Monday, September 22, 2008

Well, at least we've all learned a valuable lesson. We've seen firsthand the kind of chaos that can result when there's no regulation, no rules, no script. When the people in charge don't provide any oversight, when they just hand over the reins and say, "Do whatever the hell you want, but try not to screw up too bad."

Yes, I'm talking about the Emmy Awards.

I guess we should have seen it coming, since they went aggressively stupid a year or two back. Before then they gave out maybe fifteen awards a year, and they went to great performers. Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke. Now there's like six hundred awards, and every show on TV gets ten or twelve. There's Best Use of Veal in an Italian Cooking Program. Best Sauté with a Slotted Spoon. Which explains why, if you're keeping track, Giada di Laurentiis has won as many Emmys as Carol Burnett.

30 Rock is a great show, but even Tina Fey probably wonders how it got forty-seven nods. Was there a nomination for each individual joke? Are there awards for Oddest Slogan on a Trucker Hat, or Best Use of a Vest by a Supporting Character?

Obviously they're trying to get the Emmys to seem less elitist, to get their brand name out there. Because before this, how often did you hear about the Emmys? Maybe once a year, for the award show. Now every time I put on the Food Network, there's a commercial screaming about their latest win. "Tune in at eight tonight for Bobby Flay's Throwdown, five-time Emmy winner for Best Grilling by a Guy with Ginger Pubes!"

Still, they slid a few more rungs down the Smart Ladder with last night's show. My jaw dropped at the very beginning. Five reality show stars hosting? What, was everyone with a personality previously engaged? They struggled in vain to start a conversation. America's best reality programming hosts.

If I were Jeff Foxworthy, I'd have shot myself in the head about three minutes in. "Well, the Academy didn't necessarily snub me," he says as he puts his whiskey down and strolls over to the gun rack. "But I'm not quite as good as a guy who says 'Open the case!' forty times a night."

Even amidst all this awkwardness, the presentation to Tommy Smothers stood out. Hell, even those of us who have heard of the Smothers Brothers still don't know which is which. It's like knowing who's Cheech and who's Chong. Tommy Smothers is singlehandedly responsible for free speech! they gushed. He pushed the envelope when nobody else would! He spoke up when nobody else had the nerve!

And then he gets onstage and says, "Peace is good, ignorance bad." Did this used to pass for controversy back in 4,000 B. C.? Because nowadays, it wouldn't stand out in a Madonna song. It didn't make sense. Was he afraid of offending somebody? They just said he used to be outspoken, and even got fired because of it. What's he afraid of now? They'll cut off his Meals on Wheels? Switch off his LifeAlert?

Despite this stiff competition, the winner of Worst Comedy Bit by Seniors goes to the Laugh-In tribute. Get a bunch of geriatric patients to re-enact a forty-year-old comedy show -- yup, that's a recipe for hilarity. "Here's what you do," the producer tells the excited oldsters. "When I give you the cue, you throw open the little doors, stick your head out, read your lines off the Teleprompter, then pull back and shut the doors."

"That sounds kind of complicated," Jo Anne Worley admits.

Alan Seuss nods. "My grandkids applaud if I put my pants on right-side out."

It was, to be polite, a train wreck. Still, it was entertaining, in a Britney-on-the-VMAs kind of way, so I'm guessing it'll be a category for next year's show: Best Performer to Move a Couple Annoying Flaps Out of the Way and Thrust Their Face into a Hole.

I can't wait to hear Jeremy Piven's acceptance speech.


Y | O | Y said...

I wrote a bit about this as well. What was up with Alan Seuss? He was completely out of it.

1904 said...

"Best Performer to Move a Couple Annoying Flaps Out of the Way and Thrust Their Face into a Hole." Followed by a picture of Piven.

No he did not write that. He did not just put that in print.

Wait a minute.

Yes he did.

I still can't catch my breath.