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Today in My History

2000:  She Bought a Clothesline
2001:  Orkney--Day #3
2002:  Moonstruck
2003:  'Tain't a Fit Night Out
And That's the Truth
2005: Time Wasters

2006Blame Alexandra
2007: She's Home!

2008: Meat Pies
  Animal Fries
2010:  Politics in the Time of Media
2011:  Sisters
2012: Adventures at Burger Queen

Bitter Hack
: 8/13
Elly Nominations, 2013

Books Read in 2013
 Updated: 8/18
"Stolen Souls"

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mail to Walt


22 September 2013

We had a matinee in Sacramento to attend today.  Good show, which is going to take some thought before I can write the review.  I did, however, get both the Les Miserables and Spamalot reviews written in timely manner.  Yay me!

We got home literally 2 minutes before the Emmy broadcast began, so I dived under the padded quilt I keep on my lap to keep Polly from digging her claws into my leg and grabbed the iPad and just started blogging.  In doing so, I found out why the Emmys is a 3 hours broadcast.  For the time periods I was recording it, the show was running 6-8 minutes of actual show time vs. 4-5 minutes of commercials!   I suspect in the last half of the show there was greater show time, but boy, not for about 6 different commercial breaks in the first half!

I thought it was an OK Emmy show.  Nothing that I will think of as I try to get to sleep and think "Wow...that was really terrific."  But it wasn't a bad Emmy.  Just one of the run of the mill years.

I took lots of notes and e-mailed them to myself at each commercial break, so here goes the distillation:

Neil Patrick Harris does such spectacular opening numbers for the Tonys that I was disappointed that there was no splashy dance sequence or a parody of anything, nothing but past Emmy hosts bemoaning the job and offering hints on how to do it better.  I wasn't really getting what he was aiming for until the very end when the camera cuts to Kevin Spacey in the audience turning around and making comments to the camera about how he had orchestrated the action on stage.  Ahhh.  House of Cards.  I get it now.   Fortunately I had watched two episodes of that series before the Emmys or I would still be in the dark.  It was very clever after all.

First award is to supporting actress in a comedy series.  I was pleased that Merritt Wever had been nominated.  She is on Nurse Jackie, which I have never considered a comedy, but her dry wit was the only thing that kept me with the show for 2 seasons (before I finally gave up).  I was even more surprised when she won.  Truth to tell, I had been hoping for a win for Miam Bialik, who is so very funny on Big Bang Theory, but this was not her night.  Wever may have given the shortest speech in Emmy history.  "Thank you.  I gotta go...bye!"

Tina Fey, of course, won for best writing in a comedy series.   What will the Academy do next year when she's not around?

Robin Williams came out to give a tribute to his idol, Jonathan Winters, who died earlier this year.  Willliams looked old, he was wearing a weird shiny tuxedo, and he appeared to be reading his speech off the monitors, which led me to believe that since Williams is such a crazy improvisational guy I can only guess that the Academy made him write it out and read from the telepromptor.

What is it with the shiny tuxedo?  Jon Hamm and Alex Baldwin are next to sport them, Hamm a grey one and Baldwin a white one. They don't look classy; they look cheap.  (Blogger Alexandra Billings said they looked like the top of a fabulous gay wedding cake.)  I saw a headline about "Jon Hamm's Emmy Beard" and thought it meant that he was gay and bringing a girl with him to throw people off.  But no, it was talking about facial hair.

The Deschanel Sisters (Zooey and Emily) were the next presenters and this shows how up to date on new actors and actresses I am.  I recognized the names but thought they were real housewives of somewhere. They presented the award for Actress in a supporting role, which went to Melissa Leo of Louis, another comedy I don't watch.  Leo did, however, send a greeting to Elaine Stritch and hoped she was feeling better.  Of course I wanted to know what happened to Elaine Stritch.  Google says she was scheduled to be there but has been battling "several health issues" this month, including eye surgery, a broken hip and other fun things.

Gail Mancuso won for comedy directing, and pointed out she was only the second woman to win that award (for Modern Family) and in her acceptance speech thanked a special teacher and her family "for letting us watch all the Hitchcock we wanted," which I thought was very cool.

Jim Parsons won for actor in a comedy series (Big Bang Theory), which pleased me very much, though I would love to see some of his co-stars nominated (other than Bialik) because I feel they all do such an exceptional job on that show.

Then Rob Reiner gave a tribute to Jean Stapleton, his mother-in-law for all those years on All in the Family.  I hate to say it, but his tribute was much more heartfelt and believable than Robin Williams'.

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon came on to introduce Elton John, the current toast of Las Vegas (of course it was designed to make you think they were talking about Liberace, the focus of the biopic the two of them were in).  John, dressed in a blue sequined jacket looked almost tame around all those shiny tuxedos.

About this time I was starting to say this was a pretty tame Emmy broadcast.  Then Laura Linney won for The Big C, which I loved.  She was not there, unfortunately, to accept the award.

After another interminable commercial break, there was a funny faux advertisement for "EHD" (Excessive Hosting Disease), featuring the cast of How I Met Your Mother and suggesting that Neil Patrick Harris enroll in the Ryan Seacrest Center for Excessive Hosting.

Maybe you hadda been there.

Though there were three nominations for Modern Family, the award went to Tony Hale of Veep, a show I watched when it first started and decided I wasn't interested.  Apparently it has improved a lot since then.

britton.jpg (42944 bytes)Connie Britton, looking stunning (someone said that her dress was inspired by the Ottoman Empire), came on with...someone...to present the award for drama writer and I was pleased that it went to one of the writers on Homeland.   It was a bittersweet victory, though, since he died earlier this year and it was accepted by his wife, fighting tears.

The supporting actress award went to Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad.   I have now finished season 1 and have 6 to go, but at least I knew who she was is and why she was winning this award.

A new wrinkle in this year's awards is that when the cameras pan the audience you can generallyfind someone with a camera taking pictures of the stage.  Definiteily something not seen before!

Jane Lynch's tribute to Glee's Corey Monteith, who died a few weeks ago of a drug overdose, was the best of the tributes thus far.

After the next 8 minute commercial break, there was finally a production number with Neil Patrick Harris, which was fun but a little too little to late.

Mindy Kaling of The Mindy Project was up next with someone whose name I didn't catch.  I couldn't tell if their teleprompter really didn't work, or if they were faking it.  In any event it made me realize what good actors all these folks are because they sure have a difficult tie "winging it."  (Poor Shemar Moore of Criminal Minds was back stage with a microphone and didn't seem to have a clue what to say to Bob Newhart.) Of course the whole thing may just have been a set up to introduce the Reality Series award, which this year went to The Voice, knocking out Amazing Race, which wins every year.  I have never watched The Voice.

Diahann Carroll hobbled onto the stage (she's nearly 80, she's allowed!) with the beautiful Kerry Washington (of Scandal).  There didn't seem to be much point to Carroll's being there other than to point to her as the first person of color to ever win an Emmy and how far we have come.  Carroll was there to say how beautiful Washington was and how she can't wait to see her win her much-deserved Emmy later in the evening. (She didn't)

The supporting drama actor went to Bobby Carnavale for Boardwalk Empire, another show I have never watched.  I don't know who Carnavale plays, but he gave such a perfect aceptance speech for an Italian father.

Julianna Margulies was there with someone to present for best actor in a drama series.  I wanted to help her brush the hair out of her eyes.  Can't believe that style was deliberate.  However, I was thrilled when the award went to Jeff Daniels of Newsroom.  That show doesn't seem to get much discussion and I think it's a great show.

Don Cheadle gave a very short history of TV, which seemed to span the years from the Kennedy assassination to the Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan, a good introduction to Carrie Underwood singing Yesterday, which, with unchangeable pronouns, should not be sung by a woman, unless she's a lesbian mourning her lover's departure.

The accountants for the show were announced.  They stood there with Bob Newhart, recent winner for guest appearance on Big Bang Theory, an award not part of the big Emmy presentation. After all these years on television, this was Newhart's very first Emmy.

Claire Daines won for actress in a drama, which I figured was the appropriate reward for all the weeks she spent being chased around a big building by the bad guy in the last weeks of her pregnancy (when I heard she had been pregnant for all that filming, I could not believe it--they hid her pregnancy so well!)

But the award for drama director went to the director of House of Cards.  I was happy I had watched the pilot on the plane from Frankfurt because I could appreciate the appropriateness of this award.

Emmy award winner Jim Parsons entered with Newhart (who received a moving standing ovation). They were there to present the winner of writing for a variety show.  Each show had a brief clip introducing the writers.  I loved that The Daily Show writers were representated by Muppets.  The Daily Show has won this award for many years, but it went to The Colbert Report  this time (Colbert thanked Stewart).   In fact, The Daily Show won nothing this time around.  I loved that as the Colbert writers took to the stage, one of them had a camera and was taking pictures of the audience.

Award for directing a variety show went to the guy who directs Saturday Night Live, his fourth consecutive win.  I loved his speech, where he talked about his daughter in the audience.  She was tickled.

Michael J. Fox did a tribute to Gary David Goldburg, who gave him his start on Family Ties.

Neil Patrick Harris introduced the nominated choreographers, with whom he met a week ago to announce that they would be collaborating to choreograph a big production number for the show.  The number was a lot of fun and at its conclusion, it was announced that the winner of the award for choreography went to Dancing with the Stars' Derrick Hough, who is such a terrific choreographer week after week.

The final live tribute went to Edie Falco, who remembered her co-star James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) and talked about him as a man, as an actor, and as her friend.   She became emotional and the ever-ready camera was there for the quick zoom in, hoping to catch an errant tear.

Alison Janney and her co-presenter came on to give the award for writing in a mini series, but all I could concentrate on was the clashing bright yellow and bright fuschia dresses.  The award went to The Hour, a show about which I know nothing.

James Cromwell (whom I first saw in Babe, the story of that barnyard pig and whom I now seem to see everywhere) won for best actor in a mini series, American Horror Story, which, after this show, I think I'm going to have to check out, since it seems to have crazed nuns in it and I like me a nun story.

The rest of the people who died this past year were memorialized to a nice cello piece.  I felt it was sacreligious to be eating chow mein while it was going on, but it was long enough for me to take my fingers off the iPad keyboard and eat.

Et tu, Mark Harmon?  Such a handsome man and he, too, is in one of those shiny tuxedos, though his looks like it might actually light up.  I hated it!  He was there with someone else to present for best directing of a mini series, which went to the director of Behind the Candelabra, the story of Liberace.   However, I would really like to know -- if NCIS is the #1 program on television today, as all the polls seem to indicate, why is it NEVER up for any awards for the show or for any of its actors?  Did the powers that be decide to deliberately leave it out of the running for potential awards?

The award for actress in a mini series went to Ellen Burstyn for Political Animals, who thanked "the writer who had the wisdom to write a woman over 65 who still has a lot of juice."  Loved it.

Brian Cranston (Breaking Bad) presented with Claire Danes (Homeland) and congratulated her on her win and said that he was waiting for his own category. Had he been using some of his own product?  Bobby Carnavale already won that award. They presented the award for best directing in a mini series, which went to the director of Behind the Candelabra, who didn't thank anybody but Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

The lead actor in a mini series went to Douglas, who offered to give half of it to Damon.  His comment, "This was a two hand-er. And you’re only as good as your other hand. Thank you, Matt Damon.” was a beautiful double entendre that brought down the house.

Best mini series also went to Behind the Candelabra.  I had never heard of it when I stumbled across it on OnDemand one night.  I thought it a great show and was happy to see the groundswell developing for it.

With the end of the show in sight, Will Farrell came on stage wearing beach wear (aloha shirt, shorts, flip flops) and with his kids along.  Said he had been contacted at the last minute to be a presenter when Helen Mirren backed out and couldn't find a sitter.  Loved his irreverence.  He presented the award for best comedy series (Modern Family) and best drama (Breaking Bad). I'm glad that I started watching the latter yesterday and have already made it through Season One.

Like I said, it wasn't a great Emmy show, but it was an OK Emmy show.   It was so low key that I fell asleep writing this journal entry, took a 2-1/2 hour nap and got up at midnight to finish it.


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