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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Emmy recap 2006

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Bob Newhart was almost killed.

Christopher Meloni rode a Segway on stage.

And Conan O’Brien proved he’s funnier than anyone thought.

That, folks, was just a highlight of some of the wackiness at this year’s Emmys. Here’s a rundown of the highs and lows:

Best acceptance speech: Writer Greg Garcia, creator of My Name is Earl, proved why he’s worthy of an Emmy. His speech was the most entertaining of the night, as he mentioned people who he didn’t want to thank, including an 8th-grade teacher who told him he wasn’t funny and a boss who made him scrape gum off a producer’s shoe while working as a P.A. on Step by Step. The balding Garcia even put God on the list, “you took my hair, and that's not cool, man. Not cool!"

Best skit: Conan’s opening sequence. He took a page from Billy Crystal’s Oscar hosting book with this sequence and dropped in to some of our favorite TV shows: Lost, 24, House, The Office, Dateline NBC and South Park. On the Lost island, O’Brien asked Hurley to go with him down the Hatch to the Emmys. Hurley responded with the best joke of the night: “We weren’t exactly invited,” Hurley said stoically. “But you won last year. Nothing makes sense anymore,” O’Brien replied, voicing the argument of TV fans everywhere. (Despite winning last year’s Emmy for best drama, Lost and its cast didn’t earn one nomination this year, under the new Emmy voting process.)

Strangest skit: In an effort to curtail the customary long-winded acceptance speeches at the Emmys, O’Brien informed the audience that this year there would be consequences for going over the allotted three-hour show time. TV-legend Bob Newhart was enclosed in a glass chamber with only three hours of air. Cut to a panicked Newhart on stage, sealed in the tank, clock ticking, trying desperately to escape. Later, Jon Stewart proudly announced he’d decided to kill Newhart with his lengthy acceptance speech.

Biggest no-show: Where was Alan Alda? The TV legend was named best supporting actor in a drama for his work on The West Wing, but wasn’t there to claim the prize. Was he ill? Or still upset over last year’s loss? Alda did a fantastic job as Arnold Vinick on The West Wing, and his fans were sorry to see him absent from the ceremony.

Worst skit: In yet another attempt to emphasize the importance of keeping speeches short, O’Brien explained that in the future winners could use a quick, new method for accepting awards: the Segway. Cut to Christopher Meloni riding across the stage on the motor-propelled device, rattling off an acceptance speech. (Just a thought, perhaps if they canned a couple of these silly skits, then all that time-crunching wouldn’t be necessary. I’m just saying.)

Moment that had me holding my breath: It wasn’t any of the rambling acceptance speeches that threatened to deprive poor Newhart of precious air. It was the tribute to Aaron Spelling, when the original Charlie’s Angels reunited onstage, that had me sweating. Anyone who saw Farrah Fawcett at the William Shatner Comedy Central Roast knows that Farrah and public speaking are a lethal combination these days.

Biggest shockers: Grey’s Anatomy lost to 24 for best drama, and Barry Manilow bested David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson and Hugh Jackman (The Tony Awards) to win the Emmy for best performance in a variety or music program. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “huh?”

Best banter: Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart for presenting the award for best reality program. Their shtick started with Stewart going into his opening line about reality programs, when Colbert burst in with “Good Evening Godless Sodomites.” As Stewart tried to progress with the canned dialogue about the greatness of reality shows, Colbert interrupted with “it warps the minds of our children and weakens the resolve of our allies.” (Go, Stephen!) The shtick got funnier from there, as Colbert reminded the audience that they were worshipping the giant, golden statue of Babylon (pointing to the Emmy.) When Stewart asked Colbert why he was so bitter, Colbert broke from the script and replied, “I lost to Barry Manilow. Wolverine I could have lost to. He's got claws for hands." Priceless.

Worst banter: Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen with some awkward jokes about Martin needing a job on Charlie’s show now that The West Wing was finished.

Biggest snub: Denis Leary went home without an Emmy for best actor in a drama. Shame on Emmy voters for this travesty. Leary’s scenes where his son died were Oscar worthy. Besides, Kiefer Sutherland, who did win this year, should have won years ago for 24. I swear, it’s like the voters are light years behind the rest of the TV-viewing world.

Conan the Music Man: Thumbs up to O’Brien’s opening song and dance number, in which he took aim at NBC’s ratings woes. Set to the tune of Trouble from The Music Man, O’Brien sang and danced out this great line: “To prove things are going to Hell, we’re relying on Howie Mandel.” What? Like you weren’t thinking it?

Conan the “Barb”-arian: No one was safe from O’Brien’s barbs throughout the night, as he took aim at Hollywood’s most controversial stars with these zingers: "Even movie stars have TV shows: Alec Baldwin has a new show on NBC, James Woods has a new show on CBS, and Mel Gibson has a new show on Al-Jazeera." And in disuccusing CBS’ Two and a Half Men’s high ratings, O’Brien quipped, "There's something about Charlie Sheen raising an impressionable young kid that just feels right." Ouch.

No Scrubs Love: Once again, Scrubs failed to score an Emmy for best comedy. It’s almost become a joke of Susan Lucci proportions. Oh well, I sort of feel like we’re our own little cool club of Scrubs fans, and the rest of the world just hasn’t caught on to the magic yet. Sorry bastards.

Best use of camera angle: During Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ acceptance speech, she awkwardly paused, saying she knew she was forgetting someone and that it would come back to haunt her later. The camera cut to a close-up of her husband smiling in the audience. Still not catching on, Debra Messing whispered to her to remind her, saving a potential Emmy-driven divorce scandal.

Biggest understatement of the night: “It’s not supposed to work this way,” uttered Blythe Danner when picking up her prize for best supporting actress in a drama for Huff, from a stiff field of contenders including Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy, Jean Smart of 24, and Candice Bergen of Boston Legal. No kidding, Blythe. But kudos to Danner for her parting line of “I guess I have to thank Showtime even though they cancelled us.” Nice.

I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the winners. And all the losers. More importantly, the losers, since many deserving folks weren’t even nominated

For a complete list of Emmy winners/losers, visit http://www.emmys.org/.

What did you think of the show, Tubers? Share your comments in the comments section.


Anonymous said...

Awesome recap!

TVFan said...

I loved how you suggested that they should cut all of the skits about saving time if they actually want to save time! So funny and so true!

The Denis Leary snub was shocking and ridiculous! Like you said, it's like the Emmys are light years behind the actual audience. What a shame since they're heald in such high regard.

Rae said...

Hey there - just had to say thanks for writing this up! You told me about it in your comment the other day but I had already read it and used it to find clips on YouTube of the parts you liked. :)

I definitely agree that they should cut down on the skits if they want to save time.

tube talk girl said...

You're welcome Rae. Seriously, how fan-freaking-tastic was the Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart bit?

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