Cheery, brisk and efficient — the Emmycast seemed to fall in step with the style of host Seth Meyers.
There were few if any surprises in Monday’s awards. (In this respect, the show often seemed a rerun from the past several years.)
This, of course, wasn’t Meyers’ call. Nor did he deliver surprises of his own. That’s not his way. He’s a steady-freddy TV presence, reliably droll without rocking the rafters, and the Emmycast reflected that, too. As such, it only felt like the three hours it really was, instead of the several hours longer that awards shows sometimes do.
But a few hours later, the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards were destined to be forgotten.
As if Meyers were flashing back to his former “Saturday Night Live” role as anchor of “Weekend Update” (“TV Season Update”?), he quickly addressed the elephants in the room at the Nokia Theatre as he began his monologue:
— The fact that the Emmycast, traditionally on a Sunday night, was shunted off to a Monday by NBC for the first time since 1976, “but people don’t remember,” Meyers joked of the ’76 awards show “because it was held on a Monday.”
— The much-discussed category-jumping, which resulted in “comedies that made you laugh and comedies that made you cry — because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”
— And, of course, the fact that broadcast TV keeps losing out to cable and online shows. An example of craziness, Meyers said, would be “network TV holding an awards show and giving all the trophies to cable and Netflix.” Why would a network like NBC ever do that? he said, poking fun at his own “Late Night” employer.
The closest thing to a musical number was a medley by “Weird Al” Yankovic, who cavorted through a parody of TV-show themes including “Modern Family,” ”Mad Men” and “Game Of Thrones.” The performance fell short of the idea, but he kept it brief and it was fun seeing this comic comeback kid.
Funnier was the evening’s lone pre-produced piece, a low-tech bit that teamed up Meyers with Billy Eichner, the manic Manhattan-streets interviewer from Fuse TV’s “Billy on the Street.”
Eichner asked one bemused passer-by “who’s your favourite talk show host: Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel or Seth Meyers?”
“Jimmy Kimmel,” the man ventured while Meyers stood by unrecognized and grinned.
“Thank you,” said Eichner, rewarding the man with a dollar bill. “Correct!”
At another point, Meyers opened the floor for questions about the Emmys from the stars in the theatre.
Jon Hamm inquired, deadpan, if the Emmys show would be televised, and if so, when.
Melissa McCarthy asked if her car would be towed, since she had parked on the sidewalk.
Andre Braugher asked if he could use the bathroom.
As usual, Ricky Gervais stole the show as a presenter. He lamented having lost to Jim Parsons as best comedy actor — the “Big Bang Theory” star’s fourth such trophy.
“It seems a bit unfair, doesn’t it?” Gervais mused. “I wrote a speech, you’re not gonna get to hear that.” But he pulled it from his pocket. “I could do it, couldn’t I?” Then he appeared to have second thoughts. “It won’t make sense now, though: ‘Ha, ha. I won!'”
The “In Memoriam” segment was, as usual, touching, accompanied by Sara Bareilles singing “Smile.”
But it mostly served as a warmup to the much-awaited remembrance of Robin Williams by Billy Crystal, voicing tender memories of his long-time friend who, he said, “made us laugh — hard.” He predicted audiences forever would marvel, “Robin Williams — what a concept!”
The low point: When statuesque “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara was invited by the head of the Television Academy to stand on a rotating platform and vamp while he touted the Academy’s good works. No matter how ironic the intent, it was still a jarring throwback to an unenlightened time and raised questions on social media, including a tweet from Katie Couric, who asked if anyone found “that shtick somewhat offensive.”
Good thing no one will remember it, or any of the broadcast, long.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore