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The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards were a fitting tribute to an above-par TV season. Fast-moving and clever, with a strict "wrap it up quick" policy on speeches, the show was actually fun to watch.
Host Jimmy Fallon's genuinely witty opener managed to incorporate Mad Men's Jon Hamm, Kate Plus 8's Kate Gosselin, Lost's Jorge Garcia and most of the cast of Glee (among others) in a dance montage to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." And Fallon stuck to his best move -- music spoofs -- throughout the night. He introduced the big TV categories with his guitar, enlisting help from the likes of Kim Kardashian and Stephen Colbert to sing along.
His funniest moment came when he paid tribute to three series -- Fox's 24, NBC's Law & Order, and ABC's Lost-- that ended this year. Naturally, he honored each with a pop song parody. While his Elton John-inspired send-up of 24 was funny, the most clever bit was his tribute to Lost. Posing as Green Day's Billie Armstrong, and singing to the tune of "Time of Your Life," he crooned, "The island it was mythical, but in the end they died. I didn't understand it, but I tried."
As for the awards themselves, there were enough "upsets" to keep things interesting, and those who did win weren't annoyingly vain about it. (Even George Clooney, accepting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, managed to deflect the glory from himself to those who deserve the spotlight: the victims of natural disasters that he's worked so hard to help.)
Here's where the trophies landed:
The Emmy for best drama series went to AMC's Mad Men for the third consecutive year. "We're now in our fourth season," creator Matthew Weiner said. "I never thought we'd get through half of one." Meanwhile, his stars Jon Hamm and January Jones stood demurely to the side, grinning at each another.
The Emmy for best comedy series went to ABC's Modern Family, edging out Fox's Glee and popular mainstays like NBC's 30 Rock and The Office. "This means so much to us, especially considering the caliber of the other nominees," said creator Steve Levitan.
The Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy went to Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie, who seemed genuinely shocked when her name was announced. Falco obviously didn't expect to best both of the former winners in this category, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of ABC's The New Adventures of Old Christine and Toni Collette of Showtime's United States of Tara, and certainly not to beat out the beloved Glee newcomer, Lea Michele. During her humble awards speech, this four-time Emmy winner heaved a great sigh and protested, "I'm not funny."
The Emmy for best lead actor in a drama went to Bryan Cranston of AMC's Breaking Bad. After bounding to the stage to retrieve his third consecutive Emmy, he began his gracious speech by saying that "during the time it took me to walk up here, I'm venturing there were 200 text messages to my fellow nominees saying that you were robbed, and I cannot argue with that."
Jim Parsons of CBS's The Big Bang Theory was named best lead actor in a comedy w
The Emmy for best supporting actress in a drama went to Archie Panjabi. Her speech had that Hugh Laurie effect -- throwing you off because an unfamiliar British accent is coming out of an American TV character. Plus, she was so polite! (Nothing at all like her character Kalinda!)
Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family, won best supporting actor in a comedy series honors, and he charmed the audience with a sweet speech to his mother, who gushed from the audience. A shot of his castmate, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, with tears streaming down his face, was also touching.
The Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama went to Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad, proving that a show's popularity (or lack thereof) doesn't always correlate with Emmy wins. Paul snatched this one out from under actors on much bigger hits, including Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn of Lost and John Slattery of Mad Men.
And Sue Sylvester herself, Glee star Jane Lynch, nabbed an Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy. In her funny acceptance speech, she thanked her fellow Glee cast members. "And I want to say to the cast, 'You're young, and you're wonderful, you're fresh-faced, and when I'm not seething with jealousy, I love you," she said.
Fallon ended the ceremony by popping open a bottle of bubbly and announcing, "Afterparty at Betty White's house!" The champagne was well-deserved, Jimmy.
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