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Review: There Were Some Entertaining Moments At The Emmys


The telecast of last night's Emmy awards included a touching moment that didn't have a lot to do with anyone winning anything.


GLENN WEISS: Jan, you wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend because I want to call you my wife.


INSKEEP: TV director Glenn Weiss proposing marriage on the stage right after he won an Emmy for directing the Oscars. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans was watching the show. Hi there, Eric.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: I'm still emotional.

INSKEEP: Did you have to wipe a tear away?

DEGGANS: I did. I did. I had to.

INSKEEP: It was a great moment. And she said yes, by the way - right? - Jan Svendsen?

DEGGANS: Yes. She did say yes, as far as we know.

INSKEEP: I got to get the ending in there.

DEGGANS: (Laughter).

INSKEEP: So - as if the awards were important after that, but who won the biggest awards?

DEGGANS: So "Game Of Thrones" won outstanding drama series. And that's the third time that HBO's series has won this category. Amazon's comedy "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" was the night's big winner. It won five awards, including best comedy series and best actress in a comedy for the star, Rachel Brosnahan. And that's a run that was likely possible because we had two shows that normally do real well in the comedy categories - ABC's "Modern Family" and HBO's "Veep," and they either weren't eligible or weren't nominated.

The evening scene kind of balanced between shows that you might expect to win, like "Saturday Night Live" winning best variety sketch comedy series, and some surprises like "SNL" alum Bill Hader winning as best actor in a comedy. And Regina King won as best actress in a limited series for a show that Netflix had canceled - this dark drama called "Seven Seconds."

INSKEEP: And then there was Henry Winkler.

DEGGANS: (Laughter) I know. He won his first primetime Emmy ever, more than 40 years after his first nomination back when he was playing Fonzie on ABC's "Happy Days."

INSKEEP: He never got an Emmy for Fonz?

DEGGANS: He got nominated. He never won.

INSKEEP: All right, fine.

DEGGANS: And so now we have a clip of Mr. Winkler accepting his award. Let's check it out.


HENRY WINKLER: OK. Can I just say - Skip Brittenham said to me a long time ago, if you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you. And tonight, I got to clear the table.


DEGGANS: So he won best supporting actor in a comedy series for HBO's "Barry."

INSKEEP: All right. The show was hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, the anchors of "Saturday Night Live's" Weekend Update. How'd they do?

DEGGANS: It wasn't pretty. (Laughter) They seemed a little intimidated by the job, I think. They let a succession of cast members from "SNL" come on and do bits that weren't that funny. And, you know, one bit that did work, though, was Michael Che gave out what he called reparation Emmys where he gave these awards to black actors from beloved series like "Good Times" or "The Jeffersons" who had kind of been overlooked by Emmy in the past. And here's a clip of that.


MICHAEL CHE: Excuse me, Ms. Marla Gibbs?


CHE: We would like to present to you this reparations Emmy.


CHE: Your role as Florence the maid is the reason why I got fired from every service job I've ever had.


GIBBS: Well, thank you - I think.

DEGGANS: (Laughter) Unfortunately, moments like that didn't come often enough.

INSKEEP: Were the actual awards very diverse?

DEGGANS: Well, you know, there was a lot of talk about how the nominations were very diverse. But we only saw a handful of non-white winners last night, even though black actors won every single guest acting award at the Creative Arts Emmys, which were held a little earlier this month. Now, part of it was that the big winners like "Maisel" and "Game Of Thrones" didn't have a lot of diversity in their major roles. Sandra Oh, who made history as the first Asian woman nominated for best drama actress for her role on BBC America's "Killing Eve," didn't win. She lost to Claire Foy from Netflix's "The Crown." And that was kind of how it went in a lot of the categories.

INSKEEP: Eric, it's always a pleasure talking with you. Thanks very much.

DEGGANS: Thanks for having me.

INSKEEP: That's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.