Emmy comments

I’m going to write a fuller postmortem on TV Help Web, but here are some of my post-Emmy thoughts:

— Conan O’Brien said the evening — his second time hosting the Emmys — would prove that the third time is the charm. Sadly, I have to agree. While he tried hard, I felt many of his jokes fell flat, and he didn’t make matters better by trying to force them. It didn’t help that he had a major case of happy feet during his introduction. O’Brien does deserve props for his performance during the opening montage, as does whoever came up with the sequence. They really should’ve ended it with Desperate Housewives, though, instead of Dateline NBC. Maybe next year?

— Best joke of the night: Bob Newhart being locked inside a glass chamber with only three hours’ worth of air. Newhart’s panic-stricken expression and periodic efforts to break free were much funnier than most of O’Brien’s one-liners. Fortunately for Newhart, the show finished right on time.

— Best acceptance speech: Greg Garcia, who won a writing Emmy for the My Name is Earl pilot. Breaking with tradition, Garcia rattled off the names of those he was *not* thanking, ending with God: “You took my hair — that’s not cool, man.” I also liked Blythe Danner, who seemed genuinely surprised — and discombubulated — to win a supporting actress Emmy for “Huff”.

— Best presenter: This is a tough one, but I have to go with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who did a very funny neocon rant that turned into a whine: “I lost to Barry Manilow!” Also hilarious was Hugh Laurie, who translated the remarks of his co-presenter, Helen Mirren, into French. At one point, Mirren spoke about how hard it was to narrow a field of candidates down to five nominees, which Laurie summarized impeccably: “Poof! Cinq!”

— Worst presenter: There were many less-than-flattering outfits, but my least favorite was Simon Cowell’s. Simon, *no one* wants or needs to know that you’ve got hair on your chest. Next time, wear a shirt with buttons — and use them.

— Saddest sight: Despite Cowell’s appearance, this goes to Dick Clark. It was the first time I’d seen him on TV in a couple of years, and the contrast between the energy of his pre-stroke days (as shown via video clips) and his much slower, much less youthful condition now was just heartbreaking.

— Most surprising win: for me, this was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was going up against some pretty fierce competition in the Leading Actress – Comedy category. I didn’t even realize her show was still running.

— Most surprising loss: Martin Sheen, who lost out to Kiefer Sutherland in the Leading Actor – Drama category. When Alan Alda won the Supporting Actor Emmy for The West Wing, I wondered if the Academy had a few going-away presents for the show, but it was not to be. Sheen is now 0 for 7 in Leading Actor – Drama nominations. Maybe he can wangle a role on Aaron Sorkin’s new show, or jump genres and join son Charlie on Two and a Half Men.

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