Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Best: Thoughts on the 66th Emmy Awards

I'm back.  Sorry for the lack of updates, but the first week of school has been insanely busy.  I'm hoping to get back up to our regularly scheduled blogging post haste.

Anyway, I didn't make it through the whole Emmy show.  Here are my thoughts (in no particular order)

1.  Live Tweeting.
Last year I was kind of snarky as I live tweeted.  This year I tried to come up with only funny but not mean things to say.  That was very difficult to do, especially when I turned on the TV and the first thing I saw was someone who, I kid you not, I thought was dressed as Bucky Larson in drag.

My point is that I think the pressure of live tweeting is to come up with something funny right there on the spot in real time.  It is a good exercise to sharpen your improvisational skills because it requires timing and brevity.  But mockery seems so easy.  True wit is difficult.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with Hollywood celebrities getting a gentle tease from us the fans.  But mean seems so easy on Twitter.  The laughs are cheap, but that's why we purchase so many of them from our minds.  True wit, I think, should not be mean.

2.  Seth Meyers was Terrible.
I know this sounds like I'm going back on my first point about meanness, but I'm simply making an assessment of his skill as a host.  His monologue had only 3 good jokes and most everything else was flat.  Most of the jokes were bad, but that's expected from an awards show.  The job of host is not to make all of the jokes work (they can't), but to make the bad jokes funny.

That sounds like a contradiction, but think about Johnny Carson or Conan O'Brien.  They would tell a terrible joke, but then there was a twinkle in the eye as they looked at you knowingly, as if they too were in with you in how bad the joke was and you laughed conspiratorially with them.

3.  Billy Crystal's Robin Williams Tribute

I thought this was powerful and beautiful.  The most heartbreaking part was where he said "It's so hard speaking about him in the past tense because he was so present in our lives."  While you don't want to make the death of the other stars lesser, it was important to acknowledge the particular genius of Robin Williams.

So one last time: "Nanu-nanu!"

4.  I'm Terrible at Predicting Award Winners.
I only predicted the winners with 27% accuracy.  I think the main idea I left out of my analysis was that Emmy voters might experiment with something new, as they did last year with Netflix (none of whose shows won an Emmy this year), but their main tendency is to tradition an inertia.  I know this is ironic for an industry that prides itself on breaking from traditional values and being cutting edge.

In all non-writing/directing categories for series this year (not counting mini-series or specials) ALL of the winners had won before.

Let me say that again ALL of them have won.  Some several times.  Modern Family has won all 5 years it has been nominated and Jim Parsons has won 4 of the 5 years he has.  Allison Janney won for a new show, Mom, but she already has won 4 Emmys.

I'm not saying that all of the winners aren't deserving (though some aren't), but that Emmy's tend to stick with what they like until its gone.

5.  Weird Al Makes Everything Better

Weird Al Yankovic came on and added lyrics to the lyric-less themes to modern TV shows.  And while he was often flat (I don't think they changed the key of the songs to fit his range), it was the best part of the night.  As Homer Simpson said, "He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life."

(Best line "Type, George, type!")

6.  Breaking Bad Goes Out With a Bang
I was very happy for all of the awards that Breaking Bad won.  Its final season was incredible.  I always compare the show to the Godfather of television.  It's the story of a man who slowly loses his soul by degrees and it is presented with such tragic beauty that it compels attention.  Winning Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Writing is a fitting way to send off one of the greatest dramas ever seen on TV.  "Felina"

7.  Snubs
Of the people nominated, here are the snubs:

-Mayim Bialik: She is consistently one of the funniest things on a show that is already hysterical.  She should have won a long time ago.
-Amy Poehler:  Consistantly she is the funniest lead actress in a comedy.  Year after year I fail to come up with someone who matches her.  And she still has never won for playing Leslie Knope!
-Robin Wright: Her Claire Underwood is icy and vicious, but she lets you see that there is still something human beneath all of that.  Fantastic performance!

8.  Bilbo and Smaug won Emmys!

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