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Sunday, September 18, 2005

TiVo-Blogging the Emmys, Part 1
I have to blog the Emmys “live,” because the standards are so much lower that way. Just as award-show producers get graded on the "live/" curve rather than on "in the can" standards, if you blog while the show’s still running, you don’t have to worry about big themes and grand arcs.

The opening tapes—John Travolta reminding us of his once-famous love for older women (less palatable as he gets older himself, I guess); Candice Bergen re-living the Murphy Brown/Dan Quayle flap; Charles S. Dutton outing himself as a convict, and Billy Crystal conjuring his 700 award telecasts—were a little strange, the sentiment slightly misjudged for the opening moments, but the Earth Wind and Fire/Black Eyed Peas musical number was energetic and fun. (It would’ve been even more fun if I could’ve made out more of the words; I hate to sound like an old fart, but I could’ve used subtitles.) Going out and dancing in the aisles seems like a better way of establishing that the "stars" are good sports than mocking them in the Billy Crystal Oscar-cast fashion. I must admit my negative attitude to Doris Roberts was softened by watching her get down with a Pea; and Marg Helgenberger strutted the stuff that makes it so easy to believe that her CSI character is a former exotic dancer.

Ellen’s opening monologue was a little iffy, but as she said, "It’s an icebreaker, don’t judge me yet." Getting all five Housewives (yes, they included Nicolette Sheridan) to announce the first award set a good tone, though I do tend to think that it’s time for the DH folks to wean joke-writers off the feuding cast meme (though the Eva Longoria bit after the first commercial break was nicely pitched). And as much as I groaned when Brad Garrett got his last Everybody Loves Raymond Emmy, I have to give him credit for getting a topical joke (Britney’s baby) and an impromptu joke (riffing off Charles S. Dutton’s tape) in a short speech.

William Shatner’s win for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama didn’t displease me—though Alan Alda’s apparently embittered expression as he ripped up his acceptance speech was rather too convincing for comfort.

The Donald Trump/"Karen Walker" duet on the theme from Green Acres was mind-blowing—and given Megan Mullally’s chops as a cabaret queen, it was a little odd that the Don was the musical anchor of the number. Was it supposed to be so short?

Hugh Jackman’s win in the Variety or Music Program category was very odd—his performance in the Tony Award telecast beat the televised version of Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway show, Tracey Ullman Live & Exposed, Jon Stewart for the Daily Show, and Jay Leno’s Tonight Show turn. I imagine more people watch any single episode of the Tonight Show than have seen every Tony telecast in the history of televization. I never thought I’d see Jon Stewart not win an award (and for him not to win for last year’s election coverage!). I guess people really like the Boy From Oz, and television people really feel guilty about upstaging Broadway actors.

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