Sometimes bizarre, occasionally funny, frequently tedious: That pretty much sums up the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards. If you missed the show, (It was on a Monday night in August, which host Seth Meyers reminded everyone meant no one was watching.) here are some of the highlights and lowlights.
* “Breaking Bad” dominated everything.
Sorry, “True Detective” — you may have sneaked into the drama category, but it came at a price. While HBO’s crime noir series landed a win for directing in a drama, the final season of “Breaking Bad” swept nearly every award, including best drama series.
* “Modern Family” is still unbeatable.
Even though “Orange is the New Black” had the buzz, there’s still no competing with the ABC sitcom powerhouse. The series won its fifth consecutive best comedy Emmy win, tying “Frasier” for the all-time record.
* The TV academy remains scared of change.
Let’s take a look at the acting categories. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) as lead actress in a comedy for the third year in a row? Check. Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) as lead actor in a comedy for the fourth time? Check. All three “Breaking Bad” (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn) stars scoring acting prizes? Check, check and check. It was one sorely predictable telecast.
* Seth Meyers was a completely forgettable host.
The NBC “Late Night” host was…fine. His opening monologue skewered mostly the broadcast TV industry and the fact that the Emmys were airing on a Monday. (“That means the Emmys are about to get canceled.”) He also brought up the irony of the VMAs on Sunday night awarding music when MTV doesn’t show music videos anymore: “That’s like network TV holding an award show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix. That would be crazy.”
Mostly, though, Meyers relied heavily on his funny friends for bits, including Amy Poehler, Billy Eichner and Andy Samberg, who dressed up as Joffrey from “Game of Thrones.”
Cersei doesn’t have time for it http://t.co/p0l38ATVj5
— BuzzFeed Celeb (@BuzzFeedCeleb) August 26, 2014
* Jon Hamm proved his comedy chops.
The poor “Mad Men” star will never win for lead actor in a comedy no matter how many times he’s nominated (seven!) but he played along in a Seth Meyers skit involving an audience Q&A.
* Broadcast didn’t get beat up by cable.
For all the jokes about how broadcast networks can’t win at the Emmys, the non-cable channels really held their own. PBS’s “Sherlock” shocked everyone in the miniseries categories (up against heavily favored series like “Fargo” and “American Horror Story: Coven”) with two wins for its actors, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch.
While the comedy categories also did very well on the broadcast side — not too surprising — with supporting wins for Allison Janney of CBS’s “Mom” and Ty Burrell of ABC’s “Modern Family,” drama got a big win, too. “The Good Wife” star Julianna Margulies beat out two-time “Homeland” winner Claire Danes and “House of Cards” lead Robin Wright for lead actress in a drama.
* Billy Crystal’s sweet tribute to Robin Williams.
After the “In Memoriam” segment, Crystal got emotional when talking about his close friend, the late Robin Williams. He shared anecdotes about the many times Williams made him laugh, both when they worked together and when Williams would show up at his family functions.
“As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine — supportive, protective, loving,” Crystal said “It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives.”
* “The Normal Heart” got snubbed.
Though it won for best television movie, lots of people on Twitter were wondering why the acclaimed HBO movie — starring Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo, based on the play about the 1980s AIDS crisis — didn’t receive any acting awards. Finally, when it won the big trophy, director Ryan Murphy gave a very touching speech.
* Weird Al was there. The parody songwriter, having an incredible and very random renaissance this year with a No. 1 album, wrote a bunch of lyrics to the theme of various TV shows. It was very weird.
* Sofia Vergara forced to stand on a rotating platform like a spinning toy.
Who thought it was a hilarious idea to put “Modern Family” star on a literal pedestal, spinning slowly around so everyone could get a good view, while TV academy president Bruce Rosenblum gave a speech about the industry? Maybe the people in the audience thought it was funny, but Twitter’s reaction was horrified — particularly in light of Beyonce’s powerful feminist statement at the VMAs on Sunday night.
* Jimmy Kimmel nearly stole the show as fake host.
After Meyers delivered his perfectly fine but not exactly laugh-out-loud monologue, Jimmy Kimmel came out on stage to present an award and killed it. He mostly accomplished this by mocking Matthew McConaughey for doing television.
“That’s not a television face, that’s a movie star face right there,” Kimmel said as the camera panned to McConaughey. Kimmel looked for Ricky Gervais: “Where’s Ricky? That’s a television face…that’s not a television face, that’s a Netflix face.” Gervais looked like he agreed:
* Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston made out.
It was a whole bit about how they once co-starred together on “Seinfeld,” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretended not to remember.
* Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were the best presenters
They bantered back and forth, and made fun of the very inside baseball claims that “True Detective” was plagiarized — and they looked like this:
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) August 26, 2014
* Amy Poehler was Beyonce.
Seth Meyers introduced her as “my beautiful, amazing, and talented friend, Beyonce,” to the delight of many.
* Sarah Silverman had the best speech.
Well, it was at least the most memorable — she pulled off her shoes and ran on stage, thanking her “Jews” at CAA.
* Gwen Stefani pulled an Adele Dazeem. Stefani had one job, to plug her new gig on “The Voice.” Oh, and to announce the winner of best variety series. But it came out “The Col-bort Report.”