Deciding to watch an awards show these days is basically asking you to take your life in your own hands. It would make sense to assume an event in it’s 74th year would have its act together, wouldn’t it? A dazzling opening number, a cavalcade of stars, a schedule that hums along — enjoyable, simple, not torturous. It sounds like a good idea, but would all that strict predictability be entertaining? I want to say GD EMMYS, GET YOURSELF TOGETHER, but let’s be honest — it’s the mess that brings us back!
There were no big surprises this year, but there were some highs and lows. Let’s get into it!
LOW: That Opening!
The Emmys got bumped to Monday because football? Does this make sense to anyone? Like, I don’t work for Nielsen, but I’m willing to bet those two audiences aren’t doing all that much intersecting/competing. I know football people watch television, but like are any of us watching LIVE these days? I had high hopes for the opening number. Kenan Thompson is hilarious and wonderful — WHAT’S HE GONNA DO — and then the jokes shifted into a TV theme-song dance off. I know that sounds fun, but it was real strange. It didn’t even know what it was about. Maybe we just needed to employ dancers this year? Watching Kenan pop in and out of dance sequences was … uhh … something. He was fine, but the whole thing was a hot mess.
AND THEN — Suddenly the cast of The Brady Bunch was revealed? BUT for all of like 3.7 seconds. I’m not even sure it was actually them? It could have been a hologram. Great. I love The Brady Bunch, but the opening wasn’t a tribute to sitcoms from the past that we all love? So … what was this all about? Not to mention, the Brady reveal was so fast and furious I could barely focus on them before they were gone and off my TV for the rest of the night. WEIRD.
Oh, no! Not Oprah telling us it’s basically impossible to win an Emmy UNLESS we just believe. Lord lord lord — billionaires really do say the darndest things. Listen, you know I worship at the Church of Winfrey, so you know I was glad they dug up Ms. O to present an award. But WHY SHE GOTTA TALK LIKE SHE’S RUNNING THE HALLMARK GREETING CARD WRITERS ROOM ALL THE TIME and also though — for real for real — WHERE HAS SHE BEEN? (Obviously down in her salon getting this braid to appear from out of nowhere). I mean I’ve seen her on Insta trowing a month long birthday celebration for Ava DuVernay, but FOR REAL — what is she doing? Can we get a movie, ma’am? How about a TV show? A prime time special? An interview? A TikTok with you and Gayle on the road? ANYTHING? Also, can we have a conversation about how Oprah, the richest woman in the known universe, is out here wearing glasses? She can’t have somebody come out to her castle and shoot some Lasik lasers at her peepers? Girl! Get ya eyes fixed and please go make something for us! WE READY.
HIGHEST: Sheryl Lee Ralph
I was half asleep after Oprah presented Michael Keaton with an award for his work on Dopesick. Just kidding. I was fully asleep, and by fully asleep I mean I switched my focus from my TV to my tacos (this is not a euphemism I made actual tacos and they were actually delicious). There was something something something about his parents and a tiny television? It was a lot and it was REAL long (more on this later). I woke up the second the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category was announced. This was my favorite category of the night because well … SHERYL LEE RALPH was in it and I love every single thing about Sheryl Lee Ralph and I really, really LOVE her on Abbott Elementary.
When they called SLR’s name I gasped and clapped like a dummy. I have to admit I was giving her a little attitude because she sat at her table stunned for a minute, but then she got to the mic. Uhhh — they need to show a clip of her speech in theatre school to teach all these little actors how it’s done. That’s exactly how you give a speech for winning an award. Just WOW WOW WOW. If you see nothing else of this show — you gotta watch her speech.
HIGH: Announcer Sam Jay
OK, while Sheryl Lee Ralph blew my wig back and brought literal tears to my literal eyes — the announcer/DJ/my new imaginary best friend Sam Jay was everything. She almost felt more like the show’s host than Kenan, and we definitely saw her more often. Maybe she should host next year?? AND I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: not one person this side of Sheryl Lee Ralph is more charming than Sam Jay. I fell all the way in love, which made me do a little digging. My new BFF joined the writing staff of SNL back in 2017 and made history as the first Black lesbian writer on SNL, and she has even been nominated for an Emmy twice her own damned self. I hope we see more more more more more of her, and I hope she can be nominated for an Emmy for this little announcing thing she did last night because … she was a definite highlight.
High and LOW: Jennifer Coolidge
Jen has been making me laugh REAL HARD for like FOREVER, so I was super happy she won last night. When I watched the clips from all of the nominees I decided there was no way anyone other than Mare Winningham was going to win. I mean, HELLO, MARE WINNINGHAM. Her last name boasts that she is a winning HAM. But when they called Jen’s name I was like of course Coolidge won — because every single Emmy voter knew that this speech would be completely 900% BANANAS.
AND IT WAS.
There was a sparkly green dress and perfect hair and a lavender bath and something about being full. It was a predictable ball of lovable WACKY, but then they tried to play her off. Now, listen, I get frustrated when these folks go on and on forever too. Even this moment, which I loved, had me uncomfortable and ready to hide under my coffee table (the dancing, the shouting at nothing), but can’t we cut some time somewhere else? I don’t want to listen to an actor talk for 5 minutes but can’t we make an exception here?? What’s it going to hurt?? Famous last words? MAYBE — but we were forced to listen to Michael Keaton tell a random story about a television for a least 45 minutes with nary a violin interrupting and there was also that giant full length MOVIE about the KIA Telluride. Here’s the tea — if I have to choose between weird ass TV story from Batman and a lavender bath … its the lavender bath EVERY TIME.
Should I call Joe Biden? Can he get this fixed?
LOW: The Thanks Banner
The thanks banner sounds like a good idea. It’s maybe supposed to be the text of what the winners are planning on saying. But then — it never matched up, and was sorta weird and difficult to manage while watching the winners. It also wasn’t there for everyone, so it was just sorta strange. So, nice try, I guess? Couldn’t we just get an actual transcription of the text on our screens, or like … nothing? Yeah, not doing this would be great.
Lizzo is joy personified. I love her. I want her to win every single award. She won for Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, and while I haven’t seen this show it’s now on my list. Was I sad RuPaul’s Drag Race didn’t win? YES, OF COURSE, but this speech was super fun and took my breath away.
MORE FUN SPEECHES PLEASE!!
LOW: The Tributes
This one is too sad to warrant a picture. Let’s just say — can we stop effing with the tribute section? Yes, it’s time for a performer to sing their little heart out and entertain me and give me all the feels, but like … I don’t need a camera up John Legend’s nose — I want to see the pictures of people we lost. How about you focus all this energy on making the opening number something to talk about??
HIGH AND LOW: Quinta Brunson
It was super exciting to see Quinta Brunson win for best writing for a comedy series. LIKE SUPER. That show is hilarious and wonderful, but why did Jimmy Kimmel have to go and be an asshole and ruin the moment. He and Will Arnett had some bit where Jimmy was “dead” and dragged to the mic to present the award. Fine. Except that he kept the bit going after Brunson was announced as the winner and she even had to awkwardly step over his punk ass. It was in poor taste and full of white privilege.
That was kinda it for me. I mean I could go on and on about how I wish we had more standup from Kenan. That joke about Showtime being impossible to watch had me wanting MORE and still has me chuckling to myself today. I also want to complain at you about how playing clips of nominees before bringing out presenters was confusing and felt backwards and weird, and I’d love to scream at whoever keeps putting bits on these shows (my God I could watch Christopher Meloni do anything forever but all that running around was real dumb). But I’m tired and I gotta go order my groceries from Target.