Full disclosure: I didn’t watch the Emmys. Well, that’s not entirely true. I watched the first third before I had to head into work. As a serious journalist, I feel compelled to share that. It’s ok though because the only thing more fruitless than analyzing the Emmy results is analyzing the Emmy ceremony.
Having said that: there is no way I cannot analyze the hell out of some Emmy results. Here are your 2012 Emmy winners with helpful notes explaining why they won and whether you should be upset.
Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Why did this happen? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And I don’t think I care to.
Should we be ok with this? No, we really shouldn’t. “Modern Family” is a good show but how it even gets nominated amongst such a strong slate of TV comedies, let alone wins year after year is beyond me.
Outstanding drama series: Homeland
Why did this happen? Emmy voters saw that “Mad Men” was about to tie “L.A Law,” “Hill Street Blues” and “The West Wing’s” records and you just can’t let “Hill Street Blues” share a record with more than two shows. It’s like how no President can go more than two terms since Washington set the precedent.
Should we be ok with this? Yes, a little-reservedly. “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” are objectively better shows than “Homeland,” but not by a huge margin. Really, there could not have been an egregiously awful decision for Best Drama, though “Downton Abby” and “Boardwalk Empire” would have been a bit of a stretch.
Outstanding variety series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Why did this happen? Because Jon Stewart is a juggernaut.
Should we be ok with this? Of course.
Outstanding writing for a variety special: Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre
Why did this happen? A lot of people who voted for this probably envisioned it as a consolation prize for when Louie got shut out from every other category.
Should we be ok with this? Absolutely. Even if “Live at the Beacon Theatre” was not an Emmy-worthy comedy special on content (which it was), it would deserve an award for its groundbreaking online distribution alone.
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series: Claire Danes, Homeland
Why did this happen? It was a bit of a weak category and Claire Danes is amazing. Bringing Claire Danes playing a bipolar CIA agent to this category is like bring a viper missile to a water-gun fight. Honestly, I’m just glad no one got hurt.
Should we be ok with this? Yes. Oh yes. TV critic Andy Greenwald had my favorite tweet of the night regarding Dane’s domination.
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Why did this happen? I’m not entirely sure. Bryan Cranston may have been too far removed from voters’ minds after a year off but that doesn’t hold much weight since Aaron Paul won. Emmy voters probably learned that Lewis was British just in time for voting.
Should we be ok with this? I guess so. There are few Damian Lewis fans bigger than I (literally and figuratively). He played Major Dick Winters, the de facto lead character of one of my favorite filmed pieces of art of all time: “Band of Brothers.” I am happy to see him with Emmy in hand but at what cost…at what cost? I understand wanting to honor someone other than Bryan Cranston but someone has to tie Dennis Franz’ Best Actor record at some point and Cranston may be our last, truly worthy hope. Plus, if the Emmys really had Cranston-sickness than the natural antidote is at the same network. Yes, this is where we feel bad for Jon Hamm: the man with a perfectly chiseled jaw, natural comic timing, beautiful girlfriend and large penis. But seriously: someone needs to give this man an Emmy before he has to undergo racial reassignment surgery for a TV movie like Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder.”
Outstanding directing for a drama series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Why did this happen? Boardwalk’s gotta win something for what it did to Michael Pitt, right?
Should we be ok with this? Van Patten’s IMDB directing credits read like a TV nerd’s wet dream (that I may or may not have had): “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood,” “The Pacific,” “Game of Thrones” and Sex and the City. He can have all the Emmys he damn well pleases.
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Why did this happen? Because she’s Dame Maggie Smith.
Should we be ok with this? Yes, because she’s professor Minerva McGonagall.
Outstanding writing for a drama series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland
Why did this happen? This might have been another case of Emmy voters thinking that no one else loved “Homeland” as much as they, themselves did so they tossed this out as a consolation prize without realizing it wouldn’t need one.
Should we be ok with this? Yep. “Homeland” is seriously a good show, you guys. Watch it
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Why did this happen? Every non-“Downton Abby” actor in this category was an absolute gem. Last year’s winner Peter Dinklage got only more awesome in season two of “Game of Thrones.” Giancarlo Esposito is one of TV’s best-ever villains. And even Jared Harris turned in the performance of his lifetime on “Mad Men” over the past two seasons. But someone’s gotta win and Aaron Paul is a truly incredible performer. Also, his fiance is very, very, very, very, very attractive.
Should we be ok with this? Yes. His fiance is very, very, very, very, very attractive.
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Why did this happen? Old Emmy favorite? New good show? No-brainer
Should we be ok with this? Absolutely. I’m not sure people realize just how funny Julia Louis-Dreyfus can be. I know I certainly didn’t. I’m old enough to have watched “Seinfeld” but for it to have still felt like a bit of a cultural artifact so I had no idea if Julia Louis-Dreyfus was truthfully funny or just really good at existing in the early ’90s. “Veep” puts aside any of my doubts. In a perfect world, Dreyfus and Danes nail down the lead actress categories for half a decade.
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Why did this happen? I…well…I…the thing…I don’t know.
Should we be ok with this? On the surface, no. But Jon Cryer seems like a decent guy and he certainly didn’t ask for this.
Outstanding directing in a comedy series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Why did this happen? … get it together, Emmys.
Should we be ok with this? Not really.
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Why did this happen? Emmys…Emmys…seriously: you’re drunk. Go home, Emmys, you’re going to hurt somebody.
Should we be ok with this? My mom didn’t like her dress. I thought it was alright. But I just knew she was going to wear it out to her post Emmy dinner with Dr. Jack Shephard.
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Louis C.K., Louie
Why did this happen? Is it possible that the Emmys actually know what they’re doing and really want to honor true artists?
Should we be ok with this? Of course! Some critics online were a little peeved that this wasn’t Louie’s best episode to submit but fuck it: Louis C.K. got another Emmy.
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Why did this happen? *Siiiiigh* I give up.
Should we be ok with this? Sure. Someone from this god-forsaken show was going to win anyway. At least it was the big guy who has a really touching bromance with his on-screen husband.
Outstanding miniseries or movie: Game Change
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie: Jay Roach, Game Change
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie: Julianne Moore, Game Change
Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie: Danny Strong, Game Change
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie: Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Outstanding host for a reality show: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race