2009 Primetime Emmy Awards LiveBlog
September 20th, 2009
For Cultural Learnings’ complete review of the show, CLICK HERE. For the full live blog, read on below.
I was kind of on the fence about liveblogging the Emmys this year, I really was. Twitter has provided an outlet for quippy remarks and observations that I might have while watching the event, and I ultimately end up writing a huge 2000-word rundown when the show ends so it’s not as if a LiveBlog is going to stand as my only coverage of the big event here at Cultural Learnings.
However, ultimately I want something to be able to refer to when piecing together my final rundown of the night’s festivities, and a LiveBlog seems like the kind of setup that will capture my reaction to the various winners/moments in the ceremony for those who want to know how everything is going down as it’s going down.
So, if you want to follow along with the show or check back later to see my subjective take on a particular moment in the show, here’s where you’re going to want to be. Meanwhile, if you want things elaborate and substantial, check back later tonight for my full analysis of the evening’s winners, losers, and everything in between.
7:20pm: As we wait for the show to begin, feel free to check out my predictions for the big night (the acting categories all link to long analysis pieces of each category): Cultural Learnings’ Full Emmy Predictions.
7:54pm: Enjoying Christine Baranski’s guest spot in a pre-Emmys airing of The Big Bang Theory – an omen for Jim Parsons? Baranski was always going to lose to Tina Fey, but she was damn good in this episode.
8:00pm: And we’re off and running. Television: useful science of the electronic age, indeed. Making fun of Wipeout as “Unsophisticated” is a bit low of CBS, but I guess they don’t have anything quite as lowly…except for Big Brother. Anyways, time for NPH.
8:02pm: A white tuxedo jacket for “Put Down the Remote,” an opening musical number. Essentially, number boils down to “please don’t stop watching for any purpose, including using the bathroom and eating. Empty seat for Paula Abdul, and a cute gay/straight bit with MAd Men stars, and as expected NPH nails it: downright fantastic belting on the list of networks, which he knocked out of the park. We also learn it was written by the Hairspray producers, who are headed to broadway with Catch Me If You Can.
8:06pm: “Next year, the theme song for Two and a Half Men will just be “meh”” – win.
8:08pm: The set is a real highlight this year, as it’s a whole bunch of video screens and everything is on the stage itself (including both the control room and the orchestra pit). We then cut into a “Year in Comedy” montage. Highlight: “that guy looks like he’s related to Jon Hamm” when Jon Hamm appears, a quote from my mother.
8:12pm: Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Time. Chenoweth, wearing some amazing 2009 glasses. Okay, everyone has hilarious glasses. This is fantastic. But Vanessa Williams refuses. And the winner is Kristen Chenoweth! HUZZAH FOR THE SHOPKEEP! John Hodgman’s announcing? Fantastic. Oh man, this is so great. Glasses were Amy Poehler’s idea. Bryan Fuller gets a big thank you. Says she would be glad to be on Mad Men, The Office or 24 now that she’s unemployed. She’s fantastic, as usual – so pleased. Not just because my prediction proved true. So pleased.
8:15pm: Cat Deeley, snubbed of a Best Reality Competition Host nomination, has to shill Breakthrough Moment fan award. But she’s great, as usual.
8:20pm: NPH says we’re getting a special treat, and here we go – we get to see John Hodgman, who is making up all of the colour commentary for the nominees/winners, which is fantastic. And here’s the cast of How I Met Your Mother, sans NPH, to present Comedy writing. And, the Emmy goes to…Matt Hubbard for “Reunion.” It’s a good episode, and a deserving victory. Matt’s mother, meanwhile, paid Hodgman $100 to remind him that he went to Harvard and got a degree in History and Literature.
8:24pm: NPH has a fun gag with Online contest winner, who was totally game for it. Clever. Now, Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Amy Poehler, both looking quite luminous. They’re presenting during the last official year of network television, and indicate the category could be rigged. Time for Supporting Actor Comedy. With Jeremy Piven out for the count, it’s time to see who takes this one home. And the winner is…Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men. This. Is. A. Travesty. I forget who called this earlier, but we should have known that Jeremy Piven was only holding the Emmys back from rewarding a solid supporting player on a show they don’t hate as much as they should.
8:30pm: So, two awards into the night and we have an “Wow, such an awesome surprise” and “Extreme Anticipation turns into Extreme Disappointment.” NPH has to come out and get us back on track (although that’s gotta be tough knowing this was his real chance at winning the thing).
8:33pm: “Well, the night could have gone in two directions. We are now in the second direction.” Change of plans, we’re going to go a little bit faster tonight. I hope “he” wins tonight – Justin Timberlake in the house to present, delivering Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (with a shoutout to Bea Arthur) and warning people not to turn to football. He admits he’s a little turned out, and here comes the big question: is it possible to defeat Tina Fey? It would be the night’s biggest upset, certainly, but it’s not impossible. Sarah Silverman’s moustache makes Timberlake lose it. And the Emmy goes to…Toni Colette, for United States of Tara. Not only did I call it, but I love it: Fey got hers last year, and she makes this show. She is, of course, delightfully Australian and humble.
8:39pm: Neil taunting Jon Cryer in the back, throwing some crap back at him. Neil wants to confirm the envelope has Cryer’s name. Had to check, he says. Very fun. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester out to present Guest Actress/Guest Actor…who both already presented. And now they’re here to chat and some thanks: Tina Fey says that she wouldn’t be here without Lorne, but J.T. would. That was strange, and pointless considering they got to make real speeches (although Timberlake didn’t get to). Comedy Directors get little “meet the directors” pieces that humanize them. Beth McCarthy wins for a slap fight with Jack McBrayer…and then Jeffrey Blitz takes the Emmy for the amazingly directed “Stress Relief.” Cat through the ceiling FTW.
8:45pm: I wonder if they actually did have a plan should NPH win or not win – I think they did. It’s certainly helping to ease the pain of his loss – Stephen Colbert has made great sport of playing the poor sport in the past, but NPH gets to do it for an entire show which makes me quite pleased.
8:49pm: You know him as Charles Elderberry, it’s Rob Lowe. He’s here representing Brothers & Sisters, I guess, but he’s presenting Lead Actor in a Comedy due to his representin’ in Dr. Vegas. He chose that over Grey’s Anatomy (Really? Huh!), and now time to see if we have another upset. Baldwin’s the definite favourite, and Jim Parsons is the definite underdog, but this category is never quite that simple. And the Emmy goes to…Alec Baldwin, for 30 Rock. Not an undeserving win, certainly not, but a bit of a frustrating one – I was rooting for a Carell out of nowhere victory, or a Parsons upset, but who can really complain about Alec Baldwin here?
8:54pm: NPH playing Family Guy’s anti-HIMYM piece that they posted online. This is nice and bloody. “Where’s your bro code now?” and “Hey, suit up” are both clever. Now, transitioning to Reality Competition, and we get a montage. Featuring really dramatic music, and the usual montages.
8:56pm: Now we get to Reality Dance performance, starting with Maksim and Karina from Dancing with the Stars, and the screens very interestingly have a whole vibe to them. And now we have a So You Think You Can DAnce collection featuring Joshua, Mark, and a whole host of others (Katee, for one), but they all moved too quickly. Glenn Close loves it, and it’s true: it was just the right length. Jon Cryer and Hayden Pannetiere in the house.
8:59pm: Reality Competition Host. The real problem with this category is that Tim Gunn doesn’t get a co-host credit like Tom. But the winner is…Jeff Probst, winning for a second straight year for Survivor. If he didn’t lose this year, when Phil Keoghan signed to a deaf contestant, then he is never going to lose it: he just does so much more on the show than any other host and it isn’t just an MC job, so he’s pretty much got an Emmy gold mine on his hands.
9:02pm: Indirect synergy alert from CBS: the Harlem Globetrotters in the audience are on The Amazing Race this season.
9:03pm: Next up is Reality Competition Series. The question remains: can anything beat The Amazing Race? If it is, will it be Top Chef or Project Runway, or perhaps one of the dance reality shows? It’s tough to know, but six wins in a row is the kind of record that Probst could run up with time.
9:06pm: Tracy Morgan here to be hilarious just saying simple sentences. He still can’t believe his reality show (30 Rock), thinks the fix was in. And the Emmy goes to…The Amazing Race. What a shocker, folks. Here comes Bruckheimer and Bertram for yet another year.
9:12pm: Cute gag about not being able to connect Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick by six degrees leads into Supporting Actress in Movie/Miniseries. And the Emmy goes to…Shoreh Aghdashloo takes a surprise Emmy victory for the un-nominated House of Saddam. Definitely a surprise victory, and makes up both for an Oscar victory many felt she was robbed of AND a deserved Supporting Actress nomination she never got for 24 (“BEHROOZ!”).
9:15pm: Now time for Supporting Actor, moving quickly…and Ken Howard completes an HBO sweep of the categories for his role in Grey Gardens, which was really well handled. And he lays down a solid Kanye/Joe Wilson joke (2 for 1), followed by a less artful SAG leadership campaign gag, and then thanks someone for giving him a kidney and a heartfelt birthday wish for his wife.
8:19pm: As always, my predictions get derailed by the Movie/Miniseries categories. I had gotten two early upsets (Chenoweth and Colette), and Directing, but now I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up again.
9:23pm: Chandra Wilson is a lot shorter than Kate Walsh, who is as always a gifted comedienne. Lead Actor in a Miniseries has Kiefer, Bacon, Branagh, Gleeson from real TV movies, but Kevin Kline and Ian McKellen cheat by having real, honest to goodness theatre work. However, it’s Brendan Gleeson who takes the Emmy for Into the Storm. This surprises me a bit, as he isn’t Knighted, but maybe this will help him along the way. Also, he was amazing in In Bruges, wasn’t he? That 3 for 3 for HBO, by the way.
9:26pm: Holy CBS Friday Ghost Show people. In other news, Arquette is also in a rather hideous dress, and Love Hewitt rocks a terrible joke as best she can, and now it’s writing for a Miniseries. Fingers crossed for Generation Kill, but another HBO seems more likely. And the Emmy goes to…Andrew Davies for Little Dorrit, as I predicted. He couldn’t be here tonight, so he’s out and about. No big shocker on that one, but it means Generation Kill winning Miniseries just got more unlikely. And now directing goes to…the director, for Little Dorrit. Grey Gardens snubbed in both categories, which is very interesting and bad news for Generation Kill yet again.
9:31pm: Dr. Horrible interrupts the Accountants, hacking into the broadcast to indicate that television is dead and the internet is the future. Why watch something like this when you can see it really tiny? And then we get a fake buffering screen. ABC can’t be happy about this. Captain Hammer steps in and masters this internet and can’t look into the camera. Love Nathan Fillion. He loves CSI: Miami (other two are two heavy for him). This was pre-taped – honour to be nominated as Day and Helberg walk in. Battery picture – he was plugged in. He’s running out. NoooooOoooOooooo! And the accountants finish the gag – very, very well played, Emmys.
9:34pm: This all comes down to whether Barrymore and Lange split the vote, in Actress in a Miniseries. And the Emmy goes to…Jessica Lange for Grey Gardens. Was on the fence and ended up predicting Barrymore, but Lange is just as deserving and this is actually her first Emmy win. It’s very deserved, and she really was great in the movie. And yep, this means HBO swept all acting categories for Movie/Miniseries.
9:36pm: As Twitter talk indicates, Lange should have submitted supporting and let Barrymore take this one, but she graciously thanks Drew for her role as Little Edie so it’s not as if Barrymore doesn’t to some degree get a moment in the spotlight (and for us to spot Justin Long). And coming up soon, the cast of The Big Bang Theory.
9:43pm: Made for Television Movie time, and as we pretty well all expected Grey Gardens walks away with the award.
9:52pm: While I was out eating, Generation Kill lost to Little Dorrit, and Bruce Gowers won for Variety Directing. Now for Variety Writing: Colbert Report writers outside of David Letterman’s studio, The Daily Show Writers as Clunkers, Late Night with Conan O’Brien as Friend Requests Conan is ignoring, Letterman has Billy Crystal performing his writers (Aren’t you on at 10?), and Brian Williams reads the nominees from Saturday Night Live (known collectively as nerds). And the Emmy goes to…the writers from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which I predicted! And is technically deserved, if not exactly new news.
10:02pm: Emmy Winner Jimmy Fallon (what did he win an Emmy for?). Oh wow, he’s auto-tuned, and then falls and breaks his back, and auto-tune keeps going, of course. Help me Neil. Roll the nominees for Music and Lyrics. Money is clearly on Motherlover, but I so want Carol Brown to win. Fingers crossed. However, Hugh Jackman’s “The Reader” section? Still hilarious. And, apparently, hilarious enough to be able to pull an upset victory against the Saturday Night Live juggernaut. The team is self- deprecating (knowing this was on the big show due to Timberlake), and very much thankful for Hugh Jackman’s talent. Great moment.
10:06pm: The Earl of Guffaw, Ricky Gervais, out to present Best Variety Series. This is the greatest award ceremony in the world. Turns his nose up at film stars. In this room, I’m probably above average. Tom Hanks is here for Big Love. Steve Carell is considered handsome…”Rainn Wilson…pause.” Seriously, people, Ricky Gervais needs to host the Oscars. Right now. Now, time for the series award: the easy money is on Saturday Night Live here, and…it’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This is honestly kind of surprising, and Hodgman’s less than serious introduction more or less indicates as such in a humorous fashion – SNL had the buzzworthy season, and yet it’s Stewart who takes home yet another Emmy. He drops in some kind words for NPH, very classy.
10:17pm: It’s time for drama, which is going to make things very interesting (and then very predictable) very quickly. C’est la Emmys. One highlight: Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Galactica score is over the montage package. Of course, doesn’t help the fact he was never nominated for an Emmy.
10:20pm: Chris O’Donnell bombs a joke pimping NCIS: LA, and now it’s time for Supporting Actor Drama. C’mon, anyone but William Hurt. And the winner is…Michael Emerson for Lost! This is hugely surprising, and hugely exciting: his submission was not as good as it was last year, but here he walks away with the award as the Lost cast give him a standing ovation. A guest actor’s dream: flew to Hawaii to do a guest spot, and turned into the role of a lifetime. That is so damn fitting, and so fantastic: maybe not for his best work, but a beautiful speech.
10:22pm: Now, time for Supporting Actress in a Drama. And the Emmy goes to…Cherry Jones for 24. It’s not a huge surprise, as she’s a Tony-winner, but it’s a big of a shock to some respects. I’m kind of disappointed that someone other than Jean Smart won this award for 24, but by all accounts it was a deserved win (I had my money on Hope Davis, but this could have gone in any odd direction). On the Craft Service table tomorrow, she says.
10:24pm: Now, it’s Sarah McLachlan performing “I Will Remember You” for the “In Memoriam” package. Let’s see if they learn the Oscars lesson about now actually showing her singing once they get into the package. So far so good, although they started it a bit too early for the camera to catch up.
10:30pm: Only six awards left, and there’s room for some surprises, with both Supporting trophies going to less likely candidates (although, not undeserving ones, clearly).
10:34pm: Get it? Actors in a meaty role, and they both played vampires? Alas, David Boreanaz and Stephen Moyer are otherwise here to congratulate Ellen Burtstyn and Michael J. Fox for their victories and to welcome them to present the next award. Drama Directing now, and the last great chance for Battlestar Galactica. Todd Kessler’s “cast Glenn Close” wins for the advice award, although E.R.’s Rod Holcomb (the eventual winner) was close with his “go to hell” moment. Disappointing to see Michael Rymer lose this one, which definitely annoys me more than a bit, but alas. Now for writing – hilariously, Matt Weiner is sitting in every single shot for Mad Men, which is entertaining. And, in the end, Matthew Weiner wins him an Emmy for his collaboration with Kater Gordon on the show’s epic finale, “Meditations in an Emergency.” In other news, John Slattery’s hair is OUT OF CONTROL. That’s just an aside. Kater Gordon is adorable (and thanks the lady who gave her a kidney! Theme!) in holding the trophy, and Weiner is as charming as ever.
10:39pm: Simon Baker is here to remind us that the women working in TV could probably win Oscars, which is actually very true. He is also very Australian. And the Emmy goes to, as one would expect, Glenn Close for Damages. There simply wasn’t enough that changed year over year about this race for Glenn Close to lose this one, and she remains great. She’s also very, very charming, as she had been enjoying the entire show (they cut to her many times and she was always really happy and having fun) and really exudes that sense of pride in the award.
10:47pm: Nice of the show’s split-screen to let us know that the show is running 5 minutes over.
10:49pm: Dana Delaney, hot off her Jeopardy loss to Andy Richter, wearing glasses (Another trend) as she presented Dramatic Actor. Cranston won last year…and this year, it’s Bryan Cranston again. This is a most deserved win, but it’s kind of tough to see every single lead acting award in Drama go to the same people who won it last year when there was a lot of other talent who’s been overlooked in the past (Laurie) or who put in yet more great work (Hall, Byrne…everyone, really, except for Baker, who I like but no). Cranston seems to blabber on a bit too long, but he’s charming if not as shocked as last year. Deserving, but I’d like to spread some love.
10:53pm: Bob Newhart makes a Tina Fey restraining order joke, which is clever, and then bombs a bit with some poor timing but returns with some fun material. His joke-telling pace is not good for the show staying on time. And then he makes a Weeds joke, just throwing it out there, and then get surprised by the nominees. And the Emmy goes to…in a less than shocking decision, it goes to 30 Rock. Although Fey takes home only her SNL Emmy, she is nonetheless glamorous and fantastic. She thanks Scotty at the front desk, and makes special mention of Robert Carlock, before getting in a dig about being more expensive than a talk show. Take that Leno.
10:59pm: Now time for the final award of the evening, Outstanding Drama Series. Will we get our first double repeat in a very long time (I think at least thirty years)? Or will someone step forward to take the crown? This is a golden age of television drama, at least for probably four of them (Sorry Damages, Dexter and House. I mean no harm). And the Emmy goes to…to no one’s surprise, Mad Men. Elisabeth Moss and Fred Armisen share a darling moment, and we have a double repeat. Matthew Weiner thanks them for the award, and thanks his representatives. They try to speed him up with music, but someone stops shutting him down – very nice, people. More choice and more entertainment he says, and he’s glad to be a part of it – another classy WeinerSpeech.
11:03pm: May we see you again on Broadcast television next year, NPH says, as we go to credits. And I go to writing.