Recipe for Disaster:
I sat down last night and watched the Emmy Awards, mainly to cheer for 30 Rock, Dexter, Lost, and Neil Patrick Harris. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the winners, slightly annoyed by some of the others, and horrified by some of the host and presenter bits. Thankfully, I watched the show the way an awards show should be watched: in super speed mode on my DVR. Here are my reactions, starting with the positive.
- All the love for 30 Rock – This little gem of a show deserves every award that it received. Those awards included Best Comedy, Best Actress in a Comedy (Tina Fey), Best Actor in a Comedy (Alec Baldwin), Best Writing in a Comedy, etc. It was consistently funny last year, always clever, and often outdid its more popular NBC sibling, The Office. If you aren’t watching this show, you should be!
- Pushing Daisies’s “Pie-lette” winning for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series – This show is so unique in the television landscape, and it goes against typical Emmy trends for it to be recognized, so I was thrilled that it won something. The “Pie-lette” was pitch perfect. I look forward to catching back up with this show this season – (my Tivo ate the last few episodes of last season – before I could watch them – in an act of rebellion against the writer’s strike). Perhaps this Emmy win will bring in a few more viewers.
- Boston Legal not winning anything – I know there are fans of this show out there, but I get so irritated when, most years, it walks away with at least a couple of dramatic Emmy’s that I believe more dramatic shows should have won. Sure, dramatic episodes are submitted to the Emmy voters, but this show is mostly a campy comedy. I dreaded hearing William Shatner’s name called when his award came up, but thankfully it did not. Instead, someone from Damages won. No doubt that is a more intense, dramatic show.
- House winning for writing – House is a show I only watch occasionally, but I am always aware that it is a smartly written show. So I was happy to see it win here. Besides, it was sweet that the winner mentioned that his baby boy was born the day after he turned in the episode. That was a big week for him!
- Steve Martin’s introduction to the Honorary Emmy winner Tommy Smothers – I am always a fan of Steve Martin’s deadpan comedic delivery, and he didn’t disappoint here. I can’t say the same for Mr. Smothers, whose acceptance speech went on too long and was too scattered.
- Josh Groban’s tv theme songs medley – Oh my goodness! This may have been the single best moment of the night! I have always been a fan of theme songs. I even own two compilation albums with classic theme songs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. So I was highly entertained by Groban’s “all in” performance. The normally all business, professionally-trained tenor really hammed it up, didn’t take himself too seriously, but always sang his heart out. Some of my favorite moments: his high-pitched and frantic “I’ll Be There for You” from Friends, his cheesy Love Boat theme, the random “Law and Order” interludes, Animal being “taken” during the X-Files theme (and Groban yelling out “No! Don’t take me!”), and The Jeffersons theme with the gospel choir (I always love choral backup) that morphed into the hilarious Baywatch theme (with Groban doing the whole “running arms” thing that was the show’s claim to fame). In case you missed it: Josh Groban’s TV Theme Song Medley at the Emmy’s
- Jeremy Piven winning Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy… Again – So he has won in this category three years in a row. I am sure he is funny, but I just think that Neil Patrick Harris so deserves recognition for the perfection that is his role as Barney on How I Met Your Mother. Who knew that one day we would know him as the guy who suits up and says “Awesome!” instead of as the kid wearing big sneakers with his scrubs, and a stethoscope around his neck? Honestly, this was the only award I was upset about. Based on recent Emmy history, that’s really saying something.
- Don Rickles presenting an award with Kathy Griffin – Apparently this guy is a tv legend, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was painful to watch him hog the camera while poor Kathy Griffin kept trying to get in her lines from the teleprompter. Not to mention that I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying anyway. Despite my discomfort in watching this time wasting segment, I am glad that he won an Emmy for his variety special. It is always nice to see the older generation be recognized, and not forgotten, by the younger skewing Hollywood of today.
- Heidi Klum’s “surprise” wardrobe change – I saw this coming from the moment the five “reality show host” hosts walked out on stage. I roll my eyes any time a beautiful woman is used as a prop in this way.
- Heidi Klum’s earrings – I’m referring to the earrings that went down to her shoulders and looked like they weighed ten pounds each. It was painful to watch her head bobbing around with these heavy weights. I winced every time she said a line. I hope they were clip-ons!
- Laurence Fishburne’s red jacket – I’m not sure how I feel about Fishburne replacing William Petersen on CSI, but I can say with certainty that Petersen totally outdid Fishburne in the wardrobe department for the Emmys. Petersen looked very sharp, whereas Fishburne looked like he had stepped out of a mid-90s In Living Color skit.
- The Famous Sets running bit – Sure, it was nice to see the Seinfeld set, but after that, the various sets seemed more unnecessary filler, less nostalgia for the past.
- The lead up to Best Reality Host – This may have been funny on Saturday Night Live, but there simply wasn’t enough time to warrant it here. I don’t think anyone cared enough. Sure, it pointed out the ridiculous nature of reality show elimination results shows, but was it necessary? No. (As an aside, I suppose Jeff Probst was the best choice to win out of these nominees, but my vote would have gone to the always refreshing Cat Deeley on So You Think You Can Dance.)
- The Laugh-In Tribute – Was this supposed to be funny? I didn’t laugh a single time. The comedy was awkward, and the players’ delivery of the lines made me feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait for it to end.
- Cynthia Nixon’s dress – This was the only dress that I found completely atrocious. It looked like she was wearing a gray towel, like she had just stepped out of the shower. This “dress” did nothing to complement her body shape. She was all shoulders and collarbone. Yikes. Why in the world did People magazine peg her one of the best dressed? Granted, their photo of her in their gallery makes the dress look better than she did on stage, but still.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt’s hair – What was up with that?
- Paul Giamatti’s acceptance speech – I only caught the end of his speech when he won for John Adams, but it sounded really awkward and bad. An Oscar-winning actor should be able to do better.
- Most of the presenter banter – The writers really dropped the ball this year on providing decent material to the celebrity presenters. I am sure most of them felt really stupid saying their lines.
- The Five Host Gimmick – This was such a monumentally bad idea. First of all, I don’t think any of these guys (and girl) have the charisma and comic timing that are a requirement of a good awards show host. Instead, they each represent their own special brand of cheese. Well, Heidi Klum isn’t so much cheesy as just not a commanding presence. I can’t think of any of their jokes that didn’t fall flat. The worst moment was the opening moment, when they all commented that they didn’t prepare anything, and that they were going to stick with that. Not a good way to start the show. It did nothing to instill confidence that we were in capable hands for the night.
How about letting Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart co-host next year? I always find them highly entertaining. They would definitely set us on a better path than this year’s not-so-fantastic five.
I didn’t mention some of the other major winners above. How about former Malcolm in the Middle dad Bryan Cranston winning best actor in a drama for his lead role on Breaking Bad? I am (embarrassed?) to say that I have never even heard of this show. But how nice for a guy who seemed doomed to play goofy roles to win one of the most coveted awards? And another AMC show, Mad Men, which I don’t watch (but perhaps should!) took home a few awards as well. So did Damages and Samantha Who. So congrats to all the winners. Now we can dig our heels in for the new fall season of tv. ABC is dubbing it National Stay at Home week. Well, I stay at home most of the time anyway, so it won’t be any different for me. Unfortunately for ABC, though, I won’t be watching any of their shows except for Pushing Daisies. This fall I will mostly be tuned to NBC, for Heroes, 30 Rock, and The Office.
Did I miss any good, bad, or ugly moments from the Emmy’s? Comment away.