Emmys Review 2022: Boring show despite trendsetting winners

Back on the road as a major production for the first time since 2019, the Emmys moved at moments with a refreshing ease. But much of the production seemed oddly stuck in a hazy past.

Why, for example, did host Kenan Thompson uncork his best material after the first commercial break, after an opening during which he staggered through choreographed routines to TV theme songs? And why weren’t these songs generally recognized for series at this year’s Emmys? We started with Friends, moved on to The Brady Bunch – with a quick salute to the cast of this classic sitcom, who sat in the audience not to be mentioned again – and ended with Game of Thrones, the big one Winner at the last pre-COVID Emmys.

Back then, the Emmys didn’t have to look far to portray television as a unifying force: Best Drama winner did it. But on this year’s show, there was something remarkable about how TV’s marquee opportunity to honor its own seemed embarrassed by its own medium. Television offered audiences much to possibly hold on to; the Emmys seemed to balk at every turn.

That’s a criticism of the show, not the award company. After all, this year’s Emmys honored shows as diverse as Squid Game, an ultra-violent Korean drama; “Succession,” a razor-sharp business satire; “Euphoria,” a gonzo meme machine filled with teenage emotions; “The White Lotus”, a dark nightmare of luxury living; “Ted Lasso,” a sports-centric celebration of empathy; and Abbott Elementary, a hit comedy network. All of these series have constituencies, and significant ones at that.

So why was the show’s opening dedicated to promoting “Friends” and “The Brady Bunch” and — frankly — so much of Thompson’s material to relatively tepid material about the differences between streaming services? (Thompson’s most emotional moment was reuniting with old Nickelodeon colleague Kel Mitchell; the couple’s children’s show “Kenan & Kel” last aired in 2000.)

It’s impractical to expect an Emmys show to have clips of any length, or to avoid cutting off speeches altogether: Part of what’s satisfying about the show is clicking on one category at a time, which increases the awards build your own narrative. But Interstitial Matter seemed to waste time while having only a vague idea of ​​where the culture’s pulse was: Even “Law & Order” fans might have been only moderately satisfied with a Mariska Hargitay/Chris Meloni comedy sketch, and those who tuned in because they’re fans of one of the rightfully popular shows that actually got nominated and were probably bored to death.

Meanwhile, the show’s announcer, “SNL” writer Sam Jay, seemed confused and upset — she defaulted to saying people on stage got hot when she ran out of ideas — while on-demand DJ Zedd played confusing pop songs that seemed to clash with one another coupled were nothing at all, for victorious walks to the stage. Would it have been a moment if “White Lotus”s numerous acceptance speeches had been interrupted by that memorable theme song? I guess we’ll never know!

There have been great moments throughout the Emmys — fueled mostly by eloquent winners, notably Zendaya, a second winner honoring those whose struggles with substance abuse parallel those of her “Euphoria” character, and Jean Smart enjoying her moment and herself asks if there are any “Hacks” fans are a little too young to see the show. And I appreciated both the Squid Game winners’ groundbreaking sense of Best Actor and Best Director in drama, even as both seemed to be rushing through their speeches, aware that the red light was about to flash. But when the Emmys’ interest comes from the honorees rather than the production, I’ve been left wanting more: The eagerness to get things done on time meant some speeches, particularly Jennifer Coolidge’s, were cut short. (If there’s any evidence Emmy producers didn’t pay enough attention to television over the past year, it’s that they assumed we’d lose interest in Coolidge’s perfectly lopsided speaking rhythm.)

But the Emmys, for better or worse, must end on time and contain a monologue and various calls to the home network. And you have to be happy that they exist to celebrate so much stuffy, unusual and funny about television in one place. However, it remains difficult to understand that the celebration itself is so staid, so afraid to engage in the quirks and intrigue that have made television such a rewarding medium for its creators, who personally adapted a dance routine from Kenan Thompson skimmed through, and its fans skimming through it at home to see “Squid Game” or “Hacks” or whatever great next year might win.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/reviews/2022-emmys-review-boring-show-1235370460/ Emmys Review 2022: Boring show despite trendsetting winners

Charles Jones

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