The most important fact we should take away from Sunday’s Emmys ceremony—and hopefully the ONE FACT future archaeologists will note when they unearth a laser disc of this travesty—is that A LOT of very talented, deserving actors won Emmys this year. Credit where credit’s due: Both the nominations and winners in the acting categories were well-selected, and if an Emmy statuette is worth at least a bump in pay, then some awesome people just got raises. VICTORY!

With that said, this Emmy ceremony was practically unwatchable! Now, I have a pretty high tolerance for bad TV of almost any genre. But there is truly nothing worse than bad comedy, and the Emmys were filled to the brim with it. You’re not SNL, Emmys! STOP trying to be funny and START being shorter.

Anyway, the longest three hours of my life opened on a shot of the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. If you recall, only a few weeks ago there was a similarly terrible event held here called the MTV Video Music Awards. Remember what THAT stage looked like?

But guess what? The Emmys had to go and make their stage even GROSSER.

Well-played Emmys! In case you don’t see what I’m talking about, here’s a hint: At one point Charlie Sheen came out of that.

Also, the dangling, metallic vaginas hanging over Jane Lynch’s head? Kind of on-the-nose, don’t you think? So right off the bat, you could tell the Emmys were working blue!

Unfortunately, the aggressively overwhelming comedic sensibility of the evening was firmly in the vein of “Don’t Ask Why.” So, like, I guess Leonard Nimoy is the President of Television? Don’t worry, that conceit won’t go anywhere, just roll with it.

Also, there is a building where all of the TV shows happen? Did you nearly fall off your chair with laughter when you saw that? Go to the hospital, you’re ill, because that was insane in a boring way.

In the style of mash-up comedy perfected in such films as Date Movie and Meet the Spartans, the Emmys were like, “juxtaposing different pop culture things = comedy.” Here are all the Mad Mens in costume having a conversation about cell phones?

Some of the grown men from Friday Night Lights were asked to half-heartedly reprise their roles for eight seconds.

I’m not sure who thought this one up. At this point I was HOPING it was just a paid product placement because at least then I could wrap my brain around it. The Verizon guy is definitely not funny in 2011 and also has never been funny?

Then Jane Lynch threw a slurpee on herself? I felt like I was ON DRUGS you guys.

Also, is it now the law that every awards show must start with an ironic musical dance number? When was the last time there was an UNironic musical dance intro for an awards show? 1974? So does this qualify as irony anymore? Thanks for spending fifteen minutes doing a stupid thing and trying to make us believe you’re above it.

Five talented people and Wilmer Valderrama were forced to do these terrible, unfunny songs throughout the night. Felt so bad for them. Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar-nominated actress! This was the most embarrassing thing she’s had to do since that Tyler Perry movie.

A couple of late-night talk show rivals came out and wrestled on stage and pretended to embarrass each other. It was fine except who cares? Also, I should mention that their microphones were insanely echo-y and the audience wasn’t mic’d at all, so it was a super pleasant audio experience basically.

OH, and this is maybe the WORST, but whenever a winner walked to the stage, a voiceover dude would rattle off like five horribly random “jokes” that seemed like they were written by the Family Guy Manatees. It was crazy-unbearable.

Some chunky lady beat Kristen Wiig for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

Julianna Margulies came out and WHISPERED like five minutes of Rodney Dangerfield’s worst comedy routine. It was very funny, the crickets were really into it.

Ty Burrell won a thing.

Ricky Gervais appeared via satellite because he is THAT important. Also, his particular flavor of joke was the “cut to similar-sounding dirty word” kind. Worked out great, really brought the house down. (No houses were brought down ever.)

One after another, formerly likable celebrities were beaten into submission by the teleprompter. It was just an awkward mess.

As Mindy Kaling pointed out, Conan O’Brien was like an audience surrogate basically.

The dudes from Modern Family continued that show’s winning streak by loudly congratulating themselves for basing the show on their own zany lives.

Then Billie Jean King came out and made this face while, I guess, attempting to wish Two and a Half Men luck this season? I vaguely remember there being some controversy about all this, but I’ve spent the last year banging my head with a tennis racquet in the hopes of erasing such memories.

Louis C.K. did not win Best Actor in a Comedy, but hopefully he consoled himself with the knowledge that he and his show are THE BEST.

Hmm, who was that total, perfect stranger Jim Parsons was seated next to and completely ignored upon winning this statuette? I guess we’ll never know! #2011

That’s not to say there weren’t highlights to the evening, it’s just that most of them were Amy Poehler and Melissa McCarthy-related. For instance, when a freshly painted mannequin and Sandra Bullock’s drag impersonator came out to announce Best Actress in a Comedy, Amy Poehler immediately rushed the stage upon hearing her name.

Then Melissa McCarthy barged right on up beside her with this look on her face, like she was NOT about to be outdone.

Pretty soon ALL of the nominees were up there. And while it’s probably a thing they had planned (the producers didn’t show clips of their performances) it was still weirdly the most electric moment of the night. People holding hands on a stage!

It didn’t take long for Don Cheadle, and then we the audience, to realize that these are six INCREDIBLE actresses. Look at that lineup! The resulting standing ovation was both spontaneous and heartfelt, and it was one of the very few times during the night when it seemed like television was ACTUALLY being honored.

The look on Melissa McCarthy’s face when she won was so perfect. She looked almost sick she was so shocked—like genuine shock that human beings can sometimes feel, not like Taylor Swift shock. I don’t care much for Mike & Molly, but Melissa McCarthy deserves only good things. Hopefully this Emmy will give her the confidence to get a better gig!

More juxtaposition humor, this time with TV celebrities mixed up in The Office. Here’s what it looked like when Jesse delivered drugs to Creed.

Also, here’s a camera testimonial by the female lead from Lars and the Real Girl.

Here’s some dude who is VERY bohemian and VERY cool and is only RELUCTANTLY accepting eight-figures to work three days a week.

The lady from The Big Bang Theory had a good “drama face” when she introduced the Best Reality Show and Best Writers Room or whatever. David Spade’s hair looked great.

The Daily Show won a bunch of these, just like every year.

Then The Lonely Island came out and did their thing, which in the context of the laugh-free zone that is the Emmys was a VERY WELCOME THING. They performed a medley of some of their hottest hits, including “Jack Sparrow.”

The best was how badly applied Michael Bolton’s costume was. He was really singin’ it though. Props! (Kudos.)

Ed Helms, Maya Rudolph and Uncle Jesse did impersonations of SNL characters.

All in all, I was NOT complaining about how weird it all was. Not feeling bored is one of my favorite feelings.

But then Ian Somerhalder came out and acted so dumb. He was, like, rolling his eyes about the presence of Michael Bolton? Seriously dude? Very cool of you. Way to get it. I hope Ian Somerhalder’s mullet gets caught in an escalator.

Seeing as Anna Paquin is no taller than 4’11 TOPS, I’m suddenly concerned that Scott Caan has that same disease as Simon Birch? Get well soon, guy!

Then more of this.

This was heartbreaking.

Margo Martindale won an Emmy for Justified! That was not expected! It was kind of great how she casually mentioned that her character gets murdered. Good thing we’re all caught up, right??

Loretta Devine was like, “Yeah, what of it?”

Martin Scorsese won for whatever. Who knows? Boardwalk Empire maybe? I don’t know. I would be willing to bet even HE didn’t make it through the whole first season of that show.

Kerry Washington and her friend looked SO PISSED. I was all looking around like, “What did I do??” For what it’s worth, I AM SORRY, Kerry Washington. (Assuming you ARE Kerry Washington and not just Christina Ricci playing a prank.)

Peter Dinklage won for Game of Thrones, which he definitely deserves, even if his dialect coach should probably lose his job.

Did anyone else get CHILLS when they saw this ad for the new batch of celebrity-directed Lifetime movies that are about to air? What kind of sick, twisted journey is Jennifer Aniston going to take us on?? I bet it’s like two straight hours of that canal scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Anyway, then there was more “comedy,” this time on the very timely subject of New Jersey-themed reality shows. Featuring cameos by the cast of Jersey Shore and that one dude from The Sopranos who got killed off way early but still makes a career out of having been on The Sopranos. It was deadly unfunny, but I will admit that it DID make me smile ONCE, and that’s when Jane Lynch’s character rubbed Cheeto dust on her face for makeup.

I’m not sure how Katie Holmes has managed to get camera time at every single live awards event of the past year, but something needs to be done.

Our friendly neighborhood crafter swiped the Best Actress in a Drama award from Connie Britton. It’s cool, though, The Good Wife is deserving enough, I guess.

Quick question: Is it at all realistic that the new Charlie’s Angels won’t be terrible? Remember how in the movies there were three funny actresses in the cast and the scripts were insane? This one looks sub-syndication levels of boring. Oh well, these ladies seem nice enough, plus it was really charming how loud they squealed when they announced KYLE CHANDLER WOO WOO WOO’S name.

Coach Taylor was the best. Friday Night Lights was the best. He forgot to thank his wife and/or Connie Britton, then remembered and attempted to but the music drowned him out. I loved their reactions:

These are people who like each other. It seems kinda refreshing, you know?

This happened. Not sure why. I was completely transfixed by Paula Abdul’s body-to-head size ratio. Was this a deleted scene from Rise of the Planet of the Apes?

I loved when Amy Poehler and Melissa McCarthy were objectifying male actors, telling them to show more skin in order to win awards, and when Amy said something like “show the hollow of your neck” Melissa McCarthy just nodded, “Girl.” Can they be in more things together (like, my circle of friends for instance? J/K I don’t have friends [YET])??

A dude in lavendar glasses came out and told everyone to stop having fun. TOO LATE. It was time for the In Memorium montage!

Then these jokers came out—The Canadian Tenors (LOL)—and they sang a cover of Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The performance was completely unnecessary, obviously, but also the montage itself looked like the saddest screensaver ever made:

See you on the other side, AW! Same to you Leslie Nielsen. Guys, I’m so anti-death. Please everyone STOP doing it.

Anna Torv and David Boreanaz were there, whether they knew it or not.

Guy Pearce won for Best Actor in a Miniseries for Mildred Pierce and his speech included tons of lewd things about Kate Winslet. Sure, whatever. Celebrities have their own rules, you know?

When exactly did Claire Danes start looking so severe? Or is she still in character from Homeland? You can’t tell by how they look here, but they’re in the middle of a series of jokes about Helen Mirren. Oh you COULD tell? Then you’re better at this than I am.

A lot of movie stars won TV acting awards and they did their best to seem flattered. But I bet backstage they were saying tons of catty things to each other about it. “What a dump this awards show is.”

You can probably tell just by looking at this guy that his name is Julian Fellowes. RIGHT? His show, Downton Abbey, won tons of awards. Congrats! I will watch that show right after I finish Season 1 of Teen Wolf.

More serious actors doing their best.

The Mad Men dude and one hundred thousand of his closest friends took the stage to graciously accept America’s love for Mad Men. “Kind of makes the attempted ruination of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead seem sort of worth it, you know?” —AMC

Gwyneth Paltrow came out and did two things: (1) She proved that skeletal waifs can have muffin top and (2) she “winged it” without a teleprompter. And by “winged it” she basically said nothing and then introduced the nominees. I guess she never once read the script for tonight? Or is her memory so fried from Coldplay songs? Who knows? Nobody and certainly not me.

Obviously Modern Family won because it is a mass-appeal show with just the slightest amount of edge to feel fresh, and that’s fine. It’s just fine as a show! But you know who’s NOT just fine as a person? This dude. He told a very charming story about how he was once complimented for making such an Important Show that teaches Tolerance, and then he proceeded to AGREE with that compliment using the smuggest expression of self-satisifaction anyone has ever seen. But you know what? Good job, guy. You are definitely a world-changing millionaire. Go forth!

All in all, Jane Lynch was a tolerable, if disappointing presence. (Sorry, Seth!) Her occasional zingers were mostly lost in a mess of bad quip-writing and sub-MadTV sketches. I don’t mean to be a hater—She’s Jane Lynch! She’s been in tons of awesome things! Just not lately, unfortunately. All these Emmys and Glees and Two and Half Mens are putting her perilously close to Please Go Away territory. Be careful, girl!

… Who was your favorite winner?
… What was your favorite “funny” moment?
… Who had the more vulgar stage, the Emmys or the VMAs?
… How awesome is Cobie Smulders for skipping that curtain call??

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