Wow, talk about a boring Emmy Awards. I mean I had my doubts when it was announced that Ryan "I'm about as deep as my spray tan" Seacrest would be hosting, but it's FOX, so who else were they going to get to MC this bloated thing, anyway? Paula Abdul? Hardly. (Please bring Ellen DeGeneres back. Please?)
Whose misguided idea was it to hold the Emmys in a circular stadium? I felt like I was watching a basketball game rather than a TV awards ceremony. Badly, badly done. It looked cheap, tacky, and possibly very fitting with the Emmys' new home on FOX. Plus, that Death Star-designed black disco ball freaked me out. Did you notice how FOX seemed to make it out of the opening Family Guy song and dance relatively unscathed? Hmm, coincidence?
In any event, there were a few bright spots, like the writing award for The Office's Greg Daniels, Helen Mirren winning for the superlative Prime Suspect: The Final Act, and Lost's Terry O'Quinn finally receiving some recognition for the amazing work he does as John Locke. He deserves some time in the spotlight. And, yes, he definitely deserves the paycheck of even the lowest paid Wisteria Lane denizen of Desperate Housewives.
Also, thank you, Academy members, for doing something right and giving a statuette to the talented cast and crew at NBC's 30 Rock. More than any other series this year, 30 Rock proved that groundbreaking comedy can air on network television (strange, but true). It also proved that the voters aren't completely out of touch with reality, like they were when they awarded best supporting actor in a comedy to Jeremy Piven. Again. Still, the echoes of Arrested Development's win for best comedy struck a chord in my heart. Here's to hoping 30 Rock doesn't suffer the same fate...
But onto the winners and this jaded writer's reactions for each of the main categories.
Drama Series: The Sopranos
Yawn. But it was rather predictable that the series -- which faded to black with a whimper rather than a bang -- would get an awards swan song at the Emmys. Still, a standing ovation for David Chase and company? Was that really necessary, given the flak they got for that unfulfilling ending? At least The Sopranos is now ineligible for any more Emmys. That must count for something, right?
Comedy Series: 30 Rock
Finally, something to cheer about. (And I really did jump off my couch and holler.) Congrats to Tina Fey, the cast, and the uber-talented crew of this smart, witty, absurd comedy. To all the naysayers out there who predicted the series wouldn't make it through the first season, one giant raspberry in your honor.
The only other series up for consideration that I would have been happy with winning was The Office. But even I will admit that 30 Rock had a significantly stronger season than The Office. And, finally, a voting body that admits that there's no rationale for awarding a top comedy prize to Ugly Betty. Yes, it's a funny series, but it's a melodrama with comedic undertones, NOT a comedy. Hee. I'm still ecstatic about 30 Rock's win!
Reality-Competition Program: The Amazing Race
As always, the classiest reality series on television. Now maybe CBS will realize how much its fans are going to miss it this fall and, you know, actually put the next season on the air sooner rather than later. Hmm, word of advice, CBS? Pull the god-awful Kid Nation off your lineup and replace it with Amazing Race, stat.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series: James Spader, Boston Legal
Meh. I don't know a single person who watches Boston Legal and yet Academy voters seem to love the damn thing. And let's be honest, neither 24 nor Rescue Me had very good seasons. But did you see how the crowd got super excited when they announced the winner as James and then completely deflated when they followed that with Spader? Teehee.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Sure, I was rooting for The Riches' Minnie Driver to walk away with the award, but the Emmy voters really like Sally Field. They really like her. So I'm okay with Field, in her triumphant return to television, winning the Emmy for her work as the matriarch on Brothers & Sisters. And, oh, the word she got bleeped for saying? It was goddamn. Sigh. Cut to large, ominous black disco ball...
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Thank you, Emmy gods, for listening for once and giving this award to Terry O'Quinn. The man himself didn't disappoint, bringing us an acceptance speech that was at once touching and hysterical. And, yes, more than a little pointed towards the inequity between the pay scale of the Losties and the ladies of Wisteria Lane.
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Oh, Izzy. At least Eva Longoria and the cast of Entourage pronounced Heigl's name correctly when she won the award, which the announcer couldn't seem to do when announcing her as a presenter. (Nice, guys.) Still, she looked absolutely gorgeous and seemed truly, sincerely shocked.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Ricky Gervais, Extras
Oh. My. God. I am completely blown away and speechless. I'm a huge Gervais fan but I never, ever expected this, considering that he was up against Steve Carell and Alec Baldwin and nominated for a series which I loved, but rarely anyone else seemed to tune in to (Extras). Still, I am ecstatic that Gervais took home the statue, especially in such distinguished company. I guess there is some love for Andy Millman, after all.
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
It's not a comedy, people. Sigh. I was really, really hoping that this would go to Tina Fey for 30 Rock or Julia Louis-Dreyfus for New Adventures of Old Christine. Or Mary-Louise Parker for Weeds. Sure, Ugly Betty is funny (um, at times) and Ferrera is funny as Betty, but really? I'm quickly losing patience with the Emmy voters again.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Okay, I've officially had it with the voters. Ask anyone I know about Entourage and they'll say that it peaked years ago. It was bad enough to give Piven the Emmy last year, but to add insult to injury and do it again this year over, say, Rainn Wilson for The Office? Grrr. It just burns me up inside. Enough of Piven, enough already.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
Question: why was Jaime Pressly quite so... red? Flustered nerves? Sunburn? It's an Emmys mystery. Like Jeremy Piven's award, I'd be happier if she had won earlier instead of this season. Personally, I'd have rather seen this go to Vanessa Williams or Elizabeth Perkins. It's almost as though the voters were reminiscing about a few seasons back rather than watching the screeners from this season.
And there you have it: another year, another Emmy Awards show. Underwhelming, boring, or all over the place? You decide.
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionaryblog.com.