Monday, September 19, 2011

"Once More, With Feeling!": Thoughts on the 2011 Emmys

I didn't actually see last night's Emmys, so don't expect any thoughts on the actual show itself. Two things I have seen in clips: The Office spoof with various characters, including a brilliant moment where Breaking Bad's Jesse brings Creed his crystal meth and another where Amy Poehler speaks Dothraki. I can't embed the video, so you'll have to go here to check it out.

Also great is this little sound bite from host Jane Lynch:
"A lot of people are curious why I'm a lesbian. Ladies and gentlemen...the cast of Entourage!"
Hee. I love Lynch. Glee needs to remember how funny she can be when she's not having to be a sentient cartoon.

But basically I want to talk about the winners: an interesting collection of good, expected, and in a few cases, bizarre. For the first time in a while, none of these winners really irritated me; every one of them is deserving (well, sort of). Let's kick it off with the Drama categories.

BEST DRAMA
Mad Men


So Mad Men joins Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and The West Wing as one of the most-winning programs in this category, picking up it's fourth consecutive trophy. I can't really say it's undeserving, since season four was terrific and included the show's best episode yet ("The Suitcase," which you should know by now since I've gone on and on about it). I still hate to see Friday Night Lights go out without a win here, but at least it was nominated. I'm also intrigued by that the Boardwalk Empire coup never happened, but there's always next year. No show has ever won this category five times; can Mad Men be the first?

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights


"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!" I'm so thrilled by this win for a number of reasons. One: Chandler is awesome in just about everything. Two: this kind of subtle, nuanced, less-is-more acting rarely wins awards (remember that "best" usually means "most"). Three: Friday Night Lights has an Emmy winner. You do have to feel bad for Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, and Hugh Laurie, though; none of them have an Emmy yet for their truly iconic characters. That's not to say Coach Taylor isn't iconic either. Chandler was easily the most deserving of them all.

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife


I don't watch The Good Wife, so I won't give my opinion on Margulies' performance, but from what I'm told she's great on the show. Still, if they're going to reward Chandler, they need to reward Connie Britton too, who was so amazing as Tami Taylor. Elisabeth Moss, too, really deserves a trophy at this point too, as she's giving the best performance as the best character, Peggy Olson, on Mad Men. But I'm now more curious than I already was to check out The Good Wife.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones


Called it! Even with all the Good Wife chatter (particularly for Alan Cumming) and John Slattery thinking, it was Dinklage who went to the podium last night. I've heard that he's the best part of the show, and I can believe that, since he's generally the best part of anything he's in. Bravo.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Margo Martindale, Justified


I was ready to be incredibly angry if Martindale didn't win this, but thankfully the voters recognized a truly astonishing performance. If you haven't seen season two of Justified, I highly recommend it, especially for Martindale's masterful performance as Mags Bennett, the backwoods matriarch leading the charge against the Black Pike coal company (with her own villainous motives, of course). She's a terrific character actress, so it's great to see her recognized for her work.

BEST DIRECTOR FOR A DRAMA
Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire ("Pilot")


Basically, Marty won for being Marty. Let's not sugar-coat it.

BEST WRITING FOR A DRAMA
Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights ("Always")


Again, hooray for Friday Night Lights winning this Emmy! It was always a well-written show (even the season two missteps mostly redeemed themselves), and it's great to see the showrunner's finale take home the prize. Mad Men's Matthew Weiner had won this for the past three years, and, for the sake of being repetitive, he really deserved the win for "The Suitcase." Still, I can't argue with this win.

BEST COMEDY
Modern Family


It's hard to fault the voters for choosing Modern Family again: it's one of the funniest shows on television, and even it's weaker episodes are far and away better than anything Two and a Half Men has put out. However, this easily should have been Parks & Recreation's, a show that is not only hilarious but is only getting better each year.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory


And so Steve Carell goes 0-for-6 at the Emmys. It's a shame, but at least he has his movie career, piles of money, and place in history for creating an iconic character to console him. However, if they were going to ignore Carell again, why go with Parsons when you have the great Louis C.K. in the category? And really, of the little Big Bang Theory I've seen, Parsons is amusing but not particularly great.

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly Bridesmaids


I don't mean any disrespect to McCarthy, who is the best part of the otherwise-rote Mike & Molly. But there's not a doubt in my mind that her role in Bridesmaids propelled her to win this, thus robbing the brilliant Amy Poehler of her deserving Emmy. Also, Laura Linney's perfect record at the Emmys has been shattered, and Showtime's two-year grip on the category (Toni Collette won in 2009 for United States of Tara; Edie Falco won last year for Nurse Jackie) comes to a close.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Ty Burrell, Modern Family


I'm still disappointed that Nick Offerman wasn't even nominated. But Burrell is a terrific choice, and it's great to see him recognized for his truly phenomenal physical comedy on the show.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Julie Bowen, Modern Family


It was a good night for the Dunphy parents, huh? Though she wasn't my first choice (castmate Sofia Vergara was), I'm glad they went with her over, well, the other four women, since she's done wonders with what could have been a thankless and annoying role. But this is also proof that Betty White doesn't always win just for being.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A COMEDY
Michael Alan Spiller, Modern Family ("Halloween")


My favorite won, so of course I'm pleased. Modern Family really ran away with the comedy awards last night, didn't it?

BEST WRITING FOR A COMEDY
Steve Levitan & Jeffrey Richman, Modern Family ("Caught in the Act")


Of course, this really isn't a surprise to anyone, since these guys were favored all along. But still, I really wish they would have gone out on a limb and thrown some love to Louis C.K., who went 0-for-4 this year.

BEST MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Downton Abbey


Turns out Mildred Pierce wasn't as fool-proof as we had thought it to be so many months ago. With season two (I know) starting soon, what do you think the chances are that this show can make the leap to the Drama categories next year?

BEST ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys


Not exactly what I had expected, but I was never really sure of anything here to begin with. I am impressed at how well The Kennedys did despite being eviscerated by the critical community; proof, I suppose, that certain things will always be appealing to Emmy voters.

BEST ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce


The role that won Joan Crawford an Oscar is now the role that's won Winslet an Emmy. With it she is one Tony away from EGOT; somewhere, her agent is working to book her on Broadway as soon as possible. But seriously, good for Kate!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce


Pearce is such a great actor, and it's great to see him get major awards recognition for his talent. Having sex with Kate Winslet has usually proven to be the downfall of many actors seeking awards (see: Leonardo DiCaprio twice, Jim Carrey, David Kross), but here it turned out for the better.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


Because nobody is better at being Maggie Smith than Maggie Smith herself. I really need to invest in checking this show out.

BEST DIRECTING FOR A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Brian Percival, Downton Abbey ("Part One")


Todd Haynes just can't win anything, can he? Notably, Percival was the least famous name of the group here, so he must've done something really good with Downton Abbey.

BEST WRITING FOR A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey


Of course we all saw this one coming, right? I mean, the whole British aristocrats and their servants thing is pretty much his specialty.

That's it for this year. What do you think about this year's winners?

1 comment:

Kalli said...

I liked The Office spoof! The best part was when Jesse dropped off the crystal meth for Creed. That gave me a good laugh!

I wanted to see Elisabeth Moss win for Peggy Olson! She better win it at some point!

Melissa is great, I've been a fan of hers since she played Sookie on Gilmore Girls, but I do think Amy gave the best performance this year. Parks and Recreations is hilarious and she's perfect as Leslie Knope.

I haven't watched Friday Night Lights yet, so I don't know how I feel about that guy winning. I love Jon Hamm and Michael C. Hall. I wish they could both have won the award. Don Draper and Dexter are amazing characters.

I love Modern Family. They definitely dominated the awards this year. Halloween was my favorite, too.