Shock and awww: Sad, weird Emmys didn't make much sense

Image: Emmy Awards Getty Images
Scenes from Sunday's Emmys, clockwise from top left: Host Neil Patrick Harris hoping for two thumbs up, Rob Reiner paying tribute to Jean Stapleton, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler stealing the show in 2 minutes, and Aaron Paul photo bombing "Breaking Bad" co-star Bryan Cranston.

Sunday night's Emmy Awards did itself no favors by going up against the second-to-last episode of "Breaking Bad," the acclaimed show that won the night's outstanding drama series award.

Those who chose to forgo catching up with Walter White's meth-filled world to watch the television industry celebrate itself didn't find nearly the drama they'd have found over on AMC. But they did find an equally puzzling land, where some decisions made perfect sense, and others seemed about as well-thought-out as ditching your teaching career for a horrific ride through the land of illegal drugs.

Rewind the DVR with us as we take another look at what made sense and what didn't.

Made sense: Neil Patrick Harris' selection as host. Who doesn't love Doogie/Barney, who can play off the ridiculous and the vapid with ease?

IMAGE: Nathan Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, and Sarah Silverman Chris Pizzello / AP
Neil Patrick Harris, center, with Nathan Filion and Sarah Silverman, is a beloved awards show host who was misused at the Emmys Sunday night.

Didn't make sense: The poor use of Harris, who began with an excruciatingly boring setup where he imagined TV shows were talking to him, then took the stage to be harangued by former hosts of the show. His middle-of-the-show song-and-dance number was fun, but he was wasted again in a weirdly interpretative dance number of the year's best drama nominees. Did a frustrated dance major decide to present this via the nominees for best choreography? Does the world really need to see two Hazmat-suited men dancing with "Breaking Bad"-shaped periodic table element cubes? 

Made sense: The two people at the Emmys with perhaps as much stored public goodwill as Harris were Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who were the two highlights of that opening segment. Their goofball antics — chomping popcorn, wearing 3-D glasses and urging Harris to twerk — were typical Fey and Poehler gold.

Didn't make sense: Fey and Poehler were there, they seemed game — why not use them more? Even their clowning pratfall as they climbed the stage stairs in heels was more entertaining than most of Harris' lines.

Is this the end? We hope not. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take a funny tumble on the way to the stage at the Primetime Emmys. Mike Blake / Reuters
Is this the end? We hope not. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take a funny tumble on the way to the stage at the Primetime Emmys.

Made sense: It was a tough year for Hollywood — James Gandolfini, Annette Funicello, Larry Hagman, Jean Stapleton and so many other iconic faces were lost to death. So it was only logical that the Emmys would want to honor its past and draw attention to the great actors, directors and others who passed away.

Didn't make sense: But not this way. Only a few people — Gandolfini, Stapleton, Jonathan Winters, writer Gary David Goldberg, "Glee" star Cory Monteith — were given individual tributes. And those tributes were delivered — though lovingly by friends — in stiff, book-report style. Wouldn't our fond memories of these legends have been better served by brief clip reels in which we saw the stars actually acting, making us laugh or cry, as they did on-screen? What would've garnered more smiles and applause, Rob Reiner remembering his TV mother-in-law, or sweet Stapleton admonishing "Aww-chee" in that way only Edith Bunker could?

Made sense: The new love for Netflix, the network that doesn't even show its programming on television but still earned 14 nominations, felt proper and timely. Netflix is blazing trails with shows such as "House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove," and the Emmys were quick to recognize this new serious player.

Image: Kevin Spacey Mike Blake / Reuters
Can we talk? "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey performs a cutaway scene during the opening act at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Didn't make sense: That said, only "House of Cards" won anything, claiming a directing Emmy for David Fincher and two Creative Arts Emmys, one for cinematography and one for casting. Kevin Spacey about stole Harris' opening bit when he broke the fourth wall by turning to the audience, as his congressman character does on "Cards," and bragging about how the skit was all his plot to bring Harris down. Keyser Soze's still got it.

Made sense: It would've been a crime along the lines of anything Walter White perpetrated had "Breaking Bad" been ignored in this, its final season. No program has been talked about more, no program has been more ground-breaking in recent weeks. The show deserved its best drama Emmy and it was nice, too, to see overlooked Anna Gunn, who shines weekly as poor Skylar, win for best supporting actress.

Didn't make sense: But then Cranston loses to Jeff Daniels for "The Newsroom"? And Aaron Paul to Bobby Cannavale of "Boardwalk Empire"? Not taking anything away from their work, but it seems hard to grasp exactly why Daniels and Cannavale were the better choices this year.

Made sense: Bob Newhart making a too-brief appearance — he's still got that smile, and that voice. Will Ferrell and kids lighting up the biggest two awards of the night with typical Ferrell humor. Claire Danes' classy speech highlighting the work of the late "Homeland" writer Henry Bromell, who died in March, yet claimed a posthumous Emmy Sunday night. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and fellow Emmy winner Tony Hale reprising their roles as vice-president and toadying lackey while she accepted her award. All bright moments in a night that had far too few of them.

Didn't make sense: Perhaps the incongruity of the night can be best summed up by the show's bizarre tribute to 1963 that included Carrie Underwood singing "Yesterday," a Beatles song from ... 1965? At a time when television should be celebrating its exciting new changes and today's groundbreaking shows, the industry's major awards show chose to awkwardly look back.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Image: Louis-Dreyfuss accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for her role in HBO's "Veep" as co-star Hale looks on at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

    2013 Emmy Awards

    Stars gather to celebrate and honor the best and the brightest in television.

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    The cast of 'Breaking Bad' -

    From left, the cast of "Breaking Bad," RJ Mitte, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks, winners of the best drama series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.
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    'Modern Family' -

    "Modern Family" executive producer Steven Levitan accepts the award for outstanding comedy series, with the cast behind him.
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    Will Ferrell -

    Will Farrell takes a more a casual approach to the awards show, dressing down and bringing his children onstage to present the outstanding comedy and drama series awards.
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    Michael Douglas -

    Michael Douglas examines his Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie for HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," in which he played Liberace.
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    Derek Hough -

    "Dancing With the Stars" pro and choreographer Derek Hough celebrates with his trophy in the press room.
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    James Cromwell -

    James Cromwell accepts his award for best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his portrayal of Dr. Arthur Arden/Hans Gruber on "American Horror Story: Asylum."
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    Anna Faris and Allison Janney -

    Anna Faris, left, and Allison Janney present the award for outstanding writing for a miniseries, movie or a dramatic secial, which went to Abi Morgan for BBC America's, "The Hour."
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    Stephen Colbert -

    Stephen Colbert celebrates winning best writing for a variety series and outstanding variety series for "The Colbert Report." This is the first time since 2003 that "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" did not win best variety show.
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    Stephen Colbert and 'The Colbert Report' team -

    Stephen Colbert, center, accepts the award for outstanding variety series for "The Colbert Report." Backstage, the comedian said of his victory, "I’m really proud of the show, but no one’s a bigger fan of Jon Stewart than I am."
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    Bobby Cannavale -

    Bobby Cannavale of "Boardwalk Empire" speaks after a surprise win in the very tough best supporting actor in a drama series category. He beat out Jonathan Banks and Aaron Paul from "Breaking Bad," Jim Carter from "Downton Abbey," Peter Dinklage from "Game of Thrones" and Mandy Patinkin from "Homeland."
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    Claire Danes -

    Claire Danes wins lead actress in a drama series for the second year in a row for her portrayal of Carrie Mathison on Showtime's "Homeland."
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    Jeff Daniels -

    Jeff Daniels celebrates backstage after winning outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Will McAvoy on HBO's "The Newsroom."
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    Anna Gunn -

    "Breaking Bad" star Anna Gunn puckers up after nabbing the best supporting actress in a drama trophy.
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    Michael J. Fox -

    Michael J. Fox honored "Family Ties" writer Gary David Goldberg during one of the evening's special In Memoriam tributes.
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    Jonathan Winters -

    Robin Williams pays tribute to the late Jonathan Winters at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, calling the comedy icon his mentor. James Gandolfini, Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg and Cory Monteith also received their own tributes.
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    Jim Parsons -

    "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons accepts the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper. "It is silly to be emotional about it, isn't it," the actor said, sounding a lot like his character.
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    Carson Daly and Mark Burnett -

    "The Voice" host Carson Daly and executive producer Mark Burnett pose with their trophies for outstanding reality competition program. The singing competition's victory marks only the second time that "The Amazing Race" has lost in this category.
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    Elton John -

    Elton John performed "Home Again" in honor of Liberace. The HBO film "Behind the Candelabra," based on the flambouyant pianist's life, took the top honor for best miniseries or movie.
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    Melissa Leo -

    Actress Melissa Leo posed for the press after winning the award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her part on "Louie."
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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale -

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepts the Emmy for lead comedy actress while in character as Selina Meyer on "Veep." Co-star Tony Hale, who plays her aide Gary Walsh, was also in character as he stood by his TV boss.
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    Tina Fey and Tracy Wigfield -

    Tina Fey joked that Tracey Wigfield didn't have permission to speak after the two women won for outstanding writing for a comedy series for their work on "30 Rock."
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    Kevin Spacey -

    Kevin Spacey channeled his "House of Cards" character, politician Francis Underwood, during Neil Patrick Harris' opening bit.
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    Merritt Wever -

    Amy Poehler, left, and Tina Fey, in blue, present Merritt Wever with the trophy for outstanding actress in a comedy series for her portrayal of Zoey Barkow on "Nurse Jackie." The champ delivered one of the more memorable acceptance speeches in recent memory, offering a quick "thank you" before saying, "I gotta go, bye!"
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    Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch and Neil Patrick Harris -

    Former Emmys hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jane Lynch offer this year's host, Neil Patrick Harris, some advice during the opening bit.
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    Neil Patrick Harris -

    Many expected Neil Patrick Harris to kick off the Emmys with a song-and-dance number, but instead, he opened with a taped bit wherein he attempted to watch a year's worth of programming all at once.
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    The Emmys stage -

    Actor and host Neil Patrick Harris opens the show at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.
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