A Belated Emmy Review

My arguments against the people who say TV kills brain cells and those that say "kill your TV" will have to wait another day. Today is an unabashed love-fest of modern television in the form of a review (a little late, but always fun) of the 2005 Emmys . Just know that I love TV and know probably way too much.

My thoughts on the program as a whole:

I thought Gary Shandling used to be funny. Most of his bits were pretty lame and boring. He looked very uncomfortable. Bring back Conan. The mock-reality show running gag of "What's in front of Gary's Door?" lost steam throughout the night, and was never really brought to conclusion. I did enjoy Chris Rock at the urinals with Gary and Ray Romano asking aloud who the hell Elaine Stritch is. I still don't know who she is.

One moment that did pay off: the "real" people. Two duped, "real" people were brought onto the stage, blindfolded and got to read the nominations and award for Best Reality Competition Program. It was no joke -- these people thought they were part of some other reality show and completely fooled up until the blindfolds came off. They were totally shocked and bewondered at the same time when they found themselves in front of six million TV viewers and a huge audience of Hollywood's TV stars. The woman even had some fun words with Jennifer Aniston. Good times.

Other than that, the program was mostly blah with the pacing kept right on time, at the expense of the recepients who had to endure the "orchestra crescendo / time to get off music" all night long. The networks should have a little more respect for these people who make them profitable in the first place. Give them their time in the spotlight for what they've done best! The Emmy Awards are strictly for TV and not some hodge-podge award like the Golden Globes or People's Choice. It's a celebration of the medium and those who deliver us the content.

On to the awards. I didn't see Angels in America or any of the other movie/miniseries contenders, so I won't comment; needless to say Angels in America will soon be on my Netflix. I'm also going to comment on a creative arts (the ones they do a week before) award. Finally, since there are now over a hundred networks and many thousands of hours of original programming being produced these days, I'll add a sixth nomination for each category:

Winner in italics

Supporting Actor Comedy
Jeffrey Tambor as George Bluth, Sr. Arrested Development • FOX •
Brad Garrett as Robert Barone Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS •
Peter Boyle as Frank Barone Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS •
David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane Frasier • NBC •
Sean Hayes as Jack Will & Grace • NBC •
Carl's #6
Any supporting actor on Scrubs except the janitor.

A fitting way for Niles Crane to fade into static. Hopefully we won't see commericals stating "Niles & Daphne NBC Tuesdays!"

Supporting Actress Comedy
Doris Roberts as Marie Barone Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS •
Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones Sex And The City • HBO •
Kristin Davis as Charlotte York Sex And The City • HBO •
Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes Sex And The City • HBO •
Megan Mullally as Karen Will & Grace • NBC •
Carl's #6 Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth Arrested Development -Fox-

Only saw one episode of Sex and the City in my life (the finale). She was pretty boring and unconvincing with whatever it was she was trying to do, unless it was being boring. Kim Cattrall seemed to have put on a better performance. The underrated Jessica Walter from the underrated Arrested Development should have gotten it.

Supporting Actor Drama
Victor Garber as Agent Jack Bristow Alias • ABC •
Brad Dourif as Doc Cochran Deadwood • HBO •
Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti The Sopranos • HBO •
Steve Buscemi as Tony Blundetto The Sopranos • HBO •
John Spencer as Leo McGarry The West Wing • NBC •
Carl's #6a Ian McShane as Al Swearengen Deadwood -HBO-, 6b Dennis Haysbert as David Palmer 24 -FOX-, 6c David Paymer as Jonah Malloy Line of Fire -ABC-, 6d Vincent Curatola as Johnny Sacrimoni The Sopranos -HBO-

Of the five true nominees, Michael Imperioli's Chris-tuh-fuh just kicks ass. Very nice of him to thank the late Nancy Marchand in his speech. Supporting categories are tough because many programs don't have one titular or main character. I think it's more a way for different series to get more nominations in. If Ian McShane were part of that group, it would have been neck and neck. Anyone who says 'cocksucker' fifteen times an episode should get an automatic nomination. If Dennis Haysbert ever ran for president, I'd vote for him.

Supporting Actress Drama
Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane Deadwood • HBO •
Tyne Daly as Maxine Gray Judging Amy • CBS
Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva The Sopranos • HBO •
Janel Moloney as Donna Moss The West Wing • NBC •
Stockard Channing as Dr. Abigail Bartlet The West Wing • NBC •
Carl's #6 No one. You either got it or you don't in this category. I don't even know who Janel Moloney is and I thought Stockard Channing was dead. Or maybe that's Carol Channing.

Drea de Matteo no questions asked. She had it turned on for the entire season of The Sopranos and "Long Term Parking" was one of the best episodes of the series. Kudos to the Academy for following my "cocksucker" suggestion with Robin Weigert. Double kudos to her for using "limpdick cocksuckers" a lot.

Actor Comedy
Larry David as Himself Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO •
John Ritter as Paul Hennessy 8 Simple Rules • ABC •
Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane Frasier • NBC •
Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani Friends • NBC •
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk Monk • USA •
Carl's #6 Zach Braff as J.D. Scrubs -NBC-

I think Kelsey is the obvious choice here -- same situation as David Hyde Pierce. Shame on the Academy for nominating John Ritter. He was a fine comedic actor but there was no way he would win, even with the sentimental vote. It would have been more fitting had they done a short tribute to him and his career. His name took the place of someone who put in a full season of hard work. I chose Zach Braff because the category obviously needs some young blood.

Actress Comedy
Patricia Heaton as Debra Barone Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS •
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Karen Green Friends • NBC •
Bonnie Hunt as Bonnie Malloy Life With Bonnie • ABC •
Jane Kaczmarek as Lois Malcolm In The Middle • FOX •
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw Sex And The City • HBO •
Carls #6 No one.

SJP falls into the Frasier/Niles category here also. It would have been nice to see Jane Kaczmarek finally get her dues, but Malcolm's quality had slipped last season.

Actor Drama
James Spader as Alan Shore The Practice • ABC •
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano The Sopranos • HBO •
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer 24 • FOX •
Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet The West Wing • NBC •
Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone Without A Trace • CBS •
Carl's #6 Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock Deadwood -HBO- or Noah Wyle as John Carter E.R. -NBC-

A very suprising win for James Spader over James Gandolfini. I didn't see much of The Practice this season, but whenever Spader was on screen, he owned it. Thanks again to the Academy for putting Kiefer Sutherland on the list three years in a row, making up to disappointed Trekkies their folly of not nominating Patrick Stewart until the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Cult shows: what a bitch. Suprising not to see William Peterson of CSI on this list.

Actress Drama
Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow Alias • ABC •
Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi Joan Of Arcadia • CBS •
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC •
Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano The Sopranos • HBO •
Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg The West Wing • NBC •
Carl's #6 No one.

I had to fast forward through Allison Janney's speech. I can't stand the West Wing, which was one of the best shows on television four years ago. She seemed just as confused as everyone else as to why she won. Edie Falco should have won it again. Her portrayal of Carmela Soprano gets better and better each year.

The next two fall under Creative Arts and are presented along with all the other techinical awards, plus guest star awards.

Casting Comedy
Arrested Development • FOX •
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO • HBO Original Programming
Frasier • NBC •
Monk • USA •
Sex And The City • HBO •
Carl's #6 Friends -NBC-

Even though I'm not a huge fan of Friends, I believe it should have been nominated. Maybe they all got to be old news. Arrested Development deserved its win completely. I don't know why this isn't a bigger category. Casting is 1/3 of what makes a show along with directing and writing. I never thought I'd say this, but God bless good casting directors.

Casting Drama
Carnivàle • HBO •
Deadwood • HBO •
The Sopranos • HBO •
24 • FOX •
The West Wing • NBC •
Carl's #6 The OC -Fox-

Yes, the OC. Obviously no one actor deserved an award, but I think as a whole, the cast did a great job. 24 is a suprising win over The Sopranos, considering this season was the series' weakest while some could argue that this was the greatest Sopranos season.

Back to the traditional categories:
Writing Comedy
Arrested Development • Pilot • FOX •
Frasier • Goodnight, Seattle • NBC •
Scrubs • My Screwup • NBC •
Sex And The City • An American Girl In Paris (Part Deux) • HBO
Sex And The City • The Ick Factor • HBO •
Carl's #6 Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Five Wood - HBO -

Of all the series, Arrested Development's writing is the tightest and most deserving. That show is S-M-A-R-T. Good of the academy to ignore sentimentality in this category (Fraiser, Sex...).

Writing Drama
Deadwood • Deadwood (Pilot) • HBO •
The Sopranos • Where’s Johnny? • HBO •
The Sopranos • Unidentified Black Males • HBO •
The Sopranos • Long Term Parking • HBO •
The Sopranos • Irregular Around The Margins • HBO •
Carl's #6 The Sopranos - With All Due Respect - HBO -

This category obviously belongs to the Sopranos and "Long Term Parking" is one of the best episodes to ever come out of the series. It was an absolutely heartbreaking hour of television to watch. As long as HBO stays the course, no other network can hope to break into this category.

Directing Comedy
Joe and Anthony Russo Arrested Development • Pilot • FOX •
Bryan Gordon Curb Your Enthusiasm • The 5 Wood • HBO •
Robert B. Weide, Director Curb Your Enthusiasm • The Car Pool Lane • HBO •
Larry Charles, Director Curb Your Enthusiasm • The Survivor • HBO •
Tim Van Patten Sex And The City • An American Girl In Paris (Part Deux) • HBO •
Carl's #6 Anything more from Arrested Development

Single camera sitcoms rule and closely watching every episode of Arrested Development is as close as you can get to religous enlightenment. An episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm is a little hard to 'direct', since most of it is improvised. One can only hope to contain it.

Directing Drama
Walter Hill Deadwood • Deadwood (Pilot) • HBO •
Christopher Chulack ER • The Lost • NBC •
Ryan Murphy Nip/Tuck • Pilot • FX •
Allen Coulter The Sopranos • Irregular Around The Margins • HBO •
Tim Van Patten The Sopranos • Long Term Parking • HBO •
Carl's #6 I don't know who directed these episodes of Deadwood, but it's all Deadwood: "Here Lies a Man", "The Trial of Jack McCall", and "Sold Under Sin".

Anytime a series is also a period piece, extra pressure gets put on the director to make it look realistic. Walter Hill definitely delivered on this by harnessing such great performances out of his cast as well as creating just this awesome 'feel' to the show.

Best Comedy
Arrested Development • FOX •
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO •
Everybody Loves Raymond • CBS •
Sex And The City • HBO
Will & Grace • NBC •
Carl's #6 Scrubs, but seriously, the modern sitcom is quite possibly in the worst shape it's been in since the beginning of television. ABC, NBC, and CBS must be in complete denial of their critical failures because the FOURTH network and a subscription network are producing superior quality programming on almost all levels. The saddest thing is that they're probably completely aware of what they're lacking, but have decided to pursue the almighty dollar over artistic integrity. Will & Grace on the list is a typo and should have been left blank.

Arrested Development was probably the biggest upset of the night and a great choice by the Academy voters. Like I said before, this series is smart. It's also extremely funny in a dry and witty way, as well as extremely well acted by a bunch of non-starring actors. Let's hope that this will begin a trend of superbly written, superbly produced and superbly acted series that gain annual recognition. Think of it as the "moneyball" of television. They might not have all the money in the world to go get those superstar actors or writers, but it's all about quality over quantity, solid content over flashy delivery.

Best Drama
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation • CBS •
Joan Of Arcadia • CBS •
The Sopranos • HBO •
24 • FOX •
The West Wing • NBC •
Carl's #6 Deadwood -HBO-

I don't really think CSI deserves to be here since it's the same formula week in and week out. I don't know enough about Joan of Arcadia to comment on it. 24 should have won two years ago based solely on its realtime innovation, but the West Wing still had its stranglehold on the voters. Speaking of the West Wing, can we pretend it doesn't exist any more? Let's call it "M*A*S*H Goes to the White House", since that's what it is. While both are thinly veiled social comentaries, at least M*A*S*H was funny. Time to put this horse out of its misery. The Sopranos deserved to win, hands down. Very little fault can be found with the show and I dare you to watch and not be pulled in. Very fitting that it's best season (or second best, if you talk to season one fanatics) be its most rewarding.

I'm a little confused as to why The Shield was not eligible to be nominated for any categories. It aired in the early Spring, but I guess that was too late for the rules.

So that's about it, feel free to yell at me that I bashed the West Wing or didn't give Friends its props. I'm just tired of old TV and The West Wing and Friends just play on the same old and tired themes and plots of hundreds of dramas and comedies before them.

Later on croutons.


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