CBS’ Emmy Awards broadcast last night had many of the symptoms of bad awards shows: running too long, acceptance speeches cut off anyway, running too long, shameless plugs, especially from the network, and running way too long.
As with any instance of telegenic rich people coming together to pat each other on the back, there were half-baked jokes from the host and awkward “in memoriam” montages for those who passed away this year. But the 2013 Emmys upped the ante on both, opting for tedious skits rather than the razzle-dazzle musical numbers that make Neil Patrick Harris such a reliable choice as awards show host, and several heartfelt tributes – but a noticeable lack of television clips of any kind. As Linda Holmes points out in her spot-on recap, “If you walked in having never seen any of these fine performers and creators at work, you walked out much the same way.” I enjoyed seeing the few seconds of Supporting Actress in a Comedy clips at the beginning of the show, because it made me all the more intrigued by Merrit Wever’s performance in Nurse Jackie (apparently she’s funnier in front of a “cam-er-a” than poor Jane Krakowski). Had the Emmy producers chosen to devote more time to clips of James Gandolfini acting rather than, say, a tutorial about how the Beatles affected the JFK assassination (or something?) the show would have been an actual celebration of the art of television.
Instead we had Carrie Underwood singing “Yesterday”. Don’t even get me started.
But what do I know? Emmy producers have one goal with this ceremony, and that’s to draw in viewers. Today they are probably completely unsurprised that this telecast delivered the highest ratings since 2007. What does that say about my own opinions? Are other critics and I out of touch when it comes to mainstream popular success, to actual numbers? Why criticize somebody’s work when so many other people loved it??
… Whatever, numbers aren’t as important as taste. I could have produced a better Emmys show.
Some stray thoughts:
- Best dressed was obviously Christina Hendricks, who frustratingly did not win AGAIN for Mad Men (does somebody at the Emmys hate that show??) but looked like a Sargent painting. Christian Siriano’s dress was simple and gorgeous and perfect for her.
- There were many surprises among the results, especially the male acting categories. I’m surprised Jeff Daniels didn’t choke on his chewing gum when his name was announced.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale. Genius. What a great night for Veep!
- And the Colbert Report!
- I would sell my first-born child to get into Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler’s Emmy loser party.