Lounging In Their Caftans and Planning a Brunch, On Their Own Behalf

Quick thoughts on the Emmys as they unfold:

-- Elaine Stritch and Stanley Tucci outclass everyone around them. They have been relegated to handing out the "Direction In A Comedy" award, but they are sharp, sarcastic, and balance each other beautifully: Tucci is the perfect straight man for Strich's "Is she really aware of what she's saying??"-style rants, in-jokes, winks and diva gestures. Certainly, they'd be better primary hosts than...

--Ryan Seacrest. Yes, that Ryan Seacrest. Oh lord, he just came out in a costume from The Tudors. Dude, you're not Conan O'Brien; you're not even Lyle Waggoner, whose self-mocking himbo persona you seem to want to capture. But then, Waggoner was genuinely funny on The Carol Burnett Show, while you just make people miss Brian Dunkleman.

--A few years ago, Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett gave a brilliant performance as Jackie Gleason in a TV movie. The more I see him on these awards shows, the more I think, he wasn't really acting, was he? He continually comes across as smug, self-regarding, and vaguely creepy (poor Joely Fischer-- how many "I'm staring at your breasts" jokes is she going to have to fake-smile through from this guy?)

-- You know who else would make a good host? Wayne Brady-- he's only been on stage three minutes, and he's already told more good jokes than Seacrest, and his Who's Line Is It, Anyway? experience makes him a quick, on-point improviser. Kayne West is a good, deadpan sport, too.

--Lewis Black was funny doing a "Lewis Black" rant on that silly stage-in-the-round (funnier, in fact, than he's been on The Daily Show in recent years), but he missed a bet on his description of the news as "useless information read by sock puppets"-- the follow-up to that is, of course, "Oh, wait-- that's Fox News." Guess that's hard to get away with when the awards broadcast is on Fox.

--Nice to see a Roots salute: as landmark as the miniseries was, I worry it's been forgotten in the 30 years since its original broadcast. I caught up with it last year on tape and DVD, and it's amazing (the cast looks great, too, standing onstage together tonight).

--Helen Mirren=class. Glenn Close=class. Mary-Louise Parker=hilarious class. I'm pleased to see Parker with multiple nominations. Hope she wins something.

--Robert Duvall won an award for playing a cowboy? What were the odds?

--Terry O'Quinn's win is one of those weird, "holy crap" moments that's immensely pleasing. I've only seen a handful of Lost episodes (it's on my list of shows-- my long, long, long list...*sob*-- to catch up with), but he was amazing in them, and he's quietly been one television's best character actors for more than a decade; I'm glad to see him recognized.

--I came late to this party-- almost forgot it was on, actually-- so I have only quick thoughts as I skim the online news about the other winners/losers:

- K. Heigel: Meh. Whiny, hyper-articulate brats sleeping around and then renting their garments about the unfairness of their sex lives: Grey's Anatomy is just Dawson's Creek for adults, right?

- Honoring The Daily Show is never bad, but when will the loopy, surreal brilliance of The Colbert Report finally be recognized? Who votes on these things, The White House Correspondents' Dinner planners?

-Love Leslie Caron, but I will bet $50 that voters didn't watch her Law & Order episodes, but instead saw her name, recognized it, and voted for it, a continuing example of how even TV's highest honor continues to feel insecure in relation to cinema.

--K-Ville looks pretty good: I'll be curious to see if they can do a post-Katrina show that doesn't feel exploitative, yet also doesn't feel preachy. Casting Anthony Anderson is a good start. Woo! Bones! Woo!

--Colbert/Stewart: the "green" jokes aren't as funny as usual, but god, their rhythm and timing together is brilliant.

--Hey, Ricky Gervais won! Hah-- Stewart and Colbert should give it to Carrell. Aw, that group hug rocks. That's funnier than the written stuff they just performed.

--I know it's The Sopranos' last year, but Hugh Laurie is long overdue, so he'd better win (he's just walked onstage to present with Felicity Huffmann, and that pairing immediately makes them the sexiest couple of the night). Uh-oh, Sally Field won. Not my favorite actress, but I am kind of curious about Brothers and Sisters. Oh, Christ, she's breaking down and having a "Sally Field moment"-- wait, why did my sound cut off in the middle of her anti-war speech?

--This entry is titled from a Sondheim lyric, so amidst all the fine folks who passed away and are being honored in the "In Memoriam" section, let me single out the glorious Carlotta, Yvonne De Carlo. Ok, and Fred Friendly. And the wonderful Peter Boyle. And Jack Palance. And the two Toms, Poston and Snyder. And the uber-cool Ed Bradley. At least the crowds aren't doing that offensive "applaud for some more than others" thing audiences at the Oscars do. Is it tasteless to use an "In Memoriam" section to make a snarky Tom Cruise joke, the way the Merv Griffin clip did?

--If Hugh and Huffy are the night's sexiest couple, Debra Messing and William Shatner are certainly the oddest (and they're pretty funny together, I must admit). Handing out the "Leading Actress In A Comedy Award" to...Amerca Ferrera! Good-- I don't watch Ugly Betty, but Ferrera was fabulous in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Real Women Have Curves. And look how sincerely, Gwynethley excited she is. Fabulous dress, too.

--Jimmy Smits! It's JImmy Smits, people! So cool, he will make me watch a bad soap opera this fall. And "Lead (Hugh) Actor (Hugh) in a Drama (Hugh)" goes to...James Spader??!!?? What the frack?? James Gandolfini, Dennis Leary-- both fine alternatives to Mr. Laurie. But the talented but over-feted, three-time winner James Spader?? In the Sopranos' final year? As Cheap, stupid, and obvious a plot twist as...well, something out of a David E. Kelly show, actually. Good joke about the concert seating, though.

--Commercial break! Looks like The Rock is looking to muscle in on Vin Diesel's territory...

--Irony moment: Kelsey Grammer's giving out a Comedy Emmy! No, that's not fair: Fraiser was funny for five years (unfortunately, it ran for eleven). Anyway, 30 Rock won. Good for Tina Fey-- it's nice to that little underdog (you know, the kind of underdog with a major network, well-known movie and TV stars, a massive promotional budget and an Emmy-winning writer behind it) finally succeed. I do adore Tina Fey, an oasis of comedy on the otherwise DOA SNL, and the mastermind behind the hilarious Mean Girls; having said that, I'll be curious to see how the show does this coming season, when it doesn't benefit from being an alternative little-engine-that-could to the unfairly maligned Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which TV critics ganged up on last year. But if they like the show that much, why give an award to Jeremy Piven instead of Alec Baldwin?

--Helen Mirren again, with the Drama Award. And it goes to...The Sopranos. Good. Very, very, very good. I like Heroes, but that can wait until next year. And how cool is Mirren to not even say the show's name at first, just show the card to the camera like an excited kid (please give her a regular series, HBO)? Seems to be a popular choice with the audience, too. David Chase is speechless (and very dashing in his tux), and even goateed Tom Selleck is on his feet. Classy of Chase to salute Gandolfini and Falco, who both lost their categories tonight. Fabulous to cite the show's crucial musical influences, too. "Gangsters are out there taking their kids to college" is the line of the night. Ryan Seacrest doesn't know what to do-- Chase fades out on a Bush joke, and the broadcast cuts to the American Idler, who says, "...And on that note..." like he's trying to get off the phone after an awkward pause. That's a wrap. Images of Brian and Stewey (from Family Guy)dancing run under the credits, as wonderfully, oddly appropriate a coda to the evening as possible.


boolise said…
Well, arguably they were censoring her "goddamn," which, of course should never be paired with "wars" because wars are holy celebrations of national manhood! *chugs Kool-Aid*

I don't know if it's the shitty cable system we have here, but Jon Stewart's entire acceptance speech didn't air because the image just froze, and then unfroze as he turned to walk away from the mic. Hm.

Faux and Crox: together at last!
patrick said…
Never seen the emmys but thought I'd say hi---Patrick Casey
Cinephile said…
Boolise-- I don't remember much of Stewart's acceptance speech, except he made some joke about the silly theater-in-the-round staging that was pretty funny. His best moment was with Carrell and Colbert, I think.

Patrick-- Hey! Welcome! Long time, no talk! Hope you are doing well in the windy city! Do you have a blog? I clicked on your name, but it didn't take me anywhere...

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