Monday, August 28, 2006

The Emmys and the Phony Controversy of the Day

I am stunned that some are trying to whip up a controversy over Conan's brilliant Emmy opening film last night. When the plane in the film started to shudder, I instantly thought of Lost. It was not until the coverage this morning of this "story" that I learned that some were offended by it, since it put them in mind of yesterday's plane crash. It never dawned on me.

Come on, people. If you are among those who suffered a loss in yesterday's tragedy, you probably were not watching the Emmys last night. And if you were unconnected to the events, but are still so delicate of sensibilities that you can be brought to tears by seeing a pretend plane crash on an awards show, you probably should avoid TV until you toughen up a little.

(It's like the people protesting the racial aspect of the next
Survivor: Clearly they've never seen the show. In Survivor you can only win by reaching out to those not in your tribe. If only life were like that.)

Now that that's out of the way, no one asked me, but... just a couple of thoughts about last night's Emmy show. First of all, Conan did a great job, and I thought his monologue and
Music Man parody started things off just right.

And the show managed to come in on time, but you could feel the rushing in spots. I've said it before: let's loosen up a little and give award shows time to breathe. If you like the Emmys, you'd enjoy another 15 minutes or so. If you don't like the Emmys, shaving 15 minutes off won't change your opinion.

The snubbing of
Lost means this year's Emmys will always have an asterisk next to them, but if Lost couldn't win, 24 and The Office were the perfect winners. Both had amazing seasons.

And Hugh Laurie's snub was glaring, but I'm glad Keifer Sutherland won for his outstanding work, and I'm also glad Chris Meloni got some long-overdue recognition. Stabler isn't as flashy a role as House, but it is easily one of the more challenging roles in prime time, and Meloni is superb. (As is Mariska Hargitay, who had a particularly strong season.)

And I think Tony Shalhoub and Barry Manilow are great, but last night should have belonged to Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. They are delivering some of the most complex and consistent work in TV history, and are part of why this is TV's Golden Age.


Anonymous said...

"They are delivering some of the most complex and consistent work in TV history, and are part of why this is TV's Golden Age."

Yes, agreed. But still I dont think the warm glow of the Golden Age is lighting every programming block evenly.

What the Emmy broadcast reminded me of - if this is a Golden Age, why dont the Oscars, Emmys and Globe televised shows figure out what their contemporary format might be? Why are they just lost and boring, bloated events?

It isnt just MORE TIME. Its WHAT KIND of time. The script for these kind of "unscripted" events needs to be better, much better.

Today even the Red Carpet has a far more clearer reason for its existence, now that the area has been branded into a "show", and stars and C-stringers have to rattle of inanities to more and more "press" people, and the name of their jewler and fashion stylist, and so on. Its clear at least what that is.

The Emmy telecast recalled that all of these ceremonies are just not able to decide what is the actual reason for being there, or at least being an onlooker. So it tries to be everything, at what is allowed with live telecasts and stages, and stretches intolerably, and then when the time comes for editing choices, guess what, its always at the cost of the recepients speech. (although Julia Louis-Dreyfuss should have been cut early, poor thing)

It seems no one has decided the real meaning of standing up there and getting that award. Once you devalue THAT act, the rest is just another standard long, variety / awards competition show, a channel-flipper.

Almost every convention of television format, and even programming block, has been through transformations that would never have been anticipated earlier as succesful.

Cartoons? Redefined by the allowance of Adult Swim programming block;

Actor Interview-format? Inside Actors Studio proves intelligent interviews with actors about THEIR
CRAFT (instead of tonite-show p.r.) is a sellable commodity.

Indepth Character Series? HBO anything basically.

Reality shows that aren't idiots? Project Runway proves there are angles that DO make for good television and relate to a field without insulting; Etc..

News programs - oh, well, wait on that

Its just the televised Award ceremony for the movie and tv industry that seems to be unable to figure a way forward into the contemporary. That can be taken as proof of a lack of belief at work IN the meaning endowed upon those awards today.

15 minutes more or less isnt going to improve that - getting a new script is.

Dana Klein said...

i completely agree with your assessment of the emmys. thought conan was fantastic. alright, it's not an inspired post, but that's all i have to say.

Michael Markowitz said...

Agreeing with my assessment? What could be more inspired than that??!

As it turns out, according to Tom O'Neill, no one in the press tent or at any of the parties on Emmy night made the connection between the opening film and the plane crash either... including the journalists from Kentucky. It was not until that night when Matt Drudge whipped this up on his column that the mess started. Another echo-chamber-created "controversy"