Snark Attack: Sarah Spain Takes On the Emmys
If awards shows are like playoffs for the entertainment industry, Monday's Emmy's broadcast was as thrilling as the Seahawks' beatdown of the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Repeat winners hogged the trophies, the jokes and bits lacked any punch and the ingenuity and originality of the content being celebrated wasn't matched by the show's content or the voting results. It often felt like a retread of previous years, particularly in its embrace of broadcast and cable shows at the expense of streaming television. Millions of people logged in instead of turning on to watch their TV this year, but Netflix hits "House of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black" came up empty.
Of the highs (Sarah Silverman!) and lows (two nearly bare women inexplicably, gratuitously dancing alongside Weird Al Yankovic), these were the six standouts of the show:
Host Seth Meyers, whom I usually adore, played it a little too safe. He was sufficiently charming and poised, didn't make the show all about him and served up a few good laughs, but he lacked spark and originality. We were served up two funnier, more engaging options early in the show.
First, Amy Poehler, who took the stage right after Meyers' monologue. Her self-penned introduction (as Beyonce) and first joke ("I'm honored to announce the first award of the evening: Best On-Screen Orgasm in a Civil War Re-Enactment") got more belly laughs than anything Meyers said all night.
Amy Poehler already funnier than Seth Meyers.-- Tom Mantzouranis (@themantz) August 26, 2014
A few minutes later, 2012 Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel took the stage and did a killer mini-monologue about Matthew McConaughey. "Why is Matthew McConaughey nominated for a television award?" he asked. "Matthew McConaughey doesn't even own a television. I happen to know for a fact that he traded his television for a conch shell full of weed."
Meyers did shine when paired alongside Poehler, though. The former "Weekend Update" co-anchors tested out different ways to introduce "True Detective" stars McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. "Please welcome two gentlemen whose names are also menu items at most marijuana dispensaries." "Please welcome two gentlemen who seem like they'd be chatty in the sack." "Ladies and gentlemen, the only actors in Hollywood not rumored to be starring in season two of 'True Detective'."
Even better than their introduction? McConaughey and Harrelson's "Night at the Roxbury" ensembles.
Early in the show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, looking absolutely fabulous in red, with a haircut that women will be requesting in salons all over America this week, was joined onstage by "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston. Before announcing the nominees Louis-Dreyfus joked with Cranston that he looked like the actor who played Tim Whatley, a dentist her character dated on "Seinfeld." "That was me," he replied. "That was me." Louis-Dreyfus laughed it off and went on to announce the nominees. The payoff came one award later, when Louis-Dreyfus won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in HBO's "Veep." As she walked to the stage Cranston interrupted her, grabbing her for a long, steamy kiss.
"Yeah, yeah, he was on Seinfeld," she said, as Cranston rubbed her lipstick off his mouth.
Billy & Seth On The Street
Some of the biggest laughs of the night came for a pre-taped segment that featured Meyers and Billy Eichner, host of Funny or Die's "Billy On The Street." The duo set off on the streets of New York City to gauge just how excited residents of the Big Apple were about the upcoming Emmys. "Sir, for a dollar, name this year's Emmy host," Eichner asked a bearded, middle-aged man. "I couldn't," said the man, while staring directly at Meyers. "I'll give you a hint, he's standing right next to me," Eichner said. "Oh, OK. Seth, uh, MacFarlane."
I guess I have to start watching Billy on the Street now! Funny bit alert! #Emmys-- Jorma Taccone (@jormataccone) August 26, 2014
Check out the bit, plus some web-only clips, which can be found here.
"Modern Family" director Gail Mancuso, who won Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, aimed her entire speech at McConaughey instead of looking at her producers and cast. "If you don't mind, Matthew McConaughey," she said. "I'm just gonna kind of make eye contact with you right now ... I can't look at them because I'll cry. ... If the cameraman could get out of my way a little bit, that would be great. Thank you, I'm just trying to direct this. Right there baby, right there. Thank you for staying with me."
Gail Mancuso for Emmys host 2015.-- Michelle Collins (@michcoll) August 26, 2014
Finally watching the Emmys. Gail Mancuso is exceedingly rad.-- Tamara Brooks (@MisfitsTamara) August 26, 2014
It was a good night for female writers and directors, as Silverman won for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for her HBO special "We Are Miracles" and Moira Walley-Beckett won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for "Breaking Bad." The victories of all these talented women stood in sharp contrast to the icky objectification of Sofia Vergara, who was placed on a rotating pedestal to be gaped at like a sports car while the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Bruce Rosenblum talked about the Academy's mission.
Vergara was game, milking laughs throughout, but there was no turn at the end to prove the bit was meant to satirize the oversexualization and objectification of women in the industry.
Instead, ending it with the president's line, "What truly matters, is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewer something compelling to watch," while he smirked at Vergara, just further enforces the idea of woman as object.
Women have won awards for writing AND direction tonight, as well as been made to stand on a rotating pedestal while a man talked. #Emmys-- Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti) August 26, 2014
"What a wonderful time for women on television," she says unironically mere moments after Sofia Vergara was used as a human prop-- Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) August 26, 2014
I wish they did that rotating Sofia Vergara joke with a guy.-- kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) August 26, 2014
"Modern Family" took home three awards and beat out shows like "Orange Is The New Black" and "Veep" to win its fifth straight Outstanding Comedy Series honor. Ty Burrell won his second Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series honor for the show. While I still find "Modern Family" amusing, it's been steadily declining over the last two seasons, depending too much on gimmicks, absurd misunderstandings and already-mined stereotype jokes.
Jim Parsons won his fourth Emmy for his lead role in "The Big Bang Theory," Julianna Marguiles won her second Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series award for "The Good Wife," Louis-Dreyfus won her third straight lead actress honor for her role in "Veep" and Allison Janney took home her sixth Emmy, this time winning for her supporting role on "Mom."
This was the "Everyone Who Has An Emmy Gets Another Emmy" #Emmys-- Tom + Lorenzo(@tomandlorenzo) August 26, 2014
Outstanding Dramatic Series winner "Breaking Bad" ran away with nearly all of the dramatic awards, with Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul taking acting honors and Walley-Beckett winning for writing. Cranston, Gunn and Paul were all repeat winners, as well.
Didn't we watch this #Emmys like three years ago?-- POPSUGAR Ent (@POPSUGAREnt) August 26, 2014
Jim Parsons has 4 #Emmys. Amy Poehler has 0.-- Tyler J. Martins (@mrtylermartins) August 26, 2014
'Robin Williams. What a Concept'
At the end of a lovely "In Memoriam" segment featuring Sara Bareilles' stunning rendition of "Smile," Billy Crystal came out to memorialize Robin Williams. It was a short, sweet, poignant farewell to a comedy genius. "He made us laugh ... hard," started Crystal. "The brilliance was astounding, the relentless energy was kind of thrilling. I used to think if I could just put a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds, I was gonna do OK. ... He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine," Crystal said. "It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives. For almost 40 years he was the brightest star in a comedy galaxy. ... Robin Williams. What a concept."
Dear #Emmys, I could watch 5 hours of actors talking about working with Robin Williams. Can this happen please?-- Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsESPN) August 26, 2014
A short series of Williams clips followed, concluding with a bit from one of his stand-up shows.
"There are times my son looks at me and gives me that look in the eyes, like 'Well, what's it gonna be?' I don't know, but maybe along the way you take my hand, tell a few jokes and have some fun. Come on pal, you're not afraid, are ya? 'No.'"
Robin liked that. #Emmys- God (@TheTweetOfGod) August 26, 2014