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    Television
    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    The best moments from the 2024 Emmys

    The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards, held Sunday at Los Angeles' Peacock Theater, came on the heels of the previous night's Critics Choice Awards and just a week after the Golden Globes. Despite the crowded awards season - the Emmys were postponed from their usual fall date because of the Hollywood strikes - spirits were still high. The ceremony felt lighter and friendlier than normal.

    Host Anthony Anderson opened the telecast with a half-sung monologue honoring some of the shows he grew up watching - the first of many nods to television history. Cast members from series such as "Cheers," "Grey's Anatomy," "Martin" and "The Sopranos" reunited onstage to present various awards.

    Best comedy series "The Bear" won big across categories, with trophies for actors Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, plus writing and directing awards for creator Christopher Storer. Quinta Brunson ("Abbott Elementary") and Jennifer Coolidge ("The White Lotus") delivered endearing speeches early on, but the most memorable of the night came from Niecy Nash-Betts ("Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story"), who dedicated her award to Black and Brown "unheard, yet overpoliced" women, such as Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.

    As expected, best drama "Succession" was widely recognized through additional Emmys for actors Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook, creator Jesse Armstrong and director Mark Mylod. "Beef" triumphed across limited-series categories, winning that overall award and more for writer-director Lee Sung Jin and stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun.

    Here are the biggest moments from the show.

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    1. Anthony Anderson worked the room

    Unlike last week's disastrous hosting at the Golden Globes, the audience seemed to love Emmys host Anthony Anderson. He kicked off the nostalgia-packed show with some musical tributes to "Good Times," "The Facts of Life" and "Miami Vice," and then introduced his mother as a very important part of the show: She would hold up a sign and scold anyone who took too long with their speech.

    "My momma is from the West Side of Chicago, and she can throw hands," Anderson said, before his mother started yelling that he, in fact, was going on too long with his monologue. (This became a running joke throughout the show, and at one point, winner John Oliver refused to leave the stage until Anderson's mother scolded him.)

    Anderson also nicknamed the show "the chocolate Emmys," highlighting the number of Black award winners, as well as tributes to beloved Black TV shows that didn't receive enough industry acclaim when they aired, from "Martin" to "The Arsenio Hall Show."

    "This is like MLK Day and Juneteenth all rolled into one," Anderson said.

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    2. All the TV reunions

    The Emmys leaned hard on nostalgia this year. There were onstage reunions held on recreations of sets from TV shows such as "Martin," "Cheers" and "Ally McBeal," and a healthy smattering of classic theme songs from the likes of "The Golden Girls" and "Laverne and Shirley."

    The biggest reach into television's past produced one of the biggest duds of the night. Tracee Ellis Ross and Natasha Lyonne re-created the famous candy conveyor belt scene from "I Love Lucy" to very little comedic effect.

    But that was an outlier in an otherwise easy, breezy and well-paced awards show.

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    3. Christina Applegate's standing ovation

    The Hollywood crowd jumped to its feet when Christina Applegate walked onstage. "Oh my God, you're totally shaming me with disability by standing up. It's fine," joked Applegate, who revealed her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2021. She gestured to herself: "Body not by Ozempic."

    The crowd loved her. "You know, we don't have to applaud every time I do something," she said dryly, as she reminded the enthusiastic audience of her past roles ("Married. . . With Children," "Samantha Who?" and "Dead to Me").

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    4. Niecy Nash-Betts's speech

    Niecy Nash-Betts gave one of the most compelling speeches of the night as she won her first Emmy after about 30 years in the entertainment industry. She thanked Ryan Murphy for casting her in Netflix's "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" as Glenda Cleveland - the neighbor who tried to warn police about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and was ignored - and then thanked herself.

    "I want to thank me for believing in me and doing what they said I could not do. And I want to say to myself in front of all you beautiful people, 'Go on girl, with your bad self. You did that!'" she said as the audience cheered. "Finally, I accept this award on behalf of every Black and Brown woman who have gone unheard, yet overpoliced: like Glenda Cleveland, like Sandra Bland, like Breonna Taylor. As an artist, my job is to speak truth to power, and baby, I'm going to do it until the day I die."

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    5. A night of historic firsts

    Women of color won big - and in historic fashion. This was the first time in Emmy history that Black women received awards both for best lead actress (Quinta Brunson for "Abbott Elementary") and supporting actress (Ayo Edebiri for "The Bear") in a comedy. With her win, Brunson landed her first acting Emmy - she won last year for writing - and became the first Black woman in more than 40 years to take home the award for best lead actress in a comedy. Isabel Sanford was the last, for "The Jeffersons" in 1981.

    Ali Wong also notched a historic first for her role in "Beef," becoming the first Asian actress to win a lead acting Emmy in any category. Wong, who was also an executive producer on the Netflix show, took home the award for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie.

    Women didn't have all the fun, though. RuPaul became the most awarded host in Emmys history, notching his eighth consecutive statue for "RuPaul's Drag Race." His dominance in the category has also made the legendary drag artist the most decorated Black person in Emmys history, a distinction he earned in 2021 and has been building on ever since.

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    6. The LGBTQ community spoke out

    RuPaul won another Emmy for the reality competition "RuPaul's Drag Race." He brought up several previous contestants when accepting his award, including a largely forgotten Season 15 contestant named Princess Poppy, who appeared onstage in green goblin drag befitting a B-movie monster.

    RuPaul defended drag queen story-hour events in his acceptance speech, saying, "If a drag queen wants to read you a story at a library, listen to her, because knowledge is power."

    Later in the evening, Hannah Waddingham and Colman Domingo presented the Governors Award to GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

    In her acceptance speech, GLAAD's president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, cited a statistic that more Americans reported having seen a ghost than having encountered a trans person. "When you don't know people, it's easy to demonize them," she said.

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    7. 'Weekend Update': Emmys edition

    The Emmys were full of nostalgia this year, so it only made sense for former "Saturday Night Live" cast members Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to return to the "Weekend Update" desk during the ceremony. "We've reached the stage in life where we'll only present awards sitting down," Fey joked, before they poked fun at the nominees for outstanding live variety special (which went to "Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium").

    At one point, Poehler threw shade at "celebrating the best in musicals that were based on movies which will probably be movies again," to which Fey - who wrote the original "Mean Girls," the book for its Broadway musical and the screenplay for the new film adaptation of that musical - responded, "There's nothing wrong with that!"

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    8. Elton John's EGOT

    Elton John was not in attendance when he won for live variety special for Disney Plus's "Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium," which was a shame because he also made history as the 19th EGOT winner - winning an Emmy alongside a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

    "We knew this show would be historic because it was going to be Elton's last ever show in North America on tour. We knew it would be historic because it was Disney's first-ever live global stream," said producer Ben Winston. "We didn't know it was going to be historic because it was going to win a man who created the soundtrack to all of our lives - he's done so much great for society, he is all of our heroes - we didn't know it was going to win him an EGOT."

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    9. The 'In Memoriam' and tribute to Matthew Perry

    For the "In Memoriam" segment, producers enlisted the unlikely pairing of Charlie Puth and country duo the War and Treaty. They sang a gentle rendition of "See You Again," the song Puth performed with Wiz Khalifa in honor of "Fast and Furious" actor Paul Walker, but briefly transitioned into the Rembrandts' "I'll Be There for You," the theme song for the sitcom "Friends."

    The moment was a sweet nod to cast member Matthew Perry, whose death rocked the industry in October.

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