Emmys 2020 review: A strange, surprising and delightful show
Good or bad, there was no way the 72nd Emmy Awards, which went on Sunday from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and living rooms around the country and beyond, wasn’t going to be interesting.
And it was good, by and large an elegant, intelligent solution to making ceremonial television in light of Our Great Shared Obstacle. That isn’t to say that every joke worked, and latency does make shtick difficult to do remotely, but the telecast, which mixed live and recorded pieces, felt solid enough to accommodate the occasional technical difficulty. Because most every moment was unprecedented, not merely a slight variation of something we’d seen before, it was minute for minute more interesting than these long nights of self-celebration usually are.
The evening began with a sort of feint, with host Jimmy Kimmel coming on to canned applause and delivering jokes to star-studded reaction shots flown in from Emmy broadcasts of years past. What seemed like a very bad idea was eventually flipped when he spotted himself in one of these shots, and the veil of unreality gave way to the strangely more comforting view of a great empty space. (“Of course I’m here all alone, of course we don’t have an audience. This isn’t a MAGA rally.”) A nice bit with Jason Bateman sneaking into the arena by impersonating his own cardboard cutout followed. (“I want to be here. … It’s ritzy. … I want to eat shrimp with the cast of ‘The Crown,’ I want Mario ...
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