Look, I love television. And I love awards honouring television. But the Emmys can officially suck it.
New voting rules were put in place this year as a way to allow new names. The Emmys are notorious for handing successive noms and nods to the same handful of people in each category every year, until those shows are dead, and often in years of notable decline. (Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, Sopranos, X-Files, West Wing, Will and Grace, Mad About You, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier... )
It didn't happen. Our biggest beef, predictable as the awards themselves, was still no Lauren Graham -- Jennifer Aniston has an Emmy, Patricia Heaton has two, but none EVER for the best actress on television six years running?
There was also the Ellen Burstyn scandal -- the Oscar winner was nominated for a 14-second performance in a television movie, igniting accusations that maybe members didn't necessarily watch everything and instead just nominated familiar names. (Burstyn, who has not yet publicly commented on the nod, had the smarts not to show up last night.)
Anyway, we thought we might luck out with our late night boyfriend Conan O'Brien as host, and his opening monologue and song-and-dance about NBC sucking was promising, but he soon devolved into a mere segue deliverer, with nary a joke in sight -- the Bob Newhart Gets It skit lost steam by the third mention -- and once he was even cut off by the entrance music for Martin and Charlie Sheen. (The show was shoddily directed the whole way through.)
And the winners? Oh for crap's sake. All the women made return trips -- Megan Mullally, Mariska Hargitay -- who we quite like -- and Blythe Danner all won last year, while Julia Louis-Dreyfuss won an Emmy for Seinfeld in 1996 (her fifth of seven nominations).
Entourage’s Jeremy Piven was the sole surprise among the men. Tony Shalhoub won last year, Kiefer Sutherland was a first time nominee but surely no shocker and Alan Alda was nominated last year and has four from his M*A*S*H* days. Even Jon Stewart is starting to get old, and he’s hot!
24, amid accusations of misogyny and racism, was a surprise winner for best drama but not in the good way. Where was the love for the huge and awesome Grey’s Anatomy, a complete shut-out?
In short, SNORE.
The one thing we’ll hand to the Emmys, and this really has nothing to do with them, is that there’s one banner acceptance speech every year. Last year was Geena Davis’s fakeout story about a little girl being inspired by her to become President of the United States.
This year was Helen Mirren, collecting her lead actress in a miniseries trophy for Elizabeth I (besting our beloved Gillian Anderson), who used her time to make a plea, after making the best off-colour remark of the night (about not going "ass over tit” on her way to the podium, which Calista Flockhart later repeated and welcome back, Ally!). She spoke of how women make up half of the world’s population -- look it up -- and that now more than ever we need great writing to give the ladies great roles, and encouraged writers to take up the challenge.
So that’s something. But I say the challenge is to impose an age maximum on Academy voters -- 50 would be great, I’m sure the current average is in the low 70s -- so the Emmys honour television that deserves it.