You know the Emmys can use all the help that they can get when one of the night's most watchable moments involves the director of the Oscars proposing to his girlfriend.
Glenn Weiss, winner of directing for a variety special for the Academy Awards show, used his time onstage at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards to change his life, telling his date, "You wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife." He was not played off, and his proposal appears to have been accepted by the woman, identified by the Hollywood Reporter as Jan Svendsen.
For a few minutes on Monday night, it looked as if NBC might have had a change of heart and replaced Michael Che and Colin Jost with Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson as Emmy hosts.
No such luck.
After a sardonic opening about Hollywood's forays into diverse casting became a song-and-dance number in which the Saturday Night Live stars were joined by Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess, Sterling K. Brown, Ricky Martin, RuPaul, Andy Samberg, and John Legend in declaring, "We solved it," the SNL "Weekend Update" hosts showed up.
Che's running joke about Emmy winners not thanking Jesus paid off only when he noted that winner Jeff Daniels had thanked his horse in accepting a supporting actor award for his role in Netflix's Godless.
Jost's quip that with help, "I think we can keep television going for another five, six years, tops," felt a bit sad, especially as streaming service wins piled up.
Fortunately for an SNL-heavy show airing on NBC, SNL won for variety sketch series.
It was a marvelous night for Amazon's streaming comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which won for outstanding comedy. The night started off strong for the 1950s-set show, whose top-hatted creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, best known until now for creating Gilmore Girls, accepted Emmys for writing and directing. Star Rachel Brosnahan won for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.
The producers and cast of HBO's Game of Thrones, after a year off from Emmy competition, returned to the stage as the winners for outstanding drama.
Thrones star Peter Dinklage, pretending to be grumpy, won for the second time as supporting actor in a drama.
Thandie Newton seemed considerably more excited to win for the first time, as supporting actress in a drama for HBO's Westworld.
The show, flagging already 15 minutes in, got its first burst of real energy from Henry Winkler, for whom a sixth nomination was a charm. The actor, first nominated in 1976 for playing Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzarelli in Happy Days and winning for his supporting role as an acting coach in HBO's Barry, claimed to be delivering a speech he'd written more than four decades ago, concluding with a message to his now-adult children: "Kids, you can go to bed now — Daddy won!"
Barry star Bill Hader also won, for lead actor in a comedy.
The final season of FX's The Americans brought a lead-actor Emmy for Matthew Rhys, and producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields won for writing for a drama. Rhys' costar and partner Keri Russell, who lost the lead-actress Emmy to Claire Foy, of Netflix's The Crown, didn't make it to the stage, but according to Rhys, she'd told him, "If you propose to me, I will punch you clean in the mouth."
Other winners included: Regina King (Netflix's Seven Seconds), lead actress in a TV movie or limited series; FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, limited series; Darren Criss (Versace), lead actor in a TV movie or limited series; Merritt Wever (Godless), supporting actress, TV movie or limited series; HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, variety sketch series; William Bridges and Charlie Brooker ("U.S.S. Callister" episode of Netflix's Black Mirror), writing for a TV movie or limited series; Ryan Murphy (Versace), directing for a TV movie or limited series; John Mulaney (Netflix's John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City); Stephen Daldry (The Crown), directing for a drama series; and RuPaul's Drag Race, reality TV competition.
As always, there were people, and moments, that cry out for recognition:
Happiest surprise: Betty White, 96, got a standing ovation for showing up, as well she should. "It's incredible that you can stay in a career this long and still have people put up with you," said White.
Mystery guest: Donald Glover showed up as Donald Glover, but the Atlanta character he once played, Teddy Perkins, could also be spotted in the audience, in full, horrifying makeup.
Wasted time, wasted talent: Sorry, the appearance of Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as Emmy "experts" who hadn't done their homework just didn't work in this format.
Pronunciation guides: Some E! red-carpet interviewers seemed seemed a little unclear about the pronunciation of "Maisel," in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. As Variety TV critic Daniel D'Addario noted on Twitter, it rhymes with "hazel," not "ha-zell." On the other hand, E!'s Giuliana Rancic did talk to Chrissy Teigen about her weekend announcement, also posted on Twitter, that the whole world's been pronouncing her last name wrong (it's "tie-gen," not "tee-gen"). Her husband, Legend, noted they'd be sticking with the wrong version for consistency's sake.
More fun with names: Daniels, who'd also been nominated for Hulu's The Looming Tower, noted on NBC's red-carpet show that he'd just met "Benedict Nightingale" for the first time. For those who wondered if he meant Benedict Cumberbatch — also nominated for lead actor in a TV movie or miniseries, for Showtime's Patrick Melrose — the answer is: almost certainly. Benedict Nightingale, a former theater critic for the Times of London, has a great name, too, though.