Web This Site

Monday, February 20, 2006

Emmy highs and sighs 2004

September 22, 2004

They silenced Tony Soprano.

Who does that?

When The Sopranos won the Emmy for best drama, they cut off actor James Gandolfini, America’s favorite TV mafia don, before he had a chance to speak.

Apparently, the honchos producing Sunday’s Emmy Awards don’t know that he’s connected. Only series creator David Chase got to fire off a quick 30-second thank-you before the band struck up the music signaling The Sopranos gang off stage. I’m certain a pair of cement shoes is being crafted for that orchestra director this very minute.

Sunday’s broadcast had some highs, and lows. Here’s a rundown of the best and worst:

  • Drea de Matteo gives the best acceptance speech of the night. The surprisingly shy actress won best supporting actress in a drama for her role as The Sopranos troubled, and now-deceased, Adriana. "If I try to thank everyone, I might puke, choke, cry or die. But you've already seen me do it, so I'm gonna go have 10 drinks and thank you all later." Hopefully, she’ll get lines this good on her new show Joey.
  • Host Garry Shandling takes a brilliant swipe at reality TV. “It’s to the point now when a commercial comes on I go, ‘Thank God, professional actors in a story,’” he cracked. Amen Garry.
  • Tom Selleck proves he’s still got it. Although he was there to introduce the somber memorial tribute, the actor could barely get through his dialogue, as he endured whistles, screams, and gushing fans. (OK, so he didn’t hear me from my living room, but the other 50 or so screaming females caused the crowd to erupt in laughter at Selleck’s obvious distress.) Network executives should take heed: Get this guy back on television. Pronto. It’s obvious he’s still a crowd favorite.
  • David Hyde Pierce gives the second best speech of the night. “It’s not the way I would have gone, but OK,” he said, dryly, after taking the stage to claim his prize for best supporting actor in a comedy series. Hyde Pierce won for his work on Frasier against this year’s critic-and-crowd-favorite Jeffrey Tambor. Hyde Pierce ended by commenting on how the landscape of TV programming has shifted to reality programming. He told TV executives to call him when it changed back.
  • When unsure of what to say, complement the crowd. “You’ve all made wonderful choices in dresses and shoes tonight,” deadpanned actor James Spader, during his acceptance speech for best actor in a drama series.
  • Arrested Development won best comedy. We all know it should have been Scrubs, but all right. Since the idiots in the TV industry didn’t even nominate it, I’m OK with this choice. Anything is better than Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Allison Janney should have channeled C.J. Cregg. Her acceptance speech for best actress in a drama was awkward when she asked the other nominees in her category onstage. Obviously, she was as stunned as the rest of us that she won. I’m an avid fan of Janney’s, but this wasn’t her best year. If only she could have channeled her character C.J. Cregg from The West Wing. Craig is always cool, collected and knows just what to say.
  • Political jokes in abundance. From a skit of political ads slandering George Washington to Shandling’s jab about Iraq, nothing was off limits. This was one of Shandling’s funniest: “We missed Osama bin Laden, but we got Martha Stewart; don't think we're not a focused country."
  • Who the heck is Elaine Stritch? That was the question on everyone’s mind, after the 79-year old pistol won for best individual performance in a variety or musical program for her HBO show Elaine Stritch: At Liberty. Her feisty speech, in which she told show executives they would have to force her off stage, added some much-needed energy to the lackluster show. Stritch became the running joke of the night, much akin to Jack Palance at the Oscars years ago. “Look at the company I’m in here. And I’m so glad none of them won,” Stritch quipped before the orchestra played her off stage.
  • Abducted and taken where? The segment for the best reality show was entertaining. Show executives plucked two people off the street, blindfolded them and led them onstage. The two were chosen to present the winner for best reality show. Both in shock, it was nice to see some real fans on stage gawking at the stars and getting to be a part of the festivities.
  • Conan O’Brien’s brief appearance. Sorry, but host Garry Shandling’s laid-back humor is just too low-key to host a show of this caliber. The production got a momentary energy boost when Conan O’Brien took the stage. “I’ll take my time, I didn’t see Pacino rush,” O’Brien deadpanned, busting on Emmy producers. (Al Pacino was one of the only winners allowed to speak past the 40-second allotted time without being played over by the orchestra.)
  • The red carpet without Joan and Melissa. I never thought I’d miss Joan Rivers, but the red carpet arrivals on E! just weren’t the same without her and daughter Melissa. Their embarrassing, and sometimes tacky, faux pas were always part of the fun. Whether needling Kevin Costner about the size of his fiancĂ©e’s diamond or calling actor’s by the wrong name, Joan was never boring. Joan’s replacement, Star Jones, made me realize that perhaps Joan really did know what she was doing.

    Don’t forget tonight is the debut of Lost at 8 p.m. on ABC. It’s the one show I’m most excited to see this fall. Also, Clark Kent returns tonight, too, in Smallville at 8 p.m. on The WB.

    Originally published 9/22/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


Copyright 2007 Tube Talk