The Emmys' 9 Most Tolerable and 'Horrible' Moments
Shame on us for guessing such predictable Emmy winners! Boo, Movieline! I mean, we were mostly right, but our clairvoyance is a Pyrrhic victory. No amount of correct hypothesizing saved us from a three-hour telecast marked with "highlights" like an overlong Dr. Horrible interruption and the Branson, Missouri stagewear of Dancing with the Tassles non-nominee Karina Smirnoff. The night's nine most tolerable and intolerable occurrences after the jump.
1. Lens-Crafted Ladies (Tolerable) The six nominees for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series all donned exotic eyewear when Tina Fey read off their names. Kristen Chenoweth wore gaudy "2009" frames, Jane Krakowski whipped on masquerade glasses, Amy Poehler sported an eye-patch, Kristen Wiig produced a monocle (and a pipe!), Elizabeth Perkins stared blank-eyed through coke-bottle glasses, and a non-bespectacled Vanessa Williams just mouthed "No" into the camera. When Chenoweth was announced as the winner, she explained that Amy Poehler thought of the gag -- so, in her own way, Poehler won, or something.
2. Doogie Howser, Emcee (Not-So-Tolerable)
Respectfully disagreeing with Stu VanAirsdale's appraisal, Neil Patrick Harris didn't exactly flop as host of the 2009 Primetime Emmys, but he didn't soar either. Opening with a bland song about Emmy attendees and the hundreds of channels on television!, his performance amounted to "par," even as winner Jon Stewart praised his abilities mid-speech. I referred to him throughout the evening as Not-Conan.
3. Gossip Gerber (Not-So-Tolerable)
Blake Lively and Leighton Meester announced a duo of awards, but I don't remember what they said, since Leighton Meester was so offensively shiny that she looked like a poster infant for stewed prunes. Her puffy-shouldered baptism gown and reading skills were also no help.
4. Please, Sir, I Want Some More Screen Time (Tolerable)
One of the night's biggest winners was the reclusive Charles Dickens: The BBC adaptation of his Little Dorrit won the Outstanding Miniseries trophy as well as awards for writing and directing. Quick, HBO, cast Emily Blunt in Bleak House and make the 2010 Emmys another triumph for 11th grade literature.
5. Breaking Bouvier (Tolerable)
Jessica Lange won the Best Actress in a Television Movie statuette for her role as Big Edie in the HBO TV movie Grey Gardens. She appeared gracious and effervescent, thanking co-star Drew Barrymore, the Big and Little Edie from the original Grey Gardens documentary, and the oft-forgotten Big Dorrit.
6. Muriel's Winning (Tolerable)
Some people were shocked by Toni Collette's win as Best Comedic Actress for the Showtime series United States of Tara. I mean, we weren't, but we see where detractors might be coming from. While Tina Fey's performance will ultimately rank among the best of all time, I say Collette's win is deserved -- she's the only nominee to both cross-dress and flash heaps of asscrack onscreen in nearly every episode. Mary-Louise Parker, it's time to adapt. Other "surprise" winners of the night included Two and Half Men's Jon Cryer, Lost's Michael Emerson, and 24's Cherry Jones.
7. In Utterly Cliched Memoriam (Intolerable)
Look, Sarah McLachlan can sing. It's too bad her performance of "I Will Remember You" during the "In Memoriam" reel was certainly the most predictable, sorely dated moment of the telecast. I was expecting next a tribute to ER accompanied by "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)."
8. Blerg (Tolerable)
Along with winner Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock reigned supreme as the night's Outstanding Comedy Emmy recipient. Prepare for hysterical self-deprecation from Tina Fey as she wins this award for the next seven years straight.
9. The Less-Smiley Office (Tolerable)
Mad Men walked off with the Best Drama trophy again, which brings to mind the way we espect most Emmy viewers to celebrate in their cubicles today. Congratulations, therefore, go to everyone.