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Monday, September 20, 2004

Live-Blogging the Emmys, Hour 1
An hour into the three-hour Emmys telecast, I’m giving TiVo a chance to get ahead of me while I type up some quick reactions.

My God, has there ever been a worse-scripted and presented awards show? I’m a longtime fan of Garry Shandling from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (I can still hum the theme tune though I haven’t seen it in years) and The Larry Sanders Show, but he is stinking up the joint big-time. Everything about the presentation, from the very wooden and extremely unfunny taped setups to the truly awful and awkward monologue has just sucked ass. Around the one-hour mark, in yet another lame bit of business, Billy Crystal tells Shandling to get back on stage, because “the show is slipping away from you …” Dude, that happened about 60 minutes ago.

The exchanges between presenters were painful too—how did Chris Noth expect Sarah Jessica Parker to respond to his marriage proposal? “Erm, no, but thanks” was about as good as could be expected, and that’s pretty terrible. Still, Zach Braff’s aside to his co-presenter, Joan of Arcadia’s Amber Tamblyn—“Don’t you know God? Can’t we get a better line than that?”—was perfect.

And the premature music-players! This is an old bugaboo of mine—we want to hear the speeches—and it really doesn’t feel like they’re giving the winners enough time to even get through the basic acknowledgments. Jeffrey Wright, a wonderful actor who won an award for his portrayal of a beautiful character (Belize is Tony Kushner’s greatest artistic achievement in my view) is up there talking about AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and the band is playing the exit music, acting like he’s already walked off stage. It’s especially galling when the pitiful inter-award “comedy” material is so desperately in need of editing. (For the director of the Oscar telecast, who’s also directing the Emmy telecast, to be the next recipient was just shameful.) When the band started to swell about 20 seconds into Mitchell Hurwitz’s acceptance speech for Best Comedy Writing (for Arrested Development), his beautifully delivered line, “I’d like to sing this now if I may” provided the first genuine laugh of the night.

It sure feels like a lot of important awards have already been given out—I’m wondering if we’re going to be in a miniseries dead zone for the next hour—but I’m doing well on my predictions: Cynthia Nixon’s win for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy was the first I’ve missed. It was kind of sad to see both Nixon and David Hyde-Pierce (who didn’t look terribly healthy) appear to genuinely miss their shows. Another actress who might miss her old show next year is Drea de Matteo, who didn’t thank anyone by name because “I might puke, choke, cry, or die—and you’ve already seen me do that.” A great line—apparently unscripted, but who knows, she is an actress after all.