They got it mostly right, they made it better than the year before, it wasn’t nearly as boring as past shows and Neil Patrick Harris acquitted himself nicely at Sunday night’s 61st Annual Prime-time Emmys. So, in honor of small miracles, the griping will be kept to a minimum.
Here’s a random rundwn of moments from the night:
• Harris sang “Put Down the Remote” with gusto even if you don’t like songs kicking off the Emmys (and who does, really?).
As host, he brought a calm likability to the proceedings, kept it moving, was hit-or-miss with the comedy, but, most important, he never, by himself, made you want to change the channel.
• This year’s Emmys went by genre. Tina Fey and Jon Hamm looked lovely but were given bad jokes to introduce the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category, which was won in a lovely shocker by Kristin Chenoweth (after all, the nominees wore goofy glasses, which was apparently Amy Poehler’s not-so-great idea).
So wonderful to see Chenoweth win for Pushing Daisies, which ABC canceled last season. But the squeaky tears were a tough start.
• Jon Cryer won for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” Um, you’re not alone in that.
• John Hodgman did the offstage voice-overs using background information on winners.
That was probably too subtle to work. Also, Harris’ listing everyone’s obscure bio information came off more confusing than funny.
• Toni Collette won for Best Actress in a Comedy, which was a mixed bag because she was the best actress nominated but not the funniest, as “United States of Tara” is not really a comedy. Not her fault, of course.
• This year, the Emmys decided to separate nominated categories into genres, so all the comedy categories came first, then reality, etc. Everybody likes organized workflow and, like a slimming black suit, it hid most of the bloat.
• Alec Baldwin wins again for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series — which, of course, he deserves.
• Did anyone really want to watch any more of the show after they ran “the year in reality” clip, which was a bleep-storm of bleep-words?
• Better to give the Reality Host award to Jeff Probst than to let him and his ilk host the Emmys again. Even Probst admitted that, though it was hard to be sure because we were focused on the fact that he didn’t wear a tie and had too many buttons unbuttoned.
• Not sure putting movies and miniseries after reality helped the flow much. Perhaps something funnier. Or that most people watch.
• Let’s have beers with Ken Howard. He’s jocular. And the whole “White Shadow” thing would be fun to get into.
• Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog interrupting the accounting part was, if not inspired, certainly welcome (though it probably made no sense to anyone who hadn’t seen the skit on the Internet).