Homer Simpson greeted viewers of the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday in a bizarre opening that also included Anthony Anderson and Bryan Cranston.
The show kicked off with the cartoon character walking out on and immediately falling through the stage in the opening sketch. Anderson then jumped to his feet to “search” for a new host, running backstage to steal some Emmys with his mother and talk to a producer about who should fill Simpson’s shoes.
“What we need is an Emmy winner who can talk about the power of television,” Anderson said.
Bryan Cranston was then pushed on stage, where he launched into an impassioned speech about the power of television.
Cranston talked about watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon on television fifty years ago when he was 13 years old, and how it inspired him to “be anyone” and “go anywhere.”
“Even Albuquerque,” he quipped in a reference to his iconic show, “Breaking Bad.”
The actor went on to deliver a strong (albeit brief) speech about what modern television can accomplish.
“Fifty years later, television still transports us to faraway places like Winterfell, the Upside Down, even paradise,” said Cranston. “And it welcomes us into a family home where we laugh with the Dunphys and we cry with the Pearsons. And it’s multiple times every single week. Please stop making us cry.”
The opening went on to have Cranston say that “television has never been this damn good” and led into a montage of selected scenes from shows over the last year.
Responses to the whole thing were varied:
It wasn’t clear what the opening number was going to look like this year, as the Emmys are host-free for the first time in 16 years. In 2018, hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost rang in the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards by joking with celebrities like Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell and John Legend about the unprecedented diversity at the show.