Tuned In

Liveblogging the Emmys

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7:28 p.m.: I’d like to take this moment to thank Mrs. Tuned In. Not because I’ve won anything, but because she is, as I type, in the midst of putting Tuned In Jr and Tuned In Jr Jr to bed, solo, so that I can “work” by watching a TV show and typing about it. Do not let your children marry TV critics.

7:32 p.m.: Fox’s red-carpet folks have been breaking in to remind us that they have no word on whether the “rumor” is true that Britney Spears will appear on the Emmys to apologize for her VMA performance. Of course they don’t know! It’s not as if they work for the friggin’ network that’s putting on the awards show or anything.

7:37 p.m.: The Fox signage announces the “solar-powered red carpet,” a sign of the carbon-neutral pledge of this year’s Emmycast, which I’d forgotten about even though I wrote about it. Does a carpet even use electricity? And how explicitly will they make the point during the actual show? Will Ryan Seacrest pedal a little bicycle to keep the lights on inside the theater?

7:39 p.m.: I never watch commercials, so you’ll have to tell me whether or not it’s new, but Tina Fey’s Amex commercial deserves an Emmy itself. Octopus time!

7:44 p.m.: The Enrst & Young accountant arrives in a Cadillac CTS, which as far as I know is not a hybrid. Stone him!

7:49 p.m.: Is it me, or is the Fox self-promotional pimpage on the red carpet greater than usual? OK, I know Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton are legitimate teevee stars, but Joely Fisher? No offense, but I’m assuming ‘Til Death wasn’t nominated for anything except Luckiest Avoidance of Cancellation.

7:53 p.m.: Time to ready the inaugural beer. You’ll have to excuse me.

7:57 p.m.: “World reknowned photographer” Nigel Barker of ANTM shows up for the fashion postmortem. Everybody looks “sensational”! Not so cutting when it’s celebrities on the runway, are we? Next year, get Miss Jay instead.

7:59 p.m.: Have we mentioned yet that the stage will be “in the round”? Does that make any difference to the home viewer? Maybe if you arrange a bunch of TVs around you in a circle.

8:01 p.m.: OK, the Family Guy number is funny enough — rhyming “Zach Braff” with “reminds us that a sitcom doesn’t have to make you laugh” — but why does every Family Guy musical number sound exactly the same?

8:03 p.m.: The Desperate Housewives “look great for being 65″! This, by the way, is the kind of sarcastic musical number that opens a lot of network upfronts–and, as at an upfront, it pretty much makes fun of everyone but Fox.

8:05 p.m.: Ryan meets Teri Hatcher. Not. Uncomfortable. At. All.

8:07 p.m.: OK, so Ryan’s not going to do a monologue or sing. But he did host the E! red-carpet show! So glad Fox picked him!

8:09: Camera cuts to the giant disco ball in the middle of a Ray Romano joke, losing the audio. Another Sopranos reference?

8:11 p.m.: Best Supporting Actor, Comedy–I usually end up complaining when network shows win Emmys over cable series, but in this case I’d have given it to Neil Patrick Harris over Jeremy Piven, not to take anything away from him. Ari Gold is a great character, but there was nothing that distinguished his work this season from last year, when he won.

8:16 p.m.: Terry O’Quinn! Justice has been served! But does Imperioli’s shutout mean that The Sopranos is not going to sweep the way everyone expects it to?

8:21 p.m.: People often tell Mrs. Tuned In that she looks like Mary-Louise Parker. Which is why I feel I can get away with saying at this moment: Day-amn! Mary-Louise Parker looks hot!

8:23 p.m.: Time for Jenna Fischer to lost supporting actress, and for me to weep quietly.

8:24 p.m.: Well, good for Jaime Pressly. Emmy has a thing for rewarding the writer actor/actress a year or two late, so Jenna can win next year. (Like Michael Emerson.) Meanwhile, who knew Two and a Half Men was such an actress’ showcase?

8:27 p.m.: You do not mispronounce the name of Katherine Heigl, Major Motion Picture Star. Meanwhile, Kyle Chandler is apparently under express orders not to speak.

8:33 p.m.: Nice bit with Ellen DeGeneres and Hugh Laurie. But seriously — are we going to see Ryan Seacrest again? Or is it like the All-Star Game, where he pitches an inning, and then there’s a succession of people who actually should have started instead of him?

8:37 p.m.: Supporting actress, drama–well, they damn sure pronounced Major Motion Picture Star Katherine High-gle’s name right this time. She’s actually charming as all hell (though, really, girl, get a last name like Poniewozik and you’ll get a little thcker skin about the pronunciation thing). But hands up–who actually believes she’s a better actress than Aida Turturro. And seriously–two Sopranos upsets? Boston Legal may walk off with Best Drama yet.

8:42 p.m.: The main reason to watch the Emmys each year is watching the short films for the comedy-writing Emmy. Team Colbert wins Best Clip, if not the actual award.

8:53 p.m.: Alec Baldwin interrupts his personal sabbatical of soul-searching to hand out a very important variety-show directing award.

8:55 p.m.: I can’t believe Ali Larter isn’t presenting an award together with Evil Ali Larter! Maybe if the Emmys were on NBC…

8:58 p.m.: Wow, they’re actually playing off Robert Duvall. The Western may be here to stay, my friend, but you are not.

9:04 p.m.: Queen Latifah gets a big laugh for saying that more people watched the Who Shot J.R. episode of Dallas than the finale of Roots. It’s funny because it’s true!

9:07 p.m.: The cast of Roots introduces the nominees for best miniseries, the clips from which include entirely white faces. Yes, that miniseries “changed the kind of people whose stories could be told on TV” indeed.

9:08 p.m.: Robert Duvall gets played off again.

9:10 p.m.: Neil Patrick Harris officially came out last year, but apparently not when it comes to telling sleazy jailbait jokes about Hayden Pannettiere. Though the “new voter” punchline was funny.

9:12 p.m.: Not that I would root against, or bet against, a Sopranos episode for directing, but Peter Berg’s pilot for Friday Night Lights was the most visually artful thing on TV the past year.

9:15 p.m.: David Chase wins for writing for The Sopranos finale. He was just about to tell us whether Tony died or not, but they started to play him off. Sorry!

9:17 p.m.: Incidentally, just to maintain my cranky TV-critic cred, The Second Coming was a better-written episode than the finale (which, except for the ending, was relatively flat and unmemorable by comparison). But I think we can pretty much consider any Sopranos Emmy to be for gold-watch purposes, so the finale makes sense.

9:19 p.m.: Thanks, by the way, to paul_lukasiak for keeping the lights on in the comments section. Be sure to lock up when you leave.

9:23 p.m.: I’m sure there’s a reason why there are two separate categories for best variety/comedy program and for best variety/comedy writing. Although it wouldn’t explain why the same shows were nominated in both categories. Or why different shows won each one. Are we supposed to believe that Jon Stewart is salvaging a great show from hack writing? Or that Conan is a millstone around his writers’ necks?

9:29 p.m.: Judy Davis isn’t here to accept her award for The Starter Wife. She’s previously committed. To trying to forget that she was ever in The Starter Wife.

9:32: “The Jersey Boys’ musical celebration of The Sopranos” is coming up? I did say I was only liveblogging until 9:30, right? I can go now?

9:37: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee wins in a largely forgettable year for movies & minis. Also, either Mary-Louise Parker is a human giant, or Glenn Close is much shorter than I thought she was. It’s that regal stature, i guess.

9:39 p.m.: OK, Jersey Boys is too easy a target—and musically appropriate enough for The Sopranos–but still. You’re trying to revive your awards’ show’s flagging ratings, so you decide to borrow from… The Tonys? Also, having a doo-wop song play over a whacking scene in a Scorsese movie may be dramatic irony, but showing Vito Spatafiore cap Jackie Aprile Jr. in the background while some guy on stage sings “You’re just too good to be true / Can’t take my eyes off of you…” — that’s just creepy.

9:51 p.m.: Helen Mirren asks to be played off. Can she win something at every awards show, please?

9:53 p.m.: Lewis Black goes on a rant against during-show promo graphics, on Fox, capital of the in-show promo graphic. There only thing that would have made it better would have been having Stewie Griffin pop up to plug the Family Guy season premiere.

10:04 p.m.: Nice product-placement score for Apple appearing with Masi Oka. The academy honors its first “interactive TV” winner, Al Gore’s Current TV. Gore gets a standing O from the crowd, I’m sure because they’re so appreciative of his providing a safe space for 4-minute documentaries from film-school grads. The win is announced over a crappy streaming-video broadcast, which is probably the TV academy’s passive-aggressive way of telling people that watching video on TV is still better than the Internet.

10:13 p.m.: Elaine Stritch is funnier screwing up her teleprompter lines than most presenters are getting them right.

10:17 p.m.: Glad to see The Office win a writing award for “Gay Witch Hunt,” but watching the clips I honestly don’t know if I’m pulling harder for it or 30 Rock tonight. These two shows could be facing off, Borg-McEnroe-style, for years in this category.

10:22 p.m.: For the love of God! The last of the ’07s are disappearing fast! I’ve got to get to my local Chevy dealer!

10:26 p.m.: I hardly recognize Rainn Wilson wearing long sleeves.

10:28 p.m.: On the one hand: the fake Don’t Forget the Lyrics broke the record for Longest Network Pimping of Own Show During Emmys. On the other hand: Rainn Wilson singing, “Yoou coulld be my black Kate Moss tonight.”

10:31 p.m.: By the way, I love The Amazing Race. But at this point the show wins the Reality Competition award as automatically as David Hyde Pierce used to, and it’s had an off couple seasons. If the judges barely watch the sitcoms and dramas, I guess it would be too much to expect them to watch the reality shows.

10:37 p.m.: “Private jet sandwich.” “If entertainers stop publicly congratulating each other, the Earth wins!” Having a green Emmys was worth it, if only to make carbon-credits jokes possible.

10:40 p.m.: OK, so did anyone have Ricky Gervais in their Emmy pool?

10:42 p.m.: I’m sorry–Sally Field over Edie Falco? You like her? You really, really like her?

10:43 p.m.: Oh, wait, Sally Field won the Emmy in order to end war. Or whatever she said before she was interrupted by the Fox Death Star Mirror Ball of Silence. So I guess screwing over Edie Falco was OK after all.

10:53 p.m.: Did I think America Ferrera deserved best comedy actress more than Mary-Louise Parker? No. Is it possible not to be happy for her anyway? No.

10:55 p.m.: Spader? Spader? So maybe Boston Legal really is the greatest TV show of all time. In James Spader’s defense, it didn’t seem like he wanted himself to win over Gandolfini, either.

11:03 p.m.: 30 Rock for best comedy! Damn you, Emmy! Just when I think I can hate you without qualification, you turn around and dispense justice on me! Nice shout out to “our dozens and dozens of viewers.” This is one show that needed the win… although they can ask Arrested Development how much it helped them.

11:09 p.m: Well, how’s that for dramatic misdirection? After dropping hints all night that The Sopranos would be upset, the show pulls off Best Drama after all. Classy move (if typically, Livia-Soprano passive-aggressive) for Chase to pointedly thank his actors and actresses who were upset in each lead and supporting category. And then more or less summing up the entire theme of his show: “If this world, this nation, were run by gangsters… well, maybe it is.” Thank God he didn’t get any more specifically political than that, or Fox would have had to whip out the Death Star of Silence again.

Good night; you’ve been a great audience. Remember, there are no losers! Only people who failed miserably to win!

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