The 2022 Primetime Emmys gave us some of the best and worst of these kinds of fancy Hollywood awards ceremonies, from exciting new honorees and inspirational acceptance speeches to groaner bits that lasted forever and a handful of egregious snubs. Let’s try to sort through it all by identifying the night’s most notable Winners and Losers.
WINNER: HBO, generally
HBO and its new parent company have had a weird couple of weeks with various merger and/or Batgirl fiascos, but on Monday night they went back to what they do best: Collecting a wheelbarrow filled with trophies at prestigious television awards shows. Succession? Won a lot. The White Lotus? Won a LOT. Jean Smart and Zendaya in their lead roles on Hacks and Euphoria? Won, although please consider this my official pitch for them to appear on each other’s show in the next season. I think the world could use Jean Smart as a wiseass English teacher on Euphoria. I think we’ve earned that.
But yeah, just a dominant performance by the network that kind of put prestige television on the map a few decades ago. And, the flipside of that coin, a pretty disappointing performance for a slew of other premium networks and streamers, with the exception of Apple and Ted Lasso. Although Apple also got blanked for its other big hit, Severance. So there was that. That probably stung. Not as much as the harsh but extremely true monologue jokes about Showtime (barely exists as a network despite the Yellowjackets love) and Netflix (that debt joke… yeesh), I imagine. A little sting. A baby bee. A little baby bee with a little baby stinger.
Let’s move on before this gets weird.
LOSER: Better Call Saul
It is madness to me that Better Call Saul has yet to win a single Emmy. I can understand the concept of Breaking Bad fatigue after that show cleaned up for a few years, and I get that spin-offs aren’t always viewed as favorably as the originals they were based on, but…yeah. No. This is nuts. How did Rhea Seehorn not win? How did Bob Odenkirk not win? How did Tony Dalton not even get nominated for playing Lalo Salamanca, the most charismatic and devious villain on all of television. It’s not right. I hate it. I’m mad. And I’m even more mad now that I remembered Frasier won a zillion Emmys in the 1990s and that show was a spinoff of Cheers, so there is precedent here. Come on. Jesus Christ.
The silver lining here is that the year’s eligibility window meant that only the first six episodes from the split final season were considered, which means everyone gets another chance to fix this next year. It’s going to be weird to hand out a bunch of hardware to a show that ended like 14 months earlier, but “weird” is better than “a gross miscarriage of justice that results in me going to prison for burning Hollywood to the ground,” so I will take it.
WINNER: Sheryl Lee Ralph
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 13, 2022
Three things are worth noting here:
- Sheryl Lee Ralph rules
- It was cool to see Abbott Elementary take home whatever awards Ted Lasso didn’t win, both because it’s nice to see a network sitcom succeed in 2022 and because Abbott Elementary is good as heck
- I cannot even begin to fathom the amount of confidence it takes to stand up on the stage in front of millions of people and full-on sing the first chunk of your acceptance speech
I would crash through as many brick walls as Sheryl Lee Ralph asked me to now. I hope she keeps it under, say, three, just for the sake of my cranium, but I’ll keep going until she says stop.
I mean, do we still need bits in 2022? Or big song and dance numbers? Do we need dudes playing dead on the stage during acceptance speeches by first-time winners of fun shows? I… I don’t know. I really don’t. I doubt people watching at home are that jazzed about them at this point. There’s something to be said for trying to make the show entertaining for viewers who don’t necessarily care about the network scorekeeping and inside baseball elements of flubs and snubs, especially at a time when there are so many shows that your average civilian probably isn’t even watching more than a handful of the shows that got nominated. That’s fair.
I… don’t know, though. We could probably cut all of the singing and most of the bits and just let funny/charming people present to the winners and see if we can get this sucker in under two hours. Not made of time over here.
WINNER: Jennifer Coolidge
GOOD: Jennifer Coolidge won for her performance on White Lotus and gave an acceptance speech that started with a brief chat about lavender baths and bloating, which could not possibly have been more charming.
BAD: They started playing her off after what felt like 30 seconds, which stunk, especially considering the thing I mentioned in the last blurb about time burned on bits and singing that meant well but dragged the rest of the show out.
VERY GOOD: Jennifer Coolidge doing the thing in the screencap up there the year after she did this while taking the stage to present at the 2021 ceremony.
I love her very much. She’s the best. Let’s just invent a new awards show for the purpose of giving her a trophy and letting her talk as long as she wants.
LOSER: Whatever exactly this is
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) September 12, 2022
Let’s go ahead and file this one under “things I could have done without in a telecast that literally put the winners on a clock while accepting their awards,” too. I’m glad the bills got paid, I guess. That’s as far as I’ll go with that, though.
DRAW: Comedians with outrageous looks
ON ONE HAND: Jerrod Carmichael accepted his Emmy for Rothaniel wearing a white fur coat with a chain and zero shirts underneath it. That was… awesome. Such an incredibly high degree of difficulty there, doubly so for doing it all like it was just a normal thing to wear. Imagine showing up to your job dressed like that for one day. Imagine any of the other nominees last night wearing that. Imagine Michael Keaton in that exact outfit accepting the first award of the night. Just tremendous. Good for him.
ON THE OTHER HAND: Pete…
Looks like he hopped out of a time machine straight from what, like, 1988 thinks the future looks like.
I cannot support this. I say this as someone who is wearing khaki shorts a free t-shirt I got at a giveaway at a bar over 10 years ago. So… take my fashion opinions with many grains of salt.
WINNER: Squid Game
The weird thing here is that Squid Game was both Netflix’s only real success of the night and the only thing really resembling a massive popular hit taking home a handful of awards. It’s kind of the best-case scenario for The Future of Television or whatever, this idea that a foreign drama about wealth inequality that only exists on the internet can capture enough attention to have it beat out big expensive American cable shows at the Emmys. That is kind of cool if you think about it a little.
Just a little.
Because then we get into the whole Netflix of it all.
Which we do not want to get into.
So… let’s not.
LOSER: Jason Mantzoukas (yes, I am still mad about it)
A few notes:
- Jason Mantzoukas voiced Tommy Lee’s penis in Pam & Tommy
- He was not nominated for doing so
- I have been furious about this for over a month
I’m fine. It’s fine. I guess we just don’t honor greatness in television anymore. But I’m fine.
WINNER: Kenan doing his little punches and kicks
God bless Kenan. I stand by what I said many times about the bits and the songs and not needing them at all, but I did love this guy walking around the stage during his monologue and punctuating his jokes with his little fist pumps and kicks. He’s a good man who has been doing this for many, many years and has rarely, if ever, failed to deliver.
Say what you will about the ceremony as a whole but leave Kenan alone. He is doing the best he can.
LOSER: Anyone who had to take the stage after Lizzo
Lizzie took the stage in a big feathery red dress and collected her trophy and shouted out her crew of big girls way up in the balcony and really kind of jammed an adrenaline needle into the heart of this whole thing for a minute or two. It was great. I love seeing people look like they are legitimately having fun out there like this. I love seeing people shout out their crews in the cheap seats. I love all of it, basically.
I would not love being the person who has to take the stage after her, though. Talk about an impossibly high bar to clear. You or I will never match this energy. We could hurt ourselves even trying. Best to play it safe and just stay home.
WINNER: Henry Winkler
Dude has been massively famous for like 50 years now and seems to be just delighted by the spectacle of it all even today.