Winners at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards

by Paul William Tenny

The Emmy Awards broadcast last month was typically abysmal. Too much time spent on superfluous nonsense that makes you think the show's producers -- who never come back a second time yet don't seem to have their careers harmed by their crimes against television after ruining three hours of your life that you'll never get back -- are auditioning for Broadway. Or, alternately, 4am paid commercials.

The bit where the host "appears" in all of the big shows of the year, wandering from set to set, awkwardly bumping into characters while the host is just playing the host, wasn't that funny when Billy Crystal did it while hosting the Oscars, and isn't wasn't any better from Jane Lynch.

It didn't help that this year's broadcast was on FOX, and therefore FOX picked an actress from one of its own successful shows as host. That kind of nepotism is disgusting in its own right, but it's also doomed to failure because you're picking someone for a notoriously difficult job for a reason that's not at all related to their ability to pull it off.

No offense to Jane Lynch, she did the best should could with what she had. But she should never have taken then job. Someone in the group of people on the inside needed to to be the professional and the adult, and say no. That didn't happen because it never happens, and so we got stuck with another three hour bomb that continued the ugly trend of audience erosion. If the Emmys continue to lose viewers at this pace, it's going to sink below a point where any sane network would cancel it outright if it were a common drama.

But then, that was all widely expected. Wasn't it? These shows suck as it is and end up going in precisely the wrong direction every year. It also doesn't help that a lot of the actual awards don't make much sense. House has been consistently one of the best shows on television but hasn't won Best Drama even once, despite four consecutive nominations. Hugh Laurie has six consecutive nods going back to 2005, and still hasn't won.

In other words, the Emmys have successfully become the television version of the Oscars in ever meaningful way. They are both losing viewers every year, they both get dumber every year, they both waste tremendous amounts of time not giving out awards, and many of the awards they do hand out make absolutely no sense. (Not to mention the extensive discrimination against writers as presenters.)

Modern Family was probably about the only meaningful surprise this year. Shows that break the fourth wall are relatively rare and ill advised. But I suppose any type of situation -- watching Netflix, playing Party Poker, eating brand named food, or staring at the camera to break character can work if the writing is smart and you respect your audience.

Though it's kind of odd that Family had the most wins (five) but was only fourth in nods. Mildred Pierce (21; a Kate Winslet mini-series), Mad Men (19), and Boardwalk Empire (18) all got more nominations but only Pierce got more than one award, besides Family.

Go figure.

in Television


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