What did we learn from Sunday’s Emmycast?
We learned who won the Emmys, of course.
But there were other lessons to be gained from the three-hour trophy handout, aired on ABC from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre.
For instance, when you win 10 Emmys in a row, you apparently get license to drop an F-bomb. Jon Stewart did, on accepting his annual statuette for “The Daily Show.” But it was bleeped. Social media yawned. Life went on.
A seismic shift could be felt by the audience as terrorism thriller “Homeland” seemed to shove aside “Mad Men” as TV’s reigning prestige drama, winning four trophies while “Mad Men” was shut out.
Though the Emmycast moved briskly, its efficient pace was partly explained by the trigger-happy music cues applied to acceptance remarks. This led to one act of defiance, from “Homeland” executive producer Alex Gansa accepting the award for best drama.
“I don’t know when they’re going to cut me off,” he said, “but this is the biggest night of my career. I’m going to keep talking until they do.”
Cheers from the audience as a new movement was born: Occupy Podium.
We learned for sure what we had previously only suspected, thanks to the gown worn by Kat Dennings that exposed much of what is only hinted at in her “2 Broke Girls” waitress uniform. Her bustline had viewers’ jaws dropping and tweeters madly tweeting.
Speaking of Twitter, we learned that fans of social media are game for a prank — and also are ripe to become victims of it.
Midway through the show, host Jimmy Kimmel instructed people to go on Twitter and Facebook and post “OMG, Tracy Morgan just passed out at the Emmys. Turn on ABC right now!” It was a joke, just to see how swiftly the alarm would spread (and maybe bring in new viewers). “30 Rock” star Morgan, who was in on the gag, complied by lying on the stage for several minutes. The message went viral, and presumably loads of bemused followers tuned in to check on Morgan’s condition.
And what of Kimmel?
Presiding over the glitz and tributes, he didn’t break a sweat. Nor did he break any records for laughs or memorable moments.
His opening monologue was routine, with a few political jokes not quite hitting the mark.
He compared the proper, regal world of “Downton Abbey” to “what it must have been like to grow up in Mitt Romney’s house,” and cracked that “being a Republican in Hollywood is like being a Chik-fil-A sandwich at the snack table at ‘Glee.’”
Later on, he offered up a spoof of the “In Memoriam” fixture that’s a part of all awards shows. This one, Kimmel explained, was meant to pay tribute to someone still living — “to the life and work of someone everyone in this room admires, respects and loves.”
That person, of course, was Kimmel, who was displayed in slow-motion video clips while Josh Groban sang “What Makes You Beautiful.” It was amusing.
But overall, to his credit, Kimmel kept the Emmycast focused squarely on the Emmys, resisting the urge as host to make the show about himself. His jokes weren’t standout, his comedy bits mostly felt pedestrian. But he got the job done in professional style.
And he seemed to have fun — especially when ousting his parents from the auditorium.
He had warmly introduced his mom and dad, telling viewers they had always been supportive of their son.
“They always told me I could do anything I set my mind to,” he said, “and this year I set my mind to winning the Emmy. And guess what? I didn’t.
“You told me I could, and I didn’t, and I’m devastated,” he said, addressing his parents. “You lied to me!”
With that, Kimmel summoned security to remove Mom and Dad.
“It’s OK if you Taser them if you need to,” he told the security men.
Kimmel set up the night’s funniest filmed bit by musing on what “Breaking Bad” would have been like had it been on the air in a G-rated, pre-cable era.
The answer: a spoof of the opening to “The Andy Griffith Show,” with “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, fully suited up to cook crystal meth, out at the lake with their fishing poles as the “Andy Griffith” whistling theme song was heard. As a punch line, they shot dead an unexpected witness: a friendly deputy billed as co-star Don Knotts.
And there was one final thing we learned: Don’t dismiss Kimmel’s skill at prophecy, even when it’s inadvertent.
In his monologue, he hailed “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, once again nominated for best actor.
“You gave a tremendous performance this year,” Kimmel said, “and I for one am shocked that you did not win tonight.”
As a star who has been jilted by Emmy year after year, Hamm cracked up, along with everyone else. Maybe by the end of the show he didn’t find it so funny.