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Emmys Post Mortem 2013

Now is not the time for me to gripe about who wasn’t nominated. I’ll borrow a line from Neil Patrick Harris from last night’s monologue, “Wasn’t soon enough?” But now is a fine time to gripe about the strange pacing, the arbitrary musical numbers, the shameless promotions and the awkward memorials for this year’s deceased. Oh, and I am definitely going to gripe about the winners (well, some of them).

It seemed that almost all the speeches were played off by the orchestra, yet we had plenty of time to hear Carrie Underwood sing out-of-key and anachronistically, the Beatles’ 1965 hit Yesterday.  This was just weird, and seemed completely out-of-place at an awards geared toward TV. We could have done away with that to make room for some actual clips of the shows; especially for those we were honoring after they passed? While it was riveting to see Edie Falco say the same thing she said after his death, it would have been much more respectful to see James Gandolfini in the role we loved him for, Tony Soprano.

I’ll disclaim this entire post with the confession that I thought Breaking Bad should have won… for everything… in every category… even the ones it wasn’t nominated for. Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston were robbed in their respective categories, hands down. I don’t think I am the only one shocked at Jeff Daniels taking home the Lead Actor award (but at least his breath was fresh). Don’t get me wrong, Newsroom is quality programming, but it is still finding its legs and its voice. Its female characters were still so wobbly at the start of season two, I was thinking lasts rites were in the near future. Bobby Canavale was an upset as well. He has chops, no doubt about it, but Boardwalk Empire is about as relevant right now as that joke NPH made about Paula Deen. Are people still watching that show? And if they are, are they watching it for Bobby Canvale?

The first third of the show was that of hope for me as a TV viewer. Julia Louis-Dryfus won for Lead Actress in a Comedy. Historically, she is the only actress to do so for three different shows (Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and now Veep). They got it right with Tony Hale for Supporting Actor as well. I think they proved themselves well enough with that purse-holding bit. Merritt Wever deserved her gold for her role as Zoe on Nurse Jackie. She was the hit of the night with the short, non-speech speech. Look for it on YouTube. Its delightful. Well done, Emmys.

But things quickly went awry for me, as Modern Family began to pick up steam. The Emmy voters know there ARE other shows on TV, that are funny and smart, right? You don’t HAVE to pick Modern Family every single year.  The award for Best Comedy Series should have went to Girls, or 30 Rock, or Louie CK… or anybody else. There is more humor and wit in the nominees that WEREN’T called than in one half-hour episode of Modern Family. Along those lines, the directing prize should have went to Lena Dunham, no questions asked.That show is so thoughtfully wrought, so immaculate in its execution, that even the weird and awkward bits are poignant and delicate and deserve to be called out.  Don’t send me angry tweets, I like Modern Family just fine, I am just suggesting we take a look at other shows… they deserve it.

Moving from one favorite to another, let’s talk about Homeland. I get it that show is stunning and unbelievable, blah blah blah. But come on, Emmy community. You’re going to overlook Vera Farmiga for Bates Motel and Kerry Washington for Scandal? Snubbing Scandal alone is committing high Hollywood heresy. Folks love that show; so much so that I am a little afraid to admit I don’t watch it (again, please don’t send me angry tweets. I know I should be watching!).

But I guess they can’t get it right, every single time. They did it right by giving the Best Writing for a Comedy to 30 Rock. I think everyone can agree that show is exquisite, even posthumously. I do have to give it to the Emmy voters for giving House of Cards the Best Directing award  (even though Breaking Bad should have won) since it airs on a nontraditional format. This leaves the door wide open for Orange is the New Black to rack up at next year’s awards (hint hint).

Overall, the show surprised the hell out of me one minute, and bored me to death the next. Sarah Silverman dancing with Nathan Fillion was somewhere in the middle, but the choreographers tribute to the noms for best drama took my breath away, even though it hasn’t gotten much support elsewhere. If the Emmy producers want my two-cents (which, why wouldn’t they, right?) they would do better to design a show that is for people who actually watch TV, who appreciate the shows, and have a reverence for the act of participating with a show every week. Last’s night broadcast didn’t honor those people at all, and its a sad, sad story when you can’t even enjoy the Emmys.

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