Sunday, August 05, 2007

The 2007 Kenny Awards

There are so many award shows now I figured why not one more? The Kennys – my personal picks for television excellence. Granted, I don’t have the credibility of foreign waiters who decide the Golden Globes but I have even more legitimate credentials – I have a blog. Hopefully next year studios will take out ads.

So anyway, here they are, in no particular order and with no regard to what the TV Academy or anyone else recognizes – the coveted Kenny awards for 2007.

Amazingly, I notice Joan & Melissa Rivers are on my driveway interviewing my mailman. I guess they show up anytime awards are being handed out.

Best Comedy – 30 ROCK

Best Comedy I appreciate more than actually laugh at – THE OFFICE

Best Drama Cable – DEXTER

Best Drama Network – LOST

Best Drama I hear is great but never have watched – THE WIRE

Best Late Night Show – CINEMAX AFTER DARK (I like THE DAILY SHOW too but when given a choice come on, get real.)

Best Daytime Show – MASH reruns


Best Animated Show – THE SIMPSONS (Funnier than seasons 18, 13, and 11, on a par with seasons 14, 15, and 10, better than seasons 17 and 12, not as good as season 16, 1-4.)

Best Game Show Host – Pat Kiernan -- pictured left, THE WORLD SERIES OF POP CULTURE

Best behind the scenes of SNL show – 30 ROCK (A year ago this would have seemed impossible. It was STUDIO 60's to lose and they did.)

Best Actor in a Drama – Michael C. Hall as DEXTER. (A serial killer you’d be happy to go to dinner with… as long as he’s not cooking.)

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series – Tim Daly in THE SOPRANOS (No one has given a more accurate portrayal of a screenwriter. He had an alcohol and gambling problem, got hooked up with the mob, got skulled with his “Human-itis” award and finally was shot to death. All that was missing was seeing him walk a picket line.)

Best Lead Actor in a Comedy – Alec Baldwin 30 ROCK. (He’s so good at comedy I now re-watch his dramas and laugh at those too.)

Best Lead Actress in a Comedy -- Feliticy Huffman, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. (To see how good she is, just compare her with any of those other preening hens she shares the screen with.)

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – Michael Emerson as Ben on LOST (A mesmerizing villain. I watch him and think -- it’s what happened to “Harold” after “Maude” died.)

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy – Jenna Fischer, THE OFFICE. (See this post. I love her… but not in that creepy “ I want to download a line of her dialog and use it as my ringtone” way.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama – Jennifer Carpenter as DEXTER’S sister -- pictured left. (She’s what Holly Hunter tries to be in SAVING GRACE but you can look at her.)

Best Lead Actress in a Drama – Edie Falco, THE SOPRANOS. (Her depth, subtlety, and humanity made her the only truly sympathetic character in the series… along with maybe the hooker Tony banged in Vegas.)

Best Network News anchor – Charles Gibson, ABC (Even though he's not perky).

Best Cable News anchor – Kyra Phillips, CNN -- pictured right. (Yes, I love her but not in that creepy “I want to record her reporting a bus plunge to use as my ringtone” way.)

Best Network Sportscaster – Jon Miller, ESPN (I would watch if he were calling a Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Kansas City Royals game in September. Okay, I’d be comatose through most of it but the parts I was conscious I’d be enthralled.)

Best Series Finale – it was the show where they --


Bill said...

I love Jon Miller, but I can't stand Joe Morgan as a broadcaster. Maybe they can replace him with Pat Kiernan.

Unknown said...

Trophies!! You must give out the trophies!

Anonymous said...

I so completely agree about Michael Emerson as The Ben Formerly Known As Henry, aka Benry.

I would write-in Adawale Agbaje, Mr. Eko on LOST, for hunkiest actor in a drama - network, but I've never been a waiter, so I guess I can't.

But you didn't answer The Big Question: WHO was your mailman wearing?

Anonymous said...

The Simpsons? Not even in the top 5 of animated shows, it's become as sad as Cheers was after Kirstie Alley came along. Clearly, you haven't seen Frisky Dingo, which was the funniest show of the year. Venture Brothers, South Park and Family Guy would all come next. But of course the fact that you like 30 Rock but haven't even seen The Wire out you as the old school, over-the-hill comedy writer you are. With all due respect, of course.

By Ken Levine said...

Yes I'm an over-the-hill comedy writer. I don't watch the shows you whipper-snappers watch today. Now back in radio, when I used to write for Mr. Jack Benny and DUFFY'S TAVERN, that was comedy.

Workman said...

If I had an award, I would hand it out to 30 Rock as well. Hopefully NBC will leave it alone and let it continue to develop.

I'm still reeling from "Arrested Development"'s early demise.

Rob said...

Ken, did they get your mailman's name right or did they use their tactful, "WHO are you?"

As usual the day after an awards show, I have some nits to pick. Oh wait, that was actually just my underwear, bunched up.

Best Comedy -- Honestly, can you truly compete with any Tony Snow press conference? But the Office is a close second for me, if only because the place I go to work each day is almost as bad.

Best Drama Cable -- The Wire. The people who seem to hate this show are the kind who need their characters introduced in the standard network pilot sort of way (clubbed over the head with their backstory and traits). This past season may have been its best, although I can't for the life of me imagine how the City of Baltimore likes the fact it is filmed there.

Best Animated Show -- Spongebob Squarepants and/or Family Guy. Spongebob because I can watch it with my daughter and laugh. Family Guy because it still has the ability to make me do a spittake with a dumb joke.

Best guest actor in a drama -- I had a sitcom writing professor who used to joke about how intimidating a Writers strike was. Teamsters could break legs, writers would hit you with their typewriter, if only the could lift it.

Best supporting actress in a drama - Jennifer Carpenter? She's got a bit of a funhouse mirror face (pretty, but oddly proportioned), and like a lot of the Dexter cast, tends to need to turn it down a nacho.

Rob said...

And speaking of cartoons, have I reached the age where I'm too old to find the majority of what is on Adult Swim (save Futurama, Family Guy, and Robot Chicken) funny?

Anonymous said...

jd said...

''The Simpsons? Not even in the top 5 of animated shows, it's become as sad as Cheers was after Kirstie Alley came along.''

IMO, the show didn't hit its stride until the writers stopped riffing on the Sam/Diane relationship.

Anonymous said...

Really must check out 30 Rock.

Tom said...

Jon Miller is so good, he can survive having Joe Morgan next to him in the booth, but it can't be easy. During a Yankee game some years back where the Yanks were behind by a few, Joe insightfully imparted this nugget: "If the Yankees want to win this game, they need to score some runs."

I used to try watching without the audio, but wanting to hear Jon Miller won out every time.

Real Live Woman said...

We just watched the first three episodes of "The Wire: Season 1" this weekend and we're already hooked. We can't get disc 2 from Netflix fast enough. You must check it out.

Mary Stella said...

Felicity Huffman does more with a gesture and a look than many actresses convey with a page of dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I used to like Jon Miller, but last week I heard him on ESPN radio actually defend the legitamacy of Barry Bonds breaking the record. I guess he knows what logo is on the top of his checks.

Jeff said...

Oh, Ken, in your praise of Jon Miller, was it really necessary to take a swipe at the KC Royals? Haven't those poor bastards (and I'm mostly talking about their mostly) suffered enough in the last six years?

For next year's awards (or next week's? I'm not certain how often you intend to give these out), might I suggest the drama MAD MEN on AMC? And also for comedy, IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA on F/X. Provided it returns for another season. Both are excellent.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Edie Falco is a terrific dramatic actress who really nailed her role on The Sopranos. But sympathetic? Hardly. Carmella Soprano was in her way just as vicious as her husband; she just managed to manipulate others into getting her what she wanted.

And don't go dissing on Jack Benny, young punk. Despite all the great comedians who followed him, he was, and still is, the epitome of comedy.

Malachy Walsh said...

You should find room in there for FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. One of the few network dramas not built around a crime scene or an operating table.

By Ken Levine said...

I'm hardly dissing Jack Benny. I'm paying tribute. He is my comedy IDOL. I would do a whole post on him but I worry 75% of my audience wouldn't know who he is.

Anonymous said...

I would do a whole post on him but I worry 75% of my audience wouldn't know who he is.

Or maybe, Ken, that's the reason to do it. But first, do some research to find out what DVDs are available of Benny's work and focus your post on them. That way any curious whippersnappers could actually watch them and then decide if you know what you're talking about.

As for me, I agree with you, but it wasn't until I became an adult that I began to really "get" Benny as a genius/craftsman. There's an episode of his show from the early sixties where Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary attempts an academic explanation of folk music. Benny does nothing, really, but stand and listen, but manages through nothing but body language to convey an impression of cluelessness trying to pass as comprehension. It's like watching a great magician: you know what he's doing but you can't figure out exactly how he does it.

Unknown said...

I vote for the Jack Benny post AND a DUFFY'S TAVERN post...there's plenty to learn from both. The only thing I've learned from watching the Family Guy is that attention spans are now shorter than the skirts these dames are wearing today.

Anonymous said...

"Dexter" is strong, but isn't in the same ballpark as "The Shield" or "The Wire."

Beverly said...

I am a young whippersnapper and I approve this message.

Sounds like jd has a case of the Mondays!

Seriously though, Frisky MF'ing Dingo? No, really. I mean...SERIOUSLY?!

Anonymous said...

Without Jack Benny, there'd have been no Kelsey Grammer (or at least a very different Kelsey Grammer). Actually, I'd be interested to know how much of Frasier Crane's "Jack Benny-ness" was in the original conception of the character and how much was Grammer's homage to his comic idol. Or maybe you'd rather save that question, Ken, for some future Benny thread.

As for awards, I concur with the Jenna Fischer love. Appropriately enough, she first knocked me out in the episode about the awards ceremony at Chili's.

Anonymous said...

dear sir,

if you don't want to write a tribute to jack benny, you could always link to the wikipedia entry about him. i just read it this morning, and it was damn good.

Anonymous said...

Yes... please... more on Jack Benny.

Funny and loveable... incredibly generous re: the kick he got out of others... (a miser, he was not) ... Who else out there falls into this category today?

Feisty Crone said...

I agree 100% about the MASH reruns. It's still the funniest show ever, in my book. I don't watch shows like 30 Rock, but I do enjoy Family Guy.

maven said...

Kudos to your pick for LOST as Best Drama and Michael Emerson as Ben Linus. I would add Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet. Just when you think you can trust her, she pulls the rug out from under you. Her subtle acting style is mesmerizing.

Anonymous said...

Benny's TV shows could get a little bit stage-bound, but when they did the character skits with the regular cast of Mary Livingston, Eddie Anderson, Mel Blanc, Frank Nelson, etc., those shows still stand up today as funnier than most of the first-run network stuff (NBC/Universal really should cull out the best shows in their package for airing somewhere, while leaving the more Ed Sullivan-like episodes on the shelf).

Anonymous said...

Sorry JD, The Simpsons is still great. I never miss a new one. SOUTH PARK can and does still turn out good shows, but their average is about 2 out of each new batch of 6, with the rest horribly preachy, and with their conservative preudices (Matt & Trey are such Republicans) showing.

Jack Benny was the motherlode, but none of his films are very good, except possibly TO BE OR NOT TO BE. It's his TV shows (And for us old fogies, his radio shows too) that are great.

Sweet Dick Whittington told me again and again, that he modelled his own approach to comedy on Benny, calling it "Straight Man to the World", referring to being the center surrounded by a cast of crazies. Mary Tyler Moore on her classic show was essentially taking the Benny approach as well.

Of the compliments I've received over my life, none is cherished higher by me than the day Mel Blanc and his wife both told me I did a first-rate Jack Benny impression.

I was on the set one day when Jack Benny was shooting a LAUGH-IN guest spot, and got to watch him work live. Watching him edit on his feet was a real education in comedy. And then...

George Shlatter asked him to say "You bet your sweet bippy."

Benny: Bippy? What is a bippy?

George: It's just a nonsense word. It means nothing. Just say it.

Benny: It makes no sense.

George: Trust me. Just say it.

Benny: All right. Bippy?

George: Bippy.

Benny: Okay. Roll tape. (Tape rolls) You bet my sweet ass.

Shlatter and everyone on the set explode with laughter. Benny had been expertly hosing them. Benny also ad-libbed, "I thought Wagnells was the dirty word."

Beckylooo said...

Oh no! Not you too, Ken! Lost over Friday Night Lights? Really? REALLY dude!?

Sigh. I guess I'm too young and whipper snappery to appreciate sacrificing solid character work for the sake of pretzel making plots. Don't get me wrong, I watch Lost and occasionally I enjoy it. But if given a choice, Jack D or McCallen 18? Single Malt, strait up with a twist of Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler please.

By Ken Levine said...

My problem with FNL is the camera work. It makes me nauseous. So I take points off for not being able to watch it without getting physically ill.

Cap'n Bob said...

Looks like you only watch about a dozen shows, Ken. More than I see, assuming you don't count small claims court presentations as shows.
I loved Jack Benny.

Anonymous said...

Cheers with Diane is excellent - the writing was witty and clever, and they got in some great riffs on intellectualism. The first year or two of Kirstie Alley was still strong, because they still had a good source of conflict in the bear. Once Rebecca was dumbed down and became one of the crew, the show was over (this coincided with a change in showrunners). And the rest of the characters lost their nuances and became cariacatures, with their most identifiable traits become very exaggerated (Sam got dumber, Carla got meaner, etc.)

As for M*A*S*H reruns - the first five years or so are great. Once Winchester shows up, the show gets overly preachy and tough to take - it's as if they were running the scripts by the DNC or the ACLU or something.

Beckylooo said...

Well I can hardly argue with nausea. But for whatever it's worth, they got progressively more still as the season went on. There's still a dose or two of The Shield in there but it's not quite as "Tony and Paulie on the fishing boat" as it used to be.

Dana King said...

You've got to discover The Wire. Among the small handful of best shows on television since its first episode. Now that The Sopranos and Deadwood have moved on, The Wire is head and shoulders the best show on television.

Anonymous said...

In the 70's, when I was a staff writer on a Norman Lear show, I asked Milt Josefsberg if Jack Benny did his whole TV show in front of a live audience or just the opening monolog. Milt's answer: "none of it was before a live audience." The audience shots were stock footage. It shows what a master of time Jack Benny was.

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate Wayne Brady for best Guest Star in a Comedy... They reran his episode of "How I met your mother" tonight which reminded me of this.

Anonymous said...

how do u find the time to watch all of those shows AND figure out who gets which trophy? i think U deserve some kind of award for that! lol

Anonymous said...

Was there ever a better guest appearance than Paul Reubens as European royalty? That really put 30 Rock on my weekly must see list!

Bill Nesbitt

Anonymous said...

Why aren't you watching The Wire? I mean seriously... it is fiercely brilliant.

girard31 said...

When it comes out, RUN, don't walk to get this past season of "THE WIRE". It's like a Dickens novel without the cheery fat characters. You'll be knocked out by the twists and turns and dumbfounded when you find out which kid from the middle school winds up getting a chance to get out of the hood. The last scene made me bawl like a little school girl.

The Cajun Boy said...

though i agree with you about most of these, i have to disagree emphatically with your choice of jennifer campbell from dexter. i find her unwatchable. i don't see what the appeal is.

but that's just me...