The Emmys are an interesting time in the life of a TV fan. Though they are all about celebrating the best TV of the year, they can be an incredibly boring slog. Then even if you stomach the awkward pauses and bad jokes, your favorite show or actor might not even win. Surprisingly, though, this was one of the better Emmy telecasts in recent years. Andy Samberg was a great host. He moved things along, telling genuinely funny jokes. When some of his one-liners didn’t land, he was still affable enough that he was immediately forgiven.
There were still some problems like the “right” people winning, but that’s par for the course with the Emmys. At least this year it was an entertaining and fun award show that actually ended on time.
The Best Moments
The Opening Musical Number
Andy’s opening monologue was maybe a bit too topical. Did we really need so many political jokes? Probably not, even if Bernie Sanders really does look like he’s always late for his flight. Andy’s pre-recorded musical number about the overwhelming volume of TV available to watch was pretty perfect, though. As someone whose literal job is to watch TV, it can be overwhelming how much entertainment is around. Samberg’s song is right; the only way to keep up with it all is have no discernible social life. So mission accomplished for me.
Amy and Amy Presenting
Amy Poehler is an angel of comedy; anyone that comes within in a two-foot radius of her becomes at least 25% funnier. So when you combine her with someone who is amazingly talented and hilarious in her own right, like Amy Schumer, it’s something really special. They presented the first award of the night and they should have just done every award. At the very least, it would have saved us from the painfully awkward pairing of Liev Schreiber and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Jon Hamm Finally Winning for Mad Men
No matter how talented the other actors are in the Lead Actor category, there was no one but Jon Hamm who should have won. Simply because he has never been recognized for his stellar work as Don Draper on Mad Men. Jon Hamm acted out the desperation of every Mad Men fan as he literally and finally dragged himself onto the stage. He probably should have won the award for season 4, which had the famous episode “The Suitcase.” Still, Hamm’s win kept Mad Men from being completely shut out of acting Emmys for its entire run.
Viola Davis’ Important Speech
Let’s be clear. I’m never going to be able to do Viola Davis’ speech justice. Bottom line: she’s much, much smarter than me. Here’s what I will say: it was a very important moment in TV and human history. Also, we should all be Taraji P. Henson cheering from the sidelines. In fact, we should all just try to be like Taraji P. Henson because she’s flawless. Anyway, listen to Viola for yourself.
James Corden Introducing Ernst and Young
This was without a doubt the most entertaining introduction of the Ernst and Young accountants ever. In fact, this was probably the most entertaining introduction in a night of entertaining introductions. The trotting out of the Ernst and Young people is almost always one of the most painful and self-aggrandizing portions of the show every year. James Corden, as always, was the exact opposite of painful and self-aggrandizing. His “excitement” over introducing the accountants was funny without being cruel. Considering the years of previously humorless introductions, Ernst and Young probably didn’t enjoy it, but the audience definitely did.
Uzo Aduba’s Touching Acceptance Speech
It was great to see Uzo’s work on Orange is the New Black be recognized again. (She won last year but only as a Guest Actress at the Creative Arts Emmys.) Here, she was recognized and won on a much larger platform. Viola Davis probably gave the more passionate speech of the night, but Uzo’s win was just as important for the same reasons. Not to mention, Uzo had one of the most touching and heartfelt speeches of the night.
John Oliver’s Jeopardy Rant
Why did John Oliver choose his presentation for the Limited Series Emmy to go off on Alex Trebek’s pompous nature? The world may never know. The world may also never care. Whether he realizes it or not, I suspect Trebek is one of those “intellectuals” who doesn’t own a TV, so he kind of deserved it. Trebek’s pretentiousness is annoying as it is everlasting. The last sound recorded on Earth truly will be a Trebek sigh.
Amy Schumer Winning
Amy is such a smart and sharp comedienne. It’s a rare moment when you see her with her emotions overriding her keen comedic sense. This is what happened in her acceptance speech. It was tearful, joyful and completely real while still being funny. Amy thanking the girl who did her smoky eye was classic. Most important, though, it was heartwarming to see Amy in such a raw and emotional moment.
The Worst Moments
Amy Poehler Not Winning
It would be a lie to say Julia Louis-Dreyfus didn’t deserve to win for Veep. She is essentially the Bryan Cranston of comedy. You just assume at this point that she’s going to win. Disappointment has to be registered that Amy Poehler will officially go without ever winning an Emmy for playing Leslie Knope.
The Weird Woos During the In Memoriam
Respectful clapping I understand, though I always feel bad for the dead who don’t get applause. I get that people want to show appreciation and affection to the recently deceased. Wooing like you are at some sporting event is just plain weird. The In Memoriam section of award shows is not as somber as a wake, but standard funeral rules apply. So no cheering at reminders that people are dead.
Lisa Cholodenko’s Never-Ending Acceptance Speech
The passive-aggressive rebel in me always kind of appreciates it when winners go outside their allotted time in the speeches. Considering how surprisingly swift the rest of the award show moved, Lisa’s speech was kind of interminable. You have to wonder about someone who said they were going to “hurry it up” but then proceeded to talk like an NPR host on a strong sedative. Also, who knew that Olive Kitteridge existed, let alone that it was apparently good?
Mad Men Ends with One Emmy for Acting
Viola Davis winning for How to Get Away with Murder is incredibly significant. However, with her win, she officially shut out Mad Men winning an acting Emmy for any of its female stars. It wasn’t just the women. In Mad Men‘s entire run, Jon Hamm is the only actor to ever win an Emmy. Whatever your personal level of affection for Mad Men, it was hard to deny that it had some of the best actors and actresses on TV. Fantastic actors and actresses that the Emmys never recognized, except for once.
Game of Thrones Winning So Much for Season 5
It’s hard to deny that Game of Thrones swept the Emmys this year. In fact, this was the single most celebrated season in TV history. Game of Thrones won 10 Emmys for season 5, which is one more than the previous record holder, The West Wing. I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, so I should be ecstatic, but I’m not. Season 5 just wasn’t very good. It wasn’t terrible by any mean, but by Game of Thrones‘ own very high standards, it was the weakest of the series thus far. I’m not alone in this opinion. The Internet was filled with negative opinions and hate toward the popular show as season 5 aired. All of the people complaining about Game of Thrones season 5 clearly weren’t Emmy voters.
But what do you think? Do you have other favorite or least-favorite moments? Do you think Game of Thrones deserved all the praise? Had you heard of Olive Kitteridge before the 2015 Emmys? And do you think Alex Trebek will truly outlive us all?
(Image courtesy of FOX; videos courtesy of FOX and Emmys)