Emmys 2015: How Many Times Did You Cry?

Emmys 2015: Tears, So Many Tears

Sitting in a puddle of my own tears and snot reflecting on the 67th Annual Emmy Awards. I was not prepared.

How could I be, there was no reason to suspect all the raw emotion. The show opened with a funny Andy Samberg monologue with multiple snicker out loud moments, which were funny because they were so true!

  • LOUIE is now technically jazz.”
  • “Racism is over, don’t fact check that.”
  • “Donald Trump seems racist . . . what else?”
  • “Bernie Sanders always looks like his flight was delayed.”

And, the TV Juriste award for best joke of the Samberg monologue goes to Samberg’s reference to a potential title for a Mad Men prequel that could be called:

“Dick Whitman, Horny Hobo.”

Great job, Andy.

WATCH Andy’s Opening Monologue:

Transparent Activism

Andy’s hilarious monologue led into several big awards for Transparent. Show creator, Jill Soloway, won for Best Director in a Comedy Series for Transparent and Jeffrey Tambor won Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Both of their acceptance speeches acknowledged the struggles of transgender communities, but did so in a way that was sincere, but not overly emotional. Tambor, in particular, was widely expected to win. Nice Emmy moments from the Transparent team, but nothing tear-inducing.

Veep Sweep

Some expressed surprise Transparent lost the Best Comedy Series honors to Veep. Not me. With one exception, I fully expected the Veep sweep of several big awards, including  Best Comedy Series, Best Lead Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Best Supporting Actor (Tony Vale), and Best Writing.

The Veep sweep may have made Transparent fans shed a few tears, but the Academy got it right, in my opinion.  Modern Family has its funny moments, but the number of awards it’s received is way out of proportion to the show’s quality. And, don’t get me started on how Modern Family, even at its funniest, has never been particularly modern. How many families do you know with stay-at-home moms? How many sitcoms have you seen with hapless husbands paired with super-hot wives? Exactly.

As for Transparent, it was poignant, but I didn’t find it remotely funny. Meanwhile, Veep is hilarious. Veep has some of the best cursing you’ll hear anywhereDon’t sleep on Veep, you actually may laugh so hard you cry.

. . . And Then There Were Tears, So Many Tears


Regina and Uzo

I first got choked up when former child actress, Regina King, a series regular on 227 and Southland, won Best Actress in a Limited Series for her work on American Crime. It was her first nomination and first Emmy. No one was more surprised than she was and you could feel the warmth of the audience, who also seemed happy that this long-time, hard-working, humble actress won. I left her speech feeling happy and a teary-eyed, but had not descended into a full, ugly cry, yet.

When Uzo Aduba accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her work on Orange is the New Black, she expressed such joy and gratitude to her management team and family for letting her be herself and believing in her dreams, I moved beyond just being teary-eyed, but still kept it mostly together.

Jon Hamm

The tears started up again, surprisingly, when Jon Hamm, the Susan Lucci of primetime, climbed onto the stage to accept his award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Mad Men. Before the Emmys, I’d warned everyone that I would throw my metaphorical Bourbon at my television set if Hamm didn’t win. My admiration for Hamm extends beyond his Disney prince good looks and even his subtle portrayal of Don Draper. Hamm’s guest stints on SNL, 30 Rock, and The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt converted me into a true fan. Hamm is not an actor who plays himself or a version of Don Draper in every role.

Yet, during Hamm’s acceptance speech, he became the Don Draper we saw during the later seasons. Hamm seemed very quiet and subdued. The moment seemed bittersweet for him. I can understand why it would be – Mad Men is over, he had a stint in rehab earlier this year, and his 18-year relationship with Jennifer Westfeldt ended. He might not have felt anything other than pure joy, but to me he seemed melancholy. And, I shed a few tears when he quietly thanked, Jen. That moment took me back to the same emotional space as when Don Draper used a pet name for Betty Draper when he spoke to her for the last time on Mad Men after learning of her breast cancer diagnosis.

Watch Jon Hamm’s acceptance speech here:

Viola Davis

With all those projected emotions swirling, how could I be expected to stay dry-eyed when moments later when Viola Davis took the stage to accept an award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role in How to Get Away with Murder and to make Emmy history by being the first Black woman to win that award?

Her Emmy submission featured that unforgettable scene that consisted primarily of her character slowly removing her make-up and wig before delivering a line with equal parts vulnerability, pain, and restrained anger. As Viola took the stage, I thought about the obnoxious NY Times reporter who questioned whether Viola was a classical beauty and marveled at how perfect it was to see her standing there wig-less, but this time triumphant, wearing her beautiful natural hair like the crown she deserves. And, then she delivered that speech . . .

The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.

When Viola moved on to thank various writers – White and Black – responsible for writing great roles for women of color, through my tears, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Matt Damon, who recently commented that diversity takes place during casting of the roles, not picking those behind the scenes, was watching.

You can watch Viola Davis’s acceptance speech here:

The show ended with the final tear-inducing moment, Tracy Morgan, who has not been seen publicly since the crash that left him in a coma for over a week, presented the final award of the evening. Watching the audience’s reactions to seeing him, made me tear up all over again, and laugh through the tears as he joked that he’s just starting to feel like himself again “a lot of y’all are gonna get pregnant at the afterparty.”

Despite the tears, this was one of the most enjoyable Emmy shows in recent memory. Kudos to Fox and Andy Samberg.

Other Notable Emmy Moments

  • Andy Samberg used an oversized Emmy statue to act out a water cooler moment from Girls and later gave out his HBO account information, which apparently briefly worked.
  • Fred Savage introducing a montage of series finale moments that revealed the endings of Sons of Anarchy and  Boardwalk Empire. That was truly lame, I was still planning to go to my bunker to finish up Sons of Anarchy!

The Full List of Emmy Winners in Major Categories


DRAMA SERIES – Game of Thrones

VARIETY TALK SERIES – The Daily Show With Jon Stewart


ACTRESS IN A COMEDY – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

ACTOR IN COMEDY SERIES – Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES – Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

ACTOR IN A DRAMA – Jon Hamm, Mad Men

DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES – Jill Soloway, Transparent

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES – David Nutter, Game of Thrones

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES – David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones

WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES – Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche




SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES – Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones



About The Author

TV Juriste
Founder/Web Designer

Harvard-trained attorney and long-time TV super fan, Terri James (TV Juriste) has worked at E!, NBCUniversal, BBC and for a TV personality, for television shows including, E! News, The Daily Ten, Live From the Red Carpet, Life in the Fab Lane, The Soup, Americans in Bed, Chicago PD, and Royal Pains, among others.Terri's All-Time Favorite TV Shows: The Wire, Seinfeld, Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, SNL, Homeland (first season), Breaking Bad (final season), My So Called Life, Meet the Press (Tim Russert Years), and Lil Bush.

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