Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmys 2012: Did the voters watch more than three shows this year? (No, not really)

   The team from "Homeland" accepts the Emmy for Outstanding
   Drama Series at Sunday night's 64th Primetime Emmy Awards

They say the easiest way to win an Emmy is to have already won one, and last night's 64th Primetime Emmy Awards crowned very few new winners. The television academy's favourite new drama series "Homeland" took home a number of trophies on the drama side, but "Modern Family" once again undeservedly dominated the comedy awards, winning every category they were nominated for (it's still so very pleasantly weird they didn't get a nomination for comedy writing). Below are my thoughts on each individual winner as well as some notable moments on the telecast, plus the results of my post-nomination predictions. (Spoiler: I did poorly, as usual)

Jimmy Kimmel as host: In one word, I would describe Kimmel's performance as host as "inoffensive" or perhaps "adequate". He had some duds of jokes and some comedy bits that could at worst be called only stupid (the Tracy Morgan bit fell flat, and the fake in memoriam segment was kind of in poor taste), but as the five reality hosts reminded us in the opening bit, Emmy hosts can make us cringe and bring the entire show down with them. So while Fallon might still be the best Jimmy to host the Emmys in recent memory, Kimmel did just fine and I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back the next time these awards end up back on ABC.

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family
My pick to win: Modern Family (1-0)

Yawn. Once again, we have to remember that "Louie" and "Parks and Recreation" weren't nominated so there's an inherent flaw in this category. "30 Rock" was probably the most consistently funny show in the category and "Girls" probably had the freshest voice, but Emmy voters love "Modern Family" even if it had a really terrible season last year.

Outstanding Drama Series: Homeland
My pick to win: Mad Men (1-1)

Interesting choice. I kinda thought "Mad Men" was unbeatable given how broad its appeal was across the demographics. "Homeland" wasn't better than "Mad Men" or "Breaking Bad" last year, but it still had an excellent first season so I'm not going to quibble. Plus there's the whole "Mad Men" already has four of these thing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
My pick to win: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (1-2)

I believe my feelings on Two and a Half Men are well established. If not, just know that I think this is a disgusting tragedy. In short, a group of people had to decide between giving an award to Jon Cryer and Louis C.K. and they chose the former. Art weeps.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
My pick to win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (2-2)

Even with as good an ensemble as it has, Veep is really all about JDL and given her Emmy track record, this wasn't a hard one to call. She had a very good submission episode in "Tears", but if anyone's tears were going to win this award, I wish they had been Amy Poehler's.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
My pick to win: Ty Burrell, Modern Family (2-3)

I sort of figured the academy might have been going through the power rotation wheel and giving one of these to everybody from "Modern Family", so I considered picking Ed O'Neill. I ended up picking Ty Burrell assuming he would submit the "Virgin Territory" episode, but he didn't and I think that was dumb of him. Also dumb? That the Emmys love this performance, which week after week irritates the hell out of me. After this, there's no way they'll do anything to change that character next year, and that makes me sad because Cam was the best part of the show in its first season.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
My pick to win: Sofia Vergara, Modern Family (2-4)

Second verse, same as the first. I thought they would mix up the "Modern Family" love this year, and this performance annoys me.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
My pick to win: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (3-4)

A very well deserved award. I was kind of secretly hoping Giancarlo Esposito would win instead because this was his only shot, but I'm not gonna argue when good things happen. Paul seemed very emotional this time around compared to the first time he won in 2010.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
My pick to win: Christina Hendricks, Mad Men (3-5)

With "The Other Woman" to showcase her talents, I thought this might finally break the "Mad Men" acting barriers at the Emmys. Funny that technically it was Danny Strong who did that last night. In any case, I forgot about the Emmys' inferiority complex to the British, so of course Maggie Smith wins. Not that she isn't good, just that there would be an obvious tiebreaker if someone was torn between Hendricks and Smith.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland
My pick to win: Claire Danes, Homeland (4-5)

This was a no brainer. An excellent performance, perhaps the best on television last year. It appears though that the other nominees disregarded my suggestion and showed up anyway just in case.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
My pick to win: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (4-6)

You're unbeatable until you're not, I guess. Bryan Cranston is phenomenal, but as with "Mad Men" and the drama category, he already has a lot of those. Damian Lewis is fantastic on "Homeland", and I knew he had a tiny chance when I saw he submitted the finale, "Marine One". Seriously, I know Bryan Cranston is amazing, but go back and watch the "promise me you'll come home" scene with Dana and Brody. I can't knock that at all.

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family - "Baby on Board"
My pick to win: Steve Levitan, Modern Family - "Baby on Board" (5-6)

The only two nominees in this category really worth any discussion were the "Duckling" episode of "Louie" and the finale of "Girls". But "Modern Family" is still unbeatable. I am really sick of hearing Steve Levitan give speeches at award shows, by the way.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire - "To the Lost"
My pick to win: Michael Cuesta, Homeland - "Pilot" (5-7)

Within the context of the entire ceremony, this was a weird and random win. But there were no bad episodes in this category and I like unpredictability. Woot!

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland - "Pilot"
My pick to win: Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men - "Far Away Places" (5-8)

"Homeland" ended up being the night's big winner, a fact that I underestimated. But again, the show is great and I don't begrudge worthy new blood.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Louis C.K., Louie - "Pregnant"
My pick to win: Lena Dunham, Girls - "Pilot" (5-9)

When Louis C.K. won this award I was very happy, even if it was the weakest episode in a category with two outstanding episodes of "Parks and Recreation" and the multiple timelines episode of "Community". But then he won the award for writing his standup special, and I started to really wish this award had gone to Amy Poehler. Sigh. You can't always get you want. Or in the case of the Emmys, very rarely can you get what you want.

Another year gone, another night of Emmy disappointment. But another year is just beginning: the 2012-2013 television season officially begins today. So for the next 8 months, let's enjoy what gems TV has to offer us this year.