Friday, September 21, 2018

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2018: The Aftermath

“If you haven’t been watching tv lately, a comedy is just a drama that’s 30 minutes long.”
-Colin Jost

If there is one word to describe the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, I think it would be forgettable. Most of the bits didn’t work, because the were making light of things that shouldn’t be made light of right now (there is way too much at stake). I loved that “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won so many awards, because it’s a fantastic show, but most of the other winners left me unexcited. I found myself frequently internet surfing or otherwise getting distracted instead of watching the telecast.

“Saturday Night Live” actors Colin Jost and Michael Che had hosting duties this year (each network typically taps its own talent when it’s their year to broadcast the telecast. I like awards show hosts who have range. I’ve especially enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris’ song and dance numbers during awards shows over the years. Jost and Che didn’t do song and dance numbers. They mostly did forgettable banter. Michael Che did get in a few one-liners. He also did a segment called “Reparation Emmys,” where he gave after-the-fact Emmys to groundbreaking Black TV actors (including Jaleel White!). I’m still not sure how I feel about that segment. I appreciated the sentiment, at least, and I’m not really in a position to pass judgment on it.

Jost and Che might not have done the song and dance thing, but there was an opening musical number featuring other NBC talent, including Keenan Thompson (all the 90s kids rejoiced!) and Kristen Bell, called “We Solved It.” The number was meant to satirize the idea that by hiring one woman or person of color, the entertainment industry has “solved” its lack of diversity problem. There’s even a moment where Andy Samberg appears and is quickly told to leave because he’s a white man. And there was a “One of Each” dance troupe. This was another instance where I appreciated the sentiment, but I didn’t think the number quite worked. It was too on the nose, I think. There were also repeat bits with “Emmy experts Fred (Armisten) and Maya (Rudolph),” where it turned out they didn’t actually know anything about the Emmys at all. As a bit of an Emmy aficionado myself, I didn’t find it especially funny.

The format of the show was changed up a bit in an interesting way. For each award, the nominees would be announced by an offstage announcer before the presenters entered the stage. Then the presenters would just banter real quick and announce the winner. Sometimes there were other presenters to announce the category. I guess maybe it was a way to include more presenters? Regardless, there weren’t any presentations that were especially memorable. Except maybe John Legend and Chrissy Teigen presenting together – they’re always cool.

There were two other highlights that everyone seems to be talking about today. The first was Oscars director Glenn Weiss proposing to his girlfriend (weeks after his mother’s death) during his acceptance speech. It was sweet, although I would kill anyone who did that to me. I am not a make a fuss in public kind of person. Matthew Rhys, when he gave his own acceptance speech later for his work on “The Americans” mentioned that his girlfriend, fellow “The Americans” actor Kerri Russell, felt the exact same way. The other highlight was Betty White receiving a “Legends” award and giving a brief speech. Some of her words were a bit hesitant, but she still has the fiery spirit we all know.

The winners were hit and miss with me. Henry Winkler (aka The Fonz) won for his work on “Barry,” which is a show I didn’t even know existed. The commentariat seems excited about this win, but it didn’t do much for me, because I’ve never watched “Barry.” The “Black Mirror” episode “USS Callister, “ which features a Star Trek-like virtual reality scenario and the talents of Cristin Milioti and Jesse Plemmons, won for Outstanding Television Movie, which I appreciated. “USS Callister” is the only episode of “Black Mirror” I’ve ever watched, mostly because it was very hyped, and it lived up to the hype. It’s super creepy, but also has those nostalgic Star Trek vibes. The ending was a little too all tied up in a bow, but overall I thought it was solid. I was also happy to see Claire Foy win for her work on “The Crown,” because as I wrote on Sunday, she portrayed Her Majesty with a lot of grace, strength, and intelligence. “Game of Thrones” won for Outstanding Drama Series which, while I like the show, was a little “meh” as an award winner for me. I haven’t watched the most recent season, but I’ve heard it doesn’t quite measure up.

The big winner of the night, which was perfectly fine by me, was Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The show won Outstanding Comedy Series, co-creator Amy Sherman-Palladino also won for Outstanding Writing and Directing in a Comedy Series, and Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein also won acting awards. It got to the point where I started wondering what sort of marketing Amazon had done to make this happen. “Mrs. Maisel” is a great show, where 1950s housewife Midge Maisel reluctantly turns to stand up comedy when her marriage starts to crumble. It was created by “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads” creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, and it features plenty of their trademark rapid-fire dialogue. I also love how heightened the reality of their version of 1950s New York is. It’s a beautiful, thought-provoking show. I do wonder if all the awards were a bit overkill, but at least it was for a show I enjoy!

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