Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fragment: Minute-by-minute at the 2008 Emmys Ceremony

For the sake of posterity, or something, here is the fragment of my Emmys recap that survived Blogger's massive fuck-up last night.

Hello and welcome to the most irrelevant and untimely "liveblogging" of any event ever! Or, as Richard Marcej suggests I call this recap of an event three days past, "TiVoblogging." Enjoy.

7:00 -- The show begins with a taped bit in which contemporary TV stars recite classic TV catchphrases. It's dreadful (except possibly for the bit with the two Baldwins -- Alec: "Mom always did like you best." William: "She also liked Daniel and Stephen better than you"). I open my first beer, despite the fact that I'm actually on lunch break from work right now. Hey, some traditions you don't fuck with.

Also, I realize my DVR, which is not technically a TiVo, doesn't have a timestamp on recordings like TiVo does, so I can't go strictly minute-by-minute as I prefer to do. Aside from noting the show's 7:00 start time, all my other gems will simply be bullet points. Sad.

--Oprah Winfrey opens the live ceremony. Her forehead is nearly as huge as her cleavage. She is tremendously aristocratic in her delivery, as well as self-congratulatory, both specifically of her own program (and its ability to influence book sales) and of TV in general. Why do people like her?

--She introduces the five (!) hosts for the evening, the five nominees for Outstanding Host for Reality or Reality Competition Programming: Tom Bergeron, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, Jeff Probst, and Ryan Seacrest. Ugh.

--Seacrest is instant death. Mandel, ad-libbing on the significance of the Emmys' nod to reality programming, is even worse, and Probst is visibly, amusingly, genuinely upset with him for interrupting. All the hosts wear matching suits and ties, even Klum (who is stunning), who towers above all four men. Only Probst is tieless, oddly.

--While Probst, Mandel, and Seacrest all try to hog the spotlight, talking over one another in obnoxious fashion, Bergeron and Klum appear to be equally mortified. They even appear to share a moment: just as the camera cuts away from the five-shot, I see Bergeron leaning in toward Klum, possibly to say, "Can you believe these pricks?" I imagine Klum might respond: "I am maybe the most attractive woman on the planet -- top five, easy. My beauty elevates me above this. There is no reason I should have to tolerate these hammy turds."

--They riff for an infinity on how they have nothing written. Bergeron now appears openly hostile, which is possibly an act, possibly not. The three hams finally exit, leaving Bergeron and Klum on damage control.

--William Shatner gets called up from the audience in one of the weirdest, most awkward staged bits ever: Bergeron and Shatner yank off Klum's suit, revealing a sparkly hot pants number underneath. I mean, I'm all for more skin from Heidi Klum, but this is creeping me out. Every single second of this ceremony thus far has been agonizingly awful.

--Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! Thank fucking god.

--Fey to a very pregnant Poehler: "When are you due?" Poehler: "How dare you! I've gained weight for a role."

--Supporting Actor in a Comedy goes to Jeremy Piven, again. Three in a row, Emmys? I mean, I like him, but come on. At least Rainn Wilson and Neil Patrick Harris were nominated; perhaps next year, when people begin realizing how done Entourage is, one of them will get the win they deserve.

--Piven rips on the hosts: "What if I just kept talking, for 12 minutes? That was the opening."

--Beer #2. Hey, at least I'm off work now.

--Bergeron and Seacrest are sitting in a replica of Seinfeld's cafe set. Perhaps they think if they pretend to be part of a great show, we will stop noticing how bad this show is. They are wrong.

--I still stand by my assertion that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is getting more lovely as she ages. Too bad the patter written for her here is so terrible. She presents Supporting Actress in a Comedy to Jean Smart, for Designing Women. Well, at least I imagine that's why she won, because it can't be for her weak-ass role on Samantha Who.

--Smart, on Samantha Who: "The most amazing, brilliant, hilarious cast in the world." Hyperbole at the Emmys? Never!

--People Smart thanks before her family: Christina Applegate, the cast, the producers, the writers, the executives at ABC, her show's cushy timeslot, her agency, her agent, her publicity firm, her publicist.

--After a brief moment of silence, Probst interrupts Klum just as she begins to speak to tell her it's her turn to speak. Klum, cuttingly: "Yeah, thanks."

--They introduce the cast of Desperate Housewives who appear on a Housewives set. Dana Delany -- man, she is still smokin' hot. Jeez, something happened to Marcia Clark, though. Yikes.

--Supporting Actor in a Drama goes to Ted Danson. I wrote that before they announced the winner. Looks like I was wrong. Zeljko Ivanek, Danson's castmate on Damages, actually wins, and gets the dubious honor of hearing his name massacred by Delany. I'm amazed he's never even been nominated before; he's very good. Too bad he won't be in the next season.

--Ricky Gervais! Man, he is so effortlessly charming and funny, it makes the reality show hosts look even more humor-free and inept, if that's possible.

--Speaking of his Emmy win in 2007: "The press called it a major upset. Which means they thought I shouldn't have won." This precedes a very funny routine in which he tries to get Steve Carell, who had accepted the award for him, to give it back. Carell eventually pulls an Emmy out from under his seat and reluctantly surrenders it. Awesome.

--Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program goes to the guy who directed the Oscars, which it seems like always happens. Yawn. I didn't do my picks this year, so there's really no reason to go through every single award, keeping track of my record, is there?

--Conan O'Brien appears, weirdly, on a set for The Simpsons, rather than his own program. I mean, he appeared in an episode, and of course started out as a writer for the show, but it still seems kind of like a slight to Late Night, which he's been doing for 15 damn years already.

--Supporting Actress in a Drama goes to Dianne Wiest, for a show nobody I know has ever watched. At least she's not present, so we're spared one speech.

--The clips for the nominees for Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program are always among the funniest bits at the Emmys, since they are created by the writers of the nominated programs. The Colbert Report writers are depicted enjoying a Christmas party, with Colbert as the shotgun-wielding, boxers-clad hillbilly who chases them out of his cabin. The Daily Show group uses clips of bozos in the audiences of the two big political conventions to represent themselves. The Late Night writers are children adopted by Angelina Jolie and Conan O'Brien. Dr. Phil diagnoses the Late Show staff: "Jeremy Weiner: enabler. Joe Grossman: delusional. Bill Sheft: messed up." And of course, David Letterman: "miserable old psychopathic wack-job." And the SNL writers use Wii Miis, which is pretty lame. The Colbert Report wins, which is sweet.

--Mandel is back. Ugh. He and Probst introduce the accountants, which is death. Steve Martin follows, which is quite a jarring contrast.

--Speaking of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Martin calls it "perspicacious, multifarious, and only sometimes placatory. And believe me, I only use those words to see how closed captioning will spell them." My closed captioning doesn't even attempt perspicacious, but the other two come out as "multifair yus" and "placetory."

And that's it! Approximately two-and-a-half, three hours of Emmys watching and recapping after that: gone, baby, gone. Oh well, at least 30 Rock won a ton of Emmys. Although even that didn't stop Tina Fey from desperately imploring the audience to tune in. And the sad thing is, they mostly still won't watch the funniest comedy on TV. Stupid audience!

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