It’s just an award show right? WRONG. I mean yes, you’re right, but considering the amount of time, money and planning that goes into these events, it better be the best thing or the closest to best thing ever. And Monday night’s 2014 Emmys was not the best thing ever. Not even close.
Before we begin, we should probably define our terms. What would the “best” awards show look like? A good host, strong bits, weird surprising moments of hilarity that couldn’t have been expected, great fashion, trivial things to complain about, a mani cam that captures all the greatest moments – these are all important pieces that come together to make a great award show. Here are all the reasons that didn’t happen at the 66th Emmy Awards.
The VMAs and the Beyoncé Effect
I’m willing to concede that a big reason the Emmys felt so tired last night was because we were coming straight off another awards show. Sure, the VMAs aren’t really that important, but Beyoncé did tear the house down and who didn’t still have that memory on replay in their brain as they settled in on Monday evening, only to be greeted by the snoozefest that was a Beyoncé-free night (and to find they had to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom when Weird Al came out for some “entertainment”). Despite doling out far less impressive awards, the VMAs are a much glitzier show than the Emmys – they’re basically one pyrotechnic-based performance after the next – so there was no way that watching grateful, stumbling acceptance speeches was going to be more fun than keeping one eye on Audience Cam 2 for any antics from Taylor Swift or the Kardashians.
The Day Monday and Football
Blame it on Monday Night Football, but don’t say we weren’t warned: NBC knew that holding the Emmys on a Monday night was going to take away some of the energy and they did it anyway because football rules this country and don’t you forget it. Yes, Sunday and Monday are both school nights but there’s SUCH a difference between leisurely plopping down in front of the TV after an afternoon of doing whatever the fuck you want and being greeted by Sway and some fresh-faced Pretty Little Liar, versus heading home after an entire day of work to find that Giuliana Rancic has already been on television in the same dress she always wears for approximately three hours. (The difference is that one is relaxing and the other is somewhat exhausting, both physically and emotionally.) Even the attempt to make the whole thing “most social Emmys® experience ever” through the always-fascinating use of Twitter onscreen – plus actual celebrities really killing it with their own tweets – didn’t amp up the energy much.
Seth Meyers Was No Tina and Amy
Sorry Seth, you seem like a very nice man IRL with very nice jokes but the show lacked energy and I think many of us still had Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s domination of last year’s award show ringing in our heads. Also, Meyers’ hosting seemed to be undermined by appearances by other late night stars/comics/his friends: Kimmel, Andy Samberg, Billy Eichner, Jimmy Fallon – they all seemed to weaken Meyers as the actual person leading us on this journey. Nothing he said really bombed, but he wasn’t very edgy and how many jokes can we actually sit through about network vs. subscription television, year after year? (A lot, that’s how many.)
Say what you want about Sofia Vergara and Stephen Colbert’s additions to the Emmys (at least it wasn’t Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars, right?) but after a night in which women literally dominated the stage and during a night that celebrates a format that is the best Hollywood’s got to offer women, forgive me if I don’t have much of a sense of humor about being slapped back to reality about what women really are in our society: accessories and afterthoughts. Anyway. You get it, even if Sofia Vergara doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between making fun of yourself and making fun of all women on a night when still so so few even have the chance of winning an award. It was just a downer in general.
Shitty Wins and Boring Speeches
Yes yes, everybody’s got their something and not everyone can be pleased but ugh Modern Family winning is always just incredibly dull. Even though I don’t watch that show anymore, I actually think Ty Burell’s Phil Dunphy is the second coming of Ross Geller on Friends and his speech was still such a boring-should-have-been-cute affair. Also, I know everyone lovesBreaking Bad but their last hurrah was just tiring. Who else won? I honestly can’t even tell you because the speeches were so totally unmemorable. Oh right Julianna Marguiles. Love her.
Actual Television by Contrast Is so Much Better Than the Emmys
Perhaps the biggest letdown of the 2014 Emmys wasn’t that they were so bad but that they were so bad compared to the medium they were celebrating. Just think, last night you could have been watching three hours of anything – re-upping on True Detective or, at the other end of the spectrum, digging into a fresh new episode of Bachelor in Paradise (okay no, you’re probably glad you didn’t do that). As our good friend Seth pointed out so many times last night, television has never been better, which is why it’s so hard to stomach a TV special that did not seem to realize exactly what it was working against: live television, DVR, Netflix, HBOGo, etc. Not to mention the possibility of getting off the couch and trying to do as TV Queen Oprah always suggests – live your best life.