The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards kicked off not with a bang, but with a splash. Host Jimmy Fallon corralled the cast of the Emmy Award-nominated hit “Glee” for a cold open straight out of McKinley High.
Enlisting stars like Jon Hamm, Tina Fey and Betty White, while dodging an overeager Kate Gosselin, the gang jumped around until Jane Lynch doused Fallon and Fey with a candy-colored slushee, demanding to be added to the song-and-dance number. Then things really got poppin’.
Fallon punched up the Emmys telecast with digital and musical touches similar to those he often uses on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” He didn’t slow-jam any of the categories, but the comedian did strap on an acoustic guitar to introduce sizzle reels recapping the year in television. A few lucky Emmy fans on Twitter got some love when Fallon wove their comments into his intro for presenters like Sofia Vergara, Tina Fey and Jim Parsons. Jim Parsons from “The Big Bang Theory” edged out favored stars like Steve Carell, Tony Shalhoub and Alec Baldwin for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
In addition to new music and technology, new faces dominated the evening, as several Emmy victors took home hardware for the first time. Claire Danes from “Temple Grandin,” Eric Stonestreet from “Modern Family,” “Glee” scene-stealer Lynch , Archie Panjabi from “The Good Wife” and Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad” all scored their first trophies. “Glee” golden boy Ryan Murphy also snagged his first Emmy for Directing for a Comedy Series for the pilot of the Fox hit.
Although low on nutty, unscripted live-television moments, the telecast delivered send-ups of some of television’s biggest hits. In one clip, the cast of the Outstanding Comedy Series “Modern Family” endures inane suggestions about how to improve the show. Ideas included teaming up with animated potty mouth Stewie from “Family Guy,” shooting the show in 3-D and adding the dreamy George Clooney, who also received the night’s Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, to the mix.
Fallon also kept the tone light with a tribute to shows we lost over the past year. Manning a pink piano and sporting rose-colored glasses, à la Elton John, Fallon revamped the pop icon’s “Candle in the Wind” to honor the canceled “24.” Then, busting out his admirable quick-change skills, the comic donned a cardigan, switched up Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” and poured out a 40 to commemorate “Law & Order.” Then he sported a black emo getup and mussy hair like Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong for a version of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” to honor “Lost.”
In a move likely intended to make the whole affair more relatable to viewers who are not television insiders, the show’s announcer, “Daily Show” correspondent John Hodgman, rattled off tidbits about the winners as they took the stage. For instance, Emmy viewers learned that Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series winner Edie Falco’s parents are “constantly making meatballs” because she is of Swedish and Italian descent. Categories honoring professionals behind the scenes were precluded by the nominees’ anecdotal answers to questions like, “What was the weirdest note a network has given you?” or “What did your mom want you to be when you grew up?”
After lamenting the lack of alcohol at the event and insisting no one in attendance is wild enough to do any real damage on the sauce, “The Office” creator Ricky Gervais resolved the issue by offering the audience trays of beer (although, “True Blood” vampire Alexander Skarsgård ribbed Gervais for giving out non-alcoholic brews).
In one of the more heartfelt moments of the evening, George Clooney accepted his Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to a standing ovation and recounted his experiences with the late comedy legend. An acoustic performance by Jewel set the tone for a presentation honoring late Hollywood names such as Gary Coleman, Brittany Murphy, Lena Horne and Dennis Hopper. The eponymous, real-life inspiration for “Temple Grandin” embraced one of the movie’s producers in a bear hug in a refreshingly candid moment when the film won for Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
Conan didn’t get to take the stage for his short-lived but much-ballyhooed “Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” but Jon Hamm and Betty White joked about their “sexual chemistry.” We got to see “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson briefly rock out on the bass, check out Sofia Vergara’s curvy frame in 3-D and witness Fallon put Lady Gaga to shame with all his costume changes. All in all, it was an interesting night.
What did you think about the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards? Let us know in the comments below!