75th Emmys

The Bear stars Matty Matheson and Emmy-winner Ebon Moss-Bachrach share a celebratory kiss

75th Emmys

The cast of Cheers reunites at the 75th Emmys

Fill 1
Fill 1
February 13, 2024

The 75th Emmys: Sealed With a Kiss

The much-awaited telecast revealed the golden status of shows old and new, especially The Bear and Succession.

Television Academy Staff

In the end, The Bear's success at the 75th Emmys was sealed in brash Chicago style, with an emphatic kiss.

The cast and creatives of the FX series — which centers on the struggles of a Windy City sandwich shop — had gathered onstage at L.A.'s Peacock Theater to accept the evening's penultimate award, for Outstanding Comedy Series. In the absence of showrunner Christopher Storer, who was ill with Covid, coproducer–actor Matty Matheson (a chef and restaurateur before his TV debut) stepped up to the mic.

"I want to thank restaurants as a whole, hospitality as a whole," he began. But before he could continue, fellow actor Ebon Moss- Bachrach — who'd won an Emmy earlier as supporting actor — grabbed Matheson's face and planted a kiss on his mouth, holding it for several seconds.

"I love you, Ebon!" cried Matheson, who plays Neil, the restaurant's handyman, after Moss-Bachrach released him. Then he picked right up where he'd left off: "I just love restaurants so much! The good, the bad. It's rough. Every day we've got to show up and cook and make people feel good. And all of us here, we get to make a show together. It's amazing! It's beautiful!"

The top comedy award capped a beautiful night for The Bear, which took six Emmys during the January 15 Fox telecast. Jeremy Allen White — who stars as Carmy, owner of The Bear's troubled eatery — was named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy. Moss-Bachrach won for his role as cousin Richie, and Ayo Edebiri, who plays aspiring chef Sydney, won as supporting actress. In addition to sharing the comedy series Emmy with his producing team, Storer won for both writing and directing.

The FX series, which streams on Hulu, had already won four statuettes at the Creative Arts Emmys, held January 6 and 7. With 10 Emmys in all, The Bear was the top winner of the competition.

All those honors were for the show's first season, which debuted on Hulu back in June 2022. But such was the case at the 75th Emmys, originally scheduled for last September. The competition — open to programs that originally aired between June 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023 — was postponed four months owing to strikes by the Writers Guild and SAG–AFTRA.

But the delay could not detract from the milestone celebration, which looked fondly backward while keeping a strong focus on the here and now. As host Anthony Anderson promised in his opening, "We're going to commemorate the greatest shows of today while paying tribute to some of the iconic series that mean so much to us."

And so it went, with cast members from classic shows reuniting to announce the nominees for many Emmy categories. Some of those beloved actors appeared on sets very similar to those they'd worked on — the bar from Cheers, the living room from Martin, the therapist's office from The Sopranos and the unisex bathroom from Ally McBeal — all recreated by Emmys production designer Brian Stonestreet using a combination of practical scenery and video content.

Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner, who played the daughter and son-in-law of bigoted Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) on Norman Lear's All in the Family, spoke from a lookalike of the Bunkers' living room.

"Sally and I were part of a unique television family," Reiner said. "Not just the Bunkers, but Norman Lear's extended family. ... Norman's shows made us laugh, made us think, made us feel. There's a Yiddish word that describes Norman's genius. It's kochleffel, a ladle that stirs the pot. When Norman stirred that pot, he wound up changing American culture."

Lear died in 2023 at age 101. In tribute, a hat like the one he often sported hung from the coatrack on his show's recreated set, and Lear's image appeared first in the evening's In Memoriam sequence.

Nostalgia was tempered with comic relief, courtesy of the versatile Anderson. His many costume changes included an array of chic eveningwear, the Rubber Man's black latex bodysuit from American Horror Story and, in an affectionate sendup of the famous chocolate factory scene from I Love Lucy, a factory supervisor's apron and hat. (Tracee Ellis Ross and Natasha Lyonne played Lucy and Ethel in the sketch.)

Anderson's mother, Doris Bowman, also supplied laughs by signaling winners from her seat when it was time to end their speeches. "Normally, we do playoff music, which everyone tends to ignore," Anderson explained. "This year I've got something that no one can ignore — my mama. When you see my mama coming, just thank Jesus and your family and wrap it up!"

Some winners were flustered by the mama treatment — Bowman standing, waving a sign and calling out, "I love you baby, but it's time!" — but one actually sought it out. "I'm not leaving without getting played off by Anthony Anderson's mom!" vowed John Oliver, who started reciting the lineup of Liverpool's soccer team just to extend his time.

For Succession, however, wrap-up had a very different meaning.

The much-honored HBO drama — about the fight for control within a family-owned conglomerate — captured six awards at its fourth and final Emmys. Those included, to little surprise, Outstanding Drama Series, for the third time. Showrunner Jesse Armstrong accepted the series award on behalf of the team; he was also honored for writing, and his colleague Mark Mylod took a statuette for directing. Lead actor went to Kieran Culkin, who played subversive son Roman Roy, and lead actress to Sarah Snook, who portrayed daughter Shiv. Supporting actor went to Matthew Macfadyen, who played Shiv's husband, the scheming Tom Wambsgans.

In accepting the writing award, Armstrong, who is British, expressed thanks to the U.S. creative community. "I'm very grateful for the generosity I've been shown working in this country," he said. "It was a great sadness to end this show, but it was a great pleasure to do it."

Back onstage to accept the drama series honor, he indulged in some dry British humor: "This is a show about family, but it's also about what happens when partisan news coverage gets intertwined with divisive right-wing politics. And after four seasons of satire, as I understand it, that is a problem we have now fixed! So, we can now depart the stage."

In other acting awards, Quinta Brunson of ABC's Abbott Elementary was named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, giving her a second Emmy (she won in 2022 for writing). Supporting actress in a drama went to Jennifer Coolidge of HBO's The White Lotus, her second consecutive honor for that role. And Niecy Nash-Betts was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series for her role as Glenda Cleveland in the true crime drama Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

Paul Walter Hauser won for supporting actor in a limited or anthology series for his portrayal of real-life serial killer Larry Hall in Black Bird (Apple TV+). He surprised the audience with a rap: "Thank you to the voters in the TV Academy / Thank you, Mom and Dad, you nurtured what I had in me / Dennis Lehane, Taron Egerton, your talent can move boulders / If I look tall it's cause I'm standing on both of their shoulders ... ."

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of emmy magazine here.

This article originally appeared in its entirety in emmy magazine Issue #01, 2024, under the title, "Sealed With a Kiss"

The interview for this story was completed before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strikes.  

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