What You Need to Know If You Ignored the Emmys

There weren't too many scandals at this year's awards

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Last night's Emmy awards had all the right kind of surprises: No scandalizing on screen embarrassments and just enough unexpected award happenings to keep audiences watching. "This was a night that was streamlined to avoid controversy or criticism," explains The New York Times's Alessandra Stanley. And that's mostly true, the actual awards show went on without any major snafus, with most of the possible scandal making material happening off-screen.

The Alec Baldwin scandal that could've been. This morning's headlines may have read differently if Alec Baldwin's appearance had occurred as scheduled. The 30 Rock star pulled out of the opening video because News Corp owned Fox cut Baldwin's phone hacking jab at News Corp overseer Rupert Murdoch, as Deadline reported Sunday afternoon. While Baldwin tweeted his disappointment, he even came off as psuedo-understanding. "If I were enmeshed in a scandal where I hacked phones of families of innocent crime victims purely 4 profit, I'd want that 2 go away, 2."

Even Charlie Sheen played nice. After a year of crazy-pants behavior, Charlie Sheen took the Emmys as an opportunity to look normal. "From the bottom of my heart I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season," a subdued Sheen told the cast of Two and Half Men while presenting the award for best actor in a comedy. And while Kutcher responded with some light-hearted jabbing, the two bonded backstage. "Giving the new kid a little advice, Sheen tweeted alongside a photo of them together.

The Red Carpet outfits weren't even that crazy. You know it's a tame fashion night when the biggest fashion no-no relates to color choice. Many broke "the unspoken rule about wearing red on a red carpet," including Sofia Vergara, Lea Michele, and Nina Dobrev who blended in, matching their gowns to the backdrop, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

And then there was the part where some funny ladies stormed the stage. But not in a crazy hormonal kind of way. Amy Poehler surprised the audience, running up to the stage as Rob Lowe called her name as a nominee for her role in Parks and Recreation. The other nominees followed, holding hands in a row, beauty pageant style, awaiting the winning name of the winner. The surprising moment was followed by another as Melissa McCarthy nabbed the award, reports The Hollywood Reporter. "Newcomer Melissa McCarthy, hot off stealing the summer hit Bridesmaids, scored a major coup with her win for Outstanding Actress on a Comedy Series for her first season on Mike and Molly. She beat previous winners Tina Fey and Edie Falco."

The awards even had the right balance of upsets and favorites. Award shows can either honor classic favorites, or go for upsets, bestowing awards on the newcomers, this year's Emmys did both, reports The Wrap. "They opted for an elegant combination by recognizing enduring shows and newcomers alike, with special recognition for Lights." Modern Family swept, with Julie Bowen taking home outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, alongside her on-screen hubbie Ty Burrell, who won outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series. The show also nabbed writing and directing wins. Favored Daily Show also got a not surprising win and "scored its ninth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Series" -- an award that may need to be renamed in its honor," continues The Wrap.

But while these juggernauts dominated, cult favorite Friday Night Lights surprised all, with Kyle Chandler, who played Coach Eric Taylor, and Jason Katims, the head writer of the series, both nabbing awards.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.