Emmys Given Sunday
Yes, I know it’s Monday night (or maybe later).
I’d hoped to “live-blog” during the Emmys but the Internet connection was down.
Still, I took notes, fleshed them out during commercials, and have since edited them into a review — in the spirit of Bests & Worsts or Cheers & Jeers, accompanied by certain exclamations I realized were recurring from my fingertips. So here, late and surely redundant to countless other postmortems in cyberspace, are my 2009
Emmys Yays, Heys, Hmms, & Huhs.
Hey! I’m just one letter off the Tetragrammaton.
Yay! Neil Patrick Harris is already enjoyably smooth yet arch. It took me a few lines
to figure out that he was doing the faux-newsreel voiceover himself. And the white tux jacket is a bold yet winning choice.
I fall into the sliver of my generation who doesn’t have Doogie Howser nostalgia, by
the way. That series was on during my college years, when TV viewing was mostly limited to SNL, the news — just a few things going on like the Gulf War, the Clarence Thomas hearings, a couple of Presidential elections, the Rodney King riots, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union — and weekly indulgence in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think the adult NPH is a real hoot, though, on How I
Met Your Mother and in general from what I’ve seen of him.
Hmm… The song was a bit wan at the outset. And it’s hard for one guy, not hoofing
it much (partly ’cause he’s singing live, I think, so points on that score), to roam a huge stage minus a visible band or backup dancers and not look small. He ended strong and that staccato rundown of the various channels rocked, but some backing vocals might have made it sound meatier.
Hey! Jon Hamm is a very handsome man.
Hmm… So who does have quality opening montages nowadays, theme-song or
not? I watch approximately two sitcoms, 30 Rock and HIMYM, both of which oddly enough feature quick titles with vocals but no words — good ones, too, although 30 Rock’s is best skipped if you’re viewing episodes in succession on DVD. I don’t follow Desperate Housewives any more, but its original credits sequence was imaginative
and nicely executed. The recently departed Battlestar Galactica had an excellent theme. Big Love and True Blood, which I catch up on via disc, use actual songs quite effectively. Mad Men’s opening probably gets the gold right now for its music and visuals; I wouldn’t think of fast-forwarding past.
Hey! That’s the voice of John Hodgman. Niiice.
Yay! I’d probably have voted for SNL’s Amy Poehler, but I’m glad for Kristen Chenoweth — she’s talented, she was on a too-short-lived series, and she’s just so
happy about the award. We should ask the Fringe crew how to find the alternate universe where Bryan Fuller is splitting his time between Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, neither of which airs opposite Boomtown.
Ha! This remark from Julia Louis-Dreyfus was hilarious: “Amy [Poehler] and I are proud to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcasting.” I howled.
Hmm… Jon Cryer seems like a nice guy and the speech opened funny, but — having seen exactly one episode of Two and Half Men — I’m not too familiar with his current work. While the 30 Rock guys do great stuff, I’d have voted for NPH. (Okay, I suppose
if I were a voter I would have seen all the submitted material, so maybe not.) Everyone who enjoys sharp, adult-oriented laughs should at least try HIMYM. I don’t think it belongs at 8 p.m. and can’t believe what it gets away with sometimes, but the same
was true for Friends.
Hey! Justin Timberlake looks strangely like Simon Baker. Why does it feel like the glasses somehow play into that when neither of those dudes wears glasses?
Hmm… I wonder if turning orange is a side effect of certain makeup or tanning products in combination with HD cameras, at least as seen on non-HD televisions. David Letterman has been looking orange on my set for a good stretch lately. Now half the Comedy Lead Actress nominees are orange and the other half are extremely pale.
Hmm… How do I precede a comment on Toni Collette’s win since I’ve never watched United States of Tara? My pick was Tina Fey.
Yay! Falsely bitter NPH is even funnier than regular NPH, although we could’ve done without the gag cut-in to Jon Cryer’s press time.
Huh? I have a sense of humor that can appreciate dark, wicked comedy. But that Family Guy bit with Stewie beating the dog was just wrong.
No offense to those who enjoy it, but I’m not a viewer of so-called reality TV — as opposed to what Emmy rightly separates out in the Reality Competition category. I
can see enjoying stuff on cable about making cakes and working tough jobs in harsh climates and surviving life as a meerkat, but the likes of Jon and Kate and Real Housewives... I’d rather feel better about life in general by watching people triumph than feel better about just my life by watching people unravel and being grateful that I’m not them (and then make me fear for their children’s future besides). Even the generally positive and thrilling Amazing Race will occasionally linger on behavior
that’s baser or more manufactured for the camera than I expect or desire to see.
Huh? Race has won an award in every one of the previous half-dozen years it’s
been nominated, and yet the band appears not to have rehearsed its theme.
Miniseries and Movies
Hmm… The only nominee I’ve seen in this category is 24: Redemption. Anyway, Shohreh Aghdashloo was fantastic alongside Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley in
The House of Sand and Fog, as well as on 24 a few seasons back, so I’m happy for her.
Yay! I heard Grey Gardens was very good. Ken Howard earned bonus points for “I’ll make my speech short in the hope that it won’t be interrupted by a Congressman or a rapper.” And the genuine thanks to the woman whose kidney he now has was even more moving than that was funny.
Hmm… Does anyone else think that ever since Alec Baldwin started doing his great (just great) impression of Tony Bennett on SNL he’s been unable to totally shake it off?
Yay! The rumored Dr. Horrible piece has arrived in delightful fashion, and it’s legen— [buffering]...
Hey! I just did a search for the supremely funny “YouTwitFace” and found that since Conan O’Brien coined the term it has, as the kids say, gone viral and of course is now
an actual domain that also of course won’t load for me. If you haven’t seen the original sketch introducing the term, Gahooglepedia it — and let’s please all remember after the “Gahooglepedia” goes viral itself where it came from.
Yay! The rundown of Variety Series Writers nominees is always a highlight. I think
this year the Late Night with Conan O’Brien Facebook gag was tops, but Billy Crystal’s bit for Letterman and Brian Williams’ rundown of SNL writers were close behind.
Huh? I’m glad that the Daily Show gang won, but every year it’s harder to fathom
how that incisive program, like all its brethren, has an overwhelmingly male group with the sole black man in sight being writer/correspondent Wyatt Cenac. Their acceptance speech could easily have made a more topical reference — “I haven’t had anything to say since Bush left office” was lame — and then they could’ve gone home to think about why even Congress has larger percentages of melanin and estrogen than they do.
Hey! Jimmy Fallon took a pretty good stunt fall. We’re just about at the saturation point of Auto-Tune jokes, I think, but clearly there’s some humorousness left.
Hey! The Sarah Silverman Program’s Rob Schrab is up there as part of the group
who won for writing Hugh Jackman’s opening number on the Oscars telecast. I once interviewed him in New York when he was doing the Scud: The Disposable Assassin comic book and performing with an improv group. The series went on a long hiatus before being completed and collected last year by Image.
Hmm… Ricky Gervais is once again proving to be a funny man whose content and delivery both resonate with the Hollywood crowd. Will he finally get tapped to host the Oscars, or is he still too much of an unknown quantity to Stateside audiences who’ve probably never heard of the original British Office or Extras? Maybe if The Invention
of Lying overcomes its leaden title and does reasonably well at the box office.
Huh? Like The Amazing Race, The Daily Show is a repeat winner (and deservedly
so), hardly an unexpected win, so you’d think the band could maybe have made sure that the actual melody line of its theme could be heard over that saxophone part. I’ve never mounted a live network-television production, but I’m just saying.
Huh? Commercials are mostly getting tuned out here, but this spot for Surrogates drives me nuts with the latest in Bruce Willis’ long line of ridiculous wigs. You want
to differentiate between the real live guy he plays in the movie from his robots with the hair, fine, but we all know what he looked like when he had hair and it was not this.
Hey! What a nice surprise that the Emmys can admit that Battlestar Galactica was a legitimate drama in its quick genre montage, along with one nomination for directing. I promise you all that it’s among the most gripping, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, character-driven television you will ever see, and it’s now all on DVD for your habit-forming pleasure.
Yay! Michael Emerson takes the deserved Supporting Actor in a Drama trophy, and Lost fans around the world rejoice. He was actually in a dream of mine the night before, using that maddening Ben voice of his, but he wasn’t playing Ben (or even himself) — he was a stand-in for someone with whom I used to work. It was quite bizarre, only in part because he popped up in a vast library accessed by a bathroom in my grandparents’ old house.
Hmm… Sarah McLachlan’s rendition of “I Will Remember You” over the memorial segment was lovely. Her cover of XTC’s “Dear God” is excellent, by the way; you should totally Gahooglepedia it on YouTwitFace.
Hmm… Do you think it’s unfair that Mad Men gets multiple slots in Drama Writing,
or is it just unfair that the show is so well made? I wonder if part of the attention is that Mad Men feels more obviously scripted than, say, Breaking Bad, although it’s hardly the first series to jam up the writing or directing categories in either Comedy or Drama with multiple nominees.
Yay! I should point out when the band is doing something right, after giving it grief
for notable missteps earlier, and they pretty much nailed that great Mad Men theme.
Huh? Simon Baker not only bears an unusual resemblance to Justin Timberlake, he’s also wearing the same sort of thick-rimmed cool-because-they’re-unflattering glasses.
Hmm… I’ve never seen Damages and so can’t really quibble with Glenn Close’s win, but I was hoping that Elisabeth Moss would take the statue for her understated work
on Mad Men.
Yay! The fact that the Drama Lead Actor slate was so strong makes Bryan Cranston’s repeat win even more thrilling. I sure hope this translates into viewers seeking out the devastatingly good Breaking Bad, whose first season is on DVD and second season is repeating Sunday nights following the encore of Mad Men.
Yay! I love Bob Newhart for his charm and humor like everyone else, but seeing him
is always bittersweet as he looks and even sounds considerably like my late uncle. That joke about the “minus seven” rating is awfully familiar, so I’ve probably heard him tell it elsewhere, but he could honestly read this paragraph back to me and it’d be funny.
Hmm… Since my Internet connection was down I couldn’t vote for this Viewers’ Choice thing, and I only jotted down True Blood’s win so I don’t even remember its competition. But while a formal review’s yet to be hammered out, I recently finished the first season on DVD and highly recommend jumping in. After the opening few episodes of exposition via clunky dialogue it offers up intriguing mythology, genuinely fine acting, and deliriously addictive plots.
Yay! 30 Rock and Mad Men are both deserving of repeat wins, much as I could argue for some of their competition.
Huh? So the producers put the last award of the night, for Outstanding frickin’
Drama, in that slot presumably because they deem it the most anticipated if not the most important result. And then the band is cued to play off its spokesman. Geez.
Hey! The show ended just as my VCR clicked off after taping Mad Men at three minutes past the hour.
Related: Slow Globes • Board Now • Mad Mix
• View Points • Quick Hits, Continued