It wasn’t an easy year. Mass shootings. Floods. A close, terrifying brush with a
war against Syria. And, now, thanks to Miley Cyrus, the word “twerking” is now
forever embedded in our lexicon. Yes, things have been quite rough in
Perhaps that is why the producers of the 65th Emmy Awards thought
that a more somber tone was appropriate.
After watching this year’s
telecast, it seemed as if they all got together and collectively said, “Let’s
reflect on all the people who died this year and then marinate in our communal
And reflect they did. Ad nauseam.
Sunday’s ceremony –
which clocked in just shy of three hours – featured no less than six tributes.
The show dedicated individual segments to James Gandolfini, Cory Montieth,
Liberace, Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton and John F. Kennedy.
all in addition to the standard “in memoriam” montage that graces every award
When Modern Family creator Steven Levitan accepted his award for
Best Comedy Series, he was not exaggerating when he quipped, “Well, this may be
the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier.”
while the loss of these individuals is tragic, it was all a bit much for a night
that should have been about celebrating a great year in television. For example,
it was a banner year for women in TV. In the drama categories, Breaking Bad’s
Anna Gunn took home her first Emmy for best supporting actress for her portrayal
of Skyler White, a woman who will stop at nothing to protect her family, no
matter the cost. Claire Danes, as Homeland’s Carrie Mathison, scored her second
best actress Emmy for playing the deeply conflicted CIA agent grappling with her
However, as far as acceptances speeches, it was the
funny ladies that stole the show. Looking like a classy disco ball in her
sparkly Monique Lhuillier gown, Julia Louis Dreyfus sauntered onto the stage to
accept her fourth Emmy – in character.
Accompanied by her Veep costar
Tony Hale (another winner Sunday night), who plays her pathetically loyal
assistant, Dreyfus channeled the narcissistic, oblivious and obtuse US vice
president character she plays and relied on Hale to feed her lines for her
speech. The clever bit, where Hale stagewhispered in Dreyfus’ ear and reminded
her to thank everyone from her agent, fellow co-stars and family, played out
like a scene straight out of the show.
As for the host, naturally
congenial and likeable host Neil Patrick Harris, a man born to host these things
(to wit, see his How I Met Your Mother co-stars’ eerily accurate bit mocking
Harris for having a serious case of EHD – Excessive Hosting Disorder) did a
commendable job as the master of ceremonies, but his performance this time
around lacked a certain degree of glee that usually defines his hosting
After a ho-hum opening where he mostly relied on previous
Emmy hosts to deliver the laughs, he launched into a midshow number halfway into
the show that... mocked him singing a half-time show number. It was a weird,
overly-meta ditty that didn’t really suit him.
So while many of the
results were surprising (Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Cannavale and Hale’s wins
shocked the room) the atmosphere of doom and gloom created by the producers
tarnished any sense of joy or exuberance that should be derived from such
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