Award shows suck. This is a fact of life. However, a whole bunch of us will watch them. This is also a fact of life. We watch them because they’re being hosted by somebody we particularly like or we’re rooting for a particular show / actor to win or there’s nothing else on TV or our mothers like to watch and ask us to give them company or it’s a bet or it’s our job or perhaps we keep hoping that someone will now fall flat on their drunk face or maybe we just enjoy them – bad jokes, stiff banter, strange clothes and all. We each have our own cross to carry.
However, among the various awards shows, some are pure bullshit while others are hallowed institutions. Shows of the former variety can either embrace the fact that they’re simply a ratings ploy or an excuse for people to party (I’m looking at you, MTV) or continue to live in blissful denial (Golden Globes anyone?) and it’s fine because everyone knows the score. You see all the pretty (or pretty gross, depending on the show) people, pass your judgment and move on.
Then there are the shows that are supposed to matter – the ones that everyone takes so seriously, like the Oscars, the Peabodys, the Emmys…
Sigh. The Emmys.
I love television, especially American television. You’re not supposed to say that because the Brits are so much better with their tiny little shows where they do all kinds of cool things that they don’t allow in America (Exhibit A: Coupling) but I can’t help it. I come from the land of Ekta Kapoor. I’m television-deprived and America to me is the land of television-plenty where women don’t dress up like Cruella de Vil’s down-market ethnic cousin and men do more than just get passed around from mother to girlfriend to wife to mistress like an ungainly weepy parcel accompanied by a lot of bad “special effects” like thunder claps and lightning flashes. [Note: I’m probably making it all sound more fun than it actually is so consider yourself warned before you rent a DVD or something.]
Sorry, talking about Indian TV always brings out my bitter side. It’s just that I’m old enough to remember when it used to be really fucking good and young enough to see how it’s really fucking good elsewhere around the world now. Argh. Anyway…
So, the Emmys. Big deal, blah blah blah. I can’t stand it. Not only is it always a horribly boring show (except when Conan O’Brien was hosting and did his Anna Nicole Smith impression. Heh. But that’s neither here nor there, he did that thing every night for months when she had her show on and I laughed every single time) but it also sucks the fun out of those who are nominated. Even Hugh Laurie turns into a robot. A hot robot who can sing and play the piano but still a robot. Sure, you have the odd Stephen Colbert – Jon Stewart bit but even that sounds slightly off. But what bothers me about the Emmys more than anything else, are the people they nominate and vote for.
Take for example, this year’s nominees for Best Drama (full list here): Lost, Damages, Dexter, House, Mad Men & Boston Legal. First off, I’d like to point out the obvious – they had six spots to hand out and they still couldn’t manage to find a spot for The Wire or Friday Night Lights? Well done, messieurs et madames, well done!
Secondly, I haven’t seen Lost since the second season ended and left a bad taste in my mouth so I can’t say anything about it. I hear they’ve staged a comeback. Damages is a bit of a surprise, but Glenn Close and Ted Danson (and I’m saying this after watching that unfunny mess called Becker, so this means a lot) really hit this one out of the park so all right. Dexter is a show I love. I loved the book, I love Michael C. Hall, and I can’t wait for the third season to start! Yay, Dexter! Go kill somebody! House – and it really pains me to say this – was pretty meh for me this season until the last couple of episodes. But I love the show so I won’t be a cry baby about it. Mad Men is a show I really expected to dislike in spite of all the critical acclaim because I’m not all that fond of the “middle aged guys who booze and flooze” (not an actual word but should be in my opinion because how else will floozies exist?) stories, even if it is set in the 1960s but the show is just that well written and well made enough for me to have fallen in love with it.
And then there’s Boston Legal. Boston Legal. I’ve never been on board with this show no matter how quirky it got or how many sparks Captain Kirk and Mr. Grey (if you haven’t seen Secretary yet, put it on your list now. It’s completely disturbing how much I actually liked that movie) struck off each other. It’s always struck me as a mish mash of every single David E. Kelley show ever written and like every other David E. Kelley show (and dear God in heaven but this man has pretty much written and produced just about every single thing on television since he was old enough to get a paycheck – and married Michelle Pfieffer. Which has nothing to do with anything except I thought I should mention it as possible evidence that he is Dorian Gray. No! Please don’t hurt me, Mr. Kelley!) this strikes me as exceedingly average. At least shows like Ally McBeal and Boston Public or even The Practice had a couple of early seasons that were interesting and held out some hope of depth. Boston Legal – not so much. I just don’t get it.
Initially, I was just pissed to learn that BL had made it to the list once again but now I just want to know – what is it about Boston Legal that makes it so great? Maybe one of you is a fan and can explain?
And while we are on the subject, why is it that Mad Men got the love so early on while Friday Night Lights, which is just as well written and equally critically beloved (I won’t mention The Wire because everyone who’s ever seen that show has already railed about it and besides, at least it and Battlestar Galactica got nods for writing), can only get a nom for Casting?
Not that its casting director isn’t eminently praiseworthy for putting that ensemble together (I hope SAG is paying attention) but come on!