I love television, especially shows such as “Madmen,” “Damages,” and “30 Rock.” So my wife and I settle in to watch the Emmys on an annual basis. Given current conditions, I was wondering how they’d handle the awards ceremony last night.
In the first 20 seconds, I realized: Horribly.
First, Oprah Winfrey cruises across the stage in a gown that reminded me of a schooner under full sail. She proceeds to tell us that this is a special and glamorous night, and to suspend all else because of the extraordinary nature of the awards. This on a day where the morning news shows were talking about the brink of economic collapse and many people are concerned about their life savings, we have one of the wealthiest people in the world telling us how great things are. What was that about?
This was followed by an appallingly awful opening with a gaggle of “reality show” hosts.
A digression about what’s known as “reality television”: It ain’t. The show “Survivor” is pretty heavily scripted, and there’s nothing real about dumping people on an island and filming them trying to gain 15 minutes of fame. “Deal or No Deal” is certainly “real”: A couple of dozen high fashion models done up like donuts allowing carefully screened contestants to try to find a million dollars in a totally random method. Happens every day. Dancing with the Stars? Come on. I like some of these shows, but “reality”??
In any case, the “reality” hosts showed that they need less reality and more scripting as the opening skit went quickly down the tubes.
I thought the awards were mostly deserving, except that John Hamm should have won for “Madmen.” But I found the tone, the superciliousness, the detachment from the true “reality” of the people who watch and support these shows to be startling. This is stochastic, of course, but I believe that the people on stage were actually afraid to take on the economy and the bizarre discordance of the awards ceremony.
You need a keen intellect, true perspective, and fearlessness to mock danger. The people I saw last night, with the sole exception of an eighty-ish Don Rickles, seemed to lack all three.
© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.
PS: My daughter and the twin girls continue to do well, thank you for all your prayers and best wishes. Don’t stop now!