Even as a self-professed Emmy geek, I really couldn’t get into the show this year. It started out well, with Conan O’Brien’s intro that had him enter into several Emmy-nominated shows, and it had some great moments after that, like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart’s introduction to the reality TV show category (“Bow to your golden idol, Babylonians!”).
But overall, it was just … boring.
I know it had something to do with the fact that I didn’t really have a horse in the race. Sure, there were people and shows I wanted to see win more than others, and House was in the running for best drama, which should have been enough to keep me captive until the end. But even though the Emmys are predictable only for their kooky unpredictability, I was 99.99% sure it wouldn’t win. If voters didn’t recognize the two elements that make the show worthy of a nomination – Hugh Laurie and the writing – I couldn’t see them recognizing the show as a whole with a win.
I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Grey’s Anatomy, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed it didn’t pick up the best drama or writing trophies like it was expected to, even though it was the only one of the non-House nominees I watch regularly.
So there wasn’t much else for me to hold on to, and as category after category went by with disappointing results – Blythe Danner again? Tony Shalhoub again? – I had to hold on to moments like Jeremy Piven winning to keep me happy momentarily. But as Stephen Colbert screamed later, as a presenter: “I lost to Barry Manilow!” It felt like these were my mother’s Emmys. And my mother doesn’t watch TV.
The speeches were kept mercifully short, but the winners obviously felt the ticking clock and didn’t feel they had time to be interesting or funny. It wasn’t much of a surprise that Greg Daniels, creator of the US version of The Office, and Greg Garcia, creator of My Name is Earl, had a couple of the funniest speeches. Comedy writers, comedic speeches. Makes sense. But who would have guessed the winning director for comedy, Marc Buckland, would be a close runner up? He poked fun at the fact that no one cares about non-acting categories, and made his category’s speech more interesting than most others for the night.
I think it’s absolutely right for the Emmys to recognize TV legends like Dick Clark and Aaron Spelling, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed watching those segments. It was especially painful to watch Barry Manilow try to gyrate on a hip that needed replacing the very next day, saluting American Bandstand, a show that had long past its prime by the time I was a kid. Recognizing legends of the past is important, but it wouldn’t have hurt to try some segments that might appeal to people under the age of 70, too.
I guess that’s what the pretty people in pretty clothes are for, though. It’s hard to judge one guy over the next, since they all look fabulous after taking five minutes to slap on a tux, but Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy and Evangeline Lilly of Lost get my award for most likely to make straight women think about switching teams. There were no real hideous fashion misteps, which is a little disappointing. Where was the swan suit? Where was the tutu?
Oh well. As one winner said, we’re in a golden age of television. I’m not sure you’d know it by the nominees in some of the categories, but at least most of the performers looked the part.