five takeaways from the 2022 Emmys: NPR

Sheryl Lee Ralph sings as she accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for ‘Abbott Elementary’ onstage during the 74th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on September 12, 2022.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

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Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Sheryl Lee Ralph sings as she accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for ‘Abbott Elementary’ onstage during the 74th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on September 12, 2022.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Emmy night was big for many different shows: squid game, Succession, Ted Lasso, The White Lotus. There were some very strange musical choices (why did Jesse Armstrong scoop up an Emmy for writing Succession and hit the stage for “Shake Your Booty”?) And bits that’ve dragged on too long (especially Jimmy Kimmel’s dead set routine that lasted all the way through Quinta Brunson’s comedy-writing win for Abbott Elementary School). But there were also great speeches and encouraging victories, and we’re here to look at five takeaways from the ceremony as a whole. (Here is a full list of winners.)

1. The great Sheryl Lee Ralph won the night.

There are years when you have to try to guess what was the best moment of the ceremony; it was not one of those years.

When Sheryl Lee Ralph accepted the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary Schoolher speech was not only the highlight of the night, but it’s up there for the highlight of the Emmys…maybe ever?

Ralph took the stage and sang Dianne Reeves’ “Endangered Species” a cappella — something few people could do effectively. She then spoke with enthusiasm, beauty and encouragement about the importance of never giving up on your dreams and how you should value all the people who care for you. It’s worth downloading the whole speech to your phone so you can play it yourself the next time you get discouraged, but really, it’s all up to him and the might of his talent and story. Her television career dates back to the 1980s, but with this award she became only the second black woman to win in the category (after Jackée Harry for 227). While he was late, it was great to see.

2. The show still needs more time for speeches and less for montages and scripted banter.

This particular Emmy show, with a few notable exceptions, seemed to play fast with people, even if some of them, like Jennifer Coolidge, were very entertaining. Coolidge won Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series for her work in The White Lotus; after trying and trying to get the show to let her say a few more things, Coolidge heard “Hit The Road, Jack” kick in and, rather than hurry off the stage, she danced, under a roar of the crowd.

At the same time, winners fought for spare seconds, boring edits that were little more than “here’s some TV shows” were allowed to linger, as were scripted bits that felt less satisfying. than cut speeches, even when those sketches were performed by talented comedians like animator Kenan Thompson and the hilarious Bowen Yang. Awards show producers seem convinced that people want everything that happens between the awards more than they want the awards; relying on the charm of a speech rather than another montage will rarely be a bad decision.

3. There weren’t many big surprises.

Ted Lasso and Succession Both were expected to win their respective comedy series and drama series categories…and they did. The White Lotus cleaned up in the Limited Series awards with wins for Coolidge and Murray Bartlett in the supporting categories and for Mike White in directing and writing.

Yet none of these shows won the awards. Amanda Seyfried took the lead actress for The stall and Michael Keaton won the award for lead actor in Dope. Lee Jung-jae was named a lead actor in a drama series for squid game, the first Asian man to be so honored. It might come as a surprise, as it’s the first time anyone has won for a performance where they don’t speak English, but the show’s very phenomenon and high number of nominations had suggested it had good chances of doing well.

Perhaps the most beautiful surprise was that of Lizzo Watch out for big Grrrls, who broke RuPaul’s Drag Race streak of four wins in the reality competition category. That victory led (of course) to a powerful and joyful speech from Lizzo about the importance of representation – a recurring theme throughout the evening.

4. There are still a lot of repetitions.

Even with fierce competition in almost every category and a lack of shows dominating the awards like sitcoms do fraser and modern family once done, there were plenty of repeat winners.

Saturday Night Live again won in the variety sketch category (his only rival was A dark lady sketch show); it was his sixth consecutive victory, a rather boring result. Succession repeated its 2020 win in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and Ted Lasso won Outstanding Comedy Series after also winning last year. More, Ted Lasso actors Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein won again in the main and secondary categories.

That was not all. Zendaya, who won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Euphoria two years ago, won again. Jean Smart won for hacks for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year. Perhaps most impressive of all, Last week tonight with John Oliver won its seventh straight award for Outstanding Variety Talk Series, continuing to beat The daily show as well as the whole network late at night.

5. People want to see new winners have a real chance.

It’s more an observation of audience reaction than the show itself, but the standards seem to have changed when a show has won “too much”. Back when there were far fewer shows to choose from, it wasn’t until something got five or six wins – that the pressure started to mount to get something else, anything else. , on stage with a victory.

But now with so much out there and so much good stuff, even two wins for Ted Lasso seems repetitive, especially when there’s a show that feels as fresh as Abbott Elementary School.

The Emmys are starting to have an enviable problem: Even when people disagree with the outcome of a contest, it might be less that a show doesn’t deserve it and more that there’s simply something else that deserves a chance in a stacked category. Even the great Jean Smart, loved by so many during such a tremendous and absolutely wonderful career on hacks, may not have been many people’s first choice. It’s not because of his ability; that’s because it was a year where she faced opponents like Brunson, who is a new face, and Issa Rae, who was nominated for Insecure many times but never won. This is one of the reasons why the squid game won feels invigorating – the show is new.

It’s one thing for a win to feel deserved; it’s another to feel aroused. Even a second or third win can feel routine now, so bring in the new contenders, and we’ll be happy to see them.

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