(VIDEO) "Mad Men" and "Modern Family" Take Top Emmy Honors, But the Show? A Snooze!
When it comes to writing about the annual primetime Emmy awards, it's hard to know where to start. Do I start with the awards and how some very worthy performances were rewarded, even though so many more were overlooked in favor of "paint-by-numbers voting?" Or do I start with the snooze-worthiness of the show itself?
Hmmm. What to do?
All right, let's start with the awards themselves. First the good news. The marvelous Jane Lynch was rewarded for her hysterically evil high school coach, Sue Sylvester on Glee. It's very cool that someone who's worked in the business for years finally gets a juicy role and runs with it.
Newcomer Archie Punjabi took home the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her spicy role as a law firm private eye with a mysterious past on The Good Wife.
Kyra Sedgewick, after multiple nominations, finally won Best Actress in a Drama for The Closer.
And though I love Glee's Matthew Morrison to death, I couldn't argue too much with Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory beating him out for Best Actor in a Comedy. Except Jim Parsons doesn't have to sing and dance on a weekly basis.
Now let's talk about some head-scratching awards. I love Edie Falco and think she's just great in Nurse Jackie, but Best Actress in a Comedy? She said herself when she accepted the award, "I'm not funny!" Lea Michele of Glee should have had that one.
And granted the Best Actor in a Drama category was a tough one, and I love Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad, but three years in a row!? While Matthew Fox of Lost goes home empty-handed? While Michael C. Hall battled cancer and turned in the best season of Dexter to date? While Hugh Laurie of House still has no Emmy? While Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights and Jon Hamm of Mad Men were also so very, very worthy?
Paint-by-numbers voting, people.
Speaking of Mad Men, it won for Best Drama, and while I won't argue with that too much, a memo to the academy voters: Just because you don't understand a show (Lost) or think it's beneath you (True Blood) doesn't mean it's not deserving of the Best Drama award.
The snubbing of Lost especially stung, since the show was so entertaining and such a ground-breaker when it came to storytelling. But one bright note, Lost won for Best Editing at last week's Creative Emmys for the finale, The End. Congratulations to editors Stephen Semel, Mark J. Goldman, Christopher Nelson, and Henk Van Eeghen.
HBO's Temple Grandin about an autistic woman who grows up to become a noted educator and speaker swept the Best TV Movie awards with Best Actress (Claire Danes), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Ormond), Best Supporting Actor (David Strathairn) and Best TV Movie of the year. Grandin was in the audience, and it was very satisfying to see her come up on stage with the winning producers.
So now let's talk about the Emmy show. Ah, man! Where to start? Well let's start with the host, Jimmy Fallon. I know a lot of people think he's the funniest thing since sliced bread, but I'm not one of them.
The opening number, Born to Run with the Glee kids, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm, Jorge Garcia and Jane Lynch was a great idea. The problem was, the audio dubbing was so funky you couldn't hear the lyrics of the song, so most of the jokes were lost. The best part was when they all ran on stage live and grooved to the beat while Jimmy hammed it up with some help from Randy Jackson of American Idol.
The next best idea and funniest bit was Jimmy's musical send-off to three shows that ended this year. First he paid tribute to 24 as Elton John singing a variation on Candle in the Wind. Next it was a farewell to Law and Order courtesy of Boyz to Men's, Say Goodbye to Yesterday. And finally it was a salute to Lost via Green Day's The Time of Your Life. The best lyrics from that one: "The island it was mystical, and in the end they died. I didn't understand it, but I tried."
The Parade of Dead People was quite moving this year, accompanied by a live song from Jewel. The only person I didn't know was gone, Caroline McWilliams from Benson died just this week.
The best presenting team were Jon Hamm and Betty White. In fact, how good a sport is Jon Hamm? He does the opening musical number and throws himself into it, funky gyrations and all. Nice to see a handsome and talented actor who doesn't take himself too seriously.
Worst hair award of the evening was a tough call between January Jones and Julia Ormond. I'd have to give the edge to Ormond. Not only did she look like she just woke up from a rough night's sleep, but she must have gotten the alcoholic version of that non-alcoholic beer Ricky Gervais sent out earlier in the evening.
In her thank you speech, she said she told her mother she was "eminated for a nommy." Heh. Then she thanked HBO for having the courage to do what she called "a chick flick with bull's balls."
And far be it for me to razz the ladies who won for producing Temple Grandin, but man, a couple were wearing strapless dresses and in their excitement, the rating for the Emmy show nearly went to "R" as their assets barely contained their excitement -- if you know what I mean.
Giving the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to George Clooney was inspired because he's easy on the eyes and adds a level or class and humor wherever he goes. But other than that, the show was kind of weak when it came to star power. The presenters were primarily middle-of-the-road stars or people NBC wanted to plug. Ultimately, there just wasn't much pizzazz.
And you just know every time a show won that wasn't on a broadcast network, NBC was watching the clock like hawks during the thank you speeches. They rudely cut off Matthew Weiner of Mad Men while he was accepting his writing award. He finished the speech, however, when the show won for Best Drama. The only one they didn't cut off, but maybe should have, was Al Pacino when he won for HBO's You Don't Know Jack.
Al hasn't aged well, and I think he took a couple of swigs from Julia Ormond's beer bottle.
Because it was Sunday, last night the Emmys were competing with new episodes of Mad Men and True Blood. Each show took note of that in their own special ways. The Mad Men episode was all about Don Draper being up for a prestigious Clio award for one of his ad campaigns.
While True Blood prefaced their episode with their own True Blood In Memorian video, saluting those who've died during the run of the series. Very. Funny.
You can read a complete list of the Emmy winners on the Emmy website.
Did you watch the Emmys? What did you think?
It's Official, Fallon Sucked on the Emmys at Womanist Musings
Emmy 2010 Best Dressed at TV Crunch
Post Emmy Thoughts at The Flaming Nose TV Blog
Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video.. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Reviews.