There's something to be said for delivering exactly what people expect.
As Seth Meyers, the host for Monday night's NBC broadcast of the Emmys, has said himself, he's not exactly the world's most versatile performer. He doesn't sing. He doesn't dance. He doesn't do skits. He tells jokes -- short, topical, one-liner-type jokes.
And that's precisely what he gave you. Nothing fancy: Just Meyers, telling the kind of jokes that kept him on Saturday Night Live and won him his own late- night talk show.
Surely it came as no surprise that most of the jokes were about television; they always are at the Emmys. But unlike jokes from some other Emmy hosts, none of Meyers' were mean, pointed or unsuited to the occasion.
You could see the difference in Meyers' approach when former host Jimmy Kimmel came out to present the award for best supporting actress in a comedy -- and turned it into a very funny screed against Matthew McConaughey. As a presenter in a short, mean burst, it was perfect. But for a host, nastiness becomes tiresome, which is why Meyers was wise to avoid it.
That choice may not have made Meyers the most exciting host, but he was good-natured and efficient -- as witness that on-time ending. Those are qualities we don't always see at the Emmys.
We also don't often see the combination of class and emotion the show provided in its best segment: a sweet version of Smile by Sara Bareilles that led into a lovely tribute to Robin Williams from Billy Crystal. And then a fade to black, and silence.
As for the awards, for the series at least, they were largely predictable -- and largely a rebuff to shows like True Detective and Orange Is the New Black that tried to game the system by moving into categories where they didn't belong. Repeat winners abounded, led by series champs Modern Family for a record-tying fifth time and Breaking Bad for the second. Which is fine: Complain about repetition all you want, but why should people who were great this season be punished for having been great before?
Still, if you're judging the show by the host, then in some way, the most welcome part of Meyers' performance was his willingness to step aside and play straight man to other performers. In short, to behave as a host, rather than as a spotlight-seeking star.
And when you've been hired as a host, that's not such a bad way to behave.