Tuesday, August 29, 2006

An Emmy Summary - Because I Was Too Tired To Liveblog

I've been struggling to write about Sunday night's Emmy Awards, to find a way to write about them that didn't seem boring and did seem at least a little original. I've come to the conclusion that the only way to make that happen would have been to "liveblog" the event with entries as things happened, and given the way I was feeling on Sunday that wasn't going to happen. So, because I made such a fuss about polling about the Emmys I thought I'd compare the results of my polls to what actually happened.

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy
Poll: Four way tie between Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stockard Channing, Lisa Kudrow, and Jane Kaczmarek.
Emmys: Julia Louis Dreyfus
Comment: Fairly obvious. Of the five nominees hers was the only show that is going to be back this year. Scarcely an edgy choice by the Academy but a fairly safe one. Maybe Kaczmarek, who has been shamefully overlooked by the Emmys for Malcolm in the Middle will have better luck in her new role on the new Ted Danson comedy Help Me Help You, but I doubt it.

Outstanding Actor In A Comedy
Poll: Tie between Tony Shaloub and Steve Carrel
Emmys: Tony Shaloub
Comment: There are some people who consider this a bit of robbery and maybe they're right but what the Academy has done is what they often do, given the Emmy to someone whose work they know and like rather than a relative new show. I would not be surprised if Carrel gets it next year.

Outstanding Actress In A Drama
Poll: Kyra Sedgwick
Emmys: Mariska Hargitay
Comment: This was robbery but it should scarcely have been unexpected given the way the nomination process is handled, where I believe only a single episode from each actor is submitted. Sedgwick had a great season but Hargitay had a great episode, and on a network rather than a cable series, and given the field she was facing it isn't that surprising that she won. Just disappointing.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama
Poll: Three way tie between Chris Meloni, Dennis Leary, and Kiefer Sutherland
Emmys: Kiefer Sutherland
Comment: With Martin Sheen's West Wing part really being secondary to the election arc, which was rewarded when Alan Alda won the Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy, and Six Feet Under really a distant memory, it came down to the people the poll picked. And in truth while Meloni was for the most part workmanlike he had - and submitted - one good episode. It was really between Sutherland and Leary and it's my impression that the Emmy was awarded to Sutherland as much for the fact that without him there literally is no 24. Everything revolves around him and has for five seasons.

Outstanding Miniseries
Poll: Bleak House
Emmys: Elizabeth I
Comment: I'll be dropping this category next year because quite simply no one seems to see the nominated material. The look and the cast behind Elizabeth I is certainly enough to get me interested in seeing the thing if it ever comes my way, and certainly the Emmy voters rewarded it with Emmys not just for the show but for Helen Mirren as Elizabeth and Jeremy Irons as the Earl of Leicester.

Outstanding Reality-Competition
Poll: Survivor
Emmys: The Amazing Race
Comment: I hate to say I told you so....actually I don't. I told you that The Amazing Race would win its fourth Emmy in a row, in spite of the Family Edition.

Outstanding Comedy
Poll: The Office
Emmys: The Office
Comment: At least they got this one right. Not just the winner but most of the nominations (the exception being Two And A Half Men. Playing against Arrested Development was the simple fact that while the critics and the Academy loved it, it was simply impossible to keep it on the air given the commercial nature of broadcasting. The Office, along with the unnominated My Name Is Earl, and is one of the few comedies on broadcast television today that is both fairly innovative and actually works.

Outstanding Drama
Poll: House
Emmys: 24
Comment: The poll on this one was close and I can't help but think that it was also close in the Emmy voting. If anything the season long arc in 24 should have had voters going toward the more episodic House. Possibly the biggest thing in 24's favour may have been that it has established itself as a strong and intelligent action series for five seasons and has essentially paid its dues. It's the serious established show which has established itself but unlike The West Wing and probably The Sopranos isn't seen as diminishing in quality just yet.

Other Emmy Notes
- At no time during the opening sketch did I think of any plane crash except the one on Lost, a point made clear by the presence of Hurley, even if he wasn't "really invited". I thought the sketch was funny but NBC has already wimped out and apologized for airing it after the crash in Kentucky that afternoon.

- Writers give the best acceptance speeches but comedy writers give the funniest. Not thanking your Eighth Grade Social Studies teacher for telling you you're not funny is funny; not thanking God because you're bald and that was at least partly his fault - brilliant.

- I thought the best presentation of an Emmy was by Hugh Laurie and Helen Mirren when Hugh translated Helen's statements into French, but then John Stewart and Stephen Colbert came on - "Worship before your Golden Idol Babylonians!"

- Least funny presentation: John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor with Heidi Klum sandwiched uncomfortably in the middle. I like Tambor - have liked him since at least his time on Hill Street Blues but Lithgow's charms as a comedic actor elude me.

- Irony: The director of the Emmy Telecast was Louis J. Horvitz who was supposed to keep the show to time. He won an Emmy for directing the Oscars. His acceptance speech went long.

- The Music, Variety, and Comedy categories are the catch basin for anything that doesn't fit into the rigid categories of Comedy Series, Drama Series, or Reality Series. This includes Talk Shows, Awards Shows, and one increasingly rare noccassions actual Music and Variety specials. I saw a panel discussion on the increasingly annoying (to me who has recently entered the codger demographic - you kids get off my lawn!) Attack Of The Show saying that giving an Emmy to Barry Manilow proved that the Emmys had "lost their edge." Well beyond the fact that you had to have an edge in order to lose it and the Emmys have never ever been edgy, Manilow was the only performer who actually did music and variety on his show.

- Apparently NBC thinks that you can say "ass over tits" on network TV and not just if you're Helen Mirren, since Callista Flockhart said it too. We await the PTC complaints and the FCC reaction.

- The tribute to Aaron Spelling was yet another reminder of just how many shows in how many genres he was responsible for. It would have been nice to have seen one of the stars from one of his shows from the 1960s or '70s up there with Steven Collins instead of either Joan Collins or Heather Locklear. And did you notice that they showed one shot of Tori Spelling but several of Candy Spelling weeping appropriately?

- Jacklyn Smith still looks better than either Kate Jackson or Farrah Fawcett, at least in my book.

- The ultimate award show fashion accessory - not borrowed diamonds but the security guard who follows you while you're wearing the borrowed diamonds.

- Bob Newhart may be the funniest man alive. Who else can get a laugh with just a raised eyebrow the way he did on Sunday night? It's a pity that I suspect several other segments featuring him were cut for time.

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