'Homeland' wins big; Hamm loses again at Emmys

2012-09-24T00:20:00Z 2012-10-14T20:22:46Z 'Homeland' wins big; Hamm loses again at EmmysBY GAIL PENNINGTON • Post-Dispatch Television Critic • gpennington@post-dispatch.com stltoday.com

A few minutes into Sunday night's Emmy Awards show, host Jimmy Kimmel introduced "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm in the audience.

"Jon, you gave a tremendous performance this year," Kimmel said, "and I for one am shocked you didn't win tonight." Hamm smiled, but the audience groaned, prompting Kimmel to continue, "Too soon? He'll be fine; look at him."

Hamm, the St. Louis native and John Burroughs graduate who had been nominated five times in five seasons for playing 1960s advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC drama, did in fact lose for the fifth year in a row, this time to Damian Lewis of Showtime's "Homeland." Previously, Hamm had lost to Bryan Cranston of AMC's "Breaking Bad" and last year to Kyle Chandler of DirecTV/NBC's "Friday Night Lights."

But Kimmel was right -- Hamm will be fine. Just minutes after Lewis' acceptance speech, Hamm was the smooth straight man to Tina Fey, whose boyfriend he played on "30 Rock," as they presented the award for lead actress in a drama to Lewis' co-star, Claire Danes.

"Homeland" was voted outstanding drama series. "Modern Family" won for the third time in the comedy-series category.

Jon Cryer of CBS' "Two and a Half Men" was a surprise winner for lead actor in a comedy series. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for lead actress in a comedy for HBO's "Veep," and she and Amy Poehler, nominated for "Parks and Recreation," had fun pretending to have switched speeches. The last line read, "Isn't it a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win?" The camera cut to Poehler in the audience, holding a pencil.

Ron Howard, little Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show," paid tribute to Griffith, who died in July at 86 and introduced the "In Memoriam" segment.

In the fastest-paced Emmy show in memory, the comedy categories (except for best series) wrapped up in less than an hour. Reality quickly followed, with prizes for CBS' "The Amazing Race" as best reality-competition series and Tom Bergeron as reality host for ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Expectations were high for Kimmel as host, but his material was disappointing. He opened with a taped bit featuring actresses Connie Britton, Zooey Deschanel, Mindy Kaling, Christina Hendricks and Martha Plimpton in the ladies room, where someone was sobbing.

One stall revealed Lena Dunham of HBO's "Girls," eating cake -- naked. It was a joke many viewers probably didn't get, reflecting a scene from the first episode of her series. Then Kathy Bates arrived and broke down a stall door to reveal Kimmel, crying because of a Botox mishap that gave him a clown face and, he said, would keep him from hosting the show.

"We'll do it," the reality hosts from the last time ABC had the Emmys said, popping up over the stall. But the literal punchline of the sketch was to have the actresses punch his face back to normal. Borrowing pants from Ellen DeGeneres ("They fit great!"), Kimmel was then off to host.

Just a few minutes in, he turned to TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," as an easy target. Reflecting on the invention of television, he said. "Thanks to Philo T. Farnsworth, we now have Honey Boo Boo. Thanks, dumb ass."

Kimmel also worried that President Barack Obama had said his favorite show was "Homeland," about terrorism at home and abroad. "I don't think the president should be watching 'Homeland' for the same reason Charlie Sheen shouldn't watch 'Breaking Bad,'" he said.

PBS' "Downton Abbey," Kimmel said, "really gives you a sense of what it must have been like to grow up in Mitt Romney's house." Being a Republican in Hollywood, he added, "is like being a Chick-fil-a sandwich on the snack table at "Glee."

What's it like to attend the Emmys? "Try to imagine all your favorite TV stars in the same room, looking at their phones and ignoring each other," Kimmel said.

Some of the many taped bits were funnier than others. One imagining how "Breaking Bad" might have been before cable, set to the theme of "The Andy Griffith Show," was sharply done. And the cast of "Modern Family" was amusing in pretending to reveal that the current Lily, played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, is a monster. "We're replaced Lily before," Ed O'Neill said, recruiting a pigtailed Ken Jeong for the role.

Kimmel's pre-death tribute to himself, sung by Josh Groban and with the tag line, "I will be missed," was indeed a miss, though. So was a gag with Tracy Morgan lying on stage, pretending to have passed out, intended as a prank on people who weren't watching. 

In the movie and miniseries categories, HBO's "Game Change" won the top award, accepted by executive producer Tom Hanks. Julianne Moore won as lead actress in the movie for playing Sarah Palin. Jay Roach won for directing and Danny Strong for writing, both for "Game Change"; Strong is also an actor and plays Danny on "Mad Men." Kevin Costner won for lead actor for History's "Hatfields & McCoys."

Jessica Lange of FX's "American Horror Story" was named best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. Supporting actor was Tom Berenger of "Hatfields & McCoys."

In other major awards, Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen of "Modern Family" won for supporting actor and actress in a comedy series. Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" and Dame Maggie Smith of PBS' "Downton Abbey" were named best supporting actor and actor in a drama. Smith did not attend, but Paul was tearful, thanking "Bad" creator Vince Gilligan "for not killing me."

The winner for directing in a comedy series was Steve Levitan of "Modern Family." The Emmy for writing in a comedy series went to Louis C.K. of "Louie." C.K. also won an Emmy for writing one of his comedy specials.

For directing in a drama series, Tim Van Patten won for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire." The Emmy for writing in a drama series went to Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff for "Homeland."

"The Daily Show With Jon  Stewart" won for the 10th time as outstanding variety, comedy or music series. Stewart, tackled by Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon on his way down the aisle, was bleeped when he commented that some day, aliens would find a box of Emmys and learn "how ... predictable these things are."

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Gail Pennington

Gail Pennington

Post-Dispatch television critic Gail Pennington watches bad TV so you don't have to. Visit Tube Talk for news, schmooze and occasional rants about everything television.

Every Monday, watch for Gail's Tube Talk video report. And find more news from Gail at facebook.com/tubetalkpd and twitter.com/gailpennington.

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