You know, awards shows get kind of a raw deal. Because tons of people don’t watch them, lots of folks won’t watch them, and those that do more often than not complain about them (myself included). What I really wonder about are those odd killjoys who insist on asking why we have awards shows in the first place? It seems to me they exist because we have – as a people and a species, the need to single out the good stuff. And performers, who are driven by many complicated impulses not the least of which is ego – need literally to get noticed in order to survive. It’s a pat on the back for what we do best coupled with pretty dresses, staggering jewelry, and as many activities for Betty White as we can find. It’s also kind of a uniquely American phenomenon (you rarely hear about the Swedes or the Chileans or the Estonians and all their over-the-top celebrations, do you?) At the end of the day, America pretty much invented the spotlight. And every once in a while, when we turn it upon ourselves and remember to keep things moving and hire intelligent writers, it all comes together. So to all the people who think awards shows are self–congratulatory fluff fests with little or no relevance/merit, I say, you missed a great Emmy Broadcast last night. It was smart, it was at times supremely funny, it was touching without being gaggably so, and even though I thought it could easily have been two-and-a-half hours instead of three, it was a very good night of TV. Jimmy Fallon was just right because he’s not well-known enough yet to have a larger than life ego/personality thing underscoring everything he does, and thus we liked watching him zip around goofily. Jim Parsons finally got what he deserved, Mad Men continues to shine with its third Best Drama Emmy (although creator Matthew Weiner – an enormous talent to be sure – might want to read that part in the Winner’s Manual, which he’s now had for years, where they tell you about how the more you win, the more humbled/stunned/gracious you should act). The opening number was sharp and quick, they kept gags to a minimum, and I doubt we’ll hear too much more about Lost. Bryan Cranston continues to be about the most likeable winning actor around, Jane Lynch is probably having as good a year as anyone on earth ever has, and I still have yet to meet one single person who’s watched an entire episode of The Closer. So was Emmy congratulating its own? Of course. But here’s the what: part of what makes the People’s Choice Awards fun to watch is that we know the winners got there because regular folks of the you and me variety enjoyed watching them act, sing, dance or whatever. The victory is correlated with the desire to reward someone who actually improves our leisure time. There’s no Hollywood power play or behind-the-scenes agenda at work. And this year, it seemed like Emmy took a page out of the PCA rule book. Genuine crowd-pleasers were celebrated. (They also, with a very funny Ricky Gervais moment, literally took a page out of PCA’s book because waiters appeared and handed out beers – much like our own pizza moment from last year. And you know what they say about the whole imitation/flattery thing). Bottom line, the Emmys were excellent and they kept to the point – which is to give golden treats to the people who made us laugh /listen/focus/and/or cry the most this year. It was mission accomplished. And so what if Lauren Graham and January Jones might have rethought their clothing/brought a comb? It was still fun. And who cares if the magnificent Betty White’s ubiquity is at risk of approximating Clara Peller ubiquity? There was also great running commentary (from the Mac ads guy) about each of the winners as they approached the podium, diminished only by the fact that the audio wasn’t great (I’m sure they’ll fix that next year). Nor was it too much of any good thing – we got to see people singing and dancing who didn’t win, and vice versa. All in all, a really good evening. But rather than dwell on things like acting, directing, performance, and show quality, let’s get to the genuinely important stuff: the clothes. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these ladies was best-dressed:
1) Claire Danes
2) Eva Longoria Parker
3) Lea Michele
4) Sofia Vergara
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