As I watch awards shows, I like to place what I see into one of three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. During last night's Emmy Awards, I found myself needing to add a new category, the unbelievably, heinously awkward.
America Ferrera: She looked great and gave a charming speech for a well-deserved win.
Red was the it color for dresses, and I think Ali Larter did the best job rocking the red. Several other great red dress looks were ruined by major hair issues (more on that later).
Julia Louis Dreyfus and Sally Field:
Older actresses (okay, Louis Dreyfus isn't that old, but she is 46) have a hard time looking good without resorting to bad plastic surgery. I'm not saying neither of these two have had anything done, but if they have, it's subtle and classy, not the Marg Helgenberger kind that makes me go "Oh my god, what is wrong with her face?" (Seriously, you guys, I can't even watch CSI anymore.) And they both looked great in bright gowns (fuschia for Julia Louis Dreyfus and shocking pink for Sally Field) that really popped with their dark hair and were a nice change from all the neutrals and reds.
Jennifer Love Hewitt: I really don't care that much for "Love" as her friend apparently call her. But you have to admit that she looked good in her plain black dress and nice flowy hair. (Which, in the E! pre-show red carpet coverage, Kimora Lee Simmons insisted on referring to as bed head. I don't know what kind of pillow she uses if she thinks that is bed head, but I'd like to get my hands on one.)
Roots really was groundbreaking television, and deserved to be honored. In a night full of montages and extra honors that mostly fell flat, Queen Latifah (rocking a red dress, herself) gave a nice speech that didn't seem to be too obviously read from the teleprompter, and it was nice that they were able to get so much of the cast together.
Ellen DeGeneres and Elaine Stritch:
Oh, if someone was going to lose track of the teleprompter, I'm so glad it was these two seasoned comediennes, who were able to ad-lib with flair.
Her dress looked great, except for those paper airplane wings on the sleeves. And the zipper could have been hidden better.
Jamie Pressley: She's very funny on My Name is Earl, and she has a great figure which she worked very hard to get back after her baby was born. (Apparently she ate a lot of cabbage soup.) So why was she hiding most of it under that baggy black dress, which would have been fine on a more mature actress. Actually, maybe she and Helen Mirren should have switched, because her dress was a little too young for her.
Hayden Panettiere: OK, all the creepy jokes about how she just turned 18 aren't really her fault. I guess she was worried about them, though, which is why she decided to avoid looking to sexy by showing up in a peach taffeta muumuu that exactly matched her Mystic Tan.
Sopranos Tribute: I like Jersey Boys. I'm planning to see it twice when it comes to town in December, and I thought the performance given by the cast was good. But what the hell does it have to do with The Sopranos other than the New Jersey connection? Furthermore, why the hell did The Sopranos even need to get a tribute this year? It was no surprise that they won Best Drama, so couldn't all the applause just have been saved for that moment. I think tributes like that should be for shows that have been off the air awhile and stood the test of time, not shows that have just ended their run and been an Emmy staple for nearly a decade.
And, we need to add a special sub-category, WHEN BAD HAIR HAPPENS TO GOOD DRESSES:
Kate Walsh: Her long thick red hair comes the closest to being like The Little Mermaid's of any real person I have ever seen. She should never put it up. But if she does, she should at least finish.
Lisa Edelstein: Her dress looked good, there was nothing inherently wrong with her hairstyle, except that somebody should have told her that she doesn't really have the ears for that kind of an updo. Especially since she also has great hair that looks good down.
Heidi Klum: Okay, her hair wasn't that bad. It was the same deconstructed flapper 'do that a lot of actresses, including Eva Longoria were sporting last night, but it just could have looked so much better.
E!'s Red Carpet celebrity cam: I did not really need to see that many veiny celebrity feet.
Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher's "repartee": Yeah, Joely Fisher has a lot of cleavage, which she was showing off last night. She looked pretty good, actually, I thought. And it was fine to draw some attention to it, but they should have stopped with Brad Garrett's "You should see it from up here" line. What followed was more crude mammary humor than I've heard since the Porky's movies. Fox was also heavily promoting 'Til Death with a clip that featured her breasts last night, so it just seemed like an awful lot of undue attention to pay to one woman's rack.
Emmys go green: Oh, sure, it's admirable to be carbon neutral. I like polar bears as much as the next person and have been dragging around the same sorry canvas grocery bags for ages now. But did it really require so much blatant horn-tooting? I am willing to do a little extra recycling myself if it means I don't have to hear about the red carpet made from recycled plastic bottles 10 times in the course of an hour. Let's just say the effort did not exactly reek of altruism.
Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera's "Steppin' Out" number: I wasn't really sure what the point of this number was. I guess the singing was fine, but the half-hearted, half-dressed dance corps was totally extraneous. I've seen more skilled, more energetic dancing than that at a high school pep rally.
Clips from best comedies shown on portable video devices held by audience members: What the hell was that all about? Although I can totally believe that many, many people in that auditorium last night wished they could be watching something else, this was just awkward and strange. I would be convinced it was some sort of weird product placement if they hadn't shown products from a range of competing manufacturers.
Ryan Seacrest: Well, Seacrest really owns his own category, doesn't he? It started out on the red carpet, where he told Kyra Sedgewick that he like her dress but was "distracted by [her] body in it." Ew! I hope Kevin Bacon kicks his ass. It only became more clear how totally unsuitable he is to host a show like this as the night went on. Almost all of "his" "jokes" fell flat. The reason why comedians like Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart make good awards show hosts is that they can make a joke sound like their own, even if we all know it was probably written by somebody else, and if a joke bombs, they know how to recover. Seacrest doesn't know how to do anything other than look pretty. Can anybody explain to me who has decided that he should have so many gigs? And why? Because I really do not get it.
I think, actually, Seacrest's hosting sums up the major problem with last night's awards. Awards shows are, by their nature, prefabricated and fake. We all know presenters are reading from teleprompters, that the host's banter was whipped up days ago by a writing staff, and that many "tributes" are simply conceived as filler between awards. But usually the people involved in the production do a much better job of pretending that it is fresh and not contrived, which in turn allows us, as the audience, to suspend our disbelief and pretend that it is all a little less artificial. Last night's awards were almost completely devoid of genuine moments.
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Amy Kane spends as much quality time with her television as possible, when she's not busy at her day job as a cube dweller.