Sunday night was smell-a-vision night here at the House of Chair. Except that it felt like a combination of baby diapers, horse manure and the unwashed gym socks and muddy jock strap from a gym locker in 1982. What other way was there to describe the highly anticipated Emmy Awards telecast hosted by the perennially charming Neil Patrick Harris? Well, charm only gets you so far. Remember – even Clooney once played an awful version of Batman, latex nipples and all.
As if this wasn’t enough we were treated to the HORRIBLE (no other word for it) series finale of Dexter – a program that was formerly one of the best television shows in recent memory and one which helped define the Showtime brand of over-the-top but compelling anti-heroes. Michael C. Hall was still great but even he couldn’t save….well, you get the drill (but more on that below…)
Perhaps it was the mood in the House of Chair. For the last three days I have been in full binge of the entire Breaking Bad series– Season 3, Episode 8, bitches!!!! – and probably didn’t want to be interrupted. (Note: For those who don’t watch – and you should – please know the aside in the middle of the last sentence is a relevant, rather than sexist, comment).
Look for the full Binging Bad experience next week with as few spoilers as possible. In the meantime, what’s that I still smell —–
1. Network Stench
- CBS will undoubtedly be patting itself on its back due to the Emmys drawing its best audience in 8 years.
- But when the best looking guy or gal in school who doesn’t use deodorant raises their arms in the air, it still stinks to high heaven. Sunday night’s Emmy broadcast was an embarrassing hypefest for the CBS brand and all of its programming rather than a salute to the small tube in general. Did you notice that a large group of the presenters were from current or upcoming CBS shows (I’m looking at you Mark Harmon & LL Cool J of NCIS, Anna Farris & Allison Janney of Mom)? Not to mention the deadly backstage cut-ins hosted by Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds, much?) Not to mention every other commercial interruption – and there were many – was for a newly premiering CBS show. (Can’t wait for Hostages!!!)
- I knew we were in a trouble when the program started and Emmy host NPH was being escorted into the theatre by a security guard being played by CBS president Les Moonves, a former actor. Followed by a badly-conceived bit where NPH was stuck in a chair watching numerous five second TV series clips that turned out to be the only examples from current television series that we got to see all night.
It’s supposed to be a program honoring the best of television. Not a kickoff to the new television season starring CBS actors and its top executives.
Rating: Five Smelly Diapers.
- I don’t know about you, but when I think of the 50-year anniversary of the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 I immediately think of country singer Carrie Underwood. And why not have her sing Yesterday, a Beatles song released in 1965? Because we can. And because Okie Carrie will be starring as Maria Von Trapp in a live television production of The Sound of Music in November. Again, who better?
- Elton John is a gay pianist and Liberace, the subject of the Emmy-winning (but early Sunday night just nominated) biopic Behind the Candelabra, was also a gay pianist – get it???? Elton John has a new CD/album/record out this week, so why not cross-promote? And why not get BTC stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to introduce him??? Well, because try as he might to make the connection, EJ’s new song Home Again didn’t feel like it had anything to do with Liberace – certainly it had nothing to do with television. Which is the point of the entire show. Or – is it????
Rating: Twelve gym socks. Though if we were on the telecast we’d certainly choose jock straps because we’d be making a dumb gay joke like Emmy winner Michael Douglas did when he picked up a statue for playing Liberace (Paraphrase Note: …I should be splitting the award with co-star Matt Damon – do you want the top or the bottom?? Or – this is really a two-hander!). Yuk….yuk…yuk.
3. Specialty Items
- In the middle of the program there was finally a Neil Patrick Harris song and dance number. It was called The Number in the Middle of the Show. For some reason it was thought by someone that it would be a funny idea to do an elongated song and dance number parodying a seventies dance number from the 1970s program Solid Gold. NPH was helped along by Nathan Filion (Castle) and Sarah Silverman, followed by a gaggle of Solid Gold type dancers. It was not a good idea. It was quite painful. Perhaps mostly for Nathan Filion, who is said to have a bad back that has caused him to miss several days of filming Castle in the last few weeks. Was it worth the risk? Uh – no.
- This is the first year the Emmys gave a choreography award on-air. Consequently, it was thought necessary to do an elongated interpretive dance to the tune of Luck Be A Lady from the classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls. Then, we were treated to interpretive dances meant to evoke such TV series as Mad Men, American Horror Story, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad… and Big Bang Theory? This really happened. Really. It did.
Rating: Six rancid dancer’s belts. One for each of the TV show tributes.
- Neil Patrick Harris’ co-stars from the CBS show How I Met Your Mother came together to do a sort of filmed PSA comedy bit for something called Excessive Hosting Disorder. Well, it was sickly and obsessive, as far as comedy goes. HIMYM never would have survived nine seasons if they were only this funny. So we can’t blame them.
- Will Ferrell brought out his three kids – or someone’s three kids – to deliver the final awards for best TV series. They wore pajamas and had a tablet they were playing with. People laughed. I’m not sure why. There was some mention he was just pulled in to give the awards because Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren, who had been scheduled to do it, couldn’t make it. Well….okay. But the mere mention of Dame Maggie made one long for one of her Downton Abbey bon mots to save the show. To wit: What’s a Will Ferrell and why has he dragged those vagabond roustabouts onto my stage? Yes, she would have said it better. But she didn’t get the chance to. But then again, neither did any other of the characters on TV that we really care about these days.
Note to the Emmy’s: A few clips from the current golden age of television might be nice.
And now – back to Breaking Bad.
HOLLY’S CORNER: A EULOGY FOR DEXTER
Crazy to think that a serial killer deserves better, but that, and more, can certainly be said about the uber-lame Dexter finale that aired opposite the Emmys last night. After eight seasons, a few football fields worth of plastic wrap, and countless bad Michael C Hall wigs, the show that came in with a ear piercing screech of freshness, went out like a sad shriek and a whiff of old garbage.
I started watching the series just as it aired, having piggybacked it with catching up on Hall’s fantastic turn as David Fisher in Six Feet Under. Dexter was superhero meets supervillian – and the writing was superb. I shared my love for this devilish leading man with The Chair and he too agreed that this show was breaking new ground, and slicing up some excellent week-to-week water cooler moments. I would promise to follow that Dark Passenger until the very end…
Yes, this meant getting through Miguel Prado, Lumen, Doomsday, and the Russian mafia … but for every misstep there was Doakes shouting “Surprise, Motherfucker!”, Jordan’s hypnotizing “Take It!”, Lila’s Parisian demise, and of course, fan-favorite (and rightfully so) Trinity. With so many bad things made right, I was sure the finale would supersede an otherwise lackluster season….
Instead, I, like our beloved “Slice of Life,” was set out to sea, destroyed by the wrath of the illogical, ridiculous Hurricane Dexter – and the most devoted fan was forced to admit with heavy regret: Goddamn, that sucked.
And so we go on, with Season 4 DVDs clutched tightly to our chest, cherishing the good times we had, forgetting that in the end we were left with a bearded, damp, Twin Peaks Dexter, and instead remembering Deb the badass, Masuka the freak, Quinn the over tanned, LaGuerta the over accessorized, Battista the loyal, Jamie the clueless, Rita the saint, Harry the guardian and of course Dexter, the darkly dreaming disaster we’d all come to love.
Farewell Miami Metro… at least we’ll always have breakfast.