Monday, September 24, 2012
My 2012 Emmy Review
This is also the week for the High Holidays. For you non-Jewish readers who wonder what it’s like to sit in temple for essentially 24-hours, it’s like sitting through this year’s Emmys except you can’t have a seat-filler. Host Jimmy Kimmel (who I normally love) was a major disappointment and I daresay that 1951 Emmy host, Chief Justice Earl Warren was funnier. (Yes, Earl Warren actually did host the Emmys. First choice Howdy Doody thought it was beneath him.) So this review might be a little extra snarky because I had high hopes. My bad.
The real guffaws came before the ceremony. You can always count on the KTLA Channel 5 “Live From the Red Carpet” show to be an utter train wreck, and this year was no exception. Hosted by Sam Rubin (who IS Howdy Doody) and Jessica Holmes (former host of SLIME TIME LIVE), I think they outdid themselves this year in obsequiousness and banality.
It was a hot day so Jessica’s question to every actress was “how much are you sweating?” Sam asked 12 year-old Kiernan Shipka why MAD MEN worked.
Sam called Nolan Gould Nathan Gould and John Slattery Mark Slattery.
My daughter, Annie noted that Sam’s “Word of the Day” calendar was not paying off. Always one for extreme hyperbole (look that one up too, Sam), he said BREAKING BAD “is the penultimate best show ever!” Penultimate means “second to last in a series or sequence.” So, as Annie’s writing partner Jon pointed out: what Sam really said was “on the list of great shows, BREAKING BAD is second to last.”
Sam also used “prognostication” or “prognosticator” three times. And said that Aaron Paul “is the most handsome man alive.”
Sam, you are the penultimate red carpet host.
Now for the show. I was thrilled that HOMELAND won. It’s hard to believe you could do a better job of depicting the CIA and the war on terrorism than COVERT AFFAIRS but somehow, miraculously, HOMELAND does it.
How’d you like to be at the MAD MEN after party? Not that you’d ever be invited.
I was also pleased that MODERN FAMILY took home the Best Comedy prize. Despite being up for four awards for GIRLS, Lena Dunham was shut out. I guess anal sex is funny enough for nomination not winning.
For movies & mini-series, as long as HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN lost I was happy. To call it the penultimate TV movie of all-time would be giving it too much credit.
GAME CHANGE (produced by Tom Hanks) won in that category so Hollywood finally voted for Sarah Palin. If Democrats won’t go to Clint Eastwood movies now, good luck getting Republicans to pay to see the next Tom Hanks flick.
I knew we were in for a rough night when the show started with that lame bathroom sketch. The only funny moment was when the five reality hosts popped up. So what does it say when Heidi Klum gets the biggest laugh of the bit?
The opening monologue was weak. We were promised edgy and daring. We got Mitt Romney jokes. Come on, Jimmy. You're better than Carson Daly.
Color was a big theme this year. Not diversity (networks are still living off casting Bill Cosby in I SPY in 1965) but gowns in bright dayglo shades only seen on muscle cars. Yellow was the color of winners. Julie Bowen, Julianne Moore, Claire Danes. It was like the Georgia Tech homecoming queen and her court.
Amy Poehler always has the funniest acceptance speech, even when she doesn’t win.
Fortunately, the Emmycast won’t be on Fox next year. We’ll be spared Seth MacFarlane hosting. He’s become absolutely insufferable. Draw your cartoons. Stop trying to be Danny Kaye!
The Mini-Series category is a joke. If a drama series gets cancelled after six episodes it suddenly qualifies as a Mini-Series. Such was the case with MISSING. Or if you change your cast like AMERICAN HORROR STORY. If wholesale cast changes were enough, LAW & ORDER would have won for best Mini-Series twelve years in a row.
Kevin Costner won for playing a cowboy, which is what he should be playing. His days of portraying a baseball player are over unless they do a screen version of CHEERS and hire him as the Coach.
What were those fins on the back of Kathy Griffin’s dress? She looked like a stegosaurus five minutes before extinction.
On a night that claims to celebrate excellence in television, they showed a promo for the new show THE NEIGHBORS about a family moving into a housing community inhabited entirely by space creatures.
Christine Baranski, in a gold plated gown, looked like C-3PO caught cross-dressing.
What do you do when you feel you need to honor somebody you don’t really like or understand but you don’t want to appear out-of-touch? You give him writing Emmys. Congratulations to Louis C.K. When it came time to give out the “real” Emmy – y’know, for acting – that they awarded to Jon Cryer.
But let’s face it, if the academy had their way they’d just give half the Emmys each year to Jon Stewart and the other half to Julia Louis-Drefus.
Meanwhile, Bill Maher has now lost 24 straight times. New rule: don’t bother! Especially when you consider the voters are Democrats. Really, Bill. Save a stamp.
A lot of the winners (like directors Steve Levitan and Tim VanPatton) were written off by the TV critics handicapping the races. Shows you what those “prognosticators” know.
Many will think Jimmy Kimmel’s Living In Memoriam bit was funny, but I thought it was disrespectful. The real In Memoriam was beautifully done and very emotional, especially for me when they showed Harry Morgan.
I was ecstatic that Claire Danes won. What an extraordinary talent. She’s Meryl Streep without the phony accents.
Also kudos to Julie Bowen. She sold herself short in her acceptance speech. She’s a gifted actress equally adept at verbal and physical comedy. Sofia Vergara might also be good at delivering lines but how would anybody know?
The MODERN FAMILY video was very funny. And I’m sure it scores points with voters. Next year Lena Dunham should consider dropping her drawers, bending over, and doing one for GIRLS.
The heralded “prank” (like Tracy Morgan) just laid there. Not particularly funny with zero payoff. Viewers were asked to call people who weren’t watching (in other words: you) and say, “Tracy Morgan just collapsed on the Emmys! Turn on ABC.” Besides being lame, how many non-viewers heard that news and went, “Good”?
Winner Jessica Lange was Norma Desmond in orange.
Tom Berenger and Tom Bergeron both won. I wonder how many academy members voted for them because they thought they were the same person and marveled at his versatility? Same with Damian Lewis and Louis C.K.
They ran a banner that said, “4 minutes to Ricky Gervais” as if that was a big incentive for viewers to stay tuned. Do they not know that to most Americans, that’s like saying, “4 minutes to Swine Flu”, or “4 minutes to Chris Brown”? People hate Ricky Gervais.
Congratulations to the “most handsome man alive” for winning his second statuette in two years. Aaron Paul was in a pilot of ours once and we had to fight Fox to get him approved. They felt he was very “ordinary.” I believe their choice was Joe Millionaire.
All in all, I thought the show was flat. Nothing memorable. Nothing surprising. I’m sure if the show’s producers are reading this they’re saying, “Oh yeah, Levine? Well, you’re such a genius. What would you do?” Well, for starters, I would have Tracy Morgan collapse on stage for real.