Last night’s 65th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast was ... interesting (to put it lightly). If the annual awards show was like the mythical land of Oz, we viewers were Dorothy, trying to navigate the weird and eerie ceremony without getting totally lost (which I guess makes host Neil Patrick Harris the Wicked Witch of the West). All metaphors aside, the 2013 Emmys were a bloated three-hour telecast of countless “WTF?” moments. Sure, some things weren’t so surprising: wins by Breaking Bad, Modern Family, and Behind the Candelabra to name a few. But for the most part, the Emmys threw curveballs at us all night long. Here are the five most bizarre moments of the Emmys.
1. Carrie Underwood sings "Yesterday"
The “In Memoriam” tributes of the show were done very, very well. Edie Falco’s words on James Gandolfini were particularly poignant. But Don Cheadle honoring 1960s television, in particular the role the medium played in covering JFK’s assassination and the arrival of the Beatles stateside, left Americans scratching their heads. And it got weirder when Carrie Underwood took the stage to sing “Yesterday.” An American country singer who got her start on a reality show, honoring events from half a century ago? It certainly wasn’t Miley twerking on stage, but it didn’t make much sense, either.
2. Kaley Cuoco leads the "In Memoriam" tribute
When the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was honoring real people instead of years, it did a pretty bang up job. With TV luminaries like Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams honoring recently-deceased colleagues, it seemed like the Emmys was one long television funeral at times, but it was tasteful and didn’t overbear the awards portion of the ceremony. However, having Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco lead the “In Memoriam” tribute with Academy chairman & CEO Bruce Rosenblum was an odd choice. Cuoco is just 27, and seems a little green to be up their honoring industry veterans, especially when Fox, Williams and other well-established stars like Jane Lynch were leading the personal tributes. It’s a small bone to pick, but it stood out nonetheless.
3. All of the surprise wins
Jeff Daniels of The Newsroom beats perhaps the strongest field ever (Damian Lewis of Homeland, Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad, Jon Hamm of Mad Men, and Kevin Spacey of House of Cards were some of the other nominees) for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series? Tony Hale of Veep knocks out the men of Modern Family and Bill Hader from SNL? Bobby Cannavale tops Aaron Paul and Jonathan Banks of Breaking Bad, as well as Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones and Mandy Patinkin of Homeland? There are upsets, and then there are the upsets of this year’s Emmys. While all of these wins were earned, they certainly were not expected. If the rest of the night wasn’t so bonkers, we might be talking more about some of these unexpected wins.
4. Some of the acceptance speeches were good
Like very, very good. Some of them were clunkers, but many stars went way outside the box when accepting their golden statues. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was in character for her Best Actress in a Comedy win and had Tony Hale hold her purse on stage.
Merritt Wever kept it surprisingly short and sweet for her Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy win.
Don Roy King, who won for Best Director in a Variety Series actually doled out some pretty relevant life advice. Not sure what was in the water (or cocktails) backstage, but future award winners could learn a thing or two from this year’s speeches.
5. Hollywood is still an old-boys club
Actually, maybe this shouldn’t come as a big surprise but Shemar Moore was hitting on everything that moved backstage as a sort of behind-the-scenes host for the Emmys, and it came across as crass and creepy. Michael Douglas made several gay sex jokes that had the audience in stitches. Guys, it is 2013. Just because everyone is dolled up and has a few glasses of champagne in them, doesn’t give you a free pass to be demeaning to women or treat same-sex intimacy as an object of humor.