Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: Recapping the Emmys

My Emmy column is already up at NJ.com. By and large, I was pleased with the results, particularly in the final hour, and extremely displeased with the hosts.

51 comments:

Nicole said...

The Laugh-In moment may have been historical but it was painfully unfunny.

Real comedians as hosts next year. Conan, Colbert, anyone else really.
I suspect the ratings will be horrible for this year's version.

happy_go_lucky said...

Those skits we're a black hole of amusement and entertainment.

Zach Haldeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cgeye said...

The timing of the LAUGH-IN skit stunk (and Uncle Alan was a hot mess, and on damn near life support), but damn if they didn't try harder than the reality hosts.

Revenge of the WGA, motherfuckers....

Randy said...

When I first saw the nominations for Reality Host, I couldn't believe Phil Keoghan wasn't on the list. Turns out, that allowed him to keep his dignity.

(And where was Probst's tie? Just when I think he couldn't come across as any bigger a d-bag...)

It was worth all the pain, though, to see 30 Rock and Mad Men win. And Cranston too -- after so much great work on Malcolm in the Middle (his legendary roller skating episode, especially), I was thrilled beyond words to see him finally win an award. And deservedly so! As much as I love Jon Hamm, Cranston's work as Walt is just on a whole other level.

Zach Haldeman said...

Lowlights:

The hosts. But, um, I'm not sure anyone actually thought they would be good. (Except the idiot producers.)

Piven winning over NPH. (Slightly redeemed by his speech.)

Cutting off Kirk Ellis' speech by going to commercial too soon, plus not letting Tom Hanks talk.

Watching The Wire lose its final Emmy. (Is it wrong that for a few seconds I started hoping it would win?)

The anticlimactic results of the host competition. I agree - can Gervais and Carell host next year?

The Emmys lost its final chance to honor Buffy.

Highlights:

Everybody deservedly berating the hosts (including some of the hosts themselves.) I feel bad for Tom Bergeron, who probably could have run a decent show if he didn't have these four in his way. But still, he's not a comedian, and it's really best to leave these duties in the hands of comedians. (And I've actually really gotten myself excited for the Gervais-Carell paring that won't happen next year.)

Don Rickles was an insubordinate hoot.

30 Rock winning everything was nice, and there were some other good wins. Tony Shalhoub and the Boston Legal guys didn't walk away with anything, so it's all good.

Eric said...

Heidi Klum did have the most (unintentionally) funny line of the night: When introducing David Boreanaz, she said "From THE Bones, David Boreanaz."

cgeye said...

And I'm strangely cheered that BOSTON LEGAL was shut out, and David E Kelley's reign of terror is coming to a swift and ignominious end.

I'm cool with MAD MEN's wins in best writing and best drama, and with Cranston's win, since AMC treated its series with better character development (and a lightning-strike perf by Cranston) like a non-redheaded non-busty stepchild

Stephen said...

I wish the producers would realise that we are watching the show for the awards. The best part is watching these talented people get rewarded for producing some of the highest quality television we have seen in a long while. Having their time shortened while we had to endure their 'award' was a travesty. Get rid of it please and allow the real winners the time they deserve.

Bravo to Mad Men and 30 Rock on a very deserved win.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:
What was cut out of Kirk Ellis's speech? I really wanted to hear the end of it. And I was glad to see Cranston win at least and "Mad Men" for best drama. Also Alec Baldwin--that therapy skit is hysterical.

Allison said...

Oh, that opening was excrutiating. I thought Bergeron and Klum weren't talking because they were so embarrassed to be a part of the whole thing. Though, I kept thinking they should have let Jimmy Kimmel host, and then he came out looking like death warmed over. So maybe not him either.

Thank goodness for Ricky Gervais, who actually did something entertaining. And I think Kathy Griffin is hilarious, but it was a riot to see Don Rickles talk right over her. Yay for Mad Men, 30 Rock and Recount!

Last thing: I like Jean Smart fine, but how come she wins every single time she's nominated for an Emmy?

DonBoy said...

I realize nobody had a full season, but going forward I bet nobody will ever beat Bryan Cranston for fewest episodes resulting in an Emmy for series regulars (7).

Andrew said...

donboy, actually Gervais won last year for only six episodes.

Nicole said...

I think Jean Smart was nominated for her role as First Lady in 24 and didn't win that time. But I take your point.

I had no idea why Bergeron and Klum said nothing while Mandel would not shut up. It was just bad and will probably never happen again.

Chrissie said...

As soon as Jimmy Kimmel came on stage, I immediately blurted out "Why the hell didn't HE host it?" I guess he was too busy with his "Big Night of Stars" special, which was hilarious and consistently LOL funnier that anything on the Emmys.

jim treacher said...

So they held the Emmys this year anyway.

Jennmcn said...

Loved Don Rickles and Kathy Griffin...the highlight of f'ing pathetic night! Have to give big love a man that doesn't need a script to be funny! He's funnier than most of the comics out there half of his age. They were clearly having fun. The man is a legend and dare I say it, Kathy is his heir apparent.

DonBoy said...

Man, I hate being wrong.

Anonymous said...

I always like to know the results of the big awards... Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Actor, yada, yada... But other than that, I don't really follow any of the award shows. So, with that level of ignorance in mind, what about The Wire? Was it nominated for anything this year? If so, obviously, no (major) wins again, I guess.

dez said...

I was really excited to see Bryan Cranston win since I thought he should have won several times over for "Malcolm in the Middle," and of course very happy for "Mad Men" getting Best Drama. Also agree that the Gervais/Carrell exchange was the funniest bit of the night, followed closely by Don Rickles and Tommy Smothers.

I actually wouldn't have minded if they'd let Probst host alone, but yeah, they really need to stick to comedians. Yeesh. And was Kirk Ellis cut off because they were afraid he was about to get political? Because I would have loved to have heard what he had to say.

LA said...

So if my count is correct, Mad Men won a total of 6 Emmys (including the ones last week). Not too shabby for a freshman show. I'd have loved to see Jon and John win, but there's next year.

I really enjoyed Steve Martin and Don Rickles.

The hosting debacle was so abysmal, it made Uma/Oprah look like high art.

LA said...

BTW, Lauren Conrad is not worthy to wipe Laura Linney's nose, let alone hand her an Emmy. That was just plain wrong.

Undercover Black Man said...

Yay for Tina Fey's hat trick!

Anonymous said...

Great review. I do wish the other episode of "30 Rock" had won, though, and I'm glad Tina complimented it and its writer.

The Alec Baldwin impersonation scene with Tracy Morgan is one of the funniest scenes of TV of all time, and the writer of it should've been honored (and the other story with Carrie Fisher was just as funny, especially when Jack explains to Liz why she became a writer.)

Anonymous said...

I do think the painful opening sure shows the need for writers. And the fact that reality shows themselves do have writers for these hosts, even if the companies that make them won't let them be called writers or pay for them to have health insurance or a pension (i.e. be part of the WGA.) Left to their own devices, the hosts had nothing to say and were terrible (even veteran stand up comedian Howie Mandel.)

Anonymous said...

It's nice that Matt Weiner thanked his fellow writers right as the music was playing. It would've been even nicer if he hadn't fired half of them after that first amazing season.

Rev-Views said...

Thanks for recapping the awards, I like to find out who won what but I really cba to watch the Emmys myself.

Anonymous said...

My two favorite moments of the night were:

- Kathy Griffin telling the audience to stand up for Don Rickles (which turned into a decent standing ovation for him)
- Tina Fey accepting her award from Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White (particularly her comment, something along the lines of "accepting this award from these two women... wow"


And I was happy that neither House nor Lost won for Best Drama, they're decent shows, but not in the same league as their competition.

Adam said...

If you knew nothing about Mad Men or Breaking Bad before last night, what would you have learned about the shows during the broadcast?

Less miniseries/movie awards, more clips that put the year in context.

Matthew L said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought the Laugh-In bit was awful. (While I've heard of the show, I'm entirely unfamiliar with it - I didn't even know Lily Tomlin was in it. So I was wondering whether I just didn't get the context of the characters.)

I loved the fact that even the hosts were making jokes about how bad Seacrest was last year. Of course, that's the only bit about the hosts that I liked. Well, that and the fact that everyone else in the entire show seemed to love ripping into the five for being so bad.

When they mentioned Josh Grobin singing 30 songs, I was dreading it, but he actually managed to pull off something halfway entertaining - he had lots of energy, and did a reasonable mimicry job in changing his voice to replicate some of the songs.

Other than that, I thought I was going to pass out from laughing at Ricky Gervais. I calso an't understand why hosts of a regular every-day show are in the same category as someone like Don Rickles who records a one-off special. That said, Rickles was bloody funny.

lambertman said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought the Laugh-In bit was awful. (While I've heard of the show, I'm entirely unfamiliar with it - I didn't even know Lily Tomlin was in it. So I was wondering whether I just didn't get the context of the characters.)


I absolutely love Laugh-In (and I wasn't alive during its original run, either), and I wanted to crawl under a rock and die during that bit.

KLE said...

Adam - I agree there wasn't enough focus on the current, nominated shows or performers. Too much unfocused, sentimental anniversary filler.

And did Gervais get the last seat available on the last flight out of Heathrow? Where were the rest of the Brits?

There should be a Final Approval Committee for the production of all future televised awards shows; the only people allowed seats on the committee are Gervais, Carrel, Stewart, Colbert, and Rickles.

Matt said...

The Laugh-In bit demonstrates why timing is so very important in comedy. The timing was off by just a bit, and it killed what should have been a rapid-fire bit.

lisased said...

I wish they would take some time and do a highlight reel of great moments from the season, just to remind us why we're watching and maybe spark som curiosity about some shows.

Moments like Don Draper's carousel speech, Desmond and Penny's reunion, Barney's wistful look in the hospital, Jack's therapy speech, Amber's death scene, and Gio telling Betty, "I want to be the guy," to name a few.

Tim Windsor said...

Seeing 30 Rock, Mad Men and Breaking Bad get their due balanced out the horror of the hosts.

But the greatest loss of the evening may have been whatever Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth tossed over the side for the sake of the clock.

Chenoweth's comment "Bitter: Party of Two!" and Harris' dig at Howie Mandel's time-chewing implied it was a last-minute, less-than-welcome change.

Maybe they'll post the rehearsal video...

Tim Windsor said...

Rickles and Gervais!

Put those two on TV, unscripted, for three hours and they'll be picking up the statues for it this time next year.

dez said...

BTW, Lauren Conrad is not worthy to wipe Laura Linney's nose, let alone hand her an Emmy. That was just plain wrong.

I think David Boreanaz agrees with you. He looked more grim than usual having to co-present with her. I bet he was wishing he really was Angel so he could have put an end to her right then and there ;-D

Mark B said...

Kimmel would have done a good job hosting, but I don't think the show necessarily has to be hosted by a comedian - as long as whoever's in that role can handle the formatics and "keep the show moving."

I like the idea of recognizing Laugh-In, but the execution was awful. Don Rickles has "still got it," but in other cases (like Chevy Chase), it's better to remember them as they were.

Lindy said...

I tuned in just before Tina Fey won Best Comedy Actress, so it sounds like I missed most of the horrors (except for the Reality TV Host presentation ... that felt like it took years, I switched over to Packers/Cowboys at least five times before they finally got through that interminable bit).

I think the vast majority of the awards went to very deserving recipients (hooray for Mad Men winning best drama!), but is it OK that I'm still bitter about Neil Patrick Harris losing to Jeremy Piven AGAIN?

Linda said...

"I do think the painful opening sure shows the need for writers. And the fact that reality shows themselves do have writers for these hosts, even if the companies that make them won't let them be called writers or pay for them to have health insurance or a pension (i.e. be part of the WGA.)"

I think this is a stretch. They're all capable of speaking extemporaneously on their own shows; what didn't work were the scripted segments, which were no more scripted for them than they are for anyone else. I'm not sure this demonstrates anything about the need for writers, given that nobody goes out on an awards show and improvises an opening; they always need and use writers. This demonstrated a lot of things, but I think making it about reality and the WGA isn't really fair. There have been plenty of bad hosts over the years, plenty of whom have come from ranks other than reality-show host.

zodin2008 said...

I wanted to shoot myself when I first heard the news that they were allowing five reality TV hosts to host this show. And then, it was worse than I imagined. Far, far worse.

My wife watches "Project Runway" and when Heidi Klum was uncomfortably flubbing all her lines and making me squirm on my couch, I turned to my wife and saidm "is she this BAD on Runway?"

I agree that Jeremy Piven AGAIN winning over Neil Patrick Harris is a ttravesty, but Piven ripping the hosts and the fact that he is pretty amazing as Ari Gold on "Entourage", I can live with it. It was seeing James Spader lose...and of all people to break the evil curse that Spader has over the award show...Malcom's dad!

But yeah, Bryan Cranston was amazing on "Breaking Bad" and I was shocked and thrilled for him. I love Jon Hamm but "Mad Men" won their deserved best series trophy, so everyone came away winners.

The award winner I had a major issue with was Zelko Ivanek. Zelko was under appreciated for years as ed Danvers on "Homicide". he was great.

But "Damages" was a boring show my wife and I turned off after just 3 episodes, and as a southerner myself, I am downright insulted when Hollywood does those fake, Hollywood version of southern accents - and Ivanek's on "Damages" was one of the worst I've ever seen...even worse than Sedgewick on "The Closer".

He didn't even deserve the nomination...if you think his performance is OK, you may not have met too many southerners.

I was also very pleased with the sweep for "30 Rock". Thank goodness Baldwin and Fey won this year.

Maura said...

I have a soft spot for Tom Bergeron. Maybe it's because my father and I used to watch Hollywood Squares together. I don't know. But I just wanted Bergeron's suffering to stop.

RE: The Laugh-In skit. I don't know what the point of it was. At first I thought it was a tribute, but the only clip shown was Nixon saying "sock it to me". (A classic, no doubt.) Then I thought it was to announce the nominees for whatever category was coming up. But the nominees names were repeated, because...why? What a mess.

On the good side, Don Rickles was brilliant,and Kathy Griffin seemed to be truly in awe. Seeing Tom Smothers again was terrific,and I love that he hasn't lost his edge one bit.
Tina Fey rocks.

I think my head would have exploded if John Hamm had lost to either James Spader or Tony Shalhoub (nothing against Shalhoub, but the quality of "Monk" has dropped so much that his performance has suffered). I can live with Bryan Cranston, even if I'm not a fan of "Breaking Bad".

Mad Men! Woo-hoo!

CarolMR said...

I'm glad Zelko Ivanek won. I'm from Brooklyn and I haven't met too many Southerners. And I also love DAMAGES. Glad it's returning in January.

Matt said...

Ivanek's accent was problematic, but the character arc in his last few episodes was so good and so well performed by him that it makes up for it. I still would have gone for Danson, though, who manages to make you forget Sam Malone entirely as Frobisher.

Anonymous said...

Best moments: Ricky Gervais/Steve Carell and NPH/Kristin Chenowith. Either pair as a hosting tandem would be lovely next year. Also, Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert would be a fine tandem.

No reality show hosts. Well, maybe Cat Deeley.

I feel like I might have to turn in whatever cool cred I might have (which might not be much), but I largely liked the Josh Groban thing. It was worth it for the South Park bit alone.

Uncle Ira said...

Ivanek’s accent was so bad that for the first few episodes, I felt sure it was a joke. The whole series had a kind of over-the-top, melodramatic feel to it, and the goofiness of him sounding like he was in a bad community theater production of a Tennessee Williams play seemed to fit right in. But I couldn’t stop watching and, Damn.... The guy is a very good actor and always has been. His story was the most human and believable part of the whole show and I couldn’t be happier that he won the Emmy. It’s great to see something like this for a solid, working actor.

wjm said...

My 16-year-old daughter, who doesn't know Don Rickles from Don Pardo, thought he was the highlight of the evening. For me, I gotta say, it's an interesting night when Kathy Griffin is the voice of reason in front of a camera.

And I'd sure like to know how Steve Carrell kept a straight face through all of that.

Anna said...

Zelko was under appreciated for years as ed Danvers on "Homicide". he was great.
... as a southerner myself, I am downright insulted when Hollywood does those fake, Hollywood version of southern accents - and Ivanek's on "Damages" was one of the worst I've ever seen...even worse than Sedgewick on "The Closer".


While I do like Damages, I concur on the accent and agree that Ivanek was very good on Homicide. Yet like all of Homicide (save Andre Braugher) he was ignored by Emmy. He also good on 24. It's nice to see good character actors rewarded for years and years of diverse roles and good work. But sadly, this was not even close to his best work - the accent completely ruins it for me.

dez said...

And I'd sure like to know how Steve Carrell kept a straight face through all of that.

That was the best past of the bit, I thought--it brought to mind some of the squirminess of the original "Office" because the interplay between Steve and Ricky went on just a tad too long. Loved that neither of them broke character, not even after Steve handed Ricky the Emmy.

amysusanne said...

and i totally admire carell for not breaking character when his wife was dying next to him and rainn wilson was losing his mind behind him. i would have cracked. which is why i'm not a super famous comic actor. well, among many, many reasons why i'm not a super famous comic actor.

i find it hard to get too worked up about the hosts because aside from the fact that they were barely even there, i've watched people online whine about the show every year for the past decade. granted, we're not talking folks who are necessarily *smart* people, but they whine. loudly. and they bitch about conan hosting and ellen hosting and how this was boring and that wasn't funny and this was blah, blah, blah and it's irritating. it's a tragedy that neil patrick harris didn't get to do a bit (which it is) but if he had then we'd have pages and pages about "why did they make him doooooo thaaaaattttt?". the same fangirls who are crying in their pillows over the fact that hugh laurie wasn't there last night to present are the same ones who gripe about what they "make" him do on things like that. bleh.

and i've just whined worse than the people i'm complaining about. without proper caps, either. i'm regressing to a lazy usenet poster.

on a positive: it seems like it's popular to rag on josh groban, but aside from gervais/carell, that was the highlight of the night for me. he totally committed to the bit. i loved every second of it.

maybe i'm going easy on the emmys because so many of my favorites won (yay bryan cranston!!!!). maybe if i watched them again (which no one in their right mind should ever do) i'd hate them. but, for me they were fine.

LA said...

I feel like I might have to turn in whatever cool cred I might have (which might not be much), but I largely liked the Josh Groban thing. It was worth it for the South Park bit alone.

You're not alone. It was damned entertaining.