The 2013 Emmys were—as they almost always are—excruciating. But between the horrific meta jokes and the bizarre interpretive dance segment, there were a handful of moments of actual good television—most of them, as tends to be the case with live TV, totally unplanned.
Like, for example, Merritt Weaver's perfect Emmys acceptance speech, or Elton John's eyebrow-raised reading of his Liberace cue cards.
Or, outside the ceremony itself, Shemar Moore's deeply, beautifully weird interstitials—what was he high on? Barbiturates?—and the poor, terrified guy who wound up behind Neil Patrick Harris in an unfortunate shot.
Even the death tributes, usually the worst part of any awards show, were worth it—for Edie Falco's beautiful tribute to James Gandolfini, sure, but also for Kevin Spacey slapping at the camera operator in his face as the long montage was being introduced.
As far as the written stuff went, well, there was Falco, and the contributions of the always reliable Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell. But we liked the introductory videos to the outstanding writing for a variety series award—complete with Oprah! And puppets!