Five Takeaways From the 2012 Emmy Awards

Modern Family, Homeland, Amy Poehler, and the color yellow were the big winners of the night.

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Television spent three self-indulgent hours honoring television with Jimmy Kimmel hosting the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards. If you opted instead to watch President Obama and Mitt Romney repeat campaign platitudes on 60 Minutes or replacement referees muddle NFL football, here's what you missed:

[PHOTOS: Highlights From the 2012 Emmy Awards.]

We're still not letting go of this whole "Year of the Women" thing


The 2011/2012 television season was hailed as the "Year of the Women" with a number of new shows written, produced, and or starring female talent. The Emmy-opening sequence played up that meme, with some of 2012's breakout stars rescued host Jimmy Kimmel from some botched botox as he cowered in a bathroom stall. Many of the supposed "Year of the Woman" shows in the 2011/2012 season fell flat (cough cough, Whitney, cough cough), and the concept itself endured a fair amount of blowback. But a few—including New Girl and Veep—stood out, as evidenced in Zooey Deschanel and Julia Louis-Dreyfus's spots in the opening and their shows' presence on the nomination list. Perhaps the biggest splash in the "Year of the Women" pool was HBO's Girls, so it was fitting that its creator, writer, and star, the oft-nude (at least on the show) Lena Dunhan stole the sketch, appearing naked, yet again, and eating cake (a reference to the Girl's first season finale) in a stall by herself.

Modern Family still rules


Since its broadly popular, widely acclaimed first season, the critic class has grown disenchanted with the ABC series, arguing that Modern Family has grown a little stale in its third season, and other burgeoning comedies like Parks and Recreation and Louis deserve some of the spotlight. Yet, Modern Family all but swept the comedy category, clinching the supporting actor award for Eric Stonestreet, supporting actress for Julie Bowen, directing for Steven Levitan, and the big dog, best comedic series. Amy Poehler wins the Emmys without actually winning an Emmy


Poehler was again denied a lead actress in a comedy Emmy for her portrayal of Leslie Knope, the lovable, small town bureaucrat in NBC's Parks and Recreation. No sore loser, however: She and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won for HBO's Veep, launched an adorable riff, switching acceptance speeches in a congratulatory hug, with Dreyfus concluding her thank yous with, "Lastly, isn't it a shame that Amy Poehler didn't win? What?" This is the third year Poehler collaborated with her competition to spoof their Emmy rivalry, last year staging a beauty pageant showdown of sorts, and in 2010 donning silly eyewear for the "and the nominees are..." camera cuts. Couple Poehler's flare for shenanigans with her stunning, low-cut black gown (she and hubby Will Arnett recently separated) and it's safe to say Poehler proved that she didn't need no stinkin' statue to own the show.

 Behold the rise of Homeland (and Showtime)


The freshman Showtime drama played dramatic counterpart to Modern Family's comedic dominance, nabbing the lead actress award for Claire Danes, lead actor for Damian Lewis (the actor who plays a marine-come-terrorist, is, it turns out, hilariously British), best writing for Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, and Gideon Raff, and best dramatic series. Unlike Modern Family, Homeland was somewhat of an underdog, upsetting Mad Man in both the best series and best lead actor categories. Wins in all four categories were a first for the premium network. Fall will be all about yellow


But what's an award show without a little fashion? Emmy winners Claire Danes, Julie Bowen, and Julianne Moore (who won best actress in a movie or mini-series for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in the HBO's Game Change) all electrified the red carpet in yellow frocks. Coincidence? Perhaps. But it won't be a coincidence if the canary hue keeps popping through fall fashion—who doesn't want to look like a winner? Tierney Sneed is associate editor of U.S. News Opinion. E-mail her at tsneed@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.