imagesHalfway through the Emmys, I was ready to turn the television off. Clever conceits, but a boring show.  It looked like a sumptuous party where no one was dancing or having much fun!  Then, thank god, the fabulously energizing choreography number lit up the stage.

Was the show off because the opening number didn’t set the right tone? Were the skits too clever and self-referencing by half?  Neil Patrick Harris is a fabulous entertainer, but something went awry. Neil, as producer of the Emmys, I send you this list of do’s and don’ts for next year.

Start big and bold. Fill the room with energy and expectation. Play to the live audience.  Neil, you walking on stage and standing there isn’t enough. Plus, it was a little weird, waiting for you to get going!  Your middle of the show number was sort of fun, but too late in the game for me.

images-1New policy suggestion: all nominees must outline an acceptance speech  and spend some time planning – preferably something fun and meaningful. Watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus accept her Emmy as her VEEP character as an example of what can be done. Watch Jeff Daniels be completely surprised by his win and proceed to forget to take the chewing gum out of his mouth as an example of what not to do.

Classy is cool. Diahann Carroll,at 78, still has it! She was composed, authentic and had an important message. She stood for something bigger than the awards and she understood her legacy. She wrote it down and read it. I watched her show, Julia, in the 60’s and the integrity that she brought to that character clearly was a manifestation of her inner compass.  Beautifully done and shared with Kerry Washington.

Be Real One of my favorite bits was the repartee between Jim Parsons and Bob Newhart – it was unscripted, genuine and I thought Parsons was very tuned into the moment as he made conscious space for the audience to honor Newhart and to give Newhart time to respond.  Newhart underplayed it and their impromptu bit was lovely.Unknown

Keep the moving microphone. What a fantastic way to adjust for the different heights of speakers. I guess Jimmy Fallon thought it was funny.

Cut the Crap!  Did you notice how many presenters used the word “crap” during the show?  “Holy Crap.”, “Well Crap.” , “Oh Crap.”  That word caught fire – it’s inarticulate, offensive -please, don’t let them use it.

Honor Longevity. Appropriately. The tributes were sad and heartfelt. Cory Monteith’s death was a tragedy, but he didn’t have the body of work to justify that prominence. It was a painful contrast to see the faces of long-standing icons like Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman (to name a few) be overlooked. This dissonance was/is upsetting.

Unexpected Pleasure. Will Ferrell’s shtick with his three sons for the big winner announcements struck me as the perfect, unexpected and hilarious takedown and celebration of the evening.  It was the best kind of out of the box, humor that makes these ceremonies so memorable. Good for him. More of that in 2014.