Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

What’s Funny About That?: Emmy Nominations for Acting in Comedy Series July 27, 2007

Filed under: Emmy Awards,Television — Emily @ 2:47 pm

Funny ha ha, funny awkward, or funny something else? What was running through the Emmy voters’ minds when they selected the following batch of nominees for acting in comedies? Some of their choices perplex me, but at least they found a lot to love on 30 Rock and The Office, which, in my opinion, are the two funniest current comedies on television.

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Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
America Ferrera (Ugly Betty)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)*
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds)

My Reaction:
I’m relatively happy with these nominees. I do wish there had been room for Lauren Graham. It’s very shameful that she never received much-deserved recognition for her spot-on portrayal of Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. I’d like to see Tina Fey win this category, but Liz Lemon may be too understated a character to garner the same amount of attention as America Ferrera’s more flamboyant Betty or Felicity Huffman’s high strung desperate housewife.

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Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Ricky Gervais (Extras)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)

My Reaction:
Let’s face it. CBS doesn’t have any strong leading comedic men. So, if the Emmy voters felt like they must include someone from the network, I suppose Charlie Sheen was the best choice. Why not just snub that network’s lead comedy actors, and instead go with the less conventional choice of James Roday, for his hilarious role as Shawn on Psych? Well, that would be a crazy idea to Emmy voters. They’ve probably never heard of Roday, and Sheen is a member of one of Hollywood’s favorite families. I hate favoritism. Tony Shalhoub’s nominations are getting tiresome, as is Monk itself. It’s always nice to see Carrell get recognition for his pitch perfect portrayal of Michael on The Office, but I’d imagine Alec Baldwin has this one in the bag. He shares Charlie’s benefit of being one member of a well-known Hollywood family, but he also actually deserves to win this award for his hilarious role on 30 Rock.

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Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)

My Reaction:
This is the silliest category – and I don’t mean that in a good way. My main issue is with Two and a Half Men taking two slots, when there are enough, more deserving, funny ladies on The Office to fill up this category. I guess when it comes to women in comedy, Emmy voters have different taste than I do.

I would have chosen Angela Kinsey (uproariously uptight Angela), Phyllis Smith (surprisingly colorful Phyllis), and Melora Hardin (the sometimes calm, sometimes manic Jan) over Jenna Fischer from The Office. I love Pam, but her character doesn’t stand out as much to me, in terms of comedy, as do the three I mentioned. Oh well.

I also don’t find Jaime Pressly very amusing, but am instead somewhat offended by her caricature of a Southern woman on My Name is Earl. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that Ugly Betty is too campy for me, so of course Vanessa Williams would not be my first choice to be nominated. But at least the Emmys are showing some variety in the types of comedy they are recognizing.

Speaking of variety, they still didn’t show any love to another hour long comedy, the admittedly past-its-prime Gilmore Girls. Two of its supporting players would have been more worthy choices here than the Two and a Half Men nominees: Liza Weil as Paris, and Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore. I guess Gilmore Girls fans will have to settle for honoring these underrated actors on our own time.

If I have to choose a winner out of these lackluster nominees, I will go with Jenna Fischer. She deserves it more than most in this list, and maybe she can share it with her Office mates.

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Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Kevin Dillon (Entourage)
Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Rainn Wilson (The Office)

My Reaction:
Hooray for the Neil Patrick Harris nomination! He is by far the most deserving player on any CBS comedy, so his recognition shows that there is still some justice in the world. I also have no complaints with Piven and Dillon from Entourage. I guess Jon Cryer was a given – can’t recognize one Man without the other, at least not in Emmy-land. Again, I was surprised by who Emmy voters chose from The Office. Then again, Emmy voters seem to go for the conventional over the unconventional. (Dwight is the token comic relief on The Office). For me, though, Rainn Wilson’s exaggerated character takes away from my enjoyment of the other, equally funny actors on the show.

With that in mind, I would have nominated John Krasinski (what happened to Emmy voters recognizing two parts of a pair – where Pam is, shouldn’t Jim follow?) and Leslie David Baker (the hilariously morose Stanley) over Wilson.

I wish space could have also been made for a couple of 30 Rock’s supporting men – if not Tracy Morgan (who can be too over the top sometimes on the show), then at least Jack McBrayer, for his refreshing, seemingly effortless portrayal of Kenneth the page.

Given the actual nominees, and even if my other choices had made the cut, Neil Patrick Harris deserves this award. No question. His character is… LeGenDary.

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Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:
Dixie Carter (Desperate Housewives)
Laurie Metcalf (Desperate Housewives)
Elaine Stritch (30 Rock)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)
Salma Hayek (Ugly Betty)

My Reaction:
I don’t have much of an opinion here, since I only saw Elaine Stritch’s appearance. She was pretty funny as Jack’s mother on 30 Rock, but I wonder if Isabella Rossellini was also considered in this category, for her role as Jack’s ex-wife, and a formidable opponent for him. I really have no preference about who should win this one.

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Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
Martin Landau (Entourage)
Sir Ian McKellen (Extras)
Stanley Tucci (Monk)
Giovanni Ribisi (My Name Is Earl)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)

My Reaction:
I only saw Stanley Tucci’s imitation of Monk on Monk, and while it was entertaining, I don’t think it is Emmy worthy. So I have no clue who should win this one.

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I’ve now voiced my opinion about all the major Emmy categories. There are still a few odds and ends I’d like to wrap up, such as the less publicized categories in which some great shows did get recognized. Look for that some time soon. Until then, take a look at these related Emmy posts:

 

So You Think You Can Dance: July 25, 2007 July 25, 2007

Filed under: So You Think You Can Dance,Television — Emily @ 8:02 pm

UPDATE: RESULTS SHOW REACTIONS ARE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION

Welcome to this week’s Top 10 Performance Show. They mixed things up tonight. In addition to the newly matched couples, everyone danced a solo choreographed by Wade Robson, a routine he describes as being about “peace” and “anti-war.” It was to the song “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer. Before getting to the solos, here’s a rundown of who the couples were, what they danced, and what I and the judges thought.

Couple #1: Lauren and Pasha, Hip Hop, “Fuego” by Pitbull

My Thoughts: This was very different, and there were many distractions, from the swirling neon green shapes on the stage, to their skeleton costumes. Weird. My eyes were constantly drawn to Pasha, and although it was strange to see him doing hip hop, he did a good job.

What Did the Judges Think?

  • Mia: “Pasha, you pulled it off. You did it, and you did it excellently.” “Lauren, you’re blowin’ up.”
  • Mary: “What a way to start the show tonight.” “You guys instantly clicked and had a connection.”
  • Nigel: “Shane created human Transformers didn’t he?” “Pasha, you’re the best Russian hip hop dancer I’ve seen.”

Couple #2: Sabra and Kameron, Contemporary, “Amazing Grace” by Crystal Lewis
My Thoughts: I liked the simple outfits. I didn’t really “get” the dance, but at least we were able to notice Kameron without him being in Lacey’s shadow. They had an impressive jump sequence.

What Did the Judges Think?

  • Mia: “Kameron, I feel like you’ve been exposed tonight… the way you danced was very very immature… It was hard for me to watch you.” Ouch. “Sabra full of grace… Your career is gonna skyrocket.”
  • Mary: “I don’t see the magic yet between the two of you either.” “Sabra, you’re just pure perfection out there.”
  • Nigel: “That was really well danced from the pair of you.” “Kameron, I didn’t quite believe the emotional journey you were on.”

Couple #3: Lacey and Danny, Samba, “Hip Hip Chin Chin” by Club Des Belugas

My Thoughts: Lacey finally was overshadowed by someone else. Even with all her hip shaking and facial contortions, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Danny. He is such a strong, effortless (and attractive) dancer. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance, and was disappointed when it ended.

What Did the Judges Think?

  • Mia: “I think that was the sexiest dance so far this season. That was hot.” “Danny, you’re like the stallion of dance.” “Lacey, hot, you’re ridiculous.”
  • Mary: “Danny, this wasn’t my favorite tonight… it’s just a little bit lacking in the technique.” “Lacey, fabulous.”
  • Nigel: “Lacey, don’t forget that [Danny’s] there dancing with you.” “Danny, what you lacked in technique you made up in performance tonight.”

Couple #4: Jaimie and Dominic, Viennese Waltz, “Man of La Mancha” by Linda Eder

My Thoughts: All that yellow fabric was very distracting. In fact, it was all I could see most of the time. This routine was almost painful for me to watch, as well as boring. Most of Jaimie’s performances have, for me, lacked entertainment value, and this one was no different. Although she has a bubbly off-stage personality, it doesn’t carry into her performances, which is why I’ve never noticed her much.

What Did the Judges Think?

  • Mia: “This isn’t your best…The carriage, the technique, and the lines were atrocious.” She complimented Jaimie’s lines but said she has to be careful with her mouth “because you open it a lot like you’re catching flies sometimes.” Interesting critique.
  • Mary: “It was way way over the top. In the beginning it was almost cartoonish… The technique was not very good.” “I couldn’t believe the chemistry between the two of you.”
  • Nigel: “This is the first time that I’ve been really disappointed with you [Dominic]… It started to look a bit like Groucho Marx turning into Mr. Bean… It didn’t work for me tonight on any level. I’m sorry.” He couldn’t really judge Jaimie’s part because he was “too busy watching Dominic being hammy.”

Couple #5: Sara and Neil, Disco, “Knock on Wood” by Rachel Stevens

My Thoughts: I was concerned when I heard we would have to see cheesy Neil do the cheesiest of dances, disco. The baby blue leisure suit didn’t quell my fears. Sara’s hot pink dress was also distracting. With all the flashing lights, sporadic camerawork, and “cute” glances at the audience, I felt like I was watching a halftime show. The acrobatics added to that effect. Sara was more fun to watch than Neil. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about his body movements that bothers me. He isn’t as commanding as most of the other guys. I hate to use the word, but he comes across as kind of “wimpy.” Sorry, Neil fans. That’s the best word I can use to describe this intangible quality that makes it difficult for me to like his performances.

What Did the Judges Think?

  • Mia: “It was so much fun. You guys are like the biggest dorks in the best costumes.”
  • Mary: “Fun fun fun.”
  • Nigel: “When it’s like that, I love disco.”

Assessing the Solos (My comments are followed by the judges’ critique of each solo)

  • Solo #1: Jaimie – She did a nice job, doing the honors of introducing this routine that we all knew by heart by the end of the show. Nigel told her that she needs to “find a way to bring more dynamism (?) to her emotions.” This is the problem I have had with Jaimie, which I mentioned earlier.
  • Solo #2: Dominic – He seemed stiffer than Jaimie, but gave it a lot of emotion. Nigel thought he was “a little tight” but Mary thought he “showed a lot of emotion.” Mia complained that nobody put their own “essence” into the routine. I’d disagree. A couple of them did make it their own.
  • Solo #3: Sara – She brought a little hip hop flair to her solo. Nigel thought she was “small in her movement.” Mary connected with her, and Mia got “a little misty.”
  • Solo #4: Pasha – He was very graceful, and had quite a lot of volume in his scream. Nigel thought “it showed that [he] was out of his league” in this routine. He surprised Mary, and it was overdramatic and awkward for Mia.
  • Solo #5: Lauren – Her scream was more of a squeak, but otherwise she was very enthusiastic. Nigel thought she made it work with the music. Mary “felt every minute.” Mia did cheesy “I heart you” sign language.
  • Solo #6: Neil – His rendition was too theatrical for my taste. Nigel said “it looks ugly” when Neil brings his shoulders up high. Maybe that’s what my problem with him is. Too much tension? Mia and Mary both said “beautifully danced, but no emotion.”
  • Solo #7: Sabra – Now that’s how you scream. She has some powerful lungs! Her solo was very smooth and expressive. The best so far. Nigel said “You are small, but you dance so large it is fantastic to watch.” Mary bowed down to her. Mia said that after tonight Sabra is her favorite.
  • Solo #8: Kameron – He didn’t seem very invested in the routine; it was more like he was going through the motions. Nigel “has felt a little let down over the weeks” … but he was happy with this solo. Mary thought he did a great job, and Mia feels like he applied her critique from his earlier performance to this one.
  • Solo #9: Lacey – Her facial expressions distracted me, as usual, but otherwise she did a good job. Nigel said she has everything. Mary agrees. So does Mia, but she did want a little more emotionally.
  • Solo #10: Danny – I didn’t like his scream, but he did a great job with the rest. Nigel thinks Danny was the first one who made it his own, “like honey being poured out of a bottle.” I agree about the honey part. Mary thinks “we’re getting more emotion each time.” Mia said he “has the potential of being in the books of history” if he gets rid of his boundaries, and breaks his chains. “You are beyond, beyond, beyond, beyond…”

Ranking the Couples (Best to Worst)

  1. Lacey and Danny
  2. Lauren and Pasha
  3. Sabra and Kameron
  4. Sara and Neil
  5. Jaimie and Dominic

Predicting the Bottom Guys and Girls

  • Dominic and Neil
  • Lauren and Jaimie

Who Should Go Home

  • Neil
  • Lauren

As you can see, I am hoping that Danny has gained some fans since last week when he was in the bottom three for the third week in a row. In fact, I’m about to start calling for him now.

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Related Post

 

We Now Resume Regularly Scheduled Programming

Filed under: Books — Emily @ 4:41 pm

Harry Potter fans who haven’t read Book 7, feel free to read on.  I am a firm believer in not spoiling books, so I won’t talk at all about the book’s plot here.

Some of you may be wondering where I’ve been, since I haven’t updated my blog in several days.  Well, I’ve been doing what millions of other people around the world have been doing: hiding from the world while reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so as not to have any of the book’s many twist and turns spoiled for me.  I figure many people are still plowing through the 750+ pages, so I will save my review of the book for another day, weeks from now.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never started the Harry Potter series, please do yourself a favor and get started on them as soon as possible. To prepare for the release of Book 7, I re-read the previous six books, and I may have enjoyed reading them even more the second time through.

This is the first time I’ve been reading a book that I felt the need to shut myself off from the world.  Every time I left my house I was afraid I would accidentally stumble upon some rabid group of Potter-fans shouting out the secrets of the final chapter.  Two days ago at the gym, the woman on the exercise bike next to mine was feverishly reading the book (and was nearing the end) as she pedaled along.  I was afraid to look in her direction, lest I spy a look in her eyes that would give away some momentous turn of events.  Another day I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, and I heard the words “Potter” and “book” in a friendly exchange between another customer and a cashier two lanes over from me.   Thankfully, the beeping of the multitudes of scanners drowned out whatever it was they were saying, or I would have had to leave my groceries on the counter and run screaming from the store, my hands covering my ears.  And although I would make various comments about the book to friends who were ahead of me in the reading, I requested that they not respond in any way.

So now it is with great relief that I can walk out my front door, turn on the tv, and talk to friends and family, without having to worry about what surprises from the Potter-verse these social interactions may unveil.

So, as the title suggests, I will now resume regularly scheduled posts on my blog.  First up will be a review of this week’s So You Think You Can Dance. Other posts to watch for:

  • A review of this week’s episode of The 4400
  • My thoughts about the Emmy comedy nominees
  • An update on what I will be reading now that my many months of Potter reading have reached their end point. (It is quite difficult to find something as a follow-up to The Deathly Hallows.)
 

Selling the Drama: Emmy Nominations for Acting in Drama Series July 21, 2007

Filed under: Emmy Awards,Lost,Television — Emily @ 9:39 am

I had a lot of gripes about the outstanding series nominees, and while I’m not as upset about the actors nominated for their roles in drama series, I am disappointed by some of the names that aren’t on the list.

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Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Patricia Arquette (Medium)
Minnie Driver (The Riches)
Edie Falco (The Sopranos)
Sally Field (Brothers & Sisters)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)

My Reaction:
Only one of my choices made it onto this short list – Sally Field. And she’s very deserving for her portrayal of Nora the matriarch on Brothers and Sisters. Another deserving mom? Connie Britton – for playing the most realistic mother and wife on television – Tami on Friday Night Lights. She would have been my pick to win in this category! Edie Falco is there, probably because she deserves it, but also because of the Emmy rule to honor shows and actors in their final season. I was surprised to see Minnie Driver recognized for her role on The Riches. It seems a bit of an overkill to have three law enforcement characters represented (Arquette, Hargitay, Sedgwick). I guess the Emmys want to recognize female empowerment. Well, in that case, what is more empowering than a president of the entire human race? Yes, I believe Mary McDonnell as (former) President Roslin on Battlestar Galactica is equally impressive, if not more so, than all of these women’s roles. But why would the Academy recognize a quality sci-fi show when they can shower praise on the more popular Heroes? (Remember, I love Heroes, but it pales in comparison to Battlestar Galactica.)

So, to sum up my opinion, if I had my way I would have replaced Patricia Arquette and Mariska Hargitay with Connie Britton and Mary McDonnell.

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Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
James Gandolfini (The Sopranos)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
James Spader (Boston Legal)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)

My Reaction:
Gandolfini – a given. Laurie – quite deserving. Denis Leary – probably equally deserving. After that, things get dicey. I can’t imagine that James Spader does much dramatic acting on Boston Legal, so why is he nominated in this category ahead of some truly dynamic, intense roles, such as Edward James Olmos’ Captain Adama on Battlestar Galactica, or the utterly believable Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights? Well, I guess I answered my own question about Captain Adama when I talked about Mary McDonnell, but I can see no excuse for leaving Chandler off of this list. Coach Taylor seems like the role he was born to play, and he deserves recognition for the fine job he has done. The final nominee, Kiefer Sutherland, is a respectable choice, and I am a huge fan of 24. However, I think another Jack was more worthy of this final space (by the way, why not add a sixth spot here like for the actresses?) – Matthew Fox’s Jack Shepherd on Lost. Sure, many fans hated him this season, but that’s because he portrayed Jack the way he was supposed to – the leader turning his back on his people, losing their trust, and ultimately feeling such desperation and guilt that he feels like he must single-handedly remedy their ominous and impending fate. Now how did Jack Bauer compete with that this season?

In summary, I am okay with everyone on this list except Spader and Sutherland, who have both had their turn in the spotlight. Maybe next year there will be a place for Matthew Fox or Kyle Chandler, but the way the Academy members’ minds seem to work, I won’t count on it.

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Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy)
Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)
Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Aida Turturro (The Sopranos)
Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos)

My Reaction:
The token final season nominations for two Sopranos supporting players aren’t surprising. I had Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson on my Dream Ballot, so I was happy to see them make the actual list (and hope that Chandra Wilson wins this category for her powerful and commanding portrayal of Bailey). I’ve even enjoyed Rachel Griffith’s character on Brothers and Sisters. So overall, I am okay with these nominees. The only one that I question is Katherine Heigl. I think she’s a terrific actress, but her character wasn’t given as much to work with this season as were Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson with their characters. Was it really necessary to give half of these slots to Grey’s Anatomy? There are plenty of other deserving actresses. My preference would have been for Elizabeth Mitchell to take Heigl’s place here. She was fantastically ambiguous as Juliet on Lost.

I really do hope that Chandra Wilson wins this award, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy gives it to Lorraine Bracco since it’s her last chance.

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Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos)

My Reaction:
This is probably the category that the Academy got most right. How satisfying to see not one, but two nominees from Lost! Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson were both on my Dream Ballot, for their riveting performances this season on Lost, as we finally learned the truth about Locke’s emotionally (and physically) scarring past and the source of motivation and level of deviousness (or insanity?) of Ben Linus. I’m also happy to see Masi Oka, whose enthusiasm was a breath of fresh air on Heroes, and T.R. Knight, who always does a good job as George on Grey’s Anatomy (even though I didn’t like where the show took his character this season). Then there’s the expected Sopranos nominee – nothing to complain about there. That leaves perennial Emmy favorite William Shatner, who seems to always be nominated. I can’t fault the Academy too much, since they did manage to put a few new faces in this category, but still I would much rather have seen one more fresh face instead of Shatner’s. My choice? James Callis, for his multi-faceted portrayal of the sometimes desperate, sometimes arrogant, always slightly insane Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. But, as we’ve sadly seen, nominating a Sci-Fi Network series in the acting categories is apparently the same in the Academy’s eyes as nominating actors from The CW (although there’s nothing on The CW that even comes close to Battlestar’s quality).

So, I give props to the Emmy committee for acknowledging so many fine actors in this category. They had best not give this award to Shatner, though! I’m hoping for a Michael Emerson win, because I truly think he deserves it.

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Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
Kate Burton (Grey’s Anatomy)
Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy)
Marcia Gay Harden (Law & Order: SVU)
Leslie Caron (Law & Order: SVU)
Jean Smart (24)

My Reaction:
I don’t keep up with guest appearances too much, but I was surprised that Jean Smart made the list since she had such a small role on this season’s 24. I suppose it was memorable, but also a bit campy. I always thought Kate Burton did an excellent job as Meredith’s Alzheimer’s ravaged mother. I’d like to see her win, although Elizabeth Reaser is probably the more highly favored to win from Grey’s Anatomy.

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Guest Actor in a Drama Series:
Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal)
Forest Whitaker (ER)
David Morse (House)
Tim Daly (The Sopranos)
John Goodman (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)
Eli Wallach (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip)

My Reaction:
The only one of these performances that I caught was David Morse on House. In my opinion, his character was rather dull, and couldn’t have been very interesting for him to play. So I doubt he will win over some of these others. I would expect Forest Whitaker to take this trophy, because even though I didn’t see the episode, I remember the buzz about his appearance on ER.

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Related Posts

Check back soon for my thoughts on the nominees for acting in comedy series.

 

A Nightmare on Emmy Street: Dissecting the Horrific Nominations July 19, 2007

Filed under: Emmy Awards,Lost,Television — Emily @ 5:08 pm

Something has gone terribly wrong. Is a masked man to blame? A creature of the night? A disfigured maniac? No, we have no one to blame but the members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. These people took what could have been a beautiful thing and turned it into a big old mess. Since I have so many things to lament, I thought I would do so in installments. First up, the Outstanding Series nominees.

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Outstanding Drama Series:
Boston Legal
Grey’s Anatomy
Heroes
House
The Sopranos

My Reaction:
I didn’t choose any of these shows on my Dream Emmy Ballot. (My choices included Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, and Lost. I really thought that Lost and Friday Night Lights would make it on to the list – in a world where justice still exists. I have no problem with House and The Sopranos being given nods. House is always excellent, and it would have been quite an insult not to nominate The Sopranos for its last season (although since I don’t watch the show I have no opinion on how good the season was). However, (deep breath), I am sickened by the other three nominees. Let me break it down.

  • Boston Legal – Am I out of the loop? I just don’t get it. What is the big deal about this show? I can never stand to watch more than a few minutes of it. The characters are caricatures, the show relies too heavily on guest stars… Can someone please explain to me why the Emmy voters are so fascinated by this legal comedy? No one could convince me that this show deserved to be nominated over Friday Night Lights or Lost. Boo!
  • Grey’s Anatomy – I have always been a fan of this show – until the second half of this season, when I lost interest amidst a series of absurd storylines (Izzy and George, Meredith and Derek, Meredith’s stepmom’s sudden death… I could go on). Shows with subpar seasons should not be rewarded (case in point, I’m okay with 24 being “snubbed” this year), particularly when there are shows waiting in the wings that had near-perfect seasons (aka Lost and Friday Night Lights). But, from what I understand, nominations are based on a single episode that is submitted to the Academy. How can a Best Show award be given out fairly when it is based on one fragment of the full product? Last year Grey’s deserved its nomination. But not this year. Boo again!
  • Heroes – While I’ve never liked Boston Legal and I’ve given up on Grey’s Anatomy, I am a big fan and supporter of Heroes. However, I’ve always felt that it lacks the caliber of writing and acting that better shows possess. In my opinion, it mainly earned its nomination because of its popularity and buzz-worthiness. It is extremely creative, and I liked the comic book touches, but in terms of overall quality, I just don’t think it’s in the same league as a Sopranos or a Lost. Boo again. This is the nominee that I was most shocked by. Surely Friday Night Lights deserved a spot over this!

Final Word on the Drama Nominees:
What are the criteria for Best Drama nominees? I would hope the voters are looking for a show that possesses excellence across the board: writing, acting, directing, production design, etc. But based on what they came up with, I’m not even sure they watch television. I’m not bitter at all… As for the winner, The Sopranos might as well go ahead and clear a space on the mantle for their trophy.

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Outstanding Comedy Series:
Entourage
The Office
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty

My Reaction:
Since there aren’t many comedy series to choose from to begin with, these nominees aren’t too surprising. Somehow, though, I only managed to include two of these in my dream world ballot (The Office and 30 Rock). I couldn’t be happier that those two gems are receiving kudos for their comedic genius. Hooray! As for the others…

  • Entourage – I’ve seen a few episodes of this show, and I don’t really get it. (In its defense, though, I’ve only seen season one episodes, so I have no opinion on the current season.) It must be a decent show since so many people love it. But it had better not win over one of the aforementioned comedy treasures!
  • Ugly Betty – Like Entourage, I’ve watched a few episodes of this show, and it’s too campy for my taste. I don’t laugh much when I watch it, and isn’t that the purpose of a comedy? I am constantly rewinding 30 Rock (as I used to do with Arrested Development) to catch the dialogue that was drowned out by my laughter. I can appreciate America Ferrera’s spot-on performance as Betty, but I’m not sure I’d reward this show above some others.
  • Two and a Half Men – This is a show that I put in the same category as Boston Legal. It is over the top, and not very funny. Surely there were more deserving sitcoms to include on this short list. So, of the five nominees, this is the only one that I think was a definite mistake. If the Emmy voters wanted to represent CBS comedies, why not go with How I Met Your Mother?

Final Thoughts about Comedy Series:
I was pleased to see that My Name is Earl didn’t make the cut this year. I have never found its trailer trash humor very amusing. It’s NBC Thursday counterparts are far superior in terms of quality and entertainment value. As for the snubs, I would have liked to see How I Met Your Mother nominated. It was on my Dream Ballot, along with Monk and Psych (very funny show). Monk has been nominated enough times, but it would be nice to recognize the hilarity that is Gus and Sean on Psych. Not gonna happen. I’m hoping for a 30 Rock win!

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Outstanding Reality Series:
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
Top Chef

My Reaction:
Is it really necessary to award reality television? We shouldn’t encourage it – it will just continue to spiral out of control. However, I do admit that I have respect for a show like The Amazing Race (as opposed to fluff like Big Brother or The Bachelor). I’m very curious to know the Academy’s criteria for “quality” reality programming. Sensationalism? Manipulation? Humiliation? Yep, I’m not a fan of reality tv (except for my summertime passion – So You Think You Can Dance). How could you tell?

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Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series:
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Late Show with David Letterman
Real Time with Bill Maher

My Reaction:
Nothing to complain about here. These shows are all very good at what they do. In fact, the Academy got it right on this one by including pretty much everything except The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Sorry Jay, but you just aren’t as funny and entertaining as Dave, Conan, Jon, and Stephen Colbert.

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Drama, Comedy, Reality, Variety. That does it for the major Outstanding Series categories. I don’t watch tv movies and miniseries, so I won’t throw my opinions around about those nominees except to say that based on what little I saw of The Starter Wife, it is embarrassing to put it in a category next to Prime Suspect: The Final Act. No contest there.

 

So You Think You Can Dance: July 18, 2007 July 18, 2007

Filed under: So You Think You Can Dance,Television — Emily @ 8:11 pm

UPDATE: I’VE ADDED MY REACTIONS TO THE RESULTS SHOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. 

Welcome to the Top 12 Performance Show. Tonight’s guest judge is my favorite choreographer, Wade Robson. It will be interesting to hear his opinions. According to Cat, next week big changes are coming: all the couples are going to be split up. Tonight, we’ll hear what they think of each other.

Here’s a rundown of who danced what, how they did, and what the judges thought.

1. Sabra and Dominic – The Jive – “I Do the Jerk” by Ryan Shaw

  • Sabra loves how hilarious and crazy Dominic is, and Dominic always trusts Sabra and loves her puffy, good-smelling hair. Sabra does get annoyed that he drops her a lot, and Dominic thinks she should trust him more. Ouch. It does look like Sabra’s been dropped on her head a few times by him.
  • My Thoughts: It was a lot of fun and made me smile. Unlike some of the other couples, where one person overshadows the other, Sabra and Dominic are equally commanding of attention. They both get into character, have lots of energy, and look like they are having a blast. The only part that had me nervous was when Dominic had to lift Sabra up over his head (I’m sure because of all that talk about their trust issues). He didn’t drop her, but the movement looked a bit shaky. Other than that, it was a great start to the night.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: “You know what’s amazing about you guys is that every week, no matter what it is, it’s just 100% commitment.” He agrees with me that they are always having fun yet also keep their focus, and emanate positive energy.
  • Mary: “It was a great way to start the show tonight.” She did criticize their kicking technique, but declared them “terrific” anyway.
  • Nigel: “You – with the possible exception of Benji and his cousin Heidi – are probably the best two partners I’ve ever seen work together.” He talked about Sabra’s aura and told Dominic that he’s living proof that Sacramento is still producing gold. (We can always count on Nigel for the cheesy lines.)

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2. Jaimie and Hok – Broadway – “Mr Bojangles” from Fosse

  • Jaimie likes the whole idea of Hok, and he likes her hair. Okay, he just compared her hair to a dog. And she chokes on his braids sometimes. I can understand him not liking that she’s taller than him when she wears heels. That bothers me, too. I think all the crush talk was just a rumor, even though he does cook her Italian food.
  • My Thoughts: This was an understated performance, perhaps too understated. I was kind of bored. But I could see Jaimie and Hok’s characters coming through, with Hok limited as the old man and Jaimie free to leap and twirl as his spirit. I did like this performance better than most of theirs, mainly because it had them dancing separately most of the time (making the height issue a non-factor). This dance really suited Hok’s style. It was nice to see him doing some acrobatics.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: He thinks Jaimie has come alive the last couple of weeks. He didn’t really notice her before that. He thinks she’s “an elegant dancer.” But to Hok he said, “If you hadn’t said in the package that you were an old man, I wouldn’t have got it.” He didn’t feel that either of them connected to the story, and they didn’t really draw him in.
  • Mary: “Yeah, it’s not doin’ a lot for me either.” She had the same problem of not “getting” the characters. She did have some nice things to say to Jaimie about her being beautiful and elegant.
  • Nigel: He says that Jaimie’s “lines are just beautiful.” He had less kind words for Hok: “I wanted so much more from Hok.” “It was a little bit of much ado about nothing from Hok.”

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3. Sara and Pasha – Jazz – “Body Language” by Queen

  • Sara loves that Pasha has the best partnering skills of the contestants, and he is impressed by her strength. She thinks that Pasha is “a little more of a girl” than she is, but he disagrees.
  • My Thoughts: My first thought was, “Oh, my. Welcome to the ’80s.” Their outfits looked straight out of Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” video. Yikes. They did make the suspenders work for them. Despite the strange costumes (which, I suppose, were quite appropriate for a Queen song), I really enjoyed their performance. This is an example of understated but engaging. Whereas Jaimie and Hok’s routine was boring, Sara and Pasha held my attention from beginning to end. All their movements were sharp, crisp, and yes, entertaining.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: “I really liked that number. Mandy [Moore], I think that was sick.” He liked the 80s jazz thing and their lines. He is impressed by their versatility.
  • Mary: The “movement and feel” are what stood out for her.
  • Nigel: He’s concerned that it might have been too stylized to connect with the audience emotionally. And he said forget the 80s, it reminded him of a 1950s Beatnik routine. “I thought it was very interesting.”

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4. Lauren and Neil – Contemporary – “Let the Drummer Kick” by Citizen Cope

  • Lauren likes working with someone who’s very attractive and who she’s attracted to, and he thinks the same about her. She doesn’t like his jokes, and he doesn’t like that she doesn’t laugh at his jokes.
  • My Thoughts: I am usually drawn into a Mia Michaels routine (with the exception of the one Shauna and Cedric did), and so I wasn’t surprised to be intrigued by this performance. It helped a lot that I couldn’t tell Lauren and Neil apart. They were near-perfect in staying in synch with each other during the various twists and turns of the routine. I’m not sure what the story was supposed to be, but it was definitely my favorite performance by this couple of the season. However, I’m not sure it meets the judges’ criteria of emotionally connecting with the audience. I didn’t feel any emotional response to it at all. I mainly just liked the choreography and its execution.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: “You know I love a twisted mind, and Mia Michaels, right on.” He feels like Neil has come alive as of late and this was one of the first times he took him “extremely seriously.” “Musicality was wonderful in this.” “It was extremely well-executed.”
  • Mary: She didn’t know what the story was about, but she liked it. She would have liked to see their eyes (instead of the goggles) to know what’s going on emotionally. “The degree of difficulty was extremely high,” and she thought they did “really good” but not great.
  • Nigel: “I, too, didn’t fully understand it, but I don’t think you have to… I hope you find your welding equipment soon.” He feels it is “the most technically difficult routine we’ve seen tonight.” But, “because I didn’t understand it, I’m not sure I enjoyed it.”

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5. Anya and Danny – Fox Trot – “It Had to Be You” by Brian Evans

  • Danny likes Anya’s costumes that she uses to fight for her life (cheetah, lampshade, etc. – he was funny here), and Anya likes his good looks. Danny wishes Anya didn’t work him so hard in practice, and Anya thinks Danny has trouble paying attention.
  • My Thoughts: This performance had me smiling, just like Sabra and Dominic’s did. It was sweet, they looked great, and I thought they showed some good personality, at least between each other. There were a couple of times that they looked out of synch, or like Anya might have missed a step, but they also hit some really fantastic moves. I guess I just didn’t know what I was looking at, though, because the judges had no complaints about their technique.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: “Danny, this is a wonderful moment for me, but more importantly for you.” He was planning to complain that he had never been “moved by” him, etc., but… “you really surprised me tonight.” And to Anya, “It was just so classically beautiful.”
  • Mary: “Well I know he was surprised, but it’s no surprise to ME!” “I have loved the two of these guys since the very beginning, and they didn’t let me down tonight.” She thinks theirs was the best number of the night, and “rewarded” them with one of her cackling screams.
  • Nigel: “Without question the best fox trot that I’ve ever seen on this stage.” He agreed with Wade that Danny “came out of [himself] tonight.” More screaming from Mary.

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6. Lacey and Kameron – Hip Hop – “Here I Come” by Fergie

  • Kameron loves how Lacey has helped him out on partnering, and she likes his good looks, which makes it easy for her to get close to him. Kameron doesn’t like how Lacey’s weave sometimes gets smelly, and Lacey gets annoyed by his profuse sweating.
  • My Thoughts: What to say about this dance that has a boy chasing a nasty girl? Well, Lacey is doing her best old school Britney Spears impression in a barely there Catholic school girl uniform. Kameron did get a chance for a solo, but it didn’t wow me. Yes, Lacey made a good “nasty girl,” but once again Kameron wasn’t given much to do except smirk and shrug his shoulders at her. I’m looking forward to seeing him paired with someone else next week. I also could have done without the cheesy pulling another girl out of the audience at the end.

The Judges’ Thoughts:

  • Wade: “Kameron, you dance a bit heavy for me. You don’t seem light enough on your feet. It’s not snappy enough for me.” I can agree with that. He complained that Kameron “floated on top of the music” rather than “dancing inside the music.” I don’t always know what Wade is talking about when he brings up musicality and spirituality, but at least he’s coming up with a way to verbalize the problems (or at least lack of oomph) in Kameron’s performances. He told Lacey, “You’re always a great performer… ” He did express his worry for her about one thing: “Your performance level is always professional. I don’t know if it’s always personal.” Many fans would disagree with him there, but I’ve always thought that Lacey’s personality is a tad over the top in her routines. He used the words “contrived” and “one-dimensional” to describe her performance level. Ouch. But that probably earned her several thousand more votes right there. She’ll be safe this week. And in summary, “it was okay for me.”
  • Mary: “Who would want to leave Lacey… she’s a star.” She agreed with Wade’s comments about Kameron’s dancing, but she feels like Lacey “is still right on point.”
  • Nigel: He referred to Dan’s comment from a previous week that Kameron was a prop, and added that although Kameron was given the opportunity to not be a prop tonight (when Lacey sat down for a bit), he didn’t “bring it.” “If you’re going to do a solo in the middle of a routine, you have to do much more than that.” “You had a solo there to really sell yourself. I don’t feel as if you did.” I totally agree with Nigel on that one.

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Ranking the Performances

  1. Sara and Pasha – They got into character really well in this unusual but engaging routine.
  2. Sabra and Dominic – They had the most genuine enthusiasm and energy tonight.
  3. Anya and Danny – This was the classiest performance of the night. Great costumes, too.
  4. Lauren and Neil – This was the most unusual performance of the night.
  5. Lacey and Kameron – This performance was too gimmicky for me.
  6. Jaimie and Hok – This was the least memorable performance of the night.

Predicting the Bottom Three Couples

  • Jaimie and Hok
  • Lauren and Neil
  • Anya and Danny

Note: I think Lacey and Kameron deserve to be in the bottom three instead of Lauren and Neil or Anya and Danny, but their fan base will save them.

Who Will Be Sent Home:

  • Jaimie (However, Anya will have to step up her solo to stick around. I hope she does.)
  • Hok (I would have said Neil, but after tonight I feel like he proved he deserves to stick around longer than Hok, and it seems like the judges feel the same way after their criticisms of Hok.)

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  • Earlier today I posted my Pre Top-12 Show Thoughts. The only thing that surprised me tonight that made me change any of my opinions from that post was Lauren and Neil. I thought they did really well tonight. However, it does concern me that my favorite performance of theirs came during a routine in which I couldn’t even tell it was them performing. The rest of the couples either lived up to my previous expectations. Sara and Pasha are definitely my favorite couple now. I hope that their jazz number wasn’t too weird for America!
  • Check back tomorrow night for my thoughts on the results show.

Other Related Posts

 

So You Think You Can Dance: Pre Top 12 Show Thoughts

Filed under: So You Think You Can Dance — Emily @ 11:16 am

This is the week that we will narrow the field to the Top Ten. So chances are, the two people sent home Thursday night won’t be remembered by many of us this time next year. Here’s what I hope will happen tonight, and who I hope will be sent packing tomorrow.

By the way, I don’t read any spoilers about who’s dancing to what, etc., so this is all pure speculation and wishful thinking.

  1. Sabra and Dominic – I was a little disappointed in their hip hop routine last week, so I’d like to see them back in top form. They seem to be most impressive in styles that you wouldn’t expect them to be, such as their rumba and the sweet contemporary performance, so maybe we’ll get to see them out of their element again.
  2. Anya and Danny – This is probably a long shot, but maybe Danny will suddenly find that elusive connection with the audience, and maybe Anya will have a chance to show off more of her ballroom skills. They need a fun routine that will give them a chance to do more than just look serious while they are dancing fantastically. (I don’t need more than their fabulous dancing, but since many people do, I hope it happens tonight.)
  3. Sara and Pasha – I hope this newest pair will continue riding the momentum that they started last week with their super fun West Coast Swing routine. It reminded me how much I like Sara, and only made my admiration for Pasha grow. (He’s quickly becoming my favorite male dancer.)
  4. Lacey and Kameron – I’d like them to be given choreography that gives Kameron a chance to shine for once. Up to this point, he has always been overshadowed by his show-stopping (and in my opinion often over-the-top) partner.  Their performances have just been so-so for me the past couple of weeks, and I have yet to jump on the Lacey/Kameron love train.  But I am open to embracing them, if they give me a reason to.
  5. Jaimie and Hok – For whatever reason, I just don’t like this couple together. Perhaps it’s a similar problem to Ricky and Ashley. Ashley was too tall, and Jaimie seems to be taller than Hok as well. And with all her curly hair, she seems even taller than she is. What they need is another dance that has them dancing separately for most of the performance, like the hummingbird/flower dance.
  6. Lauren and Neil – I may not be crazy for Lacey and Kameron, but I can hardly stand this pair. I don’t really know what it is. I’ve always chalked it up to a difference of opinion in how enthusiastic and pep rallyish one should be when dancing. I would be perfectly happy to see them go home this week.

Who Should Go Home?

I know I should wait until I actually see all the performances to decide who should be in the bottom three this week, but instead I will base my thoughts on everything that has happened up to this point.

Bottom Three: (Who I’d Like to See There)

  • Lauren and Neil
  • Jaimie and Hok
  • Lacey and Kameron – These two need a taste of what it feels like to be in the bottom three. Besides, I’d love to see Kameron perform a solo, just to see what he can do.

Go Home:

  • Neil – He is, in my opinion, the weakest dancer left among the guys.
  • Jaimie – I would be happy to see Lauren go home as well, but it might be interesting to see Hok paired with someone else. In this scenario, that someone would be Lauren.

It will be interesting to see if anyone changes my mind based on tonight’s performances.