After I finished watching the (DVR-ed) telecast of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards last night, I was struck with one very distinct and predominant thought: “That was a very interesting episode of Breaking Bad.” It’s kind of amazing how “Granite State,” an episode that had to follow the juggernaut that is “Ozymandias” somehow managed to outshine television’s biggest night of the year. The Emmys were bad this year. Very, very bad.
It’s not just the results that were bad. The actual telecast, which usually manages to be better than The Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammys was terrible in every way possible. The jokes were not funny, the musical numbers unnecessary and uninspired, and the whole thing felt like it was in a funeral home, where one long three-plus hour eulogy was being given. It shouldn’t be this hard to make an actually entertaining awards show, but somehow it still is. And, oh, those results.
After the first awards were given out, it seemed like the results were actually going to be interesting. Merritt Wever deservedly won the first statue of night, and gave the second best speech of the ceremony. Tony Hale also deservedly won, and it actually seemed like things were going to change. Modern Family‘s stranglehold on the Emmys was going to be over, and it would be the best night ever. But then, the predictable happened. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the second year in a row for her role in Veep, which is pretty great, but also pretty boring. Other than her awesome speech (with Tony Hale) it seemed like the night would just get more boring and more pointless. And it did.
Some of the big winners of the night included Jim Parsons (who is doing solid work, but come on!), Laura Linney(?), David Fincher (his win over Michelle MacLaren was predictable, but still devastating), and Claire Danes (who is giving the best performance on television). But it wasn’t all boring, because there was a point when the results became just crazy. Bobby Cannavale somehow managed to win Best Supporting Actor for his role in Boardwalk Empire, beating the likes of Jonathan Banks, Aaron Paul, Mandy Patinkin, and Peter Dinklage. Why did that happen? No one really knows. On top of Cannavale’s win was Jeff Daniels for his lead role in The Newsroom. It’s obvious that Daniels won because he’s been portraying Aaron Sorkin’s
wet dream vision of what Hollywood would like to see Republicans act like. But still, he beat Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis and Kevin Spacey. Jeff Daniels did. For The Newsroom. Just think about that for a bit…
But the night wasn’t all bad. Anna Gunn finally got her Emmy, having the final say over the vitriolic, disgusting Breaking Bad fanbase. Stephen Colbert somehow managed to beat The Daily Show‘s ten year winning streak. Henry Bromell was recognized for his fantastic Homeland script, “Q&A.” But that’s about it. Three things I was legitimately happy about. THREE THINGS in the entire Emmys.
The telecast seemed like it would never be over, but it finally was. It wasn’t rewarding, though. All of the momentum built up (supporting actor/actress wins, 30 Rock winning writing) culminated in Modern Family winning their fourth consecutive Outstanding Comedy award. It seems like the Academy are the only ones who still find Modern Family funny/still watch Modern Family. The voters showed that change really isn’t possible, and the bad guys always win. And then another bad man won, when Breaking Bad won their first(!) Outstanding Drama award. BB showed us that all you really need is hype to win, and the show was hyped, hyped, hyped! But, I wasn’t really happy that it won. This may seem surprising, because I am one part of a two-headed beast which has spilled over 10,000 digital words over Breaking Bad, but as I have said before, Season 5A was not Breaking Bad‘s finest. I would’ve been happier seeing the award go to Game of Thrones or Mad Men, but it’s fine. It’s the Emmys!
And the Emmys are stupid. The voters showed us that they really don’t care about quality, and that voting seems to be just a random clusterfuck of madness. Laura Dern didn’t win for what may have been the finest performance of the year, drama or comedy. Louis C.K. only won one out of nine awards. Top of the Lake, one of the year’s best works of art in any medium only managed to win a Cinematography award. But then again, we sometimes fail to realize who these voters are. They’ve never given Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, or television’s greatest show of all time The Wire (among many, many others) any recognition, because that’s just what they do.
So why do we care? It’s just the Emmys, and year after year we see how stupid they are. There’s no point in tuning in and the end it isn’t satisfying at all. It’s a sickness, a plague, something worse than Walter White’s soul. But we keep watching. Not because it’s interesting, or because it’s good, but for unknown reasons. The only thing I really know is that “Granite State” was a really interesting episode of Breaking Bad.