Monday, September 19, 2011

My Review of the 2011 Emmys

Time for my annual Emmy review. But it’s a little different this year. I didn’t see them. I was on a plane with the Seattle Mariners flying to Cleveland. But I’ve seen enough of these backslapfests that I have a pretty good idea of what took place. So I'm reviewing the Emmys anyway.  See how many of these observations I got right.

Considering how many promos Fox ran for X-FACTOR, most people thought that Simon Cowell hosted the Emmys.

What’s the point of having SURVIVOR creator, Mark Burnett produce the Emmys if he’s not going to move the show to Palau?

Host Jane Lynch is just naturally funny. She was a good choice for host even though half the people in America still don’t know who she is. And another large portion thought she was Ellen.

Other hosts when Fox has had the show (and this is not a joke): Ryan Seacrest, Cybill Shepherd, Jane Pauley, and Dennis Miller (twice!).

MAD MEN’S Matt Weiner almost trampled his presenter getting to the podium to deliver his speech.

I was thrilled that MODERN FAMILY or PARKS & RECREATION won for Best Comedy.

Producer Mark Burnett has said that the “In Memoriam” segment doesn’t have to be such a downer. Really??? To that end, the song under the clips was “Where Dem Girls At”.

Six winners told their kids to go to bed. Five thanked Jesus. One told Jesus to go to bed.

Wow! How about those upsets?!

What does it say about the “Best Actress in a Comedy” category when two of the nominees -- Laura Linney and Edie Falco – don’t even try to be funny?

Gray ribbons this year as Hollywood rallies to provide relief to the hurricane victims in the Hamptons whose guest homes and tennis courts sustained water damage.

Congratulations to Margo Martindale. If ever an Emmy was “Justified”.

For the tenth year in a row I didn’t see the winning Miniseries. And for the tenth year in a row I have no desire to see it even after it won.

Another nice Mark Burnett touch:  Bryan Cranston wasn't eligible this year but he was awarded the Governor's Immunity Idol.  

Kate Winslet and Martin Scorsese won Emmys for having already won Oscars. When you win an Academy Award they should just throw an Emmy in the swag bag.

Martin Scorsese thanked everyone in the industry by name and was still finished before the “walk off” music began.

After two years they finally dropped the “coming up in 25 minutes” scroll designed to retain viewers. It was replaced with a split-screen camera that just stayed on Sofia Vergara the entire night.

At least one Red Carpet interviewer asked Margo Martindale if she was coming back next year on JUSTIFIED and another said how much she loved Margo's dad, Wink.   Still another was hoping the "real" Mildred Pierce would be there for the ceremony. 

Gwyneth Paltrow won an Emmy for “Best Movie Star Who Agreed to be a Presenter”.

Her introduction included at least one cleansing joke. 

The TV Academy still considers Louis C.K.’s brilliance “nomination-worthy only”.

Zooey Dechanel wore the kookiest dress of the night.

In a desperate attempt to attract younger viewers, Miley Cyrus was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Charlie Sheen made a surprise appearance that wasn't much of a surprise.   In fact, if I remember correctly -- didn't the crawl last year at the bottom of the screen say at one time "1 year and 7 minutes until Charlie Sheen makes a surprise entrance"?

It’s not fair that producers of network shows like THE GOOD WIFE have to compete with cable shows like MAD MEN since THE GOOD WIFE has to churn out 22 episodes in one year while MAD MEN turns out 13 in two.

Don’t tell Hugh Laurie it’s an honor just to be nominated. Or Chuck Lorre.

But you can say it to Robot Chicken and Nathan Lane who were both lucky to be there at all.

Sofia Vergara's presenter schtick was accent jokes. 

How can a show that claims to celebrate the excellence of television even mention JERSEY SHORE? 

Jimmy Fallon’s musical numbers from last year’s Emmys were not topped.

At least one winning actor thanked the wrong network.

Betty White didn’t win but if I know her she said, “Who gives a shit? I’ll get one next year.”

Presenter Ian Somerhalder is best known for “one of those shows you know but can’t put your finger on”.

I was rooting for the KENNEDYS because it was rejected by several networks including The History Channel. Someone makes a home movie about a neighbor who looks sort of like Hitler and they buy it, but a miniseries on the Kennedys was not worthy of their precious airtime.

No one mentioned that the four major networks wanted out of the Emmy contract this year.  Even that obscure network that carried the KENNEDYS had reservations.

Sorry that Julie Bowen didn’t win unless she did.  In which case, it was a lock. 

In an effort to save time, the Miniseries and Made For TV Movie award categories were combined this year. Next year plans are to merge the Best Art Direction Award with Writing For a Comedy.

Jimmy Kimmel should have won the Best Talk Show Emmy. No, he wasn’t nominated but hey, that’s what upsets are for!

My favorite category this year: “Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special”. The nominees were Lady Gaga, Carrie Fisher, Bette Midler, and Pee Wee Herman. And they wonder why the Winged Woman doesn’t have the same stature as Oscar.

The show was too long.

So how'd I do?

57 comments:

Heather said...

RIght on! Jimmy Fallon musical number wasn't topped. Upsets? Yes. Zooey Deschanel, kooky dress? Yes. And Julie Bowen did win.

Nathan said...

The writing for the presenters was lame, but the voiceovers for the winners was truly painful.

purplejilly said...

heh heh. Is it wrong that I envisioned you doing this in the Johnny Carson headpiece he used to wear, when he made predictions with a piece of paper held to his forehead??

I haven't watched the Emmy's for years, but I was telling my seven year old daughter about the nostalgic TV days when I grew up, nad there were only three channels, and no on demand, no movies, no DVR, and how when something 'special' came on like the Emmys or the Oscars, me and my brothers and sisters woudl look forward to it all week, and watch with a big bowl of popcorn, so excited to see something different, glamorous and LIVE!
And after hyping it up to myself, I actually enjoyed it this year.

And when Charlie Sheen said he had something to get off his chest, I thought "What could be left? I thought his chest was weightless afetr this spring!" And sure enough, he was just nice and brief.

Chach (long time lurker) said...

Holy crap - you were dead on! Do you have a gut feeling on winning lotto numbers today... ?

Brilliant as always.

The Big Guy said...

Disappointing. Your post today was more entertaining than the show, but it was dreadful. However, the fact that you didn't see it makes you smarter than me. Worst written awards show ever.

Jeff said...

Regarding your prediction that the show was too long, it came in right on time according to the clock, but it felt WAY too long, even when skipping the commericals on TiVo.

As others have commented, the writing was horrible, but the direction wasn't much better. And the house band sounded like the group they use for those SURVIVOR reunion shows -- an observation I made even before learning Mark Burnett was the producer.

Next year they should have Julian Fellowes write the show -- it would be grandiloquent.

sephim said...

Congratulations to Margo Martindale. If ever an Emmy was “Justified”.

100% correct, right down to the joke used by the voiceover guy.

MikeBo said...

Ken, I followed your lead and tried not to watch the show, since we were having a birthday BBQ for my step-daughter,and I didn't want to be distracted from the family togetherness. But I was forced to walk by our family room "big screen" every time I went for another beer. Judging by those fragments I could not avoid watching, I'd say you nailed it.

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DyHrdMET said...

another Friday question for you - In the first 65 television seasons (wikipedia lists the first one as 1946-1947, so 65 have been completed), what was the best season for sitcoms, with all networks and their schedules, all shows that season, the quality of each show that season considered? And why?

Breadbaker said...

The most fun was that the sound didn't work for Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. It sounded like they were talking into tin cans and string. In 2011.

So when the Emmys win the Emmy next year for best sound editing, we'll know why.

D. McEwan said...

The miniseries winner was DOWNTON ABBEY, and if you didn't see it, see it. I saw it and it's wonderful. On the other hand, I wouldn't piss on that Kennedy's hack job. It was pure, INTENTIONAL character assassination, start to finish. I was, frankly, offended by Barry Pepper's win for playing Bobby.

Yup, Sofia's schtick was indeed accent jokes.

Well Ian Somerhalder was on Lost, and I can literally put my finger on that, as the DVDs of all 6 seasons are on a shelf about 10 feet away from where I am sitting.

And you and Tallulah ended up using the same photo to top your reviews.

Lizbeth said...

Ken, you must be psychic because you nailed it.

And I love Jane Lynch but nothing will ever top the Jimmy Fallon number from last year. He should have won an Emmy just for that.

Also love that Margo Martindale, Peter Dinklage, Melissa McCarthy and Barry Pepper won awards and are getting the recognition they deserve.

Ron said...

My Google+ post 15 minutes into the 2011 Emmy show: Emmys starting off so poorly done I'm turning it off. I guess the writing was pro bono, it looks it.

David O'Hara said...

A hatchet job on the Kennedys is not possible....Unless maybe you get drunk and drive off a bridge.

jbryant said...

Nathan's right - the writing for the announcer's filler-shtick as the winners made their way to the stage was stunningly dreadful.

I felt pain for the talented members of the "Emmy-Tone Singers," though I can't imagine the idea worked any better on paper than it did as executed.

Ken - Matthew Weiner was actually pretty subdued this year. I think maybe he was humbled by the lack of MAD MEN wins in other categories, including a few that seemed to be locks, and was perhaps anticipating a FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS upset.

Nancy said...

Steve Levitan's wife had the best reaction shots of the entire evening. She should host next year.

jbryant said...

Oh, and I can't believe they didn't take the opportunity to honor Steve Carell for his last season as Michael Scott. They clearly liked him enough to nominate him every year, but he never won. Shalhoub, Baldwin and Parsons won multiple times, but bupkis for Carell. Too bad. And it's starting to look like Jon Hamm (and of course Hugh Laurie) is going to have the same trajectory. No Kyle Chandler to worry about next year, but Cranston will be back. Sorry, Jon.

Paul Duca said...

IS there any relation between Margo and Wink Martindale?

Charles H. Bryan said...

All I watched was the opening pre-recorded bit and I felt bad for bringing the dog in even for those few minutes. Ken, you should just run this post next year with some (but probably not many) names changed.

Congrats to Modern Family, though. I like that show and Steven Levitan seems like a decent guy.

brewboy said...

That was the worst awards show I have ever struggled through. Even though Lynch had little material to work with, she just wasn't funny whatsoever. Amy Poehler's jump on the stage was by far the highlight of the evening. Oh, and those weak attempts at jokes when the winners headed to the stage should be omitted next year, unless some good writers are found.

Dave said...

Modern Family has never made me laugh. Well, it has, but 1 laugh for every 13 painfully awful moments is not quite cutting it. I think laser eye surgery would have a slightly higher laugh-to-pain ratio.

badhatharry said...

The saddest thing about Julie Bowen winning an emmy is that now she'll never do a show that airs on Cinemax at 11PM.

Mel Ryane said...

You got a lot right but even you could not have predicted the EMMYTONES and what a miss that was; also the opening number, bad song with bad writing. VO bad, bad writing. Charlie Sheen looked like he was at an AA meeting...bad idea. DOWNTON ABBEY is fab. Julie Bowen's stylist should be shot.

Johnny Walker said...

Very funny. I loved, "Martin Scorsese thanked everyone in the industry by name and was still finished before the “walk off” music began."

gottacook said...

I caught several large segments of the last two-thirds of the show. It had all the verve, wit, and pacing of Star Trek - The Motion Picture. Just painful.

Carlos Matthews Hernandez said...

Ken, I think you'd be pleased to know that the first winner (Julie Bowen) thanked the writers of the series before thanking anyone. She said: "Who without, Claire Dunphy wouldn't be possible."

Lots of winners thanking writers this year.

sam said...

charlie sheen's speech was so odd.. just waiting for him to drop the ball and insult john cryer

emily said...

After Charlie Sheen so graciously wished Two And A Half Men "a great season," it would have been nice for Kucher and Cryer to drop their scripted Sheen zingers.

Anonymous said...

And was anyone else offended that Charlie Sheen was not only there but got a standing ovation? Since his work this year wasn't that good and pretty much relegated to sitting on the couch while the other 2 1/2 cast carried the weight, were they applauding his arrogant behavior, his drug use, his sex with porn stars, his vocal meltdown and attacks against the people he worked with, or that they admired he did it all, didn't OD and never apologized for any of it? Is that what we award now?

Naz said...

Best moment was the lead actress in a comedy series whereas they all came on stage as Miss America contestants.

Sad moment was Steve Carell not winning and that geeky guy won instead.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Just happen to be listening to the Mariners' pre-game -- Ken, you should do a podcast. Interview other writers, baseball players, choreographers, whoever you'd like. I bet it'd be great fun to hear.

Mary Stella said...

There's a sort of strange but fun symmetry to read your review of a show that neither of us watched. I switched over once from the Eagles-Falcons game and glimpsed Jane Lynch in a horrid wig in a pre-taped skit with the horrors from Jersey Shore.

I hope they paid Jane a lot of money.

Frank said...

I hear Mark Burnett also wrote the hilarious "comedy" bits for the show.

GMJ said...

Possible Friday questions.

How did you react when you won an Emmy for Cheers in 1983? Do you have your Emmy on display?

BDodd said...

I join others here in applauding Downton Abbey's miniseries win. Very well done, and l am really looking forward to the continuation on PBS in Jan. 2012.

D. McEwan said...

"jbryant said...
Nathan's right - the writing for the announcer's filler-shtick as the winners made their way to the stage was stunningly dreadful."


I agree 100%. I'd agree 200% if it were mathematically possible.

"Nancy said...
Steve Levitan's wife had the best reaction shots of the entire evening. She should host next year."


Another 100% agreement. Well, 99%. She shouldn't host; they should just cut to her reactions all through the show.

"emily said...
After Charlie Sheen so graciously wished Two And A Half Men 'a great season,' it would have been nice for Kucher and Cryer to drop their scripted Sheen zingers."


You have a definite point. That would have been classy. Yet one must admit Charlie brought it on himself. Some people, when publically called a troll by an ex-co-worker, need more than just an apology tour to forgive.

"Anonymous said...
And was anyone else offended that Charlie Sheen was not only there but got a standing ovation? Since his work this year wasn't that good and pretty much relegated to sitting on the couch while the other 2 1/2 cast carried the weight, were they applauding his arrogant behavior, his drug use, his sex with porn stars, his vocal meltdown and attacks against the people he worked with, or that they admired he did it all, didn't OD and never apologized for any of it? Is that what we award now?"


Not me. In any event, he has apologised. He's been on an apology tour. Over the last two weeks or so, he's been on almost every talk show that would book him, apologizing his ass off, making no excuses, and doing all he can to show he's now fully realized that every time he screamed "WINNING!" he was really LOSING, and trying to undo the damage he's done to himself. Hard to be offended when he clearely showed some actual class for the first time in years. Apparently at some recent point he looked at the guy he was 4 months ago, and finally was as horrified as the rest of us were.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Don't agree. Sheen has a new show coming and it's obvious his handlers want him to appear redeemed. But there was nothing heartfelt about his comments on the show or elsewhere; they were rote, and sadly he's not a good enough actor to make me believe his apology was anything but mandated. If he gets his act together and stays together, great... for him. But right now there's too great a distance between saying you're sorry and meaning it.

mcp said...

A possible answer for DyHrdMet's question for the best season for sitcoms of all time: 1975 - 1976

Mary Tyler Moore
Barney Miller
M*A*S*H
Bob Newhart
All in the Family
Maude
Happy Days

tb said...

Barry Pepper was a fantastic Bobby Kennedy, I'm glad he won. Great actor

amyp3 said...

Who does Amy Poehler have to do to get an Emmy? Maybe if they create a new Emmy for best bit made up by a nominee she'll win for the last two she's cooked up.

Next to the Tonys the Emmys is the awards show I watch most regularly. But I only made it through 50 minutes of this - and that was with the sound down for half of it.

I learned many years ago that who wins what is BS (except for yours, of course Ken ... uh, if you won one). So they at least need to make the show itself entertaining.

Figures somebody who's responsible for a piece of crap reality show was the producer.

HogsAteMySister said...

Actually, the Emmys were part of the NFL's marketing strategy. How clever was that?

Mike Schryver said...

"A hatchet job on the Kennedys is not possible....Unless maybe you get drunk and drive off a bridge."

Yeah, nothing the Kennedys ever did matters, because one of them did that once.

I also popped in briefly and the Jersey Shore sketch was running. I didn't make it through even a minute, and I absolutely adore Jane Lynch.

Buttermilk Sky said...

I like Jane Lynch, too, but she mostly spent the night modeling a series of unbecoming dresses, as if to prove to America that lesbians have cleavage. The opening number was so bad, I thought I was watching the Oscars.

Barry Pepper and not Tom Wilkinson? WTF?

I would rather have heard "Where Dem Girls At" during the In Memoriam than that dreary, overdone Joni Mitchell song.

Totally agree about the writing. Apparently all the funny writers are either working for Jon Stewart or broadcasting the Mariners.

Chris said...

Here's a writing question for friday: when you write with someone, if you come up with a joke, do you have to really laugh at it or do you sometimes talk about stuff you've tried in the past that you don't laugh at as much but still try it in a story.

On a side note, why would a show creator get a creative consultant credit on its only season? Michael G.Moye got it on It's Your Turn.

gottacook said...

B. Sky: "that dreary, overdone Joni Mitchell song" is actually a Leonard Cohen song, "Hallelujah," which has been around since the '80s but wasn't overfamiliar until recently, starting when the John Cale version was used in Shrek some 10 years ago.

SkippyMom said...

McCarthy winning for "Mike and Molly" was a joke. She got the Emmy for being in "Bridesmaids" because they know the Academy won't nominate anyone from that comedy for an Oscar [although perhaps they should]. It's a farce. Mike and Molly is just awful.

I thought the whole "Miss America" schtick was cute tho'. [Oh, sorry Ken you missed that.]

I am glad you had a safe flight, but missed that you didn't get to do a true review.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Thanks for the correction, gottacook. All Canadians look alike to me.

Anonymous said...

So at this point, you are literally phoning in the blog on your way to another gig and using the device as a gimmick for us to react to and pick up the slack. You're not even bothering to watch what you review. Sounds like you've made the conversion to tv exec.

jbryant said...

SkippyMom - by your logic, shouldn't Kristin Wiig have won too?

I haven't seen MIKE AND MOLLY, so I'll take your word that it's "just awful." But I assume it's possible for an actor to do award-worthy work in a poorly written show, yes? Or are you saying McCarthy is just awful, too?

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
So at this point, you are literally phoning in the blog on your way to another gig and using the device as a gimmick for us to react to and pick up the slack. You're not even bothering to watch what you review. Sounds like you've made the conversion to tv exec."


If you leave your name, Mr Courage, the money you paid to read this column will be cheerfully refunded. Well, not "cheerfully."

Sue said...

Right on D. McEwan !

Brian Phillips said...

I was thrilled for Margo Martindale, because "Justified" is a great show that doesn't get the ink that "Mad Men" does.

The Emmys are a great haven of reflex voting. Case in point: as much as I enjoyed "Murphy Brown", Candice Bergen won so many times, she withdrew her name from competition. The last time she won (you should have seen the look of shock/embarrassment that ran across her face on her fifth win) she said that she thought that Helen Hunt would have been the winner that year. The next year, Hunt won! If you go by sheer number of wins, Candice Bergen is as good as Lucille Ball, which is absurd.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has won EIGHT TIMES! I like the show, but eight is enou...oh, I just can't! At very least, I hope Lizz Winstead cracks a bit of a smile when they win, considering she co-created the (very different in tone) show, and had to put up with the smarmy Craig Kilborn.

As for the show, I've seen better and I've seen worse award shows. Check my blog for the time one of my favorite actors hosted a minor award show. It's the April 6, 2010 entry.

The Emmytones were a mistake, mostly because they kept using them. Had Jane Lynch passed them in her opening montage, it would have been funny as an idea they chose not to use. Over the years, they have done such things as:

- Interview winners just as they left the stage
- Had fake pre-taped acceptance speeches for the winners that didn't show.
- Attempted to have animated characters interact during the show (almost always a bad idea from a technical standpoint).

One year, Jason Alexander took the bull by the horns and walked out into the audience for some unscripted banter. He even said, "Folks, I'm saving you from some bad jokes here!"

To answer the question of what Amy Poehler needs to do to win, hopefully she doesn't do what Jenna Elfman did during the run of "Dharma and Greg". I don't know what it was that Elfman did, but it didn't work!

Rochelle said...

I love Jane Lynch. I think she was a great host, they chose the right person. She's very funny. Thanks for this review!

Matt Patton said...

My mom (who has an unfortunate awards-show jones) watched about ten minutes of the Emmys before switching over to a rerun of The Closer. The laughs were bigger and more reliable . . .

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

The only thing left to mention is the set, which appeared to be straight out of a Scientology handbook.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Nancy is absolutely right. Steve Levitan's wife was the breakout star of the Emmy's. Her comic timing is as good as I've seen. She should be getting a development deal in 3, 2, 1...

I found Charlie Sheen to be smug and wholly disingenuous.

The three actresses on Charlie's Angels had zero chemistry. In fact, it seemed like they pretty much hate each other.