I’m not in the habit of getting much sleep during the week, averaging a shut-eye of around 3am. For that reason, I was able to watch the Primetime Emmy awards live on the E! channel right into the wee hours of Monday morning. As most of you are probably aware, this is the TV equivalent of the Oscars; big stars from the small screen hit the red carpet in their hundreds.
But long before viewers get a chance to slate so-and-so’s dress, E! had their interminable, and interminably vacuous, Countdown To The Red Carpet show. To be clear, this isn’t Live From The Red Carpet where celebs are interviewed as they arrive. It’s the utterly pointless show that precedes it. And, as there are no celebs to harass and ask stupid questions (such as, "How do you stay so thin?"), it’s all about conjecture: what will this person be wearing? Who will they arrive with? Who will win an Emmy? How will they style their hair? Who will they thank in their acceptance speech? Only in America…
All that time to fill, so little content to fill it with. That’s why viewers are subjected, ad infinitum, to something like this: Queer Eye For The Straight Guy’s Carson Kressley in a white tux (he looked like he was going to his school prom) pontificating about various make-up/shoes/accessories etc the stars will probably wear. It all got terribly QVC when he demonstrated some of the products on one of the presenters (not sure why, but he was very nervous throughout the telecast).
Then there’s a cut to another correspondent who tells her fellow correspondent that she looks "lovely". The fellow correspondent reciprocates – and this is repeated throughout the broadcast whenever they hand over to someone else ("Over to you Sal. And may I say how lovely you’re looking?"). There’s some inane chatter and a small Emmy-related clip is introduced before it’s back to the red carpet and Carson showing the watching millions how to apply this year’s hottest eco-friendly foundation. Hour after hour of insincere perfect (straight, white) smiles, flattery, sycophancy and boundless enthusiasm – watching this pap is guaranteed to give you a newfound appreciation for Natasha Kaplinsky.
And so to the ceremony itself which was hosted by Ryan Seacrest, a familiar name and face to fans of American Idol in this country. For anyone unaware of this TV/radio presenter, he’s probably making plans for world domination as I speak. He’s so ubiquitous, he makes Fearne Cotton seem like a fresh face. Emmys 2007 got off to a hilarious start with a song and dance number by Family Guy’s Stewie and Brian in which they took the mickey out of some of primetime TV’s most popular shows.
It was downhill from there as, inevitably, elements of this live show just didn’t work: the Shrine Auditorium’s in-the-round stage ensured guests in certain seats watched the backs of Emmy recipients all night; Broadway show The Jersey Boys’ tribute to The Sopranos was an embarrassment (whose terrible idea was that?) and the writer of Ryan Seacrest’s opening monologue should never work again. Too many of his so-called gags were deader than Rik Waller’s career.
However, welcome surprises included Prime Suspect taking home a couple of gongs (including one for a stunning Helen Mirren) and Ricky Gervais winning Best Actor (Comedy) for Extras. Queen Latifah introduced the tribute to Roots which rightly received a standing ovation in its 30th anniversary year. As her speech pointed out, it redefined the idea of whose stories could be told on TV.
Veteran actress Elaine Stritch lost it completely as she struggled to see the autocue during her presenting duties: "I’m not faking this. I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing," she said as the attendees burst out laughing. Don’t ask me how her co-presenter Stanley Tucci kept his composure, but this incident is a perfect illustration of why I watch live telecasts of awards ceremonies.
Finally – the ‘they wuz robbed’ moan. The Sopranos left the auditorium with far fewer gongs than it deserved. Considering that this is easily one of the most influential, superbly-written (and acted) TV programmes of all time, it’s a disgrace that its haul is so low (relatively speaking).
In addition, Best Actor in a drama series should’ve gone to Hugh Laurie instead of James Spader. Or even, James Gandolfini. I love those two guys but Hugh Laurie’s performance in House deserves the highest recognition his peers can bestow on him. How many American actors could come here, create a compelling anti-hero with a limp, spout all that medial speak and do it with a convincing English accent to boot? I rest my case. If Hugh Laurie doesn’t win next year, I’m’o git Medieval on their ass.
Today I am mostly lovin’ – My beloved Arsenal. Boys, you still waste too many chances in front of goal and at times, the defending would make George Graham tear out what remains of his hair. But Spurs were taught a footballing lesson and I’m on cloud nine!
Today I am mostly hatin’ – The fact that I still don’t know what that fab dance music track is on the Sure biorhythm advert. It sounds like Basement Jaxx. Is it? Someone put me out of my misery please!
MSN Editor Coops