Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emmy Liveblogging

About five minutes before the big show starts. I haven't been watching the "pre-game" show on KTLA. You'd think they'd do a better job, what with all the experience they've had. The big question for me - besides, you know who's going to win and all - is how are they going to handle the "five host" concept. Mandel likely the best and Bergeron should be good. Probst won't be bad and Heidi Klum is pretty so that makes up for the accent and everyhting else. But what's Ryan Seacrest's excuse. We know how bad he was last year.
More as things get going.
Well that went well. Oprah came out and introduced the show...seriously. Then she introduced the actual hosts and things started going downhill. The "Fab Five" came out all in tuxes (but no tie for Probst) and Probst, Seacrest, and Mandel did all the talking about how they had nothing to talk about while Bergeron and Klum looked ncreasingly annoyed. When the talkers left Bergeron and Klum started talking about them, ending the bit with Bergeron and William Shatner pulling LKlum`s tux of to reveal a better outfit. Oprah was funnier.
First award presented by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (who were funnier than the hosts) Supporting Actor in a Comedy to Jeremy Piven. Again.
Bergeron and Seacrest introduce Julia Louis Dreyfus from a set like the diner in Seinfeld which serves to introduce a clip from the masturbation episode (never watched Seinfeld). She was funnier than the hosts in her intro. Presented Supporting Actress in a Comedy to Jean Smart from Samantha Who? Well at least I though she had a shot at it.
Tom Bergeron and Heidi Klum talk about women on TV which leads to a clip from Desperate Housewives and the cast showing up in a mock-up of part of the set. They give the Emmy for Supporting Actor in a Comedy to Zeljko Ivanek from Damages. Good but surprising choice; have to see that some time. Next there's a very funny bit with Ricky Gervaise about how to give an awards speech followed by an even funnier bit with Gervaise trying to get his Emmy from last year back from Steve Carell. The award for Director Variety, Music or Comedy is a bit of a comedown after that. It goes to Oscars (and Emmy's) Director Louis J. Horvitz.
Conan O"Brien came out to present the award for Supporting Actress in a Drama to Dianne Weist...who wasn't there (thus saving time). This was followed by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Hayden Pannetierre (who weren't as funny as the hosts but they weren't trying to be funny) to give the award for Writing in Variety, Music or Comedy to the writers for the Colbert Report. Were is the memory among Hollywood writers? Dave's writers list (with Dr. Phil) was the funniest though. then Howie Mandel and Jeff Probst introduced...the accountants. They were trying to be funny - Mandel and Probst not the accountants - they failed. Steve Martin was funny in introducing Tommy Smothers who was awarded an honorary Emmy for writing the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Just saw the medley by what's his name (no really, what is his name - I missed his introduction). It was an achievement but I was less than impressed. Alec Baldwin came out without the benefit of any of the "Fab Five" to present the award for Actress in a Movie or Miniseries. It went ot Laura Linney for John Adams (as if there were any doubt) who thanked the "community organizers" who helped create the United States. Was that political?  ;-)
So we're about an hour and a half in and they're starting to cut the funny. Some of the surviving cast of Laugh-In were brought out to introduce the nominees for Variety, Music or Comedy series in the old "laugh wall." Boy did Alan Sues look out of it. Gary Owens on the other hand hasn't changed a bit. Award went to the Daily Show by the way. Next David Boreanaz and someone who I guess I'm supposed to know but don't came out to introduce the winners for Guest Actor and Actress in a Comedy to do the Comedy Director Award, but Tim Conway couldn't be there so Kathryn Joosten had to do it herself. She commented on how they cut her bit. Barry Sonnenfeld won for Pushing Daisies. Then David Boreanaz and whoever she was gave the award for Comedy Writing to Tina Fey for 30 Rock.
The introduction of Academy president John Schaffner by Martin Sheen from a mock-up of the set of the Oval Office from The West Wing slows things up a bit...a lot. He said something but who remembers these things. Christian Slater and Christina Applegate (who promises to crush him in the ratings) to introduce the Outstanding TV Movie don't pick things up much. The Emmy goes to Recount. Not really caring as much as I would have if I'd had a chance to see any of the nominees.
They're really pushing them out now. After a brief introdcutionf by Jeff Probst on the "set" of Dragnet, William Petersen and Laurence Fishburne from CSI com on to introduce the Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries winner, Tom Wilkinson from John Adams. He's not there. Next John Stewart and Stephen Colbert come out to give the awards for Directing in a Movie or Miniseries to Jay Rouch of Recount (a surprise to me) and for Writing in a Movie or Miniseries to Kirk Ellis of John Adams. Ellis's acceptance speech gets cut off without music by a bumper for  the commercial.
They keep promoting the Reality TV Host category like mad but don't give it out and move on to important stuff. Chrisitina Oh and Ptrick Dempsey introduced the award for Aupporting Actress, Movie or Miniseries which goes to Dame Eileen Atkins from Cranford - another Briti who isn't there. Then Kathy Griffith and Don Rickles come on and you just know that anything Rickles has to say is better than has been written for him, and you'd be right. What's amazing is that Griffin has to prompt people to give him a standing ovation! The give out the Reality-Competition award to the only show that has ever won it - The Amaizing Race Then Sally Field come on to give the Outstanding Miniseries award to her son Tom Hanks for John Adams. Oops, gotta get back.
Glad I did get back becasue the Emmy of rOutstanding Individual Performance Variety or Musical went to Don Rickles who was funnier in an off the cuff acceptance speech than any of the now nearly absent hosts have been. Oh yeah, Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chinoweth introduced the award. Then Kate Walsh and Wayne Brady introduced the winners in the Guest Actor and Actress in a Drama Series, Glynn Turman and Cynthia Nixon, who gave the award for Director in a Drama to Greg Yataine of House. Walsh and Brady gave the award for Writing in a Drama to Matthew Weiner of Mad Men. Still no Reality Host category.
They're really pushing them out now. No hosts, no jokesbarely time to introduce the presenters. Winners were: 
  • Paul Giamatti for Lead Actor in a Movie or Miniseries - John Adams
  • Alec Baldwin Lead Actor Comedy - 30 Rock
  • Glenn Close Lead Actress Drama - Damages
That was brusque but so were they because they had to get to the all important Memoriam Reel. No real applause for anyone mentioned on that, as if they were told not to for fear of wasting time.
Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Kiefer sutherland says they're running out of time and quickly announces that Brian Cranston won the award for Lead Actor in a Drama for Breaking Bad. Then Craig Ferguson and Brooke Shields get to do one joke before giving the Lead Actress in a Comedy Emmy to Tina Fey for 30 Rock. But then out comes Jimmy Kimmel, and takes more time than the others combined to not give the Reality Host award out - the winner will be announced after the next commercial...
...The winner - after another bit of time wasting by Kimmel et al was Jeff Probst from Survivor.
Then it was back to pumping out the last two awards like sausages. There was a brief clip of the Marty Tyler Moore Show to introduce Mary Tyler Moore who then introduced Betty White who has been in TV as long sa the Television Academy. They presented the Outstanding Comedy Series award to 30 Rock. Tina Fey was truly humbled to accept her third Emmy tonight from Mary and Betty. Then it was Tom Selleck's turn In less time than it took Jimmy Kimmel to give Probst his award, Tom told us thta he was giving out the Outstanding Drama Award, named the nominees and the winner. Which was Mad Men. Matthew Weiner accepted and the band even played during his speech. All that was left was for Jeff Probst (who by winning got to host the rest of the show) to say good night.
First there is a formatting change I have to make in this just a minute...
Okay, there you go. This happens every year. They start off with lots of introductory bits and jokes for the hosts and then somewhere about half-way through someone in the control truck looks at the clock and decides that they absolutely positively cannot run one minute over (or what - the locals will cut off the show?) and suddenly jokes get cut and introductions get docked. But somehow there is always some lame bit of business that manages to stay in to the bitter end. Does no one in charge of this thing own a stop watch and use it?
At least the hosting this year wasn't as bad as last year. Of course that was primarily because for about half the show the only person really hosting was the unseen announcer who told us who was coming out to present an award and then who had won the award. Maybe they should just let him or her host the show next year and save actors/comedians/reality hosts the humiliation of being bad and being cut.
As for what we actually saw, even if you don't go with the announcer as host, five people trying to do schtick (and failing) is too many. One person is all you need if it's the right person. Ricky Gervaise was great. Rickles was too old but funny. Stewart and Colbert were terrific. Kimmel was ... well okay there are some duds out there. Using mock-up of sets was a great concept; too bad it was for the most part one of the first things cut for time. But really, what would be wrong with cutting a lot of the bits in rehearsal and then giving us the pithiest material - you know, the stuff that works. In return the network could give the show a rubber clock allowing for a little overrun. Because let me tell you, there are times when three hours seems like an eternity and other times when three and a half hours fly by too fast. This year's Emmys were the former rather than the latter.

No comments: