I have certain expectations of award shows.
I expect to see plenty of couture gowns, some of which I will love, some of which I will hate, all of which I will watch with interest and analysis.
I expect that the humor will be spotty but at least attempted.
I expect that some of the shows or actors I cheer won't win, and some will.
I expect to be entertained.
At least there were a few stunning gowns. But I think the tense mood of the Hollywood crowd spilled over and sucked the funny out of the room. Everyone's brokers had been receiving hundreds of texts from anxious stars over the weekend, fearful of where their paychecks for "Daddy Daycare" and "The Ant Bully" had gone.
Hollywood, always fresh out of rehab, looked like it needed a drink.
The show was a bizarre string of bad ideas. To have five reality TV show hosts "host" the Emmys was nothing short of disastrous. An Uma-Oprah joke would've actually helped buoy the situation. The absurd musical montage of famous TV theme songs sung by - whose idea was this? Josh Groban was neither clever nor pleasant. I never want to see Josh Groban contorting his face to do the "South Park" theme again. His high tenor vibrato is for misty-eyed arias that figure skaters will perform to, not "Cheers" or "M*A*S*H." Then, of course, the forced "funny" ensembles that obviously hadn't rehearsed, couldn't see the teleprompters correctly, and looked like they'd even been making Teri Hatcher cry backstage - the "Desperate Housewives" bit, the appallingly bad "Laugh-In" bit, and the continual reappearances of the reality TV hosts who were lined up reality TV-style to receive their awards.
Now, watching any award show during an election year, or any year in which a Democrat isn't in office, will render political statements. Unfortunately, nobody actually got really mad and screamed or said anything extreme. Instead, everyone just made sideways references in snide tones, or urged people to vote. The Republicans there - and there are some in Hollywood - seemed to know that the Emmy's aren't a political fundraising rally and kept to things like TV. But my favorite line recently on politics and Hollywood came from Hollywood - "Get Smart," to be exact, which is a hilarious movie. On a plot to blow something up in Hollywood, the Russian criminal mastermind responds to his subordinate's concern on what will happen to the stars: "oooh, no. What will the world do without the razor-sharp wit and political advice of celebrities?", rolling his eyes.
Whoever was the mastermind for the Emmy's apparently, on about Saturday night, sat back and shrugged, and said, "Well. Wall Street's bust, the presidential race is close, I've got an ulcer and Josh Groban's voice singing "The Jefferson's" theme ringing in my head. I give up."
Oh, and did I mention that "30 Rock" won everything and "The Office" won nothing? Here's my beef with that: I know few people who watch "30 Rock" and a lot of people who watch "The Office." Also, the former is quirky, yes, but it's another sitcom. "The Office" changes the whole way comedy is done on TV, and is a watershed show that will be examined for years to come.
Next year, let Michael Scott's party planning committee handle the award show. Red and white streamers would've been a big improvement over the giant "classic" sets from old shows placed to remind all the actors how important their contribution to TV is.
Emmy, we know we like TV. Right now, we just like TV a lot more than we like the celebration of it. Emmy, watch out. On the last night of ball in Yankee stadium, and at the beginning of pro-football season, a lot of people last night voted you off the island. When the public is stressed about the biggest financial crisis in decades, we don't want your preaching. We just want to laugh. Guess we'll stick with our favorite shows to do that.