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The Emmys came, the Emmys went. To give it to you straight, it wasn't the most exciting award show (as predicted). There were no overwrought performances featuring pop stars without pants, no acceptance speeches obviously improved/impaired by alcohol, no Angelina Jolie.
Yet it wasn't a total waste of time. Andy Samberg was a wholly inoffensive host and the show rarely lagged. It was a great night for women of color, with Uzo Aduba, Viola Davis, and Regina King each winning their respective categories, and delivering powerful, heartfelt speeches. Jon Stewart and team won a couple awards and he's a pretty okay talker, too. Even the fashion wasn't a complete snore all things considered!
If you didn't watch the full award show, you're forgiven. You were probably using your Sunday night to catch up on one of the bajillion series out there. (That's the official number of shows cited by the ones in charge of television). Below you'll find a cheat sheet of the major moments during this totally fine, occasionally entertaining celebration of TV in its so-called golden age.
1. Andy Samberg hit home with an opening number that lampooned the insurmountable glut of programming, which we politely asked for.
2. Andy also did a sex act to the giant Emmy statue, which nobody asked for.
3. Amy Poehler did her annual bit, but tragically did not win for Parks and Rec.
4. Taraji had no time for Terrence...
...but had so much time for her friend Regina King.
5. Lisa Cholodenko won "Best Director" for her work on Olive Kitteridge, and the Emmys turned into a meditation podcast on NPR. It was lovely and relaxing.
The #Emmys just set the land-speed record for most spoilers per minute.— Dalton Ross (@DaltonRoss) September 21, 2015
6. The in memoriam for dead TV shows, honoring gone-but-not-forgotten programs like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Parks and Rec, has proven the quickest way to spoil every show you were planning on streaming at some point sometime soon I swear, I swear. It was a reel of the highest point of drama for roughly thirty shows. Boardwalk Empire? Spoiled. Mad Men? Spoiled. Two and Half Men? Eh, whatever.
7. Amy Schumer and the gang won for "Best Variety Sketch Series." She thanked her head writer who got drunk and told Amy to follow her dream, not make a "stupid sex talk show that nobody wanted." Amy also thanked girl that gave her this "sort of a smokey eye."
8. The director of Game of Thrones said "full of shit," and it was maybe the most thrilling thing that happened up to that point in the night — especially considering that during the VMAs, Miley Cyrus, the host, said way, way worse things every time she had an opportunity to speak.
9. Just when you thought that bleeping out the dudes who took HBO's reputation for nudity and raised it about a thousand more areolas was going to be the highlight of the night, Viola Davis of How to Get Away With Murder won for "Lead Actress in a Drama." She gave an incredibly moving speech that began with a quote from Harriet Tubman:
"In my dreams and visions, I seemed to see a line, and on the other side of that line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms to me over the line, but I couldn't reach them no-how. I always fell before I got to the line."
She continued, thanking those that write roles for women of color, and name checking Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, and Halle Berry. Viola is the first African-American woman to win an Emmy in the "Best Actress in a Drama" category.
10. Jon Hamm flopped on stage to accept the Emmy for "Best Actor in a Drama" after an award-less seven seasons as Mad Men's Don Draper. He thanked his dog, the families that took him in after his mother died when he was ten, and "Jen," his now ex-girlfriend.
11. Then Saturday Night Live alum and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan appeared, presenting the award for "Outstanding Drama Series" (to Game of Thrones and not Mad Men, how weird is that). A little over a year ago, Tracy suffered a serious car wreck that put him in a coma. This was one of his first public appearances since the tragedy. To a room of supportive faces practically beaming up at him, he said:
Last year, Jimmy Kimmel said, we'd see you here next year, Tracy Morgan. Thanks to my doctors and my beautiful wife, I'm here standing on my own two feet. God bless all you for your love, prayers and positive thoughts for the past 15 months. I'm honored to be here at the Emmys. It's been a long road back. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that put me in a coma for eight days. When I finally regained consciousness, I was ecstatic to learn I wasn't the one who messed up. Only recently I've started to feel like myself again.
He finished with a very Tracy joke about getting young women pregnant. Everyone was delighted.
11 and 1/2. This may not have been a part of the official show (it's in fact a commercial), but Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington, and Taraji P. Henson offered a glimpse of what ideal friendship looks like, so now we know. Now we all know.