Even if your favorite show is on premium cable or Netflix, the awards are handed out on tried-and-true network TV.
So it’s no wonder that Monday’s Emmys looked like a rerun of the 2013 broadcast.
Repeating from last year: Jim Parsons (supporting actor, comedy); Julia Louis-Dreyfus (supporting actress, comedy); Bryan Cranston (actor, drama); Anna Gunn (supporting actress, drama); “Breaking Bad” (best drama).
The battle between traditional network shows and the onslaught of cable and online content was at the fore from the beginning, with host Seth Meyers tipping his hat to HBO’s 99 nominations.
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“HBO is like the kid you grew up with who ended up doing way better than you expected. When I first met HBO, he was all ‘Grease 2’ and ‘Fraggle Rock,’” Meyers said. “I wish I was nicer to him.”
Meyers didn’t bounce off the walls. Mostly, he let others do the heavy lifting, bringing along a special edition of “Billy on the Street” with Billy Eichner, Andy Samberg as King Joffrey from “Game of Thrones” and a re-imagining of today’s popular TV theme songs by Weird Al Yankovic.
For once, the winners themselves provided some laughs. “Modern Family” director Gail Mancuso insisted on gazing at nominee Matthew McConaughey while thanking her producers.
“I’m gonna just make eye contact with you, right there,” she said, shooing the audience cameraman out of her line of sight.
We found out that Woody Harrelson does a great McConaughey impersonation and that Gwen Stefani can’t pronounce “The Colbert Report” (she pronounced the silent “T” in both words). It also helps an awards show if you put a tightly corseted Sofia Vergara on a rotating platform during the boring address by the academy’s head honcho. (Do we need that every year, really?)
The ceremony bogged down in the middle a bit, as awards shows will do, but everyone straightened up for the In Memoriam segment as Sara Bareilles sang “Smile.” Billy Crystal sent off his pal Robin Williams with a low-key appreciation, calling him “the brightest comedy star in our galaxy.”
By the end of the night, “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” had asserted their dominance again. After all the talk about Netflix changing the game, the same guys took most of the trophies home.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus repeated her win for “Veep,” the HBO political gabfest so densely packed with vile dialogue that it’s nearly unquotable. It was her third statue for “Veep” and her fifth overall.
Before she won, Louis-Dreyfus presented an award with Bryan Cranston, telling him he looked just like an infamous guest star on “Seinfeld” — the dentist who converted to Judaism for the jokes.
“Yes, Tim Whatley,” Cranston replied. “We had a kissing scene together.”
On the way to pick up her trophy, Louis-Dreyfus attacked Cranston for an impromptu makeout session, then reported to the microphone, nodding. “He was on ‘Seinfeld,’” she said.
Jim Parsons surprised no one when he won for his role as Sheldon Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory.”
His fourth win for the role put him in the same class as Michael J. Fox and Kelsey Grammer, but he was a class act when accepting.
“To say that I watch your work and I feel inspired is a bit of an understatement,” he said to the other nominees. “There’s no accounting for taste, and it’s through good fortune that I stand up here tonight.”
It’s probably easier to fake humility when you’ve just negotiated a new contract for $1 million an episode.
It wasn’t the show everyone was talking about, but that didn’t seem to matter when “Modern Family” won for fifth straight year.
Oddly enough, ABC’s love letter to same-sex marriage felt like the old-school holdout in the comedy category. Those five wins tie “Modern Family” with the all-time sitcom champ, “Frasier.”
Or maybe “Orange Is the New Black” was just in the wrong place. It was pretty obvious which show Seth Meyers was making fun of when he said, “We had comedies that made you laugh and comedies that made you cry — because they were dramas submitted as comedies.”
After “The Good Wife” lost a favorite character in a midseason shocker and got left off the best drama list, Julianna Margulies kept her show in the spotlight where it belongs.
“What a wonderful time for women on television,” Margulies said to applause.
She made sure to thank the show’s writers, “who never cease to amaze me, with 22 episodes,” a little dig at the shorter cable shows “The Good Wife” competes against.
Only Walter White could stop the Matthew McConaughey awards train. In the end, the “True Detective” fan favorite lost out to the criminal mastermind.
There was little doubt Cranston deserved his fourth straight statue for his steel-eyed portrayal of the mild-mannered New Mexico teacher turned drug lord, but the best actor category was so stuffed with great performances that nothing was taken for granted.
“Even I thought about voting for Matthew,” Cranston admitted.
He also thanked his “TV wife,” Anna Gunn, who won a supporting actress statue, saying, “I love you, and especially those scenes in bed.”
“Breaking Bad” had already hauled in wins in three acting categories, as well as a writing win for the episode “Ozymandias.” So it was no surprise when creator Vince Gilligan took the stage again. “Breaking Bad’s” last season was a triumph, even if it was only eight episodes long.