Hi and welcome to yet another installment of, “Therese is Far Too Lazy to Live Tweet, Much Less Live Blog the Emmys, So Here are Her Thoughts Two Days After the Fact,” in which I share with you my thoughts on an awards ceremony everyone has already largely forgotten.
And I have good news: this year I have largely kept my cranky pants in the dresser. I have to admit, this year I was happy with most of the nominees (EXCEPT FOR THE LACK OF D’ARCY CARDEN. SHAME ON YOU, ACADEMY) and for the most part not angry with any of this year’s winners. Dare I say, the Academy got it pretty right this year? Good job, voters!
As for the show itself … that’s a whole other issue. Between too many goddamned Masked Singers wandering around, multiple unfunny sketches, and some AWFUL music choices, this entire production was turrrrrrible. I am not sure if the show would have benefitted from a formal host (the ratings, which were firmly in the toilet, would suggest that perhaps it would have), all I know is that it couldn’t have hurt to have a Tiny Fey or Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers or Jimmy Kimmel helping steer this shit show.
And now onto the blah blah:
7:00: Following in the footsteps of the Oscars, this year’s Emmys is hostless (for the first time ever? I need to look that up) (looked it up, nope — they went hostless in 1975, 1998 and 2003) because, honestly, do we need hosts for these things? But that leaves the Emmy producers trying to figure out how to start this thing, and they go with announcing that tonight’s host is Homer Simpson. Through the magic of television, Homer comes out onto the stage and welcomes everyone before a piano is dropped on him. After a long awkward beat, Anthony Anderson jumps up and announces that he’ll save the Emmys before running backstage and doing some confusing schtick for a while.
Eventually, Bryan Cranston is shoved out onto the stage to talk about Why Television is Super Important and Should Be Taken Very Seriously. The whole thing, it’s not great.
7:06: Ben Stiller is the first presenter, and begins delivering this very solemn bit about TV Comedy Legends, and is accompanied by the wax figures of George Burns and Lucille Ball. It’s super weird. But then we get to the actual joke: Stiller moves through the history of television comedies to come to Bob Newhart, who is standing on a platform like the wax statues of Burns and Ball — except it’s really Newhart, and he’s pissed that Ben Stiller clearly thought he was dead. I admit, I completely fell for the whole thing, writing in my notes that the wax statues are “weird” and “what the actual fuck is going on.” In fact, it’s the funniest bit of the night, so SETTLE IN because it doesn’t get any better than cranky Bob Newhart.
After reading the nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, Newhart gets one last dig in, telling Stiller that he hated him in Tropic Thunder, and now all I want in the world is for these two to star in a buddy comedy together.
7:10: Tony Shaloub wins for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And this is a big shrug for me. On the one hand, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel just doesn’t do it for me (feel free to scream at me for being wrong in the comments, I don’t care), on the other hand, Tony Shaloub is wonderful in everything he does and I don’t begrudge him prizes.
Who Will Win: Henry Winkler or Alan Arkin
Who Should Win: Tony Hale or Stephen Root
Yep. Got that one way wrong.
7:16: After a bad Family Guy bit about how the Emmys reward great people for great work, like Bill Cosby and Roseanne, because get it? They’re actually terrible people? Catherine O’Hara and Amy Poehler, two of my most favorite comedians of all time, come out to present Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Their bit, it’s not great. In fact, I don’t really know what is happening. They are just saying nonsense words?
7:19: Alex Borstein wins for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and I feel about it the exact same way as I feel about Tony Shaloub. Don’t care for the show, but goddamn, Alex Borstein is terrific and I have no problem with her taking this home. Bonus points for her acceptance speech in which she tells a story about how her grandmother was an immigrant and Holocaust survivor. Her grandmother was in line to be shot and killed in a concentration camp, Borstein recounts, when she asked a nearby soldier what would happen if she stepped out of line. He told her that he didn’t have the heart to shoot her, but someone would. She stepped out of line anyway, and that’s why Alex Borstein is there tonight to accept her Emmy. And so the lesson, ladies, is to step out of line.
Who Will Win: Olivia Colman
Who Should Win: Anna Chlumsky
Yeah, I just really underestimated Mrs. Maisel because it just really is not on my radar. Also, Fleabag and Veep were better. True story.
7:21: So Ken Jeong and Nick Carter come out and Jeong does this REALLY painful bit where he uses the audience to help his daughter make a Tik Tok video and it’s so so so bad, you guys.
Nick Carter the whole time:
It’s so bad that Jeong knows it’s terrible in the very moment and jokes that it’s the end of his career and it’s back to medicine for him. This was easily the funniest part of this whole bit.
7:24: Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series goes to Fleabag, thereby ending The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel portion of the evening and officially launching the Fleabag Wins Everything portion. (Thank god.) (Also, I didn’t predict Directing or Writing winners because that felt like some real inside baseball shit.)
If Mrs. Maisel is Marvelous, Fleabag herself is the Fucking Fabulous Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and this, right here is why:
I love her so much, you guys.
7:31: Lily Singh presents two presenters? BUT WHY? Anyway, she presents the two winners of Guest Actors in a Comedy Series, Luke Kirby and Jane Lynch, both for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Who Will Win: Matt Damon
Who Should Win: John Mulaney
Who Will Win: Jane Lynch
Who Should Win: Kristin Scott Thomas
Hey! Half-right is something!
7:33: Harry Bradbeer wins Outstanding Directing for a Comey Series for directing Fleabag, and calls Phoebe Waller-Bridge a “glorious grenade,” which is about right.
7:34: Maya Rudolph and Ike Barinholtz are the next presenters, and they come out wearing those wrap-around sunglasses you get at the eye doctor, explaining that they just received Lasik surgery that afternoon, and thus, they can’t read the teleprompter. They proceed to read the completely wrong names for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (“Dan Chowder” instead of “Don Cheadle”; “Bart Hammermouth” instead of “Bill Hader” — you get it.), except for Ted Danson, whom Maya reads correctly. I don’t hate this bit? But it’s also not great.
7:37: Bill Hader wins for Barry and gives a meandering speech that is supposed to be a tribute to his partner on the series. It’s fine. And I’m also fine with Hader winning in this category. While I’m still HELLA PISSED that Rob McElhenney wasn’t even nominated while Michael Goddamned Douglas was, in the end, Barry is Bill Hader’s baby and he deserves the love.
Who Will Win: Bill Hader
Who Should Win: Ted Danson
7:42: Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert are the next presenters, and in their bit, they whine about the Emmys not using a host, arguing that hosts aren’t just disposable. Without hosts, “who would sit behind a desk,” asks Kimmel, “and pretend to be interested in Jason Bateman’s vacation stories?”
Cut to Jason Bateman:
Perfection. Give him an Emmy.
7:44: Phoebe Waller-Bridge wins Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Fleabag, thereby denying Julia Louis-Dreyfus the tie-breaking Emmy that would make her the winningest Emmy actor of all time (she’s currently tied with Cloris Leachman). But you know what? As much as I looooooove Julia Louis-Dreyfus and think she deserves that tie-breaking Emmy, and I would have been thrilled for her had she won last night, PHOEBE DESERVES IT.
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Who Should Win: Either Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Natasha Lyonne
7:46: Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner are the next presenters, marking the turn to the reality programming awards — or, really, award. They read their lines about how their family knows firsthand how truly compelling TV that comes from real people can be, and the audience chuckles because COME ON, YOU DUMB BILLIONAIRES. “Real people” my overly inflated ass.
7:48: Anyway, RuPaul’s Drag Race wins Outstanding Competition Program, and in his acceptance speech, Momma Ru urges people to register to vote.
Meanwhile, there was some gay drama on Twitter when people thought Billy Porter was giving RuPaul some side-eye during his speech:
— Mario (@mtehuitz) September 23, 2019
— Ashley (@Ashcatcam) September 23, 2019
Later in the press room, Porter shot down any suggestion that there is some sort of feud, claiming that he stands on the shoulders of Ru Paul, but the tape says what it says, y’all.
Who Will Win: I don’t know, probably Top Chef or The Voice
Who Should Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race
So — quick question: do I get partial credit if I pick the winner in “should win” but didn’t have enough faith in the voters to do the right thing and choose it for “will win”?
7:50: In the shadiest moment of the night, the show’s put-upon announcer, Thomas Lennon, sent a shoutout to “any of our previous lead actress winners who are watching tonight from prison. Hopefully, those two weeks are going to fly right by.”
The rest of Lennon’s performance, however … eesh.
— Dalton Ross (@DaltonRoss) September 23, 2019
7:54: Tim Allen comes out and introduces the accountants which is just everyone’s favoritest part of the ceremony.
7:55: Seth Meyers introduces a Game of Thrones montage — which, true fact, is better than the second half of the final season. The cast then comes out to stiffly and awkwardly transition to the show to the Limited Series and TV Movies portion of the night. I genuinely can’t tell if they’re emotional or just poorly rehearsed but it’s … weird.
8:00: Patricia Arquette wins Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her performance in The Act on Hulu which, I mean, sure. I don’t have strong feelings about this particular category.
Arquette, God bless her, uses her speech to remember her sister Alexis who passed away a few years ago, and to call for transgender rights. It’s a lovely moment.
Who Will Win: Patricia Clarkson
Who Should Win: Emily Watson
8:03: RuPaul and Zendaya — wearing a dress that made me literally say “GOD DAMN” out loud — present the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie to Johan Renck for his work on Chernobyl. Sure.
8:10: Our Comedy Actor winners, Bill Hader and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are the next presenters (were they always going to present together or was this a decision that was made after their wins? WHO KNOWS?) and after joking about how “Limited Series” are actually “Cancelled Series,” they present the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie to Ben Wishaw for his performance in A Very English Scandal.
Upon taking the stage, Ben Wishaw first announces that he’s very hungover before giving his thanks, and you know what, Ben Wishaw? I feel you. I feel you, friend. I am sure if I had been nominated for an Emmy, I’d show up to that shit hungover, too.
As for his win, I knew Skarsgård would be robbed, it was just a question of by whom.
Who Will Win: Paul Dano
Who Should Win: Stellan Skarsgård
8:13: Bradley Whitford and Jimmy Smitts present the Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or Movie to the very deserving Chernobyl. Craig Mazin, the head writer and creator of Chernobyl gives a lovely speech, accepting it in the memory of the people who died in the disaster. He fails to tell his former roommate Ted Cruz to fuck off, however, so speech fail.
8:16: Peter Krause and Bad Bitch Angela Bassett present the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie to Jharrel Jerome for his performance in When They See Us. He becomes the youngest actor to win in a Limited Series Acting category and the first Afro-Latino. He proceeds to give a beautiful, heartfelt speech, thanking his mother and, more importantly, The Exonerated Five, who are in the audience.
And it’s a truly profound moment which is completely undercut by the producers’ choice of still photo from his performance, projected behind him four stories tall. I mean, come on guys, couldn’t you find any better image than this?
Who Will Win: I genuinely don’t know, Jharrel Jerome?
Who Should Win: Mahershala Ali or Jared Harris
I’m practically a psychic, you guys.
8:25: James Corden makes a witty joke about “witty banter” before presenting the Outstanding Television Movie Emmy to Bandersnatch. And the producers seem genuinely surprised to have won.
Who Will Win: Deadwood: The Movie
Who Should Win: Bandersnatch: Black Mirror
8:30: The brilliant Hugh Laurie introduces a Veep montage which, by virtue of the Emmys being broadcast on network TV, has to bleep out every other word. In fact, it is a minor miracle they were able to find any clips they DIDN’T have to bleep out for this tribute. R.I.P., Veep, you were the fucking best.
8:31: The cast of Veep comes out and delivers a seamless bit in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus basically is Selina Meyers and having a petulant fit that she’s not out on the stage by herself. (And, just as Veep showed up Game of Thrones in terms of how to deliver a final season, they also showed them here how to deliver a bit without being awkward weirdos.)
And then! After the nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie are announced, only Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale are left on the stage, doing their Selina and Gary routine. As Louis-Dreyfus opens the envelope and says, “And the Emmy goes to …” Hale stage whispers, “Julia Louis-Dreyfus” and … y’all. I DEMAND A NEW TONY HALE/JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS SERIES IMMEDIATELY. Bob Newhart can also be in it.
Anyway, Michelle Williams wins for Fosse/Verdon because there was no contest here. She, too, gives a powerful speech about empowering women, particularly women of color, and paying them equally.
Who Will Win: Michelle Willaims
Who Should Win: Michelle Willaims
8:37: The so-blindingly-beautiful-you-should-not-look-directly-at-them Jon Hamm and Naomi Watts present Outstanding Limited Series to Chernobyl and deservedly so.
And … the music the Emmy producers choose to play? As the producers of Chernobyl — a miniseries ABOUT THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER — walk up to the stage? Is “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.
I have questions for the producers, including: What? NO, REALLY, WHAT? Did you honestly think this was appropriate? How? Maybe you don’t know what the Chernobyl disaster was? But if you did, did you really think lyrics like: “Birds flying high you know how I feel; Sun in the sky you know how I feel; Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel; It’s a new dawn; It’s a new day; It’s a new life for me yeah; It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me; Oh, and I’m feeling good,” really captured the spirit of that nuclear disaster? Or did you just have a bunch of random feel-good songs cued up and didn’t give any thought AT ALL about the context of those songs and how they may not exactly line up with the shows being honored? Why not just go with Chernobyl’s score? What’s wrong with that? And in conclusion, were you drunk in the control booth?
Anyway, in his acceptance speech, Craig Mazin notes that he hopes his show in some small way reminds people of the value of truth and the danger of lies. He then discusses the power of television to help us remember important stories, and made a point to mention When They See Us for doing something very similar with a different, but equally powerful story. His acknowledgment of Ava DuVernay’s series, it felt genuine and heartfelt.
8:45: Then there’s a song and dance number about variety series that I think is supposed to be “ironic” but is just an enormous waste of everyone’s time, the talented Adam Devine and Samantha Bee — both of whom somehow got roped into this — most of all. I do not wish to speak of it further.
8:49: The Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Emmy goes to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, duh.
8:52: The Outstanding Variety Series Emmy goes to Saturday Night Live, duh.
9:00: The Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series Emmy goes to Saturday Night Live, duh.
9:03: And The Outstanding Variety Talk Series Emmy goes to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, duh.
Variety Sketch Series —
Who Will Win: Saturday Night Live
Who Should Win: Documentary Now!
Variety Talk Series —
Who Will Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Who Should Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
9:04: Taraji P. Henson and that lunatic Terrence Howard present a R.I.P. montage to shows that aren’t Game of Thrones or Veep that ended this year, including Gotham; House of Cards; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Jane the Virgin; Broad City; and The Big Bang Theory. They forgot You’re the Worst and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and they should feel REALLY FUCKING BAD ABOUT IT.
(As regarding “lunatic” Terrence Howard, I present exhibit A. [hat tip to my sister for this one]:
— StephenGlickman (@StephenGlickman) September 23, 2019
And exhibit B:)
9:12: The President of TV, or whoever, says some words about this being the platinum age of TV. It’s super-fascinating.
9:13: Viola Davis, looking FIERCE and wearing silver sneakers because FUCK YES, BE COMFORTABLE, VIOLA DAVIS, YOU HAVE EARNED THAT SHIT, starts the drama portion of the night with some weird sketch unfolding behind her. I am increasingly convinced that the producers of this mess were doing Jäger shots during all of the planning and development of this show.
Davis then presents Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series to Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones, and despite my anger about the finale, I have no quibble with this. He’s amazing and deserves this no matter how shitty the final season was (so shitty). Also, he broke an Emmy record for the most wins by an actor in this category with four, so good for him.
Who Will Win: It’s entirely possible that the Game of Thrones guys split the vote on this one, but I suspect Peter Dinklage will still take it home one last time for Tyrion.
Who Should Win: Giancarlo Esposito, but I wouldn’t be mad at Peter Dinklage, Johnathan Banks or, honestly, Chris Sullivan on This is Us.
9:17: Jharelle Jerome introduces the winner of the Emmy for Guest Actress in a Drama Series, Cherry Jones for The Handmaid’s Tale (Bradley Whitford was the Guest Actor winner for the same series) who presents Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.
But before we get to that:
Who Will Win: Phylicia Rashad
Who Should Win: Jessica Lange
Who Will Win: Bradley Whitford
Who Should Win: Michael McKean
9:18: The Emmy goes to Jesse Armstrong for Succession and, again, fantastic, I love that show. (And if you’re not watching season two right now, you need to fix that. It’s the best drama on TV right now. Season one starts slow — or so some people say, I loved it from word “go” — but by the end of the first season, you’ll be in love. And season two is going to be ALL OVER next year’s Emmys, trust.) He’s also British, and noting how many Brits had won so far that night, jokes that the administration should reconsider their ban on immigrants from “shithole” countries, earning him a bleep and confusing plenty of viewers.
9:20: Kristin Bell and Don Cheadle, former co-stars on the hatable but highly consumable House of Lies, present Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama to — surprise! Julia Garner for Ozark. And see, Game of Thrones actors? This is why HBO only submitted some of y’all for consideration and not all of y’all, because at some point you begin canceling each other out and the next thing you know Ozark has taken your Emmy, Gwendoline Christie.
Who Will Win: I think there is an equally good chance for the three Game of Thrones ladies (minus Lena Headey), but they might split the vote, handing Fiona Shaw the win.
Who Should Win: Fiona Shaw
9:28: My personal queen of TV, Regina King, introduces Halsey who sings for the in memoriam bit. R.I.P. John Singleton and Cokie Roberts and Doris Day and Peggy Lipton and Katherine Helmond and Tim Conway and Bob Einstein and Valerie Harper and Peter Fonda and Stan Lee and Penny Marshall and Rip Torn and Luke Perry, but not R.I.P. to you Leonard Slatkin because you are neither dead, nor are you the composer Andre Previn (who is dead) even though they used your picture for him.
9:38: Kerry Washington presents Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series to the gorgeous and delightful Billy Porter for Pose, making him the first openly gay African-American man to win in this category. He delivers a lovely speech, quoting James Baldwin: “It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here,” before assuring the audience that they all have the right to be there.
I just can not contain my love for Billy Porter, you guys. I want him to be in EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. We can put him in the upcoming Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Tony Hale/Bob Newhart comedy.
9:42: Britney Snow and Timothy Hutton are the presenters for Outstanding Directing in Drama Series, which to everyone’s surprise, and perhaps to his the most, goes to Jason Bateman for Ozark.
Jason Bateman straight-manning his own emmy win reaction shot is *chef’s kiss* pic.twitter.com/UQhwV6vL4N
— Rachel Klein (@racheleklein) September 23, 2019
— Danonymous Man (@DanonymousMan) September 23, 2019
Jason Bateman’s reaction to winning an Emmy is the same reaction Michael Bluth has whenever George Michael talks about Ann pic.twitter.com/8eCXjZrZWR
— Rob’s tweets and use a nice font (@RobParduno) September 23, 2019
Jason Bateman’s reaction to winning Best Directing pic.twitter.com/CtlEcGmBDT
— Andrea Valette (@andreamvalette) September 23, 2019
Jason Bateman’s reaction to winning an Emmy is the truest example of Art imitating Life and Life imitating Art pic.twitter.com/kTWUtejaZj
— David Chimusoro (@TheChimmigrant) September 23, 2019
Peak Jason Bateman you guys. His speech is good. His reaction? Worth another Emmy.
9:44: Gwyneth Paltrow teeters gingerly across the stage to present the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama to Jodi Comer for Killing Eve. Which I’m happy about! Comer’s Villanelle is an AMAZING creation and she is a delight to watch — dangerous but seductive and funny all at the same time. I’m not sure that since Hannibal has there been such an appealing psychopath. The list of actresses was really great this year, and I while I am happy for Comer, I would have been just as pleased for Emilia Clarke or Sandra Oh to win it, too.
Who Will Win: I see a scenario in which Emilia Clarke could win this. Between it being Game of Thrones‘ final season, the news of her terrifying health scare, and Comer and Oh splitting the Killing Eve vote, it’s possible the Queen of Dragons could take home the Emmy.
Who Should Win: Sandra Oh
9:53: Marisa Tomei and the also-not-dead-yet comedy genius Norman Lear (who is also the oldest winner in Emmy history) are the presenters for Outstanding Comedy Series which goes to Fleabag, completing its Veep shutout. And here’s the thing: I’m a little torn on this one. Veep had a perfect, hilarious final season and really stuck the landing with the finale episode. And it feels like it should have received something from the Academy as a parting gift. But on the other hand, this is also Fleabag’s final season, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it was genius. I love Veep, but Fleabag pulled off something that is much more emotionally complex; it was a much more difficult highwire act.
“It’s really wonderful to know, and reassuring that a dirty, pervy, angry, messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys,” said Phoebe Waller-Bridge. To which I say, “Amen and halle-loo.”
Who Will Win: Veep will be the sentimental favorite, and if it wins, I will be thrilled.
Who Should Win: Fleabag
9:57: Finally, Michael Douglas is the presenter for Outstanding Drama which goes to Game of Thrones, to pretty much no one’s surprise. It was the biggest show on television for years, and while the final season might have been a disappointment, it was also unlike anything else on TV. I don’t begrudge it a thing.
Who Will Win: Game of Thrones. The Academy gave Game of Thrones a record 32 nominations this year and while I could definitely see the voting body giving the series some lesser Emmys and skipping this one just based on the negative reaction to the finale, I could just as easily see the Academy wanting to reward the biggest show on television. And honestly, though the storytelling was not maybe the most satisfying, it’s hard to deny that the final season wasn’t a spectacle. But I could see either Pose or Killing Eve being a spoiler if the voters are feeling like making a statement.
Who Should Win: As much as I love Pose, if I were the only one voting, this would go to Succession, just one of the darkest, most hilarious and delicious TV series of the past year and one that deserves a whole hell of a lot more love. I also wouldn’t be mad at Better Call Saul winning this year.
Alright, kids — that’s it until next year. Cue the dragons and let’s burn it all down.
The Emmys aired on Fox on Sunday, September 22.