The Jon Cryer Upset Factor

I didn’t have a chance for an Emmy live-blog (which would boil down in any case to “somebody just won something” over and over, especially since I’m not very good at writing about the important thing: clothes). I’ll have some thoughts after the full list of winners is available. I will say that the Hairspray songwriting team, which wrote Neil Patrick Harris’s song material for the Tonys and Emmys, should just write special material for him all the time. Harris is fun, though he seems to have a sore throat at times and isn’t always great at thinking on his feet and coming up with a “saver” or a response to an unexpected audience reaction; that’s what professional comedians are good at doing, but I think it’s worth trading that off to get Harris’s likability.

The other thing NPH-related was that, with Jeremy Piven out of the running, a lot of us thought it would finally be Harris’s year to win for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Instead the voters used the category for Jon Cryer from Two and a Half Men, as a sort of consolation-prize category for a very popular show that isn’t going to (and doesn’t deserve to) win any of the bigger categories. It’s kind of depressing to see Cryer win for playing a character who has gotten more pathetic every year, in a show that demands less and less of him and Charlie Sheen every year (not just in terms of characterization, but physical movement, which they barely have to do at all any more apart from moving to the couch from the kitchen). He still deserves it more than the other supporting-actor nominees, particularly the two guys from 30 Rock (McBrayer does well with a small gift part, Tracy Morgan does not very well with a character that should be less annoying than he is). Still, if multi-camera was going to get its consolation prize tonight, Harris or Jim Parsons would have been a better choice.

Update: After I wrote that I realized (and comments rightly beat me to it) that it sounds bizarre to talk as if Jon Cryer deserves to beat out Rainn Wilson. So here’s the thing: Rainn Wilson is great. I just tend to prefer it when the supporting-actor Emmy doesn’t go to the guy who plays the Token Weirdo on the show. Wilson has a much more interesting character to play than Jack McBrayer on 30 Rock, but they’re somewhat similar parts. And ever since Michael Richards took home multiple Emmys while Jason Alexander got none, I’ve always had a built-in bias against giving the award to the guy who plays the craziest person on the show. (NPH also plays the craziest person , but his role is bigger than that. Dwight on The Office has the same function Dale Gribble did on “King of the Hill” from the same team — the guy who is in outer space and can get big laughs in otherwise heavy scenes.) But if you want to argue that Wilson got robbed as badly as NPH did, I won’t argue the point strenuously.

Also, Ken Howard won. Which is always good, not only because he made a good joke, but because it gets more people searching the YouTubes for this: