Fox’s hostless Emmys end on time, but show’s creative choices fall flat

Homer Simpson opens the Emmy Awards; FOX(LOS ANGELES) — Not having a host worked for the Oscars earlier this year, but Fox’s attempt at a host-less Emmys telecast wasn’t nearly as successful.

While the Sunday night show did end on time, many comedy bits fell flat.  Some presenters, like Maya Rudolph or Amy Poehler, were able to pull off funny intros and bits, while others stumbled. 

Among the failures: a intro featuring Homer Simpson being crushed by a piano, leaving a frantic Anthony Anderson to “save” the Emmys by sending Bryan Cranston out in Homer’s place; and a musical number featuring a lip-syncing Adam Devine singing about variety shows while dancing with the Masked Singer contestants.

Ben Stiller and Bob Newhart, on the other hand, got laughs when Stiller placed Newhart in a row of life-sized wax figures of comedy legends Lucille Ball and George Burns, seemingly unaware that Newhart isn’t dead.  “This legend is gonna kick your a**,” said Newhart. “That way you’ll know I’m alive.”

The show’s decision to bid a fond farewell to shows that ended this year was also somewhat random.  While the entire casts of Game of Thrones and Veep came out onstage to present awards, and were honored with lengthy montages, a montage of other shows that ended — Gotham, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jane the Virgin, Broad City and The Big Bang Theory — felt like an afterthought.

The show’s decision to have comic actor and writer Thomas Lennon deliver either nonsensical or fake facts after each win, and make snarky comments going into commercials, was another misstep.  After one bad joke while heading into a commercial, Lennon actually said, “This is why no one wants to do this: It sucks.”

The most eyebrow-raising thing Lennon did, though, was take a cheap shot at Emmy-winner Felicity Huffman, who was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for her involvement in the Varsity Blues college admission scandal.

“The producers have asked me to give a special shout-out to any of our previous lead actress winners who are watching tonight from prison,” said Lennon, prior to an earlier commercial break.  “Hopefully those two weeks are gonna fly right by. Keep your chin up.”

Also of note: The show dispensed with having an orchestra playing TV show themes as presenters and winners took the stage.  Instead, well-known soul, pop and rock hits — everything from Miley Cyrus to David Bowie — were played, but at times, the songs chosen seemed random and jarring.  One notable example: The producers of the somber drama Chernobyl took the stage to accept Outstanding Limited Series while Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” blared.

Speaking of music, for the In Memoriam segment, Halsey sang Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”

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