The Emmys, 2011

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So, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Emmys.  I always get excited for them because I love quite a bit of television, and quite a bit of the television that I love gets nominated.  But there are always one or two nominees in each category that (even though MAYBE I’ve never actually watched the show SO SUE ME) are clearly not worthy.  And, more often than not, one of those two nominees ends up winning.  Like, I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny Galecki won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy this year.  JUST KIDDING even the Emmys wouldn’t go that far, I mean it’s JOHNNY GALECKI lolz gimme a break!  If that happened I would expect the Emmys to receive an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy next year!  Get it??  Wocka wocka wocka!

So usually I start out excited, slowly lose my enthusiasm after some mind-numbingly bad award choices, and by the end of the night I’m a disillusioned husk of a man.  OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, because I don’t really care all that much, but you get my point.

As usual, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in a winner-picking competition.  She’s trying not to over-think things tonight and keeps muttering things like, “I refuse to base my self-worth on this.  I am an adult with a job.”  She is also going to fulfill her role as bartender for the evening.  We very recently found out that we will be moving from North Carolina back to Boston soon so that she can start the aforementioned job.  In honor of both Game of Thrones and the impending New England blizzards that we’re dreading, she has concocted a drink made up of vanilla-flavored vodka and seltzer that she’s calling “Winter is Coming.”  Yummerz?  We’ll see.

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OK, let’s get this thing started.  Time to hype ourselves up for another bloated award show!  Repeat after me: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!”

8:01 – Fun (??) opening musical number!  Oh, Jane Lynch.  In just a couple short years I’ve gone from liking you a lot to still liking you but being annoyed at your overexposure because of Glee to kind of maybe not even liking you anymore?  But this bit is pretty winning.  Maybe you’ll redeem yourself in my eyes tonight!  And I know my opinion is all that really matters to you, Jane.

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The Golden Globes, 2011

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We warmed up earlier this month with the People’s Choice Awards, but now Awards Season begins in earnest with the Golden Globes.  By the way, People’s Choice Awards, you may need to reassess your existence if you’re nothing more than an unnoticed ramp-up to the ridiculous disaster that is the Golden Globes.  And I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t even bother with you, Critics’ Choice Awards.

As per the usual, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in a winner-picking competition.  We’ve done this for nine award shows and I’ve beaten her eight times.  Her one win?  Last year’s Golden Globes. That doesn’t bode well for me tonight; I suspect her tendency to make at least one or two crazy choices really helps her because of the general goofiness of the Hollywood Foreign Press.

She wants the win, too.  You guys should have seen her agonizing over her ballot!  I thought she was going to have a breakdown making her picks.  She also had to fulfill her role as award show bartender.  In honor of the foreign voters and the drunken, vaguely trashy vibe of the evening, she’s whipped us up a wine spritzer with equal parts Chardonnay, Sprite Zero, and Diet Orange Fanta.  As she set it down in front of me she said, “These are relatively disgusting, BTW,” but I’m enjoying mine so far.  She’s calling it the “Slutty Exchange Student” and assures me that she’s working on a second concoction for later this evening.

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All right, let’s get started.  As always, categories and winners in bold.  Take it away, Ricky Gervais!

8:01 – Here’s Ricky!  As I said last year, I think he’s perfect for this job, mostly because he doesn’t seem to care much about offending people and he doesn’t seem stiff and over-prepared.  I’m looking forward to it.

His drinking a beer on stage thing is starting to feel like a gimmick, though.

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8:04 – The audience has definitely warmed to him since last year.  He’s getting more laughs from the famous people up front.  Robert De Niro is certainly enjoying himself.

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Mad Men Recaps

 

Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm in Mad Men) of ...

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Guys, I should tell you, having way too much free time is generally not that great.  But sometimes it’s the best, like on Mondays after Mad Men when I get to sit around and read episode recaps online all day long!  I love Mad Men recaps almost as much as I love Mad Men, which is tons.  I don’t even care what’s happening, I just like watching the awesome characters walking around in their crisp 60s aesthetic saying snappy things and eyeballing each other.  It’s why the “Next Week On” promos at the end of each episode are hilariously vague and reveal absolutely no details about any upcoming plotlines; they don’t have to!  This show is like visual crack.  I could watch the opening scene about beans in an endless loop.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading today:

Hilarious superimposed word bubble fun over at Videogum.

The New York Times dipping its old, gray toe into the pool of television blogging.

Alan Sepinwall’s review is slightly less speculative, and therefore perhaps more useful in tying everything together.

New York magazine’s recap could use a few images or videos or something to break up the text, in my opinion.

Finally, this long, exhaustive, and rewarding number over at Defamer.

The Emmys, 2010

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Here we are again.  Another award show, another winner-picking competition between me and my new wife, Johanna.  And after slogging through a few shows that, while fun, were ultimately inconsequential (The ESPYs, The Daytime Emmys, and the MTV Movie Awards) we finally have a big one: The Emmys.

This has traditionally been my award show of choice; I’ve always been more of a television guy than a movie guy, I guess.  Plus, I don’t usually get around to seeing many of the nominated films before the Oscars, whereas I’m always pretty invested in the Emmys and opinionated about the categories.  It feels like the recent golden age of television has faded a bit, and my interest has waned slightly, but this remains my favorite masturbatory Hollywood event.

Tonight is big for Johanna, too.  My friend Alex, in anticipation of tonight’s competition, asked me if Johanna had won any of these.  I quickly said that yes, she had.  While I knew I had taken the last few, I thought we were actually pretty even.  Having gone back to check, though, I’m surprised to report that I won The Grammys, The Academy Awards, The MTV Movie Awards, The Daytime Emmys, and The ESPYs, with Johanna only claiming the Golden Globes, the first one of these we did.  I’m up five to one!  She needs a win.  In preparation, she’s been scouring the internet for expert predictions.

As always, we choose for the most part whom we think will win, not whom we want to win.  Never is that more true than with the Emmys; trust me, I’m no fan of The Good Wife or, heaven forbid, Glee.  Categories and winners are in bold.  Johanna has concocted an Emmy cocktail containing peach vodka, Sprite Zero, and a splash of grenadine.  She’s named it the “Leading Lady.”  It’s better, both in name and taste, than the drink she fixed us for the Daytime Emmys.  Let’s do this.

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7:41 – Taco night is over, the red carpet has begun, and I’m filling out my ballot.  All of these interviews are so unbelievably awkward and cringe-worthy.  I instinctively reach for the mute button.

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8:00 – Here we go.  We’re opening with a shot of the director’s booth.  This is such an ego move; it’s like they think we’ll assume the show was put together by elves if they don’t show themselves.  Johanna just thinks it’s hacky and compares it to starting a school paper with a Webster’s definition.

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Characters, 2000-2009

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This is sort of a vague list.  I’m not really sure what the qualifications were.  And it seems wrong that 19 of my 25 favorite characters of the decade are from television shows.  I obviously need to read more.  But, for whatever reason, these are the ones that really stuck with me.  Here are my 25 favorite characters of the decade:

25) Borat Sagdiyev (Da Ali G Show)

Frat guys turned Borat into this decade’s Austin Powers, and no one is really clamoring for Borat II at this point.  But the character is brilliantly conceived and led Sacha Baron Cohen into comedic territory that he never could have reached as Ali G.

24) Brian Griffin (Family Guy)

Even I am sitting here thinking this is a strange, possibly unworthy, choice for this list.  But I can’t stop laughing when they have Brian actually, you know, behave like a dog.  Like when he is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, or uncontrollably wags his tail.  A rare talking animal character that still, albeit rarely, acts like an animal.

23) Coach Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)

This character’s appeal is helped quite a bit by his relationship with his wife, but he’s on the list alone because he does just fine in the football scenes without her.  Friday Night Lights seems to have learned from the mistakes of past shows (I’m thinking specifically of The O.C.): when you have a married couple that serves as a solid foundation upon which to build everything else, do not screw with it.

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Television, 2000-2009

This has been a great decade for television, so much so that the list of my favorite shows of the decade pretty much doubles as the list of my favorite shows of all time.  Other than Seinfeld and the nineties-era Simpsons, I’m struggling to think of a pre-2000 show that would make the cut.  It’s amazing how far television has come as a medium over the past ten years.  Anyway, here they are, not the best, necessarily, but my favorite shows, 2000-2009 (clips when available and appropriate):

30) Sealab 2021 (Adult Swim, 2000-2005)

A bizarre show for a bizarre decade.

(I couldn’t get the embed code from Adult Swim to work for my favorite clip for some reason, so here’s the link. If I can figure it out, I’ll fix it.)

29) Extras (HBO, 2005-2007)

It’s not The Office, obviously, and parts of the series finale were painfully earnest.  But Ricky Gervais (on television, at least) is always worth my time, and about half of the guest stars were hilarious.

28) The “House” Series (Frontier, Colonial, etc.) (PBS, 2000-2006)

It’s almost always entertaining to watch the types of people who sign up for reality television on PBS.  For instance, Michelle Rossi-Vorhees, of Colonial House, is simultaneously attempting to recreate the life of a female pioneer in 1628 while staying true to her 21st-century ideas about feminism and atheism.  In doing so, she basically undoes the premise of the show, but it makes for great drama, and the PBS veneer allows viewers to pretend that it’s not just a higher-class Wife Swap.  Very sad that there hasn’t been a new installment since 2006.

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