Tuesday, September 23, 2008

EMMYS 2008: SENSE & SENSIBILITY

Shh... Don't tell a soul. But I was secretly entertained by the Emmys last night. For one thing, it's the first major awards show I've watched in Buenos Aires that wasn't dubbed badly in Spanish. For another, it was actually kind of enjoyable. Sure there were moments both must-see (though I was never really in on the joke, it was great to see Jo Anne Worley and Ruth Buzzi of Laugh-In, above, after all these years) and cringe-worthy (I kept wondering how much they paid Josh Groban to so thoroughly embarass himself by singing the TV-theme medly). But the latter as well as the former are what make award shows watchable. Middle of the road just won't do.

And since we're on the subject of cringe-worthy, I know she's no actress, but someone needs to teach The Hills' Lauren Conrad how to clap like she means it. Instead of raiding TV's C-list for presenters, why not upgrade and trade Conrad for, say, Cold Case's Kathryn Morris, Medium's Patricia Arquette or any credible (read: not reality) actress from a credible (read: not reality) show that people old enough to drink actually care about?

Still, it's always a pleasure to see Steve Martin, Kathy Griffin, Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore (scarily thin!) and newly minted Emmy winner Don Rickles (82, but not looking a day over 90). And for the first time ever, I was rooting for many of the winners: Bryan Cranston, Glenn Close, Alec Baldwin and Jean Smart. I didn't see any of the movies or miniseries--Does anyone even watch those anymore?--but how can I find fault with giving Emmys to Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Dame Eileen Atkins and Tom Wilkinson? (And now I'm kind of dying to see both John Adams, starring Linney, Giamatti and Wilkinson, and Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes in Bernard And Doris.) It would have been nice if Atkins, Wilkinson and Dianne Wiest had been there to pick up their trophies. I know Wiest is busy costarring with Katie Holmes in All My Sons on Broadway. But what about those other absentees? If Oprah and Tom Hanks care enough to get there...well, you know the rest.

The most embarrasing moment (Groban's aside) was Tina Fey's extended plug for 30 Rock during her Best Comedy Series acceptance speech. As much as I adore Alec Baldwin and his flawless comedic timing, I don't really get the rest of the show. And to deem Tina Fey, whom I like, a better comedic actress than Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Christina Applegate (who should have won, and not just out of sympathy for her recent breast cancer ordeal--the girl rocks as the titular amnesiac in Samantha Who?), is beyond misguided. But considering that Helen Hunt once got four prizes in a row for Mad About You, it's nice to see Emmy spreading the wealth (Jeremy Piven's predictable, though probably deserved, third straight win notwithstanding) and finally getting it (mostly) right.
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