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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler during the 2013 Emmy opening monologue. One of the few good moments. Image via: Vulture.com
Thank goodness there are other award shows that recognize TV during the year, because this year's Emmys were a giant cringe-inducing disappointment. From the production and direction of the show to the winners, everybody involved lost. It grew painful, and I kept watching hoping that skipping a live viewing of Breaking Bad was the right choice. I can just watch it later, right? Well, I wish I had switched over because the filler hour was painful and unnecessary and I'm sad I have to wait a year for the next one because I want a do-over (or as the 30 Rock writers would call it, a respawn). I guess that's what I get for going in with expectations.
 
After a day of letting Sunday night's events settle, I still get angry thinking about the whole ordeal. This year was arguably the most stacked Emmy awards in history, it was anyone's game because so many shows deserved the win, but instead we walked away feeling depressed and sorry for our favorite shows. In short, it was a disaster, starting with the "really?!" (with Seth and Amy) winners. Like I said, this year's awards could have gone to any number of nominees. TV is having a great moment, and the prospect of just one winner was so frustrating with so many deserving of the award(s). And I know there isn't technically a wrong winner, but so many important categories resulted in the award going to someone who seemed just subpar to many other nominees. The night is about the awards, so everything else bad aside, at least those should have gone right. Yelling at the TV happened. 
actor in a drama series: I think this might be my biggest gripe from the night. Did people just not vote on this category? Literally any other nominee besides Jeff Daniels deserved this one. Sure, Bryan Cranston has won three times (deservedly), but Jon Hamm has never won, and this season was one of his darkest, really any of the nominees are on shows that are almost universally acclaimed. The only way I can think this happened was that everyone was split between the four frontrunners and the votes reflected that. The worst.
outstanding comedy series: Modern Family. Really? Okay, at least it didn't go to Big Bang Theory, but Veep! 30 Rock! Louie! Genius in comedy writing seemed to go unrecognized in favor of the multi-time winner that has since gone rather stale.
supporting actor in a drama series: I kind of forgot about Boardwalk Empire before I saw the nominees for this category. I mean, come on, actors from arguably the four best dramas on TV were nominated in this category. Scary Mike! Paternal Saul! Lovable Jesse Pinkman! HOW did the Boardwalk Empire actor walk away with this one?
actor in a comedy: Sure, Jim Parsons is all endearing and such, but why does he keep winning? Talk about stale comedy, and the competitors? It was the last year for 30 Rock and all the rest are part of much more novel shows and writing.

writing for a drama series: Okay, so Homeland's "Q&A" had one of the best scenes in TV history, so it's not entirely undeserved. But when competing against two Breaking Bad episodes and THE episode of Game of Thrones, it seems that the writing award should have gone for consistency, no matter how good that scene was.
outstanding choreography: I might be the only one who cares about this, but based one the production values of the competing shows and the quality of the choreography and execution and the sheer ratio of nominees, it's extremely annoying that So You Think You Can Dance wasn't recognized for how good it is. Dancing With The Stars? Psh. Voters must be voting based on show popularity.

The lows of the night don't end there, though, and I guess there were some good parts of the night.

LOWS
multiple "in memoriam" segments + tributes: Why did these need to be spread out? Sure, we wanted to hear about a few select people, but not throughout the show, and not in suuuuch long, drawn out segments. This really left a dark cloud over the night. And the tributes? They seemed kind of random and too loosely related. The Emmys aren't really places for musical performances and they were already so long anyway. And why did we have to bring up JFK's assassination? So many unanswered questions.
mid-show dance number: I liked what they were getting at here, but it fell flat. The energy felt false and it was too expected. We know NPH can sing and dance and that's what people wanted from him as a host, but surely there's a better way to incorporate it. Read: 2010 Emmy intro.
the nominated choreographers dance: I'm a huge So You Think You Can Dance fan, and this was a delight for me to watch, but the more I thought about it, the more people didn't know what was going on and why there were show-themed dances. Most people don't even know there is a choreography nomination, so though this was more entertaining than the musical acts, it still felt like an unnecessary show extender.
the broadcast vs. creative arts presentation split: I know they grapple with this year after year, trying to decide which will make the broadcast the allotted three hours and which will make the viewers not want to take a mid-show nap, but they still need to refine the split. Some of the miniseries/movie situations can be moved to the previous ceremony, and the guest actor spots can be moved to the broadcast. It was better than previous shows, but it's definitely still in the works.
extremely short thank you speeches: The point of the awards shows are the awards (duh), and some people have interesting and insightful things to say during their few seconds of glory. Let them speak a little longer.
musical numbers: This isn't the Grammys, please keep the semi-random singing that seems to drag on (and on) to a minimum. 
promoting new shows: this is not the platform for advertising. We get advertisements for new shows when we watch TV, this night is to celebrate the shows we already know are good so PLEASE stop forcing us to listen to awkward banter and shameless plugs for new shows that are probably going to get canceled. 
awards show OT: This is nothing new in awards show history, but this year's broadcast seemed to run over for really no reason. Long commercial breaks happened often, depressing in memoriam segments were divided and spread throughout the show and between the long musical numbers and dance number plus the song in the middle, it seems like it would have been relatively easy to shorten it the 15 or so minutes the already dragging production went over.

[RELATIVE] HIGHS
Tinamy: The monologue was fine, but in the absence of an expected musical number, it seemed forced and a little too long. Though the Kevin Spacey aside bit was very genius, and the right audience for it. Thank goodness Tina and Amy were the first presenters of the night so they ended the beginning bit with some laughs and started the presentations off in fine form, by rolling onto the stage. Unfortunately, Tina didn't get to present the first award to onscreen BFF Jane Krakowski. 
Will Ferrell's presentation: Ending the disasterous show on the right note, a casually-dressed Will Ferrell with kids in tow brought some necessary comedy to the end of the production, washing some of the night's bad taste out of our mouths.
the "get to know you" bits with behind the scenes nominees: A lot of TV's genius comes from writers, producers and directors that most people don't even think about. The little bits that these groups of people did to introduce themselves when announcing nominees were appropriately presented and funny, ultimately showing why they were nominated and warming audiences to the fact that the actors don't do everything themselves.
nominated choreographers dance: Okay, so this was generally a waste of broadcast time based on public opinion, but I have to put this on my personal favorites list because it took my favorite SYTYCD choreographers and applied their amazing talent to my favorite shows. The end result was a pretty genius dance, but I get it, maybe not the place or time.
the right winners: And finally, some of the categories got it right. Most obviously, Breaking Bad winning for best drama series. It could have been anyone's game, but the show really deserved it so it capped off the night with a sigh. Anna Gunn winning for best supporting actress also felt right. People say Merritt Wever is great (though I would have loved to see Jane Krakowski take that award home on her last chance). Tina Fey winning for writing in a comedy series was a good move, and the Behind the Candelabra awards felt well-deserved. Tony Hale winning for what most people consider Veep AND Arrested Development was amazing as was Julia Louis-Dreyfus's win (which could have gone to many in that category as well) was great, but her acceptance was even better.

At least there was some good to go around. Until next year!...or the Golden Globes (please host, Tina and Amy!).
-E
 



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