Emmys 2012: Daniel Montgomery’s good, bad & ugly

It was relief when the Louis C.K. won his first cateogry of the night: Best Comedy Writing for “Louie.” That took the sting out of his subsequent losses. (See below

C.K. returned later in the night to win a second prize: Variety Special Writing for his Beacon Theater standup special. It was nice, out of his seven nominations, to see the writers’ branch show him love; those actors and directors just don’t understand.

Speaking of writers, my heart was with “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia” scribe Steven Moffat for Movie/Miniseries Writing, but I have a soft spot for “Game Change‘s” winning writer Danny Strong, who will always be remembered by me as nerdy outcast Jonathan on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

And though many are disappointed by Giancarlo Esposito‘s Drama Supporting Actor loss for “Breaking Bad” (me included), I’m nevertheless thrilled at the repeat victory for Aaron Paul, who submitted his outstanding performance in the episode “End Times.”

And that’s what’s nice about the winners in general. After repeated head-scratchers at last weekend’s Creative Arts Awards, even the winners I personally wouldn’t have chosen mostly won for strong episode submissions. The winners made sense, even if they didn’t always make me happy.

There was nothing especially surprising about the complete Emmy sweep of “Modern Family,” or the wins for Maggie Smith and “The Amazing Race,” but there was nothing especially satisfying about them either.

Other surprises were slightly less welcome, and if they weren’t disappointing, per se, they were not exactly thrilling. I’ve yet to fully understand the hype behind “Homeland,” a solid but not spectacular thriller, which won Drama Writing and, alarmingly, Best Drama Series, against “Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men.”

If any drama should have unseated “Mad Men” from its Emmy throne, it should have been “Breaking Bad,” which ranks among the handful of the greatest dramas of the last 20 years, but those shows don’t always succeed at the Emmys (see also: “Buffy” and “The Wire”).

I haven’t seen “Hatfields and McCoys,” so I can’t complain about Kevin Costner‘s Movie/Mini Actor Emmy win. I’m nevertheless disappointed by the complete shutout of “Sherlock,” which lost all 13 bids this year, including those by brilliant stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

“Not again,” said Ricky Gervais as he announced “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” as the winner of Best Variety Series. My sentiments exactly. “The Daily Show” may be one of the great comedies — variety or otherwise — of the last 20 years, but 10 consecutive Emmys? It’s unwarranted in a variety field with such strong competitors.

Stewart occasionally gets flack for not withdrawing from the competition, but he shouldn’t have to. Voters should just, from time to time, at least once these last 10 years, change the channel.

Elsewhere, Jon Cryer‘s Comedy Actor victory didn’t come entirely as a surprise, because his “Two and a Half Men” episode submission was surprisingly potent — full of screaming, crying, and even a botched suicide attempt — but his win was no more welcome, especially against Louis C.K. in “Duckling,” his impressive USO episode of “Louie.”

And stick a fork in it, it’s done. Can we finally retire the Reality Host Emmy? The first non-Jeff Probst Emmy ever in the category went to Tom Bergeron, who in his submitted episode of “Dancing With the Stars” has corny scripted banter and introductions of musical guests and dance performances.


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Emmys 2012: Complete List of Winners

The Good, Bad & Ugly: Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria on the Emmy Awards

‘Mad Men’ sets record for most Emmy losses in one season

Jimmy Kimmel presides over a solid but unspectacular 2012 Emmy telecast

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