By DAVID TINDELL
For those who missed it last Sunday night, the 2009 Emmy Awards televised some of the best and worst features of American television. Neil Patrick Harris hosted the three-hour extravaganza, which celebrated 61 years of Primetime Emmy Awards, at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
The Emmys are usually a boring three-hour ceremony; however, this year offered moments for those craving some snickers. Tina Fey humorously thanked NBC for keeping “30 Rock” on the air despite being “so much more expensive than a talk show” ( a reference to NBC’s “Jay Leno Show”).
Even Ken Howard from HBO’s “Grey Gardens” whetted the usually dry crowd, remarking “I’ll try to keep my speech brief so I won’t be interrupted by a congressman or rapper.”
Harris went to the extent of making sure each presenter was introduced with his or her most regrettable credits (which became less funny each time).
However, you may have found yourself disappointed if you tried to watch the Emmys in place of Sunday re-runs; NBC’s “30 Rock” took home best comedy series just like last year, and AMC’s “Mad Men” won the best drama series once again.
More monotony followed: best lead actor in a drama (Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad,” AMC) best lead actress in a drama (Glenn Close, “Damages,” FX) and best lead actor in a comedy (Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”) went to the same people as last year with the notable exception of Toni Collette, who won the best actress/comedy award for Showtime’s “United States of Tara.”
A few oddities stood out during the 61st Primetime Emmys Awards though.
In light of several recent celebrity deaths, Sarah McLachlan sang, “I Will Remember You.” The moment was moving but felt slightly out of place surrounded by the Hollywood glitz. Some of the honored celebrities included Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze, Karl Malden, Paul Newman, Walter Cronkite and Michael Crichton, among others.
Also, host Harris’ opening was generally a flop. Entering in a white dinner jacket, attempting “Don’t Put Down the Remote” with lines like “thank God, the boob tube doesn’t rhyme with Tony Shalhoub” was in tune, but definitely off point.
Jon Stewart, who won best variety, music, or comedy series for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” said to Harris: “These shows, we’ve all been to a lot of these, they usually suck. And you’ve been very good.”
Although the 2009 Emmys did not offer much difference in winners from 2008, at least this year the show didn’t “suck.”