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Emmys: "Plagiarized Lines" and "Paying Sheldon $1M an Episode"

Inside jokes from Monday night explained

Lead Actor, Miniseries/Movie
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey

Among the many jokes and quips that were made at Monday night's Emmy Awards, a few may have left some viewers scratching their heads.

The Hollywood Reporter is here to help, giving you the backstory on five inside jokes from the ceremony.

1. Game of Thrones' poor job security

During his opening monologue, host Seth Meyers congratulated Game of Thrones on its 19 Emmy nominations, including "worst job security."

"If you're an actor on Game of Thrones, I imagine you wait for next week's script the way most people wait for biopsy results," Meyers said. "I think you better sit down. Your character's been invited to a wedding."

Game of Thrones has killed off many of its beloved characters in gruesome fashion, most notably in two recent, shocking episodes, season three's "The Rains of Castamere" and season four's "The Lion and the Rose." In the former, commonly known as the Red Wedding episode for the reception at which a massacre unfolds, Catelyn and Robb Stark are murdered along with numerous others. In the latter, at another wedding, Joffrey dies after he drinks a goblet of poisoned wine.

Andy Samberg later referenced that episode during Monday night's Emmys when he pretended to be Joffrey and cried out to Lena Headey — the actress who plays his mother, Cersei, on the show — that he'd been poisoned.

2. Big Bang Theory salaries

The stars of The Big Bang Theory, including Jim Parsons, recently inked hefty new contracts — with Parsons' deal for playing Sheldon Cooper set to pay him roughly $1 million an episode — after protracted negotiations that delayed production on season eight of the CBS sitcom. It was that pay raise that Meyers was referring to when he joked, "Shows like Game of Thrones, The Good Wife and Fargo have the right idea: When your show starts getting some attention and critical acclaim, kill off all the main characters. Otherwise, before you know it, you're paying Sheldon a million dollars an episode." As the camera turned to a smiling but seemingly embarrassed Parsons, Meyers said, "You are worth every penny," as Parsons waved him away and could be seen mouthing, "Stop it."

3. Josh Charles, come back!

When Julianna Margulies accepted her Emmy for best actress in a drama series, she thanked her Good Wife co-stars including Josh Charles, who exited the series last season after his character, Will Gardner, was shockingly gunned down in court. He's since explained that after more than four years of playing the same character, he wanted the opportunity to do something new, but Good Wife fans are still mourning Gardner, and it seems Margulies is upset his real-life counterpart is no longer on the show, telling him, "I miss you every day. What were you thinking?" Charles has said that Margulies gave him guidance about his decision. 

4. Jon Hamm will try to get an Emmy any way he can 

Poor Jon Hamm. He lost the Emmy for best actor in a drama series for a seventh time Monday night, making him the most nominated actor in that category to not win an award. There were a few references in the show to Hamm's Emmy losing streak, but one of the slightly veiled ones came during the Q&A that Meyers conducted. When Margulies wondered if she could have Maggie Smith's Emmy if she wins, since the elderly British actress was predictably absent at the awards show, the Good Wife star was told that "someone already called it" as the camera zoomed in on a sheepish-looking Hamm. Luckily for Margulies, she won her own Emmy later that night.

5. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson talk "plagiarized lines"

True Detective co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson engaged in some memorable banter when they presented the award for best actor in a miniseries or movie, but they finished their intro with a joke that may have been a bit too inside baseball. In response to McConaughey telling Harrelson he should be grateful for what he has, Harrelson quipped, "I'm grateful you had all the plagiarized lines."

The joke touched on allegations that surfaced online in early August that the writing and dialogue in the show matched up with Thomas Ligotti's novel The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and other works.

Creator Nic Pizzolatto responded to the claims, saying "nothing in the television show True Detective was plagiarized."

HBO also issued a statement: "Exploring and engaging with ideas and themes that philosophers and novelists have wrestled with over time is one of the show's many strengths — we stand by the show, its writing and Nic Pizzolatto entirely."