The Emmy telecast had been on for 73 minutes Sunday, before an American won an award.
The entire first hour on ABC (yes, the American Broadcasting Company) was spent giving prizes to Canadians. “Schitt’s Creek” (shown here) swept all seven of the awards given on-air for comedies – best series, plus four acting awards and ones for directing and writing.
It was a remarkable – and monotonous – stretch for a pleasant little show that is usually ignored. Having finished its run on the obscure PopTV channel, “Schitt’s Creek” is now confined to the CW Seed streaming service. The Emmy voters had ignored it for years … then showered it with those seven on-air wins and two more (costumes and casting) before the telecast.
When all of that finally ended, it was time for the award for the best variety talk series … which went to John Oliver, an Englishman.
Eventually, the Emmys did find some Americans and revert to their traditional state … which involves HBO winning everything. That included Emmys for best:
– Drama series, “Succession” … which meant lots more Englishmen at the end of the telecast. Counting the awards handed out in previous nights, the show won seven Emmys.
– Mini-series, “Watchmen.” In all, it won 11.
– TV movie (“Bad Educatiom”) and documentary (“The Apollo”); for each, it was the only win.
– That previously mentioned win for variety talk show. In all, “Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver” won four Emmys.
– Plus two of the acting awards. They went to Zendaya for “Euphoria” (which won three Emmys) and Mark Ruffalo for his demanding double role in “I Know This Much is True,” its only Emmy.
HBO had won two other Emmys beore the teelecast – for editing of “Insecure: and for “We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest.” The latter tied for the children’s program Emmy with “Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” … which is from Netflix.
Yes, you remember Netflix. Not long ago, it felt like all those streaming networks would dominate the Emmys. This time, they only dominated the ads.
At various times during the telecast, there were spectacular ads for Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime and FX on Hulu. Each swirled with a dazzling array of impressive shows; each made you want to subscribe instantly … except they were so similar and frenetic that it was hard to remember which was which.
That sort of similarity was also the problem in the first Emmy hour. We usually like seeing Canadians win things – they’re very pleasant people, you know – but this was too much of the same.
Cameras had been set up in more than 130 locations in 10 countries … but the first hour kept returning to that one room, where all the “Schitt’s” folks had gathered. As it turned out, none are good at accepting awards. Each gushed in terribly similar and repetitive ways … as if they hadn’t been listening when others said the same thing in the same room.
We almost started to agree with host Jimmy Kimmel’s joke: Maybe we should have built that wall to the North, instead.
Kimmel also had one of the cleverest bits ever: If Canadians had won one more award, he said, they could have exchanged them for this – showing us what appeared to be hockey’s Stanley Cup. Oh well, he said, “maybe we’ll keep it for another 27 years.”
It was a sharp (and funny) dig, Canadians care far more about the hockey trophy than they do the Emmys … but no Canadian team has won the Cup since Montreal did in 1993.
Kimmel was brilliant all night, including the opening bit … in which clever editing made it appear that a packed audience was roaring at every joke. He eventually revealed that the theater was empty … except, in another funny bit, for Jason Bateman, who was pretending to be a cardboard cut-out.
And Kimmel came up with the best topical joke of the night. That involved “Watchmen,” in which – decades after the Tulsa massacre of 1921 – police had to wear masks to avoid violent bigots. “Watchmen” is full of supernatural elements, but Kimmel said the most unrealistic part is “that anyone in Oklahoma would wear a mask.”
He did great work, as did the producers (Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart), writers and tech types. The voters, alas, got stuck in a rut … as they often do.
“Schitt’s Creek” was not significantly better this past season (its final one) than it was in its previous five. It’s always been a fairly funny and good-hearted show about nice-but-odd folks who lost all their money any had to move to a strange town.
It pieced together financing by running over-the-air in Canada and on tiny Pop TV (just as it was changing from the TV Guide Network) in the U.S. Emmy voters ignored it for four seasons. Last year, they finally gave it four nominations, including best comedy … only the second basic-cable show (after FX’s “Atlanta”) to be nominated in that category.
And suddenly, this season, it got 15 nominations and won nine Emmys.
By then, it had become an afterthought for Pop. The network’s corporate overlords had dumped all of the scripted shows, leaving Pop where it started, with no real identity.
So the “Schitt’s Creek” reruns, oddly, are at www.cwseed.com/shows. That’s a streaming service that’s free, with commercials.
CW Seed has an amiable collection of CW shows (past and present) and a few others, including some animation. For now, that includes the first five seasons of “Schitt’s Creek.” On Oct. 7, it will add the sixth and final one. You might have heard about that one during the Emmys.