Jimmy Kimmel was a perfectly smooth host for the Emmys, though not a perfect fit. One of his trademarks, prankish humor – he asked viewers to Tweet that Tracy Morgan had passed out – didn’t translate to an awards show. His other trademark, irreverently taking swipes at the self-importance of show busines, was oddly missing. That was left to a few clever nominees. What worked best were the pre-arranged comic bits by winners and the people they beat.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus read an acceptance speech Amy Poehler had supposedly slipped into her hand (that piece of paper was too big and crumpled to be anything other than a prop). Even better, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert wrestled Jon Stewart to the ground to keep him from heading to the stage when The Daily Show won Best Variety show.
It’s already hard to remember who got the awards. OK, a couple of memorable winners stick: Homeland, Clare Danes and Damian Lewis won. So did Game Change and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. It was a big year for topicality and politics on screen.
But here’s why we watch: Emmy winners and non-winners like Louis-Dreyfus and Stewart actually doing something entertaining instead of congratuating themselves.