Jane Lynch meets ‘Mad Men’
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Emmys 2011: Best and worst

Jane Lynch meets ‘Mad Men’
“Glee’s” Jane Lynch doesn’t get to sing much on her show, so it wasn’t a surprise that Fox would have her cut loose with an opening song-and-dance number. It’s an awards show staple, and Lynch traversed sets with the best of ‘em, trading barbs with the boys of “The Big Bang Theory,” poking fun at the 20-something high schoolers of “Friday Night Lights” and getting in a tense conversation with the cast of “Mad Men.”

Though it was a bit odd to see the fourth wall of such a serious show ripped down, Lynch and Jon Hamm made it work. Lynch was from the future, poisoning the thoughts of the patriarchal advertising setting of “Mad Men” with talks of gay marriage and digital recorders that allow audiences to -- gasp -- skip the commercials.

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- Emmys 2011: Happy winners lifted the show -- and our spirits.  (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times)
A kinder, gentler Charlie Sheen
The TV viewing audience awaited controversy when Sheen introduced the Emmy nominees for comedy actor, yet there was none to be had. Instead, Sheen kept it professional, and said he wishes “nothing but the best” for the cast and crew for the upcoming season of “Two and a Half Men.” Perhaps the public feud between Sheen and CBS is now over, and hopefully that means any discussion of “tiger blood” and “warlocks” outside of fantasy role-playing games has also come to an end.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Don’t underestimate the comedic timing of Julianna Margulies
How’s this for a straight-faced introduction to the award for supporting comedy actor? “Hi. I’m Julianna Margulies. Otherwise known as the funniest woman on television.” Margulies never broke from her ice-cold stare, and those who didn’t laugh weren’t going to doubt her.

Though when she noted that four of the six nominees in the category she was presenting were from “Modern Family,” it was a not-so-funny reminder of how Emmy voters failed to recognize numerous other worthy contenders in favor of the hot sitcom of the moment.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Two Jimmys wrestle
Staged comedy bits on awards shows have a tendency to drift toward the awkward, but the two Jimmys -- Fallon and Kimmel -- were clearly having fun with their shtick introducing the award for supporting actress in a comedy. The talk-show competitors praised Jon Stewart, wrestled and then poked fun at the vanity of actors when Kimmel uncovered a fake winning speech on Fallon. Best joke: “Hold the trophy like it’s ‘The Lion King’ baby,” Kimmel read, as Fallon sheepishly made the motion.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
More Ricky Gervais, always
Ricky Gervais joked that he’s not even “allowed on American soil” during award shows, a reference to his controversial role as “Golden Globes” host, which may or may not have angered Hollywood’s elite. But that’s neither here nor there. Gervais’ sharp sarcasm can shred holes in the pomp and circumstance of awards show trappings, and brings the hot air of Hollywood down to earth.  (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
The head nod
It wasn’t quite the great Uma/Oprah opening monologue, but Jane Lynch made it clear Hollywood isn’t one big fraternity, at least some of it. She joked that she’s “nodding acquaintances” with a number of Hollywood heavyweights, although not with Jon Hamm. They’ve moved up to finger-pistols.  (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The gradual redemption of ‘The Office’
Though there had been rumblings that NBC sitcom “The Office” had taken more than a few missteps the past two seasons, the lead-up to Steve Carell‘s departure was more funny than not, and the appearance of James Spader seemed to rejuvenate writers. An “Office” bit at the Emmys offered continued reasons to be excited for the upcoming season, as Aziz Ansari from “Parks and Recreation” and Cee-Lo Green from “The Voice” had their turns complaining about work or wreaking havoc on an office. Sure, it ended with Ashton Kutcher again hyping the vastly overhyped “Two and a Half Men,” but Creed getting a delivery of meth from “Breaking Bad‘s” Aaron Paul was delightfully inspired.

Pictured: Oscar Nuñez, left, Creed Bratton, Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey and Rainn Wilson of “The Office.”  (Kirk McKoy /Los Angeles Times)
No small win for Peter Dinklage
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has been turning Peter Dinklage into a star, and the veteran actor was awarded with a supporting actor Emmy for his role of nobility on the series. He had a tough task, noting that he “followed Martin Scorsese,” who had just won a directing Emmy for “Boardwalk Empire.” Yet this wasn’t just a win for Dinklage, but a win for fantasy fiction. Here’s hoping that others besides HBO realize that fantasy isn’t just for geeks.

Oh, and give Dinklage points for thanking his dog sitter.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
From the Department of Better Late Than Never
“Friday Night Lights” showrunner Jason Katims was justly awarded for his five seasons of work on the series, although it’s a shame his award for drama writing had to come when the series had ended its run. Few dramas dealt so easily with the unspoken story lines of small-town life, but “Friday Night Lights” never shied away from big issues, such as racism, class inequality and the travails of the public school system.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
From the Department of Better Late Than Never, Part 2
Kyle Chandler, lead actor, drama. Again, a shame it took the show ending its run for this recognition, but here’s hoping those who opted to skip “Friday Night Lights” head to the DVD section. Chandler was pitch-perfect as the middle-class father attempting to keep a family and town together. He also gave some much-deserved recognition to one of the show’s lesser-heralded characters. Chander dedicated his award to “the people of Austin, Texas, who welcomed us into their homes and filled those stadiums and brought the show to life while they were there.”  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Margo Martindale breaks down
One needn’t cry to give a good awards-show speech. In fact, some ‘round these parts have longed for celebrities to use the moment to say something. But as sheer, feel-good entertainment, watching someone succumb to the completely unexpected joy of winning an award can’t help but bring a tear to many an eye. Margo Martindale didn’t hold back when she won her supporting actress Emmy for her role on “Justified.”

She explained why she was overcome with emotion backstage to reporters. “The great thing about time is you can really appreciate it so much more,” she said. “I could not have appreciated anything like this had I been 30 -- at 60 it feels ... I’m deeply grateful to be recognized. It’s an honor.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Guy Pearce makes the Emmys icky
Accepting his Emmy for supporting actor in a miniseries or movie, Guy Pearce didn’t exactly keep things sophisticated. He spent much of the speech piling sexual innuendo upon sexual innuendo about his time working with Kate Winslet. Look, about 90% of those attending the Emmys are attractive. If you’re privileged enough to win, use those precious few seconds to do more than brag about how you were able to get intimate with your costar.  (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
‘Mad Men’s’ Matthew Weiner is shocked -- SHOCKED -- to win an Emmy
“I did not think this was going to happen,” said “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner as he accepted his outstanding drama series trophy for his acclaimed AMC program. Perhaps he thought he’d be punished by Emmy voters after prolonged contract talks delayed the show’s upcoming season, or perhaps Weiner just forgot about, oh, the previous three Emmy Awards.

Here’s hoping voters remember to change the channel in 2012.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Red alert! The teleprompter is down!
Before she introduced the Emmy for comedy series, Gwyneth Paltrow sent fear into the hearts of actors everywhere unskilled in the art of improv. She said that she would have to “wing it,” as the teleprompter was down. Yet the show must go on, folks, and Paltrow powered through it, stating one sentence (“Here are the nominees”) and putting everyone at ease that she wouldn’t go off the rails or, worse, stand in silence.  (Getty Images)
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