After last year's mess of an awards show and this year's joke of nominations (where is love for Lauren Graham, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences?), we were going to swear off this year's Emmys. But then we realized Conan O'Brien was hosting, so we must watch and liveblog. And there's the hope of a good Steve Carrell bit, not to mention awkward reaction shots of Candy and Tori Spelling during the Aaron Spelling tribute.
NBC Emmys Pre-Show: Billy Bush needs to get over himself. He sucks. We can't believe producers let him run loose. He's such an idiot. But we're watching the pre-show because Tim Gunn is doing some fashion commentary (they have "Top Gunn" graphics over a Missy Elliott song!) - he says lace is the big story and likes the dresses Sarah Chalke, Virginia Madsen, and pre-show flunky Maria Menounos is wearing. (For discussion: Maria Menounos - perky and cute or just really annoying? Gothamist can't decide!)
Mariska Hargitay is wearing black Carolina Herrera - she looks great after having her baby. Billy Bush manages to say something in Hungarian to her (her dad is Hungarian), but that doesn't make up for his atrocious interview with Ellen Pompeo that is all parts awkward. We hate you, Billy Bush. And what's funny is seeing Nancy O'Dell, all tanned out, next to stars who have creamy complexions - Megan Mullally, Jean Smart, Debra Messing. And who knew Kevin James' wife was so slamming? As the kids say these days, DAYUM.
7:35PM Pre-show: Nancy O'Dell speed talks to Julia Louis-Dreyfus about showing the Seinfeld curse being over and Julia snarks, "Thanks for bringing it up again." Okay, we're flipping to the E! Pre-show, which has Ryan Seacrest, and you know what? We're out! Huh, Kathy Griffin's date is someone in uniform. We don't know the whole story because we went to get our chicken. Kathy was interviewed by Giuliana DePandi - it's probably in Ryan Seacrest's
7:40PM Ooh! Tim Gunn points out that this is the first Emmys broadcast before Labor Day, so they were thinking they would see more light colors, but actually, the dresses have been darker tones. As Tim says, it's "Minimalism and aubergine." Among the purple posse: Evangeline Lilly in Versace, Jaime Pressly in Badgley Mischka, Leah Remini in Versace. Maria corrects Tim's mispronounciation of "Remini" but we love that about Tim.
For some reason, Nancy and Billy keep asking stars about the Tom Cruise-Paramount thing. Denis Leary staunchly defends Tom Cruise, saying he watched Collateral last night and that Cruise is great in it, which we agree with. But you'd think they'd ask Denis about the controversial was it rape or not moment in his own show that he's nominated for.
7:47PM Side note: The Pre-show's theme music is Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man." Love the song, odd choice. Anyway, Nancy O'Dell talks to Barry Manilow who is awesome, but loooks like a muppet after all the plastic surgery he's had. Honestly. He's performing a tribute to Dick Clark, who is not dead. Joan Collins is there, in a glittery Dynasty style dress. We imagine she spent the morning at the Botox doctors - she has a plasticine face. And Paula Abdul chats up Billy Bush - she seems a little less out of it than usual, but still wacky. Aw, Sean Hayes brought his niece. Cute, and ooh, Sean Hayes might remake Cinderfeller!
7:56PM Annette Bening and Warren Beatty - she's nominated for Mrs. Harris. Nancy O'Dell makes it sound like Annette has an Oscar, and Annette doesn't - she's been nominated a bunch of times (first for The Grifters, where she's amazing) - and she's perplexed.
"Who made it work?" Tim Gunn loved the looks from Katherine Heigl, Mariska Hargitay and Debra Messing. Who didn't make it work? Sandra Oh - too many accessories on her Vera Wang dress. Cheryl Hines - too much jewelry with her dress. Hmm. And good - the pre-show is ending.
8PM Show starts - cold opening is a tux-ed up Conan on a plane, headed to LA. And the plane crashes, which would have been funnier had the Comair flight in Kentucky not crashed (can you believe it turns out the runway was too short?). He crashes onto a tropical island, Lost style - and Jorge Garcia, aka Hurley from Lost, is there! Conan goes into a hatch, and now drops into set of The Office, onto Dwight's desk. He asks how to get to the Emmys and MIchael Scott comes out and says, "Practice." Hee! Now it's a 24 spoof, Conan is walking through a truck yard and calls Chloe. There's a three-way conference call with Jack Bauer!
Then he walks into a room where Dr. House is, and House diagnoses him - pale skin, awkward development, burnt cheese smell. Ooh - now he's on South Park! He's in Stan's room, and goes into his closet - and Tom Cruise is in there! Now he walks in a reality TV show kind of kitchen...and it's a Dateline To Catch a Predator set up! "conebone69"! Hahahah! And he runs away - no swamp thing tackles him. And then he walks onto the stage, with the Clash's "Police on Back" playing.
Conan's monologue: Makes jokes about NBC's crappy season, Mel Gibson, Ellen Burstyn's 14 second Emmy-nominated performance, gays on the Sopranos ("crime was really organized!"), Emmy gift baskets ("Olive Garden gift certificate for $50,000"), guidelines for for giving speeches ("Don't say the Emmy is heavy because it holds the shattered dreams of four other people"). And now he does a musical number about NBC being in last place and TV is changing with Tivo, YouTube, and relying on Howie Mandel. Jaime Pressly claps enthusiastically (looks like she's sitting in front!) while Jason Lee looks merely amused. Anyway, the opening is good.
8:15PM Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey present the award for supporting actress in Comedy. Ellen is holding up her train awkwardly and reads the awkward TelePrompter schtick. And the winner is... Megan Mullally for Will & Grace. She's won once before in 2000, and was nominated many other times. She is fabulous, and maybe 50% of how funny the show is, but it would have been nice if someone in a continuing show that was good won.
Sean Hayes and Julia Louis-Dreyfus come out and make a crack about the new . Winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series is Alan Alda for The West Wing. The last season of The West Wing was pretty electric, so we can live with that. But we really wish more people from Rescue Me or Deadwood had been nominated.
8:23PM Back to the show. Conan says that since the Emmys rarely come in at the scheduled three hours, so this year he's put beloved TV icon Bob Newhart in a glass case with only three hours worth of air, so Bob's life is in the audience's hands. Nice! Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen come out...slightly awkward father-son banter and no mentions of Charlie loving lesbian cheerleader p0rn or anything! And the Emmy for best suporting actress for a comedy is Blythe Danner for Huff. She looks wonderful - gorgeous teal color halter dress and wrap. But Gothamist has to wonder if she won because of the Academy's love for her husband, Bruce Paltrow, as she did win last year because Jean Smart owned this category for her work on 24! The Academy never figures out how to spread the wealth, so who knows. The music sends her off.
Jaime Pressly and Jason Lee present the next award: Best Supporting actor in a comedy series - Jeremy Piven for Entourage. He's wearing an ascot. His mother is weepy as he gives a short and sweet speech even mentioning "fluffer." We can live with this win - Ari Gold is the only interesting thing about Entourage.
8:34PM Another Conan schtick about the wasted time it takes for winners to go from their seat to the stage, so Christopher Meloni demonstrates the Segway Podium. Aw, Christopher is always doing bits on Late Night, so we love it.
William Petersen and Dennis Haysbert present the Best Actress in a TV Movie...to Kelly McDonald, for the HBO film The Girl in the Cafe. Kelly is best known to many a young person as the high school girl Diane who Renton sleeps with in Trainspotting. If you want to see a wonderful movie, see Two Family House - Kelly plays a single pregnant woman who rents an apartment in Staten Island in the 1950s. Anyway, more fun facts about Kelly MacDonald: She's married to Travis bass player Dougie Payne. (Why we know, we have no idea.)
Update: The Emmys are not in HD. We know this from our 42" LCD flat panel owning friends (bastards!).
8:43PM Conan uses a mustache to note the Telemundo camera - and we see Bob Newhart in his glass case.
Heidi Klum presents with John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor. She looks amazing, and she's pregnant. The nominees for Oustanding Variety Show are shown on an iPod and Treo in the audience. Ah, the Emmys love technology. And the Emmy goes to The Daily Show. Stephen Colbert gives Jon Stewart a big kiss and hug. Jon says the Academy made a big mistake and gives a short speech. We like short speeches.
8:46PM Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ron Livingston come out to present the winners of Comedy Series Guest Star Emmys. She looks very va-va-voomy and shiny. Meh - we say that Cloris Leachman at 80 looks better. Cloris and the male Guest Star winner, Leslie Jordan (who is hilarious on Will & Grace), present the Comedy series directing award to Mark Buckland for My Name is Earl (wee!). And Greg Garcia wins the Best Writing for a Comedy Series for the My Name is Earl pilot, who gives the best speech so far, mentioning people he does not want to thank - including his boss when he was a PA on Step by Step who made him clean gum off the executive producer's show. Snap!
8:56PM Simon Cowell walks out to boos (please, people, he's the best thing about American Idol!) and starts the tribute to Dick Clark. Montage of American Bandstand, then a montage of the various shows he hosted and produced (and owned). Wow, and Dick Clark is there - he's sitting at the other podium. And it's sad and hopeful - his stroke has affected his speech, as we saw from the New Year's telecast, so it's just sad, because Dick Clark epitomized timelessness, and now he seems fragile. People give him a standing ovation, and he asks everyone to sit down. He mentions that he's been very blessed to see his dreams come true. Then Dick introduces Barry Manilow, who sings American Bandstand, and at the end, Barry walks over to Dick, who seems very moved.
9:10PM Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan (their banter was funny) come out to present the Emmy for Best Individual Perfomance for a Variety or Music program, and the Emmy goes to Barry Manilow. Now, Barry is cool and all, but Stephen Colbert was ROBBED.
Ooh, Conan introduces the Ernst & Young accounting team in dramatic fashion, with smoke and Alan Parsons' Sirius. Well, the accounting team plus Kareem Abdul Jabar. Now Evangeline Lilly and Wentworth Kelly do the Guest Actors in a Drama Series thing. Evangeline Lilly really looks like Jessica Biel's and Kate Beckinsale's love child. The winners were Patricia Clarkson for Six Feet Under and Christian Clemenson for Boston Legal. Christian presents the Best Direction for a Drama Series Emmy to Jon Cassar for 24. And the Best Writing for a Drama Emmy goes to...Terence Winter for Sopranos episode, Members Only, where Junior shoots Tony. Terence mentions his family in Brooklyn, and people in the audience cheer. Brooklyn, represent!
9:23PM Mariska Hargitay and Tom Selleck are teamed up to present the Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries to Jeremy Irons for Elizabeth. Then horrid banter between Megan Mullally and Howie Mandel before they present the Best Directing for a Variety or Comedy or Music Show. And the Deal or No Deal ladies come out with cases, and the monitor (or feed - whatever) inside the case. The winner is Louis Horvitz for the Oscars this past year. Well, it's certainly . Ooh, and now it's the nominees for Writing for Variety or Comedy or Music Show, where all the nominated names are over a funny clip. The Colbert Show writers are a montage of bears in nature, with Stephen Colbert in a hunting outfit at the end. The Daily Show has David Blaine in the bubble, holding his breath, showing all the nominees on cards, with Jon Stewart diving in at the end with his card. An Indian outsource office are the nominees of the Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Late Show with David Letterman has a talk show fight. The winner is the Daily Show team (Colbert hugs Jon Stewart again). The Daily Show is good, but Colbert Show is better - they're getting robbed, unfortunately.
9:37PM Conan gives a TiVo joke, and then announces Helen Mirren and Hugh Laurie, probably the classiest presenting pair this year. Helen has a fabulous emerald necklace on, and their banter is actually kinda funny, Hugh tries to repeat everything she says en francais. And the winner for Best Actor in a Movie or MiniSeries is Andre Braugher, who is probably one of the best actors of our time (we love you, Frank Pembleton).
Then Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry come out (gotta love NBC to shill their new shows this fall, but we're concerned about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). Tony Shalhoub wins for Monk. Gothamist loves Monk, and we love Tony Shalhoub, and his speech is funny ("it's great to be in such a distinguished group of losers...uh, actors"), but we loved Steve Carrell and Larry David these past seasons. But if Colbert isn't getting any Emmy, we know nothing. We're just waiting for the next funny Conan moment.
9:50PM Candice Bergen, wearing the most unflattering outfit (white shirt, shiny skirt, belt), introduces the CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. And then he introduce Joan Collins, Stephen Collins, and Heather Locklear, who introduce the tribute to Aaron Spelling, and they gives their anecdotes. And Heather looks great. As planned, Candy Spelling and son Randy Spelling are sitting on one side of the auditorium, while Tori and husband Dean are on the other side. A montage of Aaron's show, which goes chronologically...except for a Charlie's Angels clip at the end. And surprise - Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith are onstage to wrap up the tribute. Kate talks first - she's still the smart one! Farrah then chimes in, and she cries. Jaclyn looks the best. The tribute ends with Aaron speaking about dreams, and cut to commercial. Classy tribute, but the family tension would have made better TV with Tori and Candy onstage together.
10:06PM In the visual joke presenting pair of the evening, it's tall James Woods and short Eva Longoria presenting the Best TV Movie Emmy to Girl in the Cafe. Girl in the Cafe is an issues-film (about poverty), but Yesterday, another nominee, is about HIV and AIDS and it's amazing - see it.
Conan announces that the next two presenters have done for fake news what Fox News has done for fake news - it's Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Colbert does his Colbert Report persona, saying hello to the Godless Sodomites. Jon gets him to admit that Stephen is upset about losing to Barry Manilow. Stephen says, "I lost to the Copacabana! Singing and dancing is not perfoming. I could have lost to Wolverine [Hugh Jackson was nominated for hosting the Tonys] - Wolverine has claws for hands..." And the winner for the Best Reality Program is The Amazing Race, for a fourth time in a row.
10:15PM Conan says that since Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy and Omar Epps of House can present together, Israel and Lebanon should take note! Katherine is wearing the most beautiful sequined- or beaded- beige gown that has silver Art Deco lines. They present Best Directing of a Movie or Mini-Series Emmy to the Tom Hooper, director of Elizabeth, and then the Writing for Movie or Mini-Series Emmy to Richard Curtis, for writing The Girl in the Cafe. And the Best Miniseries Emmy goes to Elizabeth I.
Then the screen fades to black for the "In Memoriam" segment. To name a few: Barnard Hughes. Don Adams. Ralph Edwards. Curt Gowdy. Robert Sterling. Red Buttons. Mike Douglas. Darren McGavin. Gloria Monty. Jan Murray. Pat Morita. Al Lewis. Maureen Stapleton. Jack Warden. Don Knotts. Robert Wise. John Spencer. Shelley Winters. Richard Pryor.
10:30ishPM Okay, we're waiting for the show to end, so the big awards need to happen. Felicity Huffman and Kiefer Sutherland give the Best Actress in a Movie/Mini-Series to Helen Mirren for Elizabeth I. And we can't wait for Helen to do another Prime Suspect! Then Calista Flockhart and Craig Ferguson give the Best Actress in a Drama Series Emmy to...Mariska for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit! Wow - we thought it would go to Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer. Anyway, we're happy for her - she's a good egg, and she thanks her father effusively at the end.
Victor Garber and Tyra Banks come out to present Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and it's Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We haven't seen The New Adventures of Old Christine or whatever it's called, but since Julia never won while on Seinfeld, good for her. But where the hell is Lauren Graham? Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen present Best Actor in a Drama Series (biggest cheers go to Denis Leary and Christopher Meloni...and Kiefer Sutherland) to...Kiefer Sutherland. His first Emmy, and ninth nomination? Oh, he produces 24 also.
10:50PM Conan O'Brien and Bob Newhart, released from his glass case, come out to present the Best Comedy Emmy. Bob's deadpan is still the best in the business. We are guessing it might be My Name is Earl, since the Writing and Directing awards went to it...but the winner is The Office! Wow - the wow cast and crew seems to be onstage and Greg Daniels, the creator, says that he used to be roommates with Conan and they used to say/dream Conan would host the Emmys and he would win one...and they would lose their virginity. He thanks Ricky Gervais and Stephan Merchant, who are sitting in the audience, and also NBC's Jeff Zucker and Kevin Reilly for keeping the show on.
And Annette Bening presents the award for Best Drama Series... 24. Woo. 24 did have a good season, so it's a good win.
The Emmys are over! And it's only 10:57PM! Bob Newhart would have lived if he stayed in the glass chamber! Well, relative to last year, this year's telecast was much more bearable, thanks to Conan, but it was still...oh, pretty toothless and dull. But, somehow, we made it through - maybe it's because the sucky nominations process was so awful? Let's hope the academy figures out things for next year.