The Emmy Awards are just one “whyyyyy?” after another. Nothing about this award show makes a lick of sense. Why does it take itself so seriously? Why are the categories so random? (As host Andy Samberg said, “Orange Is the New Black is now officially a drama and Louie is officially jazz.”) Why didn’t Broad City get nominated? Did the voters get their wisdom teeth pulled every day this year? Peg me gently with a chainsaw! In our golden age for award shows, not to mention for TV, why are the Emmys still so dreary to watch? Why are they still doing Cosby jokes? And why is your penis on a dead girl’s phone? (Hey, congratulations, Viola Davis!)
Why was Transparent nominated? Didn’t it already win a bunch of awards like a year ago? Why did Jeffrey Tambor have to give another speech thanking all his “new BFFs” at Amazon, the same new BFFs he thanked at the Golden Globes last winter? If Jeffrey Tambor impregnated me the night he gave this exact same speech at the Golden Globes, our baby would have been born already. (I would have named her “Miley What’s Good Sheffield-Tambor.”) Why did Key get nominated but not Peele? Does Neil DeGrasse Tyson have a cosmic explanation for that one? All 12 episodes of Narcos combined would not supply me with the crack I would need to begin comprehending this award show.
Why did Jon Hamm finally win his first Best Actor Emmy for a role he played brilliantly in 2007? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to give him this award in 2008, 2008, 2009 or 2010? He’s done with that character. He filmed his last Don Draper scenes two years ago and since then he’s rebooted his whole life. Wasn’t it time to give him Best Actor awards back when he was actually the best actor on TV? Were you still having trouble making up your mind about Jon Hamm’s greatness after the scene where he sits on the stairs in an empty house to Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,” as the carousel time-machine in his brain reveals he’s completely missed out on his life? You watched that moment and thought, “Not bad, but I’ll require eight years to decide whether I like it. Meanwhile, scoot over here and give me some sugar, Guy Who Starred on The Newsroom!”
Why did Game of Thrones finally get lavishly rewarded for a stumble-bum season that demanded a lead thumb on the fast forward? People watched the High Sparrow storyline and thought, “Now this, THIS is what GoT should have been doing all along”? I guess the Sand Snakes made voters say, “Bravo, Game of Thrones — this was thy finest hour! And that Samsa rape scene — pure magic! Television just plain didn’t get any better this year!”
Why the mind-bogglingly moronic salute to 2015’s series finales, a loop of one spoiler after another? It might have been the most flat-out bizarre moment on network TV all year — the broadcast networks sending a chorus of fuck-yous to all the cable dramas people watch instead of Fox. Did nobody in the creative chain of command dare to suggest, “Hey, wait, what if some slowpokes out there haven’t caught up with the end of Nurse Jackie yet? Maybe it’d look kinda bush league to ruin the endings of Boardwalk Empire or Justified or Sons of Anarchy just out of spite?” “Nah — if those cable-clicking nimrods want surprises, let ’em check out the new John Stamos sitcom Grandfathered, premiering this month on Fox! Check local listings!” At the very least, they could have thrown in series-finale spoilers for Cougar Town or Hart of Dixie.
Andy Samberg did his damnedest to perk things up with his opening musical bit “I’ve Watched Every Show,” mocking the Glut TV panic that has created an epidemic of TV-related social anxiety through our culture. It was also funny how the Emmys kept reminding us about projects nobody noticed except the Emmys. Hello Ladies: The Movie happened? Everyone who watched last year’s Emmys and asked “There’s a sitcom called Mom?” got to ask “Wait, there’s another sitcom called Mom, or maybe the same one is still hanging around? Or maybe I could Google it except it’s not worth the thumb cartilage?”
Terrence Howard’s chemistry at the podium with Taraji P. Henson was a thing of beauty, proving he must be right about how arithmetic is all bullshit. Speaking of math, it’s also bullshit we have to wait four more days for the Empire premiere and our next Cookie fix. (As Cookie would say, I call it torture!) Tracy Morgan made an emotional return, discussing his recovery from his near-fatal car crash. Good to see he’s back on his feet and ready to Google himself again.
The biggest audience enthusiasm was for Mel Brooks, who appeared at the end to give a laurel and hearty handshake to Veep, a well-deserved winner of multiple awards (including Best Comedy) for a killer season. That meant we got to see Julia Louis Dreyfus take an onstage selfie with Mel Brooks — if only she could have begun her speech with the words, “Excuse me while I whip this out.” JLD also won the prize for best award-show pronunciation of the word “mind-blowing,” after Terrence Howard won it at the Oscars.
Ray Parker Jr. led the band — alas, they didn’t play “The Other Woman” or “A Woman Needs Love.” The Voice won the Best Reality prize — I always enjoy seeing Carson Daly win things. John Oliver ranted about hating Jeopardy and Alex Trebek: “The last sound emitted from earth will be a Trebek sigh.” Orange Is the New Black‘s well-deserved Best Supporting Actress winner Uzo Aduba knows how to give a speech. Maggie Gyllenhaal knows how to present an award. Samberg and Seth Meyers were cute giving Lorne Michaels the “World’s Best Boss” mug.
The In Memoriam reel had a host of beloved faces — Dick Van Patten (so great as Friar Tuck in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood satire When Things Were Rotten). B.B. King (so cool on Sanford and Son) Jan Hooks as Hillary Clinton, Leonard Nimoy saying “Live long and prosper.” But the unexpected emotional highlight was James Best, a.k.a Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard, driving off to join Waylon Jennings, Sorrell Booke and Denver Pyle at the Boar’s Nest in the sky. 10-7 and goodnight, Sheriff Roscoe.