September 18, 2011

My Two-Cents on the 2011 Emmys

After two pretty decent shows in 2009 (Neil Patrick Harris on CBS) and 2010 (Jimmy Fallon on NBC), FOX and host Jane Lynch had their work cut-out for them. While I cannot say that the 2011 version of the Primetime Emmyswas as good as its predecessors, it was better than the last time FOX had the gig.

The Host
When I figured out that FOX was up next to broadcast the ceremony, I tried to think of who they would ask to host. I knew it was going to be a FOX personality, and I was praying that they didn't go with Ryan Seacret again, so I was pleasantly surprised when they went with Jane Lynch. It really shouldn't have shocked me after her Outstanding Supporting Actress win for Glee.

Opening up the Emmys with a song-and-dance number has become a tradition, and Lynch's number that took her through the sets of various TV shows was inspired, but it did run a tad too long. By the time it was all said and done, I was ready for the actual show to start. It also didn't help that Lynch had to follow up last year's truly great Glee inspired intro, so anything she did wasn't going to live up to the hype.

Throughout the show, Lynch was able to get in some pretty good jokes (lesbian agenda, Entourage burn, and The Lion King reference), but she left the heavy lifting other performers like The Lonely Island and various pre-taped sketches. It's not fair to keep going back to previous hosts, but NPH's Dr. Horrible bit and Jimmy Fallon's musical moments were still superior compared to everything Lynch gave us. At least she didn't let Twitter write jokes for her.

Criticisms aside, Jane Lynch did a decent enough job and didn't rest on her Glee laurels which was welcomed.

The Winners and Losers
Last year allowed for some newbies, like Modern Family and Glee, to win major awards and the same was true this time around. Since Bryan Cranston and Breaking Bad were ineligible for Emmys this year, many thought this was Jon Hamm's best chance to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but the Academy had a different idea and crowed Friday Night Light's Kyle Chandler as the 2011 winner.

To say I was totally shocked by Chandler's win is an understatement. While I was rooting for him and the show to get some recognition this year, I did not seriously think he was going to win especially with Hamm on the ballot. As they say in sports, that's why you play the game. Chandler's performance as Eric Taylor has been one of the consistent and best over the last five seasons, and I'm glad that the Emmys decided to honor him and the show now that it has ended. Too bad they couldn't do the same for Steve Carrell.

All of the experts picked Steve Carell as the sentimental favorite and the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series winner. Instead of going with emotion like they did with Drama, the Emmys pulled off yet another cruel joke by once again snubbing Carell. I'm not begrudging Jim Parsons' win for The Big Bang Theory, but he still had time to rack up more wins. This was Carell's last chance to win for his depiction of Michael Scott. It just doesn't seem right.

Comedy was also host to some other big shockers as Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen both won for Modern Family, and since I thought they both deserved to win, I was happy. Not so shocking was the continued Glee backlash. The only other win that was as surprising as Chandler's was Melissa McCarthy's Outstanding Lead Actress-Comedy win for Mike & Molly.

I wouldn't call Margo Martindale's Outstanding Supporting Actress-Drama win a shock, but it was still a nice moment. Even Peter Dinklage's win for Game of Thrones wasn't too out there since I picked him to win, but there was a part of me that thought the fantasy show was going to be snubbed.

The Actor/Actress categories created the most of the drama, and unfortunately the Outstanding Programs couldn't keep the upsets going as the favorites, Modern Family and Mad Men, both got their predictable wins. It was obviously Modern Family's year, and everyone still loves Mad Men (even though they don't like their actors), so it was to be expected. A Parks and Recreation and/or Friday Night Lights win would've been nice though.

Other Odds and Ends
  • It was a smart move by Lynch and FOX to stay away from Glee as much as possible, although seeing Saracen, Vince, and Landry in a McKinley-esque locker room was a nice gag.
  • Best Opening Number Moment: Mad Men
  • I thought Amy Poehler was being witty by storming the stage, but it ended up being a bit. It was still funny, but it would've been even better had it just been her
  • I'm still a fan of breaking the show into genre segments because it gives me time to go the bathroom or make a sandwich when the Reality/Variety section starts. Ditto for Miniseries/Movies
  • Speaking of Miniseries/Movies, it once again sucked all the life out of the show at the tail-end. I still think they should just lump those categories in with the Creative Arts Emmys
  • I actually liked the Emmytones. It's just too bad that's the only time Zachary Levi, Joel McHale, and Cobie Smulders will be on an Emmy stage
  • I'm pretty sure Kyra Sedgwick screwed Connie Britton out of an Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy
  • I was glad to see that they included Andy Whitfield in the "In Memoriam" piece
  • Next year should be ABC's turn. My pick for host: Nathan Fillion!
So the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmys are in the books, and a combination of a good but not great host, Modern Family dominance, and some true upsets made for an interesting albeit uneven show. It was far from a dud, but it sure won't rank up there with some of the better ones either.


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