Last year, Emmy producers pledged (via Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson boasting “We Solved It”) that they’d figured out TV’s pesty diversity problem, and, at the same time, the dilemma of how to open a show without a host. Except McKinnon and Thompson seemed like hosts. So no fair.
Did they really solve it this year (the opening, not diversity)? Though Emmy producers had suggested there would be no (or nearly no) opening monologue or traditional production number, the Fox broadcast recruited one of its longtime stars to do the honors: Homer Simpson.
Tonight’s opening did indeed seem leaner, but maybe not lean enough. Basically turning the opening moment into a The Simpsons commercial, the broadcast began with the animated dad walking on stage, crowing about having reached his “impossible dream” just before a cartoon piano fell on him.
Cut to a stunned Anthony Anderson in the audience, who jumped onstage assuring viewers he would “save the Emmys” as he ran backstage, had his mom pilfer a few of the golden statuettes, then dragged a game Bryan Cranston onstage to say something appropriate.
Cranston did his usual best to rescue the opening from utter hokum, launching into a mock-somber speech about man landing on the moon, 600 million people walking with him via the miracle of TV, and then moving on to the far-away TV places we enjoy today: Winterfell, The Upside Down, even Paradise.
Cranston got in a good joke about laughing with the Dunphys and crying “multiple times. every. single. week” with This Is Us‘ Pearsons.
“Please,” Cranston said, “stop making us cry.”
“Television,” he said just before the Game of Thrones, Fosse/Verdon, Big Bang, et al montage began, “has never been bigger, television has never mattered more, and television has never been this damn good.”
And that was it. The show then made a quick segue to the Best Supporting comedy actor, which featured a pretty great bit with Ben Stiller and the fantastic Bob Newhart.
Not a terrible start, but they could have cut the whole thing and just give the gig to Newhart. Problem solved.
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