Ah, the fall season is obviously inching closer to viewers. The biggest indication of that was the September 16th Emmy awards. When that award show comes on the air, that’s when the leaves start to change color and celebrities make complete fools of themselves trying to thank everyone in the Yellow Pages.
On Fox, the awards telecast took over the airwaves and brought on a barrage of celebrities wearing various designer dresses and suits. On the E network, viewers were subjected to hours worth of useless pre-show material. After the first five entrances, the routine became the same. A celebrity walks the red carpet and awkwardly tries to enjoy being interrogated by Ryan Seacrest, one the busiest men on television, over what they are wearing. Occasionally, celebrities, like Eva Longoria, appear brave enough to endure the mundane questions with a smile and a nod. Usually, they appear to just want to do their time and get into the auditorium as soon as humanly possible.
Unfortunately, the show showed signs of impending disaster as soon as Seacrest got onto a stage where the audience was all around him. Some sympathy should go out to audience members who spent hours staring at everyone else’s backsides. What a way to kill three hours.
The show was even more of an embarrassment when Seacrest opened his mouth and failed miserably at being funny. That’s why he got off the stage faster than a speeding bullet and let other comedians like Ray Romano dominate the broadcast. Romano’s little detour into why being on hiatus has driven his wife crazy served absolutely no purpose to presenting an award. It was also painful watching his former costar Brad Garrett talk about his current TV wife’s, Joely Fisher, busty décolletage a lot longer than he should have. Fisher looked close to smacking Garrett at least a few times.
Speaking of detours, the broadcast felt like a Saturday Night Live sketch gone wrong at times, such as Wayne Brady hosting a sing-off between Kayne West and Rainn Wilson. Okay, it was funny that Kayne messed up a slight lyric in his own song “Stronger,” but the segment was just pointless filler material. Another slightly funny moment was when Jon Stewart chastised fellow presenter Stephen Colbert for bringing a leaf blower to the stage during a time of environmental trouble.
The awards themselves were somewhat predictable, but also allowed enough room for some surprises. It was no surprise that Jeremy Piven won for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Entourage. It was kind of entertaining watching Best Actress winner Sally Field regressing to her “You like me, you really like me” speech from the Academy Awards when the orchestra music tried to rush her off the stage. What was a little disrespectful was that she was completely cut off when the camera flipped up to the ceiling of all places. Go figure. An Oscar winner can be given the boot off stage, even if she is talking too much instead of getting right to the point. Field has won awards before and should know that time on stage is a precious thing to waste.
There were some major wins that were surprising in every way. The odds were stacked against a few nominees from winning, which made their wins all the more surprising. The biggest surprise came at the beginning and the end of show. No one expected Lost’s Terry O’Quinn to win Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and jaws dropped to the floor when James Spader won his third Emmy for playing the same character. Everyone hedged their bets on James Gandolfini for his swansong on The Sopranos, but the love affair with the critically adored actor must have finally waned. The other two acting surprises was Katherine Heigl and Jaime Presslys’ wins for dramatic and comedic Supporting Actress for their respected shows. Audiences could have done without Heigl’s shocked obscenity outburst, which the censors somehow seemed to catch onto before viewers did.
Ultimately, the show concluded on a critically acclaimed note by awarding 30 Rock and The Sopranos with the awards for Best Comedy and Best Drama. Like most award shows, the Emmys did run a lot longer than it should have. The program offered a mixed bag of humor, the good and the bad, and some poignant tributes to those who have passed within the past year. Hopefully, next year’s show will be better executed and with a host that is more than a mere afterthought. Sorry, Seacrest, stay with your other twenty day jobs.