It was the "Succession," "The Bear," and "Beef" awards show last night at the 75th annual Emmy Awards. Delayed by the writer and actors' strikes last fall, the show celebrated the last 75 years in television history and honestly was one of the best awards shows I've ever watched.
Host Anthony Anderson from "Law & Order SVU" and the brilliant ABC sitcom "Black-ish" was a hit. Now, the bar had been set pretty low from last week's Golden Globes, but within the first few minutes of his opening monologue, we knew it was going to be a fun evening. I was not prepared for his mom being the night's darling. The comedian brought his mother, Bowman, into the opening bit when he called on her in the audience to say she would be tasked with cutting people's acceptance speeches off when they ran too long. And then she cut off Anderson for making the joke go on too long. "Anthony! Shut up! Watch your mouth; I want to go to the after-party," she heckled.
Cue the waterworks when the monologue ended with Christina Applegate being welcomed onto the stage. With the assistance of a handsome escort, the Emmy-winning actress, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2021, was greeted with a standing ovation, to which she quickly quipped, "You are totally shaming my disability by standing up."
We saw some phenomenal TV show reunions on the stage, either to present awards or to transition into different segments of the show. From the cast of "Cheers," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Ally McBeal" to both the casts of "Martin" and "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia" marvelling that this was what the Emmys looked like, having never even received nominations when they were on the air. It was hilarious and well worth the watch on YouTube if you didn't catch it live.
When the curtain opened on the TV set for "All in the Family" with Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers paying homage to TV legend and series creator Norman Lear, who died this past year at the age of 101, the duo celebrated this genius who consistently tested the boundaries of television (and the censors) by making relevant social justice issues a key focus on his shows in a way that disarmed the viewer and still made them laugh (For anyone who has never heard of Norman Lear Google "All in the Family" "The Jeffersons" "Good Times" and "Maude" to understand)
This led the way to the "In Memoriam" section of the night, and I was immediately surprised by how many well-known TV personalities we lost in the past year. And once again, I was not prepared for the waterworks that came when Charlie Puth and The War and Treaty moved from Puth's "See You Again" to a hauntingly beautiful stripped-down version of the "Friends" theme song as Matthew Perry's smiling face came on the screen. Thank God for television breaks on live TV because I needed a second to regroup after that.
There were lots of times during the night that I thought to myself, this show should win an Emmy next year. It was really well done.
Now for the winners - As I started, it really was "Succession," "Beef," and "The Bear" who took the awards last night, and I can't say they weren't well-deserved (it did make me worry that the Oscars will end up being the "Oppenheimer" show - which won't make for a fun review from me the next day - consider yourselves warned). Anyone who has not watched these shows, stop reading right now and go do it. My only advice is that they are all a lot to binge. Even the 30-minute episodes of "Beef" required a bit of pacing for me because of the heavy subject matter (a full review on this limited series is coming in a couple of days, so check back here for that).
I have been telling anyone who will listen to me that "The Bear" is a must-watch, especially this past season when each character was given the opportunity to grow and have their stories told. Anyone who has worked or been around the service industry will be triggered for sure as this is as close to real life as you can get in a fictional television "comedy" series (there was a lot of controversy on that and Reddit conspiracies that they placed it there so that it wouldn't be head to head with "Succession" final season, but whateves it makes me laugh enough of the time) and you know I always love a great Canadian connection in Hollywood, and especially a Nova Scotian one (where I am based out of) so imagine my delight when I looked up "actor" Matty Matheson (who plays the character of Fak) to see why he would be the one who has spoken for the cast both at the Golden Globes and Emmys. Also, I was curious why he singled out the restaurant industry in each of those speeches. It turns out Matty Matheson is not an actor but a Canadian chef who is also a co-producer of the show, and although he's from Toronto, he lived in Halifax until he was 11 years old. Look, I'll take it.
Another cool moment of the night was watching Sir Elton John become an EGOT winner (someone who has an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award) for the live-streamed special of his final concert at Dodgers Stadium.
Awards season continued with the non-televised Critics Choice Awards, which were much the same. Next up are the Oscars