Emmys 2011: Three top moments -- and their back stories
Sunday's 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards was filled with Twitter-able moments, although many have probably faded from memory already. Here are three, however, that stand out -- as well as the stories behind them.
1. Charlie Sheen/"Two and a Half Men" -- The troubled actor came out -- to polite applause from the crowd at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles -- to present the comedic lead actor category. Calmed down considerably from earlier this year, when he ranted about his "tiger blood" and "Adonis DNA," Sheen began by saluting his former colleagues on "Two and a Half Men," from which he was fired after highly publicized drug problems and subsequent attacks on his bosses. "From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season," he said. Nice sentiment, but it might have rung hollow to many ears. Sheen didn't sound terribly convincing saying it, especially because a few months ago he was spewing that his costar, Jon Cryer, was a "troll," his boss Chuck Lorre a "sociopath" and the sitcom "a driveling pukefest." Sheen maybe should have stopped his Contrition Tour after last week's sober appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show."
2. "Hallelujah"/"In Memoriam" reel -- Leonard Cohen's tune was sung by a group called the Canadian Tenors as a reel played remembering stars and TV industry professionals who had died over the last year. The song choice proved notable for several reasons. Mark Burnett, who produced his first Emmys this year, told reporters that the "in memoriam" segment didn't need to be a "downer" as long as "contemporary" music was picked. But "Hallelujah" -- which was written as an often-tart reflection on broken relationships, not as a valediction to someone who died -- isn't exactly fresh; it first appeared on a Cohen album from 1984. It's also probably one of the most overworked songs around these days. Everyone from the late Jeff Buckley to Bob Dylan to k.d. lang has covered it, and it's been employed in TV shows as diverse as "Scrubs," "Ugly Betty" and "The West Wing." Even Cohen himself is tired of it, telling one interviewer, "It's a good song, but I think too many people sing it."
3. Matthew Weiner/"Mad Men" -- "Oh my goodness, I did not think that was going to happen," Weiner, the creator of "Mad Men," said as the show picked up its fourth straight Emmy for best drama. He added humbly that the cast and crew were going to go back to work -- a possibility that seemed dim earlier this year. Weiner and AMC were haggling over the show's return, with the network pressing the producers to trim each episode by a few minutes so that more commercials could be inserted. Eventually the two sides worked out a compromise in March for two more seasons that would shorten most episodes but leave the season premieres and finales at their usual 47 minutes. The talks stretched out so long that "Mad Men's" production cycle was disrupted and Season 5 won't air until next year instead of this past summer, as originally planned. The turmoil could explain why Weiner felt that another drama might have gone home with the Emmy instead.
What was your favorite Emmy moment?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: Charlie Sheen at Sunday's 63rd Primetime Emmys. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters