Nothing moves things along like a song. It always works for double Emmy winner Glee, and it worked for Late Night host Jimmy Fallon as he hosted a light, fast-moving Emmys. Deft comic turns from Stephen Colbert, Will Arnett and Ricky Gervais kept the proceedings lively — as did a few surprises on the winners list. Welcome to Top Moments, Emmys Edition.
12. Riskiest Joke: "NBC asked the host of Late Night to come to L.A. to host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?" host Jimmy Fallon asks in his opening monologue. The camera then cuts to Conan O'Brien in the audience. "Too soon?" Fallon asks. Nah.
11. Briefest Special Award Presentation Ever: Julianna Margulies' presentation of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to her former ER co-star George Clooney is blessedly short and to the point. And so is this entry.
10. Best Presentation Patter, Part I: Introducing the best supporting actress in a comedy category, Stephen Colbert announces that the night is all about the ladies. "Many of you look lovely tonight," he deadpans. Jane Lynch, the winner of the award, goes on to thank her parents for "being so unintentionally hilarious."
9. Best Cast Performance: In a pre-recorded segment, the cast of Modern Family sits patiently as a blustery fictional studio executive suggests changes to the hit sitcom in its second season, including having crossovers with other networks (hello, Stewie Griffin!), using 3-D technology, making the show "less gay," and adding George Clooney to the cast. He would either be a replacement for Phil or Jay or a third in Cam and Mitch's relationship.
8. Best Presentation Patter, Part II: Will Arnett begins his presentation of the best reality-competition series award (with Running Wilde co-star Keri Russell) by starting to recite an original, off-color poem titled "My Favorite Part of a Woman." Fortunately, Russell cuts him off before he can go any further than "oh, luscious mounds."
7. Weirdest Tribute Package: Fallon sings a musical medley that bids farewell to 24, Law & Order and Lost by stringing together parodies of Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" ("I would have liked to thank you/For all the torturing/Jack and Chloe and the/ First black president"), Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" and "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day (The island, it was mythical/and in the end they died/I didn't understand it, but I tried).
5. Worst Influence: Ricky Gervais, while presenting two variety awards, complains that, he can't drink at the Emmys like he could at the Golden Globes. He points out that since there are no famously erratic actors present — he mentions Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Mel Gibson and Kiefer Sutherland by name — it should be safe to serve the audience a few beers. So he does.
4. Most Surprising Win, Part II: The Daily Show continues its streak in the best variety, music or comedy special category, an award many thought would go to Conan O'Brien's defunct Tonight Show after its surprise nomination in the category.
3. Worst Vampire Puns: Fallon introduces True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer by saying they all "suck." Skarsgard acknowledges another vampire pun is a must, and winces as he says, "It is now our bloody thrill to present the next award..." Fangs a lot, Alex.
2. Most Modest Acceptance Speech: Edie Falco wins an Emmy for her genre-busting work on Nurse Jackie, becoming the first woman to win best actress statuettes in both Comedy and Drama categories. (Carroll O'Connor is the only man to have achieved the same feat — for All in the Family and In the Heat of the Night.) "This is the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened in the history of this awards show," Falco says as she takes the stage. "I'm not funny!"
1. Best Tone-Setter: In a hilarious pre-recorded segment, Fallon opens the show by running into Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, and Cory Monteith from the cast of Glee. The kids are bummed because they can't afford to attend the Emmys. Fallon suggests they form a glee club to raise money and recruits a ragtag bunch of pals to pitch in — Glee's Jane Lynch, Jon Hamm of Mad Men, The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev, Lost's Jorge Garcia, Kate Gosselin, Betty White, American Idol's Randy Jackson, Community's Joel McHale, Tina Fey and Project Runway's Tim Gunn. It segues into a live performance, complete with comical choreography and a competent rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."
What were your Top Moments?