Our roundup of the most memorable moments of the Emmys:
14. Worst Opening-Number Follow-Up: Emmy host Jane Lynch takes viewers on a tour through a fictional building where all TV sets and characters supposedly reside. Highlights of this exercise in randomness: Lynch tests out the laugh track at The Big Bang Theory, horrifies the Mad Men ad guys with tales of fast-forwarding through commercials and Slushees her Glee alter ego. The song ends on the line, "There's no place like TV ... except for HBO — it's not TV."
13. Worst Idea: The Emmytones — a singing group comprised of Zachary Levi, Cobie Smulders, Taraji P. Henson, Kate Flannery, Wilmer Valderrama and Joel McHale — introduces the comedy categories in harmonious, if not-so-hilarious fashion. We thought we were well rid of the cheesy warblers until they returned for the other major categories. Stay one-hit wonders!
12. Best Tribute: In his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Modern Family's Ty Burrell gave a nod to his late father, whom he imagined would be less impressed with the Emmy and more preoccupied with the actor's need for heavy screen makeup: "But why the makeup? Couldn't you just wear a little powder? Why do you have to look like a harlot?" Guilt + self-deprecation = love from a parent.
11. Best Performance: Although The Lonely Island medley was a hot mess overall, it could not overshadow Michael Bolton's charismatic wailing as a roguish Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with fake mustache askew. Add spandex-clad guys undulating as sea waves, and you have a booze-inspired, not-so-seaworthy adventure.
10. Most Overdue Win: After five seasons and a mere casting Emmy, Friday Night Lights finally scored well-deserved and long-overdue Emmys for Kyle Chandler and Jason Katims. "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose." We'll miss you, Coach Taylor. *Sniffle*
9. Best Cutaway: Beginning his thank-you speech, Ray Romano doppelganger Steve Levitan (who won for writing Modern Family with Jeffrey Richman) says: "Real life handed us the stories. My children walked in on my wife and I while we were in the act." The cameras then cut to his wife Krista, who, like a true pro, waits for her closeup to roll her eyes. "Thank you to my somewhat traumatized wife," he adds.
8. Best Thank-You: Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage is charming and gracious in his acceptance speech, giving props to his fellow nominees, his wife and... his pet sitter, the confusingly named Kitty. His dog's name? Kevin.
7. Most Understanding Wife: For his role in Mildred Pierce, Guy Pearce had to simulate sex with Kate Winslet many, many times and therefore thanked her for "allowing me to insert myself into your world" in his acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie. And then he thanked his wife. And it all sounded charming because he's Australian.
6. Best Acceptance Speech: Margo Martindale — the 60-year-old character actress whose TV career dates back to 1989's Lonesome Dove and who scared the bejesus out of people with her portrayal of the treacherous Mags Bennett on Justified — gives us one of the most emotional moments of the night in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. She sweetly notes that it was a long time coming. "Sometimes things just take time, but with time comes great appreciation," she says. "The writers are genius and poetic, inspired by Elmore Leonard and the great Graham Yost. I love you, Graham, even though you killed me." Yes, she won for a role that sadly no longer exists.
5. Best Patter: Jimmy Kimmel asked Jimmy Fallon if he had written an acceptance speech, but Fallon demurred, saying he knew Jon Stewart would win (which he did, incidentally). After Fallon touches his inside breast pocket once too often, Kimmel wrestles him to the floor and pulls out the acceptance speech Fallon claimed he didn't have. But Kimmel is the embarrassed one when he reads it. "But most of all, I want to thank Jimmy Kimmel. Jimmy has been there for me since Day One, he's the kindest and most supportive person in my life," an increasingly sheepish Kimmel read. "He would never mock me or belittle me, especially in a large public venue such as this. I love you, Jimmy Kimmel." Well, maybe not anymore.
4. Most Anticlimactic Return: Bad boy Charlie Sheen got a surprisingly tepid reception. "Before I present outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, my old category, I want to take a moment to get something off my chest and say a few words to everybody here from Two and a Half Men." OK, here's where everyone goes Uh-oh!, right? No, it was totally boring... and apparently sincere! "From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent eight wonderful years together and I know you will continue to make great television." Not a drop of tiger blood.... unfortunately.
3. Best Joke: Jane Lynch explains that many people are curious why she became a lesbian. Without missing a beat, she says: "Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Entourage." Peals of laughter follow the hostess' funniest line of the night as the five guys from the now-defunct HBO show take the stage as presenters.
2. Best Misdirect: Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan accepted the award for Best Comedy Series with a touching anecdote. A gay couple approached him to say, "You're not just making people laugh; you're making them more tolerant." He then cracked: "And I thought to myself, 'Well, they are right; we are showing the world that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a loving, committed relationship between an old man and a hot young woman.' And looking around this room tonight, I see many of you agree."
1. Best Bit: When the first nominee for the Best Actress in a Comedy award — Amy Poehler — is announced, she hilariously mounts the stage as if she's just been named a finalist in a beauty pageant. Not to be outdone, the other five nominees follow suit. A fast zooming close-up reveals the winner to be Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly. To complete the effect, McCarthy is crowned with a tiara and handed roses — which just happened to be on hand.
What were your favorite moments?
Tune in Monday at 8/7c for Kathy Griffin's Emmys Aftermath on TV Guide Network