Monday, September 20, 2004

TV: Minute-by-minute at the 2004 Emmys Ceremony

8:00 -- We begin with the conceit that the Emmys are a reality show, and already I want to smack the shit out of someone.

8:02 -- Shandling participates in a pre-taped Extreme Makeover bit. Way to set the bar low, Shandling.

8:04 -- Shandling, live, tries to riff off the pre-taped bit. Instant death. Oh, Jesus, is this going to be a long show. By the way: he clearly has had surgery; his face is tighter than Katherine Helmond's in Brazil.

8:06 -- His first good line, lamenting the excess of reality shows on the air: "It's to the point now, when a television commercial comes on, I go, 'Thank God! Professional actors and a story!'"

8:07 -- Al Pacino now looks like Antonio Banderas' younger brother. When the hell did that happen??

8:08 -- Another good line: "We missed Osama Bin-Laden but we got Martha Stewart! Don't tell me we're not a focused country!" Also: Zach Braff is in the house! I wonder if he's presenting?

8:09 -- Early nominee for worst joke: "If the conservatives want to stop homosexuals from having sex, shouldn't they let them get married? That seems to stop my married buddies!" Ouch. My side. It hurts, from the laughing.

8:12 -- Shandling mispronounces presenter Chris Noth's last name (it should rhyme with "both", not "cloth").

8:13 -- For the 87th year in a row, David Hyde Pierce wins Supporting Actor for a Comedy for Frasier. Already my picks are 0-for-1, and all I can think is, man, Jeffrey Tambor has a darker fake tan than Sarah Jessica Parker. Disturbing. Seriously, the announcer says this is Pierce's 11th consecutive nomination, and his 4th win. You gotta imagine a load of audience members are thinking, "Happy retirement, motherfucker!"

8:15 -- Michael Imperioli wins Supporting Actor in a Drama for The Sopranos, which makes me 0-for-2. But I'm okay with that, because he really is quite incredible on that show, and this is an early signal that maybe The West Wing isn't going to dominate as in years past. Too bad for Buscemi, though. Geez, Imperioli's written five episodes of The Sopranos? Suddenly, I hate him. Jealous? Me? Nah!

8:22 -- Simon Cowell and Donald Trump take the stage to co-present an award. If the stage suddenly collapsed on their heads, I think the world would go on, don't you? (For the hostility-impaired, by that I mean: die, die, die.)

8:23 -- 1-for-3! Cynthia Nixon takes Supporting Actress for a Comedy. And strangely, that fails to make me happy. This is an early signal that Sex in the City will dominate as in years past, which just makes me ill.

8:25 -- Portia de Rossi and Jason Bateman come out to present other presenters. That's gotta be the worst gig in the whole show. "We don't matter enough to present an award, but we've been allowed to present other people who will present an award. Pity us." They present...

8:26 -- Laura Linney and John Turturro. Laura Linney is as lovely as the day is long, and I will poke you in the eye if you dare disagree. They present for Direction in a Comedy Series, and -- Arrested Development wins! Calloo, callay! Could it be they now have a shot at Best Comedy? No, no it couldn't. This award is always a consolation prize for the best show that doesn't have a shot at winning the big prize. But it's still cool.

8:31 -- Arrested Development also wins for Writing! Which is also traditionally a runner-up prize, but... both Directing and Writing? Hmm...

8:32 -- Michael Hurwitz (for Arrested Development) gives a very funny acceptance speech. When the music comes up to kick him off the stage, he continues, "And I'd like to sing this now, if I may." Nice.

8:33 -- Cutting to commercial, they show Drea de Matteo with the hairiest, greasiest, grossest-looking little shit in the auditorium. Hey, I've got a shot!

8:38 -- Amber Tamblyn and Zach Braff come out to present. Together, they're my favorite young female and male performer on TV. Which makes me afraid, for no logical reason. Braff to Tamblyn after a joke bombs: "Don't you know God? Couldn't we've got a better joke than that?"

8:39 -- Drea de Matteo wins for Supporting Actress in a Drama. I'm 2-for-4. She looks amazing. And again, apparently I have a shot!

8:40 -- Shandling brings his Larry Sanders co-star Jeffrey Tambor on stage with him. It's pretty funny, which is nice. Then they introduce a bunch of chumps from The O.C., which is not funny.

8:42 -- Wow, Walter Hill (director of The Warriors, among many other action classics) wins for Director of a Drama Series for Deadwood. That's old school, yo.

8:49 -- A montage of great moments from the last year in television makes me wish I had watched more TV, oddly enough. I'm a sad, lonely man.

8:50 -- Until they get to the reality show shit, and then I just want to kill everyone and everything.

8:54 -- Jeffrey Wright wins Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America. In other vital, breaking news, my left butt cheek itches. Wait, wait... ah, that's better.

9:04 -- Jon Stewart comes out, and my hopes are raised. His bit on a George Washington smear commercial "Paid for by Continental Skiff Boat Oarsmen for Veracity" is decent, not great, but it's excellent to see all the Daily Show correspondents in a piece on the Emmys.

9:07 -- I think Elaine Stritch, apparently a 150-year-old vaudeville veteran, is a fictional character, until she actually accepts her Emmy. Weird.

9:08 -- In the aftermath of Janet Jackson and Bono, they bleep the word "Jesus" during her acceptance speech. Dammit, is every network going to be a total pussy until a Democrat gets elected President?

9:13 -- Writing in a Variety/Music/Comedy Program goes to The Daily Show Which is just, yeah, that's obvious. If nothing else, Emmys got at least one dead on the nail.

9:16 -- Okay, somebody's fucking with me. Because Garry Shandling just introduced, in the audience, Kerri Walsh and Misty May. Geez, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water. Fine, I give up. Just in case my hit count is dropping: Misty May's ass, Misty May's ass, Misty May's ass.

9:21 -- When they show Kiefer Sutherland in the audience, I can see Bonnie Hunt behind him. And goddam if she isn't a bundle of gorgeous. Seriously, she's so lovely, and a comic genius to boot: no wonder ABC cancelled her. Dumbasses.

9:22 -- Mariska Hargitay and Matthew Fox have to do that thing where they present other presenters. They suck. And they present... Sharon Stone and the Shat! Winners for Guest Actress and Guest Actor in a Drama, on The Practice. Sharon Stone is wearing a silk handkerchief, by the way. And they present Writing for a Drama, which goes to The Sopranos. Okay, I'll say it now: if The Sopranos doesn't take Best Drama, I'll eat my hat. (Unless they lose, in which case I'll erase this before I post it.)

9:25 -- A montage of series finales, which oddly makes me wish I had spent less time watching TV. I remain a sad, lonely man.

9:31 -- Mary-Louise Parker wins for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, for Angels in America. In other news: my right butt cheek itches. Also: damnation, that's a dress with some cleavage! It lifts and separates!

9:38 -- Wow, Antonio Banderas is actually in the audience, and, referring back to my earlier joke: he's also fatter than Al Pacino. Damn, dude, what happened?

9:39 -- The Daily Show wins for Best Variety/Music/Comedy Program, and again: obvious. The next year it doesn't win this category is the year after it goes off the air. Strange note: when they showed the audience as Stewart & Co. took the stage, there was the sound of wild applause... but I couldn't see one person in the lower level (the "talent" level) applauding. Bitches.

9:42 -- Anthony LaPaglia uses his American accent (he's Australian) even as a presenter. How odd.

9:43 -- Tony Kushner wins for Writing for Best Whatever Angels in America was nominated for because, well, duh. It's not going to lose anything it's nominated for tonight. It's the Return of the King of the Emmys.

9:50 -- In an insane, inspired bit, the presenters for Reality Series are two real people who have no idea that they are presenting -- they're led out on stage in earmuffs and blindfolds. Their reactions on discovering where they are and what they're doing are strangely moving. Stupid reality TV! You got me again!

9:52 -- The Amazing Race beats The Apprentice and American Idol for Reality Series, which is yet another sign that the Emmy voters are less bugfuck insane than in recent years.

9:55 -- Something the Lord Made wins Best TV Movie. I can't even muster a joke here. I've had a six-pack of Pyramid Apricot Ale since the ceremony began, people. Cut me some slack.

10:05 -- Al Pacino wins for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America. Because, duh. Weirdly, director Mike Nichols looks like Austin Powers, 20 years later. Also: Pacino's speech goes for over three minutes, but the get-off-the-stage music never comes on. Hmm... could that be just because he's Al frickin' Pacino? I wonder.

10:08 -- Anjelica Huston and James Spader announce Mike Nichols wins for Best Directing for Whatever Category Angels in America was nominated for. Because, duh. He doesn't get the music, either.

10:12 -- Taye Diggs and Victor Garber come out to present. Dude, Taye Diggs is the most handsome man in the world, and I don't care who knows I said that. But I'm still very, very straight. Very. Well, mostly. No, very!!

10:13 -- The Emmy voters prove they go for the tallest nominee as Allison Janney wins for the 4th time for Lead Actress in a Drama, in the first category I had a pick in since 8:39. I'm 2-for-5.

10:16 -- The Bob Hope award is presented to Danny Thomas, accepted by Marlo Thomas. Which means, time for me to take a bathroom break.

10:24 -- Sarah Jessica Parker wins Lead Actress in a Comedy. I'm now 3-for-6, and again, I'm not happy about that beak-nosed, wart-chinned witch winning for the crapfest that is Sex and the City -- but at least I hit another one of my picks.

10:27 -- Conan O'Brien. He rips on Joan Rivers, which is a little too obvious, but makes up for it by saying, "Yeah, I'll take my time, I didn't see Pacino rush."

10:28 -- I was right in John Ritter losing, I was wrong in who would beat him. Kelsey Grammer takes his 87th Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy. I'm 3-for-7.

10:30 -- Tom Selleck has to pause because of all the women in the audience hootin' and hollerin' for him. I think one of them is my mom. Simmer down, ma!

10:31 -- That was some poor planning. They scheduled the Roll Call of the Dead following the Lead Actor in a Comedy award, presuming John Ritter would win it. Well, he didn't. No soup for him! He's just plain dead. Where's your messiah now?? Hey, they didn't mention Ritter in this montage at all. They must be planning a separate tribute. Unless -- did he die before the Emmys last year?

10:39 -- James Spader surprises me -- and probably many others -- with a win for Lead Actor in a Drama. I'm 3-for-8.

10:41 -- William H. Macy and Treat Williams? Okay, whatever.

10:42 -- Meryl Streep wins for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America because, duh.

10:43 -- "There are some days when I myself think I'm overrated... but not today." Streep's acceptance speech is classic. Naming her co-nominees: "Emma Thompson, who will hold a grudge for the rest of her life... but who cares!"

10:50 -- Guess what wins Best Miniseries? If you said anything other than Angels in America, you win a swift kick in the ass.

10:53 -- The first "Holy shit!" moment of the evening: Arrested Development takes Best Comedy! Unbelievable! This is the first time the most deserving show has won in this category since... I don't know when! I can't, I don't... Christ, I have to go sit down for a moment. Wow!! I bet Fox is glad they didn't cancel it now. Until they cancel it midway through the next season. Bitches. I'm now 3-for-9 in my picks. But that's fine, Emmy did good, Emmy did good.

10:59 -- Aaaaand... The Sopranos wins Best Drama. Giving me an embarrassing 4-for-10 for the night. But good for them!

11:00 -- They squeezed everything into three hours, mercifully. Until next year! Unless I throw my TV out the window, which is entirely possible.

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