I did, and for once I actually watched them the night they aired. In past years I haven’t gotten around to watching them until I already knew who won everything, so it’s nice to be surprised this year! Here are some highlights and lowlights.
The opening was, well, painful. The show was hosted this year by the five nominees in the first ever Reality Show Host category: Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars), Ryan Seacrest (America Idol), Heidi Klum (Project Runway), Howie Mandel (Deal or No Deal), and Jeff Probst (Survivor). I really can’t understand why the Emmys would be giving so much attention to reality TV in a year when writers proved that without them, Hollywood shuts down.
Reality TV gets more than its fair share of attention. I like some of it. Amazing Race is one of my favorite shows. I watched Survivor for the first few seasons, until I realized that they were going to be churning one out every month or so, and I just couldn’t keep up. But now my son and I watch Total Drama Island together, a hilarious cartoon sendup of Survivor (and not even knowing what Survivor is, most of it must be going over his head!). I started watching Dancing with the Stars just last season (yes, I know, very late) and have watched So You Think You Can Dance from the very first show. I’m losing interest in American Idol, but it had a great run for a while. Basically, I’ll check out any reality show that isn’t trying to couple people up romantically. That’s just creepy.
But I digress. Tom Bergeron seemed up to the hosting job, but he was really the only one. Howie is one of those people whose career and popularity confound me. Heidi is beautiful but has zero timing. Ryan really wasn’t given much to do. And Jeff, well, he’s in his element on Survivor, but does not look at all comfortable or natural on a stage, indoors and dressed in formal clothes. If the Emmy people really wanted to pay tribute to reality shows, they should have made a clip montage. That could have been hilarious. But don’t put the poor hosts out there on the stage without “normal people” surrounding them, making them look polished and accomplished in comparison. Jeremy Piven said it best in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor: “What if I just kept talking for twelve minutes? What would happen? That was the opening.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus came on after one of my favorite Seinfeld clips was shown, from “The Contest”. For those of you who haven’t seen “The Contest”, well, shame on you. But it was about who could go the longest without masterbating and it was the episode that put the show on the map. Anyway, Julia had one of the funniest lines of the broadcast: “You know, I can’t tell you how proud I am to be part of a television program that celebrates the gratuitous indulgence of self-gratification. But enough about the Emmys…”
It was almost worth sitting through all of the other crap to see Ricky Gervais do his thing. He was hilarious! Watch it now before YouTube removes it:
They should really consider him for the hosting job next year.
Josh Groban singing a long medley of TV show themes was a big risk, but I think he pulled it off. It’s worth watching just for his South Park theme. I have a new respect for him.
There was a Laugh In scene with some original cast members that fell completely flat. The show just hasn’t aged well, and the stars have lost their timing (or perhaps they were waiting for laughs and applause that never came?). I’m sure that in its day it was groundbreaking and hilarious and all that, but now, for someone who wasn’t watching it from the perspective of nostalgia but just at face value, it totally dragged without a chuckle.
Presenter Katherine Joosten (the late Dolores Landingham of The West Wing) got up there and said “Because we’re running late they cut my bit” and then went into the nominations for the category she was announcing. Now, there were a few other stars who just got up there and did the award thing without any stilted banter, probably for the same reason. So why would she want to draw attention to herself and the fact that her bit was completely expendable?
But while she was the first, Ms. Joosten wasn’t the only one. It got really repetitive hearing presenter after presenter mention that they had something funny they were supposed to say, but it had been cut because the show was running long. It could have been a funny running gag, but instead most of the presenters just seemed bitter (except Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris, who actually said they were bitter – that was funny). The whole thing could have been solved by cutting Don Rickles and Kathy Griffin. I suppose Don Rickles deserves some kind of respect and lifetime achievement award, but he did not deserve two actual Emmys and a ton of stage time. His comedy, while I’m sure it paved the way for many of the people on the stage last night, is now pretty much irrelevant. He couldn’t even stay quiet while the winners he announced (Amazing Race, fantastic show!) were making their speech – he had to upstage them.
And his co-presenter Kathy Griffin? She should have gotten two special awards. One for the most plastic surgery with the least benefit, and another for laughing the most at her own unfunny bit. Cut her out and all of the other presenters could have done their semi-funny bits. Kathy, you’re not funny! You’re like one of those poor kids on the early round of American Idol who just can’t sing, who is just awful, but is surrounded by people saying “Oh baby, don’t you listen to what those judges say, you just keep singing, you’re great!” But all of us out in the real world are going WTF? Why are you encouraging this poor person to humiliate herself on national TV like that? Well, Kathy, it’s my duty as a fellow human being to say to you: You’re not funny! Sit the fuck down! The people around you are not going to tell you this because they are (inexplicably) making money off of you. But it’s true.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were great together, as always, getting their digs in at McCain without mentioning his name or his party. And they weren’t the only ones. But it made latent conservative Tom Selleck seem very classy later in the show when he came on and did his thing with no political mentions at all. I give him credit just for walking into the room.
Best Actress nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus was pretty funny while Tina Fey was giving her best-actress-in-a-comedy acceptance speech. Tina was relating how when she doesn’t know how to play a scene, her husband tells her to act like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, so thanks Julia, that’s working out pretty well for me. They cut to Julia in the audience giving Tina a very sarcastic thumbs up and eye roll.
Tina also gave the best piece of parenting advice I’ve seen come out of Hollywood since everyone went on TV to remind us that babies should NOT be dangled over balconies by their man-child fathers: “I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done, that is what all parents should do.”
The awarding of the best reality host award was actually very funny. Jimmy Kimmel brought all of the nominees (Howie, Tom, Heidi, Jeff, and Ryan) onstage and they had to stand there while Jimmy made fun of them. Then he made them wait until after the commercial break to announce the winner. Which turned out to be Jeff Probst of Survivor.
All in all, one of the more boring awards shows I’ve seen. The sad fact is, nobody but the people being mentioned care about the people being mentioned during the speeches. And the people who don’t make their livings in front of the camera should all be given their awards at a luncheon the day before. I’m talking about the producers, directors, writers, everybody. Then give each actor and actress five minutes to give a speech. Special arrangements can be made for people like Tom Hanks, actors who win as producers and make good speeches.
And for God’s sake, there is absolutely no excuse for bad writing for the hosts. And if the writing isn’t the problem, you have nobody to blame but yourself: you picked the hosts!
Originally posted on Selfish Mom