Once the final award is handed out at the annual Emmy awards the interwebs are immediately overloaded with tweets, texts, articles and forum posts about the year’s best moments, winners and most often, the snubs. The biggest 2010 Emmy snub didn’t come after a cheesy joke read off the teleprompter because the snub wasn’t the result on any award. The biggest snub of the 2010 Emmy Awards came from the show’s host, Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon did an excellent job hosting the 2010 Emmy Awards and has quietly become a good performer on his own late night talk show. During one of Fallon’s bits Jimmy came to the stage and sang tributes to three television programs that left us in 2010: Lost, 24 and Law and Order. It is unknown whether these shows were chosen by Fallon or the director of the program, but whoever made the decision made the biggest snub of the night when they did not include Monk.
Some may think that Monk does not belong with heavyweights like Lost, 24 and Law and Order. These three television programs are juggernauts, they have large followings and attract more viewers. The Emmy Awards are not just about popularity though. If they were then shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad would not have a place on the awards. The Emmy Awards should be about quality and significance as much as quality, and out of the four programs Monk is the most significant.
Rewind to about 20 years ago. This writer was only 10 years old but I remember what the USA Network was like back then. USA Network was known for two things: Monday Night Raw and La Femme Nikita. In the 90’s basic cable television programming was pretty poor. Cable networks like USA and TNT either aired reruns of network shows or failed network shows would be shuffled there after their demise.
Twenty years later basic cable television programming is hot, the USA Network is a big success and it all started with Monk. Monk was the program that put the USA Network on the map (with people other than wrestling fans). This summer Burn Notice, Royal Pains and Covert Affairs have been three of the top six rated basic cable programs and they rank fist through third in the key 18 – 49 demographic. The USA Network also has good programs in In Plain Sight, Psych and White Collar.
Monk’s significance is greater than just USA’s success though. Monk was the first basic cable program on any network that was a pop culture hit. Monk proved that basic cable network could actually create successful original programming. Without Monk the TNT, TBS, AMC and FXs of the world would not have joined the original programming fray. Imagine the different landscape of television without basic television programming.
Without Monk paving the way there would be no The Shield or Rescue Me on FX. AMC would not have Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Rizzoli and Isles and the Closer would not be a big ratings draw for TNT. No Men of a Certain Age, Leverage, Memphis Blue, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Justified, Sons of Anarchy or Louie. Monk made all of these programs possible.
What is the significance of the three programs that Jimmy Fallon did pay tribute to at the Emmy Awards? What is Law and Order’s significance other than it was really, really long? Lost is a great television program but will not have any impact on the future of television. Lost will actually probably have a negative impact on the future of television because everybody will try and make the “next Lost” and fail miserably. What is significant about 24? The only thing 24 did different was insert a clock before their commercial breaks.
At the 2010 Emmy Awards the major networks continued to represent in the comedy awards but it was basic cable that dominated the dramas. Basic cable programs won outstanding drama, outstanding actress in a drama, outstanding actor in a drama, outstanding supporting actor in a drama and outstanding writing for a drama series. It’s a shame that on possibly basic cable’s most triumphant night ever that one of the flagships of basic cable did not get the farewell it deserved.