E: It must seem odd that we write so much about TV here, and that I, at least, love award shows, yet totally ignore the Emmys. I’m sure the reason for that is somewhat obvious – Emmy just doesn’t love the shows we love. Oh, The Good Wife gets some attention, PBS and BBCAmerica had a good year for nominations, I watch three of the (losing) Reality Competition shows, and there’s Game of Thrones. But I tend to like my TV a little sunnier and a little less violent than Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad and Mad Men. I know they’re good shows. You don’t have to tell me. It’s just… enough with the bottom of the human barrel, okay? After they inexplicably snubbed John Noble again, I just can’t bring myself to care as much as I used to.
The other thing I don’t love about the Emmys is how they stay the same, year after year. Sure, I can predict the Oscars – but at least there’s a new crop of candidates every year. The Emmys are one long snooze fest, and this year was one of the worst. There were few surprising wins, and Jimmy Kimmel (sometimes clever, especially when memorializing himself) just didn’t provide enough spark to off-set the soporific effect.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t watch. And of course, there were a few bright spots I stayed awake for. So let me stop being a grump and share with you what I liked.
1. Would-be villainous Trio member Danny Strong is now an Emmy winning writer for Game Change! Wow. I had one of those weird moments as he walked toward the stage. “Hey, that guy looks like Jonathan from Buffy … oh cow, it IS Jonathan from Buffy!” My favorite moment of the night.
2. Homeland, the show that makes me wish I had Showtime, wins best dramatic series. Unlike most of the other shows, this is one I actually want to watch. And I adore the cast; you may have noticed that I’m rather loyal to actors I like, and I’ve followed Claire Danes since the brilliant My So Called Life, and Damien Lewis since he played Major Richard Winters (basically the best man ever) in Band of Brothers. For that matter, I’ve loved Mandy Patinkin since he swore to kill the six fingered man, and Morena Baccarin’s inspired loyalty from her time on Firefly. To sum up? This cast is good people. So I’m thrilled to see them win, and thrilled particularly to see Lewis get so awards attention after laboring so long in relative obscurity.
3. Maggie Smith! Emmy loves a big name (see Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Maggie felled the brilliant competition in her category (best supporting actress in a drama). I yearned to see others from the PBS gang ascend the podium (Benedict Cumberbatch! Brendan Coyle! Stephen Moffat!) but was thrilled that they took home at least one.
4. Tom Bergeron. If it couldn’t be Cat Deeley (do not mock my girl, Jimmy Kimmel), then I’m okay with it being Tom. He’s pretty impressive at thinking on his feet, and I respect that in a host, much more than the (nameless) fellows who mostly read script for voice overs and look impassive.
5. Julianne Moore rocks, and it’s about time someone gave her an award for it rather than simply nominating her. Someday, hopefully, you’ll get your Oscar, but meanwhile you were pretty damn impressive as Sarah Palin, and you deserved this win. Also? Her giddy joy charmed me. It’s nice when the winners can show you just how much the recognition means to them.
6. Even if Julia Louis-Dreyfus was an expected win, and even though it wasn’t as funny as the whole “beauty pageant contestant” bit that the lead actress in a comedy nominees pulled last year, she was a hoot reading out Amy Poehler’s speech. I like it when someone bothers to come up with something either funny or meaningful for the home audience. Good for you, ladies.
7. Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert tackling Jon Stewart as he attempted to crawl his way up the aisle to accept yet another trophy. I love a man who can admit that someone else really ought to get a chance at the prize.
8. Sofia Vergara’s dress. The woman is beyond. How does she command attention so utterly? Heidi Klum looked fresh and springy in seafoam (despite not having enough fabric to cover one entire leg), and Ginnifer Goodwin was striking in red squiggles. Also, I was a big fan of the trend of trains/bustles (Julianna Margulies, Martha Plimpton); they made my Anglophile heart sing. I’m bemused by the preponderance of acid greens and yellows (on winners Clare Danes, Julie Bowen and Julianne Moore); it’s sleek and modern for sure.
And that’s it for me. What about you guys? Anything you liked particularly? Are you wishing that Kathy Bates punched Jimmy a little bit harder, are you lauding or hating on Lena Dunham for baring it all, or are you (like me) puzzling over why Damian Lewis named his son Gulliver? Or are you just ready for the new season to begin? Check out our TV previews all this week for a sense of what’s coming up to watch, and enjoy!