Only a Few Delights in a Predictable Breaking Bad/Modern Family Emmy Sweep Year

3 years ago

This year's Emmy Awards needed some major fixing by Scandal's Olivia Pope. Or needed to be bailed out by The Good WIfe's Alicia Florrick. Or needed major voodoo from American Horror Story's Angela Bassett. It definitely needed less Seth Myers, more humor. less Weird Al HeCan'tSingovich, and better music overall. It most certainly needed to be commandeered by Tina and Amy, though most things do. And of course it needed less sexism, but, of course, most things in television sadly do.

The show was by and large a clunker, with very few bright moments - which is baffling given the golden age of television programming that we are experiencing. The nominee list is the best fantasy dinner party you could envision, but the show barely panned the crowd to show us our fabulous television friends. Matthew McConaughey pulled in a few shout-outs, and Jon Hamm and His Facial Hair were there, but other than that we rarely saw non-presenters. Unless they lost and we searched Twitter for reaction gifs or they were included in this bit. Hurrah for Melissa McCarthy.

Best Actress in a Drama winner Julianna Marguiles proclaimed "What a wonderful time for women in television," and indeed it is. It's a great time for television period, and a particularly innovative time with shows like VEEP, Orange Is the New Black and Fargo unraveling and re-inventing formats as though they are beer cans becoming spirals on True Detective. You would think with great nominees the Academy could pull off a good award show, but it wasn't in the (House of) cards this year. 

Low Moment: Something that wasn't wonderful for women in television happened during one of the comedic bits. Sofia Vergara appearing spinning on a pedestal while the chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences talked about the industry. It was appalling to see her displayed like a a product at a tradeshow, and a horrible illustration of the way women are commodified and consumed by media. 

The broadcast didn't offer too many great moments to counter that. Julia Louis-Dreyfus made out with Bryan Cranston. Um, hmm. Can't think of too much else.

Other than that, I love seeing Kathy Bates anywhere, so her win for American Horror Story was fun, and I was pleased for A Normal Heart to be recognized. 

On the big award side, this year was dominated by two incredibly predictable sweeps. Breaking Bad brought home Best Drama, three top acting awards for Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn. Writer Moira Walley-Beckett won for the "Ozymandias" script, widely considered one of the best episodes in television history.  

I was all in for Breaking Bad, but the comedy sweep by Modern Family was disappointing. Not only have they already won so many awards, and they are well past their prime. Worst of all, the show doesn't feel modern at all. It's America, though: all surface attention to the concept of diversity while really based on a collection of racist, ageist and homophobic stereotypes, and one of the networks' last hopes against the cable/Netflix front. So many shows are better, though, so many.

A touching high spot was Billy Crystal's honoring of Robin Williams. It was beautiful and meaningful, pitch perfect. 

Overall, though, the show was a snore and did not meet the quality of the nominee pool Wonderful things are happening in television, so now we just need some innovation to fix the Emmys. 

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