Once more to the Primetime Emmy Awards my friend, once more!
And once more, as seems to be the case every year, there is controversy aplenty but not this time, oddly enough, about the content of the show itself , but rather the style of the annual awards ceremony, which was described as possessing “an overall air of boring boring boringness” (Willa Paskin, Slate), and fronted by a host, the amiable and funny Seth Meyers, who was given the backhanded compliment of being “adequate” (Josh Dickey, Mashable).
And yes, it was as safe and predictable, from the jokes told – incisive but not too cutting or controversial – to the winners – to no one’s surprise Modern Family won Outstanding Comedy Series again (pushing out Orange is the New Black and Veep sadly), and Jim Parsons took out Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for the 4th year running – he is wonderful but 4 years in a row? Why not salute the superlative talents of Louie C.K. or William H. Macy? – to the speeches which were inspirational, or wryly amusing or just sweetly down to earth.
But is that really a bad thing? Have we become so addicted as a society to the extreme, the sensational, the troll-attracting edgy or opinionated that simply putting on a reasonably enjoyable awards show is some kind of crime?
Granted it was not exactly a thrill-a-minute spectacle, but there was plenty about the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards that was ridiculously enjoyable, moving, hilarious and downright inspired, and yes even a little controversial.
But only a little mind you …
Even thought I think it all worth watching (with the remote handy for the boring bits; you may decide what they are) if the thought of watching the entire Emmys ceremony, which stretched to an almost marathon 3 hours is too much for you, too safe or not, then take a look at the following 75 second summation of the night courtesy of TIME:
(1) THE PRESENTERS WERE HILARIOUS
It wasn’t just Seth Meyers, who helped the Emmys to their second highest ratings in eight years, that shone.
Yes his opening monologue was wryly amusing, poking fun at the VMAs and an NFL exhibition match pushing the telecast off Sunday night for the first time since 1976 – “This year we’re doing it on a Monday in August which I understand in television means the Emmys are about to get canceled” – and the slightly fluid award categories which saw all sorts of shows end up in questionable categories – “This year we had comedies that made you laugh and comedies that made you cry, because they were dramas submitted as comedies”.
But Meyers had the good sense to ask some of his friends to help out which is how we came to have the pleasure of seeing Billy Eichner drag Seth along in his wake on a special Emmys edition of Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street, terrifying and delighting Emmys-knowledge deprived New Yorkers in equal measure:
And Jimmy Kimmel have too much fun for just one Primetime Emmys Awards show, “roasting” a bemused Matthew McConnaughey (nominated for his role in True Detective) for being far too good looking to be at the Emmys, and greedy for wanting so many awards – “Should we give you the BET award for the best hip hop artist too, while we’re at it?”
But Meyers didn’t let his pals hog all the comedic highlight hosting a hilarious Q & A session with stars like Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly) and Jon Hamm (who sadly didn’t get an Emmy again for his amazing work on Mad Men) and Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine Nine) asking Very Important Questions about parking and the location of the Emmys bathroom key.
(2) “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC GIVING VOICE TO VOICELESS TV SHOW OPENING THEMES
Let’s be honest.
TV show opening themes, if they’re there at all, are quite what they used to be.
Stellar though the ones that do exist in this modern day and age are – think True Blood, Nurse Jackie and Intruders to name just three – one thing they do lack are lyrics explaining exactly what the show is about.
Cheesy it might have been in some ways but who could get to the end of the theme songs for The Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island and not know exactly what the show was about?
Sensing a chance to right some creative wrongs, Seth Meyers got “Weird Al” Yankovic to pen some way overdue lyrics for shows like Game of Thrones and Homeland, and the results were a hoot, helped by perennial, adorable ham Andy Samberg dressing up as Joffrey Baratheon from the former show, and the sidesplitting side of George R. R. Martin being handed a typewriter as “Weird Al” and the singers urged him to write faster!
(3) FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY! SPEECHES
Ah yes the speeches.
Often rambling, many times heartfelt but very rarely truly, GIF-worthy, memorable.
But the 66th Primetime Emmys gave us a few reasons why it’s a good idea not fast forward through the speeches (not that anyone would do that because, um … look over Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston kissing!) such as …
Jimmy Fallon hilariously gatecrashing Stephen Colbert’s award for Outstanding Variety Show for The Colbert Report right after Gwen Stefani, bless her auto-cue misreading socks, christened it The ColBORT Report …
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston, who had set up a joke about the former not remembering playing opposite the latter when he appeared on Seinfeld as her dentist boyfriend Tim Whatley while presenting the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, following it up with a magnificent kiss as Louis-Dreyfus went up to accept the Outstanding Lead Actress in the Comedy Series award for her role as Selina Meyer in HBO’s superlative Veep …
Ricky Gervais, who lost out to Jim Parsons for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, using his presenting stint for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special which went to a very funny and thoroughly deserving Sarah Silverman …
(4) THE EMOTIONALLY PITCH PERFECT, MOVING TRIBUTE TO ROBIN WILLIAMS
Following the usual, and always deeply moving, In Memoriam segment which paid tribute to recently-lost actors of the calibre of Lauren Bacall, Bob Hoskins, Ralph Waite (The Waltons), Peter O’Toole and Shirley Temple (with a touching rendition of the Charlie Chaplin classic “Smile”, sung by Sarah Bareilles, to accompany it), Billy Crystal, a long time, close friend of Robin Williams paid the most perfectly articulated and heartfelt tribute to the legendary comic who he rightly described as “the brightest star in the comedy galaxy” …
(5) FUN EXTRA STUFF
In the lead up to this years Emmys, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Julia Louis-Dreyfus filmed a (fake) reality show clip Barely Legal Pawn for Audi which looked at what happens when a star needs to sell their Emmy to fund the purchase of their won island …
And Ricky Gervais jumped right inside a series of Netflix shows such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Lilyhammer in a commercial that aired during the Emmys.
It was as close as Netflix got to winning a major award that night despite Seth Meyers predicting that cable, once the challenger to broadcast television, would have to give way to Netflix and Amazon’s newly-found streaming dominance …