “kick-ass-est cast on television.”  And, of course, there’s joy in Good Wife land since Julianna Margulies did in fact win.  Sometime I’ve got to research the number of actors who’ve been that successful in two different roles.

So, speaking of never being boring, did anyone else get a glimpse of Alan Cummings’ pants?

The Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon killed as presenters, and Amy Poehler and Melissa McCarthy rocked the room with their riff about men finally getting good roles. And Charlie Sheen… had a really great tie.

For other bits of business, I thought the “What I don’t like about my job” montage was pretty funny.  And I flat out howled over the opening bit with The Big Bang Theory gang. Were those really the Canadian Tenors singing Jeff Buckley’s “Halleluiah”?  They were good, though it felt like the camera was focusing on them when they could have included more names, though I did really like the way the montage opened and closed with Stephen J. Cannell.  Mostly I wasn’t over the moon about Jane Lynch, though I didn’t think she bombed by any means – not like that completely unfunny announcer.  I’ve always liked Julie Bowen (though she seemed alarming thin and cut, no?) and you hear all the time that she and Ty Burrell are great but often overshadowed by their colorful costars, so I was happy for them.  Also, I flat out loved Burrell’s speech about his dad.  And since my sibs love The Big Bang Theory so much, I was happy to see Jim Parsons win.  It seemed awfully early for The Lonely Island songs – and while some bits were hilarious, I can’t help wondering whether that whole segment really fit target audience for the Emmys.  Let’s just say I was particularly pleased not to be watching (as I often do) with my mother.  Guy Pearce was a bit spicy in his acceptance speech, too, but in a more mom-friendly way.  And Kate Winslet shocked no one by winning.  The Amazing Race went back to beating all comers, extending it’s lock on the Reality Competition category, more’s the pity.

Winners in another category?  Sofia Vergara and that dress. Serious wow factor, no?  I loved Evan Rachel Wood’s bedazzled black (and Martha Plimpton’s bedazzled cranberry) while Anna Torv shown in matte black.  I know it’s controversial, but I thought Zooey Deschanel was adorable in pink, and Kaley Cuoco in black tulle.  I don’t quite know what to make of Katie Holmes’ gown, especially the neckline, and don’t know what to make of Clare Danes’ love of pattern even though I loved the color and silhouette.  Similarly, the bubbles on Julianna Margulies’s white gown left me a bit baffled.   Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress would have been so much nicer if it had a midsection, and Kerry Washington’s if it had a bottom.  Laura Linney’s I just didn’t get.  And boo, no attention to Heidi Klum and Cat Deeley at all during the telecast; they both looked marvelous.

And that’s about it for my thoughts. A pleasant evening all told and lots of love to go around.

Mad Men and Modern Family won as expected (and, I admit it, the bit about making the world safe for old men to marry hot young women was pretty funny).  None of us knows why it comes out right sometimes and not others, Julian Fellows said in his final acceptance speech, and we’re just grateful for getting it right.  Which was a classier way for sure to go out that Steve Leviatan talking about the inspiration for his award winning episode – but still, given the faces that Mrs. L was making in the audience, you can see why he has a really fun home life to draw inspiration from.

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