If a show wins Best Comedy Series for the fifth year in a row, is that still considered a surprise?
We ponder that and other WTF moments that peppered an overall pretty staid 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. The three-hours-and-no-more (there seemed to be some serious speed-reading going on tonight) ceremony was capably hosted by Seth Meyers, with major assists from his former SNL right-hand funnywoman Amy Poehler, Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Kimmel and the very mention of the word "Beyoncé."
But even during a show light on drama, either of the scripted or spontaneous variety, there were still a handful of moments that had us reaching for the rewind button:
1. Netflix Is Not the New Cable: Or the new broadcast. At least as far as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is concerned. Though momentum was supposedly building for the likes of Matthew McConaughey in True Detective and Orange Is the New Black, Breaking Bad and Modern Family triumphed in the Best Drama and Best Comedy Series categories yet again—for the second and fifth year in a row, respectively. Not that we can argue with Breaking Bad or Bryan Cranston (Emmy No. 4!) ending its run (about a year later after its run on AMC ended, but whatever), but—memo to the Academy—if you're not jazzing up the format in other ways, the same shows winning every year is boring. And anticlimactic, if the show hasn't been on in a year. Although maybe there was a method to the lack of madness: when you're trying to keep award shows within their time slot parameters, you don't give awards to Matthew McConaughey.
2. Don't Speak: We actually thought for a second that Gwen Stefani was being funny, that she had intentionally pronounced The Colbert Report with the hard "t" sounds on purpose, the way people do when they're poking fun. But upon reviewing the moment, it turns out she Adele-Dazeem'd the winner of the Best Variety Series Emmy.
3. Ricky Gervais Loses, Accepts Emmy Anyway: The fabulously self-congratulatory Brit, who did win a Best Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy in 2007 for Extras, came prepared with a speech for his Derek nomination, and although he lost, when he was tapped to present one of "the big ones" (Best Writing for a Variety Series) he opted to fill us all in on what he was really thinking. And we thank him for that. In fact, as tends to be the case (so props to the writers) more and more these days, the presenters totally stole the show. Jimmy Kimmel was also an MVP, with an assist from Gervais' "Netflix face," as were Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who turned the introduction of the Ernst & Young guys into an event. Even Weird Al Yankovic made quite the splash with his theme song parodies, because he's just so hot right now.
4. Ab-Normal Feeling: Now, you can imagine how torn we are on this one. Do you know how much we love Sherlock? Can't be measured. We're a big batch o' Cumberbitches over here. But did you see The Normal Heart and the performances by Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer? The HBO film won for Best TV Movie, but Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (love Watson, too) were named Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries, respectively, for Sherlock: The Last Vow, beating out the former two thesps in the process. And then neither Cumberbatch nor Freeman was even there! (Yes, we understand Freeman is in Richard III on the London stage and can't just drop his crown and run, and Benedict has Hamlet to prepare for and probably 18 other projects.) First of all, don't even get us started on what's a miniseries and what's a movie, versus what's a series. It's weird enough that one episode of Sherlock was entered as a TV movie, let alone the fact that American Horror Story and Fargo are miniseries, but True Detective is a drama series...all of this has probably been explained by the Academy, but it's far less productive to just stay dazed and confused. Anyway, the point is—it's just hard to pick favorites among your favorites.
5. Squealed With a Kiss: We take back everything we've ever said about another win for Bryan Cranston perhaps being boring. After Julia Louis-Dreyfus playfully played dumb about Bryan Cranston being on Seinfeld back in the 1990s, refusing to even remember Elaine's kissing scene with dentist Tim Whatley, he got her back, and how. As Louis-Dreyfus headed toward the stage to accept her second straight Best Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy for Veep, Cranston pulled an Adrian Brody and caught her in one heck of a liplock. As one might expect, the memories all came rushing back to her quite easily after that.