The 2013 Primetime Emmys: A Show So Bad Even The Gays Couldn’t Save It

Openly gay host performing requisite musical number — check. Elton John paying tribute to Liberace — check. Jim Parsons, Modern Family and Behind the Candelabra snatching trophies left and right — check. The gaying up of awards shows — who knew that was even possible? — continued last night with the 2013 Primetime Emmys.

Yet, despite this heavily bejeweled LGBT factor draped across the show like so many douvets, covering up the unsightly old couch that no one wants to sit let alone die in known as the Emmys, the proceedings lacked pizazz. Three hours and tons of disappointment — seriously, who watches The Newsroom? — later and a twerked out Miley Cyrus would have been almost welcome. Almost.


As long as there’s an awards show to host, Neil Patrick Harris will never be out of a job, but even he needed a little help making his way through that stale opening monologue. Enter former hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien to the rescue. Nope, not working — then enter Kevin Spacey.


The Oscar-winner pulled a House of Cards soliloquy out of nowhere before Tina Fey and Amy Poehler swept in near the end, knocking it out of the park as they are wont to do.


The only thing missing from NPH’s monologue was a musical number. Then again, the random “The Number in the Middle of the Show” — coming exactly as the title suggests — was forced even by awards show musical number standards.

Speaking of forced things, Modern Family won Best Comedy Series for the fourth year in a row, and it was hard not to agree with creator Steven Levitan when he accepted the award: “This may be the saddest Emmys of all time.” Sure he was referring to the In Memoriam that had aired earlier, but he could easily have been speaking to the number of blatant robberies perpetrated that night. Bryan Cranston losing out to Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom immediately comes to mind, while perennial bridesmaid Jon Hamm gritted his teeth. And Kerry Washington’s cheekbones hang slightly lower this morning having lost to Claire Danes. But the Emmys love a repeat win, don’t they, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss?

Behind the Candelabra, the celebrated TV movie based on the gay-December romance between pianist Liberace and the inspiration for Nick Gruber‘s career Scott Thorson, nearly swept all of its 15 categories, winning 11 awards, including Best Actor for Michael Douglas. When he accepted his trophy, Douglas thanked Damon by pulling his shtick out and waving it around the stage : “You really deserve half of this. So do you want the bottom or the top?” Zing!

Meanwhile, Sir Elton John’s tribute to Liberace immediately disappointed when he didn’t drive onto the stage in a Rolls Royce, but the song itself “Home Again” pretty much lulled everyone to sleep. Not that it took much by that point. In an age when television (and some films) are rife with interesting, complex, at times brilliant portrayals of LGBT characters, the Emmys still manage to be gay without necessarily being good.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s a list of winners:

Drama Series: Breaking Bad
Comedy Series: Modern Family
Miniseries or Movie: Behind the Candelabra
Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Variety Series: The Colbert Report
Writing for a Variety Series: The Colbert Report
Directing for a Drama Series: House of Cards
Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes, Homeland
Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Reality Competition Program: The Voice
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Writing for a Drama Series: Homeland
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Directing for a Comedy Series: Modern Family
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Tony Hale, Veep
Writing for a Comedy Series: 30 Rock (“Last Lunch”)
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie



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  • B Damion

    Why didn’t they just play the recorded Emmy’s from last year or the year before that or the year befor….

    Anyway i will be tuning into fashion police. I can’t wait to hear what Joan Rivers has to say about these self involved people. lol.

  • Jackhoffsky

    I think I’m starting to like Kevin Spacy again. Yikes.

  • Rad

    >THE< highlight was the Kevin Spacey soliloquy; pitch perfect and SO apropos (along with forbearing the train wreck of night to come).

    By the third hour I was expecting a duet from Rob Lowe and Snow White.

  • Dxley

    Neil Patrick Harris – Such a breath of fresh air *sighs*

  • ariesbear

    Lester girl, get a grip.

  • gayjewjap

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the networks insisting on their fair share of the awards. After all they are almost irrelevant when it comes to really good shows. Modern Family…I just don’t get it.

  • 2eo

    @gayjewjap: There’s nothing to get, and there has really never being actual quality shows that exist for more than a few years, the great shows manage 3, sometimes 4 seasons before becoming parodies of themselves.

    Some are just outright unintelligent and witless, Big Bang Theory for example lacks, wit, timing, nuance and subtlety, yet is ranked as a top comedy. By the numbers isn’t good enough for me, I’m smart, clever, technologically savvy, I don’t need to be spoonfed pop culture irrelevance.

    That shows just how low expectations are, and how stupid people are to buy into it.

    The problem is clever writers are expensive.

  • 2eo

    That’s why I barely watch any TV. I’m an outlier, a clever man in world full of people who think Friends is a classic show.

  • ablane2k

    “…seriously, who watches The Newsroom?” Seriously? I mean, I know it’s not a brainless sitcom or a meme generating reality show, but people DO watch it. Apparently not the writers at Queerty though, which really explains a lot…

  • Larkin

    @ablane2k: The Newsroom is awesome! Some people do indeed like a bit more than a popcorn sitcom dumbed down for the masses.

  • scott747

    The Emmys should take a few lessons from Bollywood’s multiple awards show. Despite the fact that there are way too many, each is smartly paced with lots of jokes, musical and dance numbers, gorgeous male and female actors and always hosted by India’s top stars – e.g. Amitabh Bachan, Vidya Balan or Kareena Kapoor, any of the Khan clan, to say nothing of that drop dead gorgeous hunk Hitrithk Roshan.

  • kewlsocr

    The show has lost its appeal, not because of the host or lame jokes, but because most of the American TV viewing audience, does not get these networks or shows that are nominated. Most of us are not rich, and don’t pay insane prices for HBO, etc.

  • Kieran

    It was highly unentertaining, unfunny and unmemorable. Odds are it’ll win an emmy next year.

  • Wooly

    I thought the show was all right. Neil did a good job. I’m very disappointed Downton Abbey didn’t win anything. Finally, I’ll never understand the appeal of Modern Family, the most boring show ever to grace television. Rest in peace Gene Stapleton, and James Gandolfini. You were both true actors.

  • J.c.

    Well its not a variety show its an award show. Its for the actors and all the people associated with working to create the television shows. There is a hell of a lot of work and genius to creating what we see on television. If you appreciate that hard work and understand it it doesn’t matter if the award show itself is a big deal. Most people tune in to see if their favorite was acknowledged by the academy. If you were bored all you had to do is tune into one of the thousands of shows available on other channels that night highlighting the work these professionals do.

  • KimberlyYan

    My Uncle Daniel just got a nice year old GMC by working off of a pc online… hop over to these guys,,,

  • DennisBTR

    And what about Jeff Bridges chewing gum the entire time he was on stage giving his acceptance speech. What a incredible lack of manners.

  • DennisBTR

    Sorry, I meant Jeff Daniels.

  • ChiChi Man

    @ablane2k: I have to chime in to give some The Newsroom love. There are more dramatic shows, and shows with better characters and even better writing. But no other show is as adult or as nakedly intelligent as The Newsroom.

    That said, do I think Jeff Daniels should have beaten Bryan Cranston? Hell no!

  • Shanestud

    Well…..despite all the griping the ratings are in and this year’s Emmy Award Show delivered the highest ratings since 2005 – more than 17 million viewers. Anybody wanna go back and retract their bitchy comments?

  • Steve

    WTFare you all ralking about? It was one of the most entertaining Emmys in a long time!

Comments are closed.