Fool me twice, shame on Emmy

BACKSTAGE PASS - Lanz Leviste () - September 30, 2005 - 12:00am
I love to hate the Emmys. Some years, I just love to hate to love the Emmys.

Felicity Huffman beat out catfight du jour Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher for the Best Actress in a Comedy statuette? Lynette must be popping one too many ADD pills!

Everybody Loves Raymond
pulls off a rare posthumous Best Comedy Series upset over the ferocious lionesses of Wisteria Lane? Must be a JJ Abrams plot twist!

And in the most bizarre Emmy jaw-dropper in years, Patricia Arquette Seabiscuits (yes, it’s a verb) herself past Mariska Hargitay and Glenn Close in the Best Actress in a Drama category? This must be the secret concealed inside the Lost hatch! (So much for conspiracies about the show’s producers playing Mama Cass Elliot’s Make Your Own Kind of Music during that gleefully thrilling second-season premiere.)

What else could explain the baffling events of the 57th Annual Emmy Awards that left me terrified, bemused, perplexed, suicidal, elated and cursing like a Deadwood extra? Those f–ing c–suckers!!! To those who haven’t seen the brilliant (and expletive-laden) HBO Western, my sincerest apologies; to those who have, you know Al would totally understand.

True that the Emmys is the one award show that needed the most major Nip/Tuck face lift; due to the nature of series television, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences tend to award unnecessary and (many times) undeserved repeat wins, favoring TV vets over the tube’s fresh blood (see: The West Wing’s four consecutive wins). First-season shows are generally ignored, and youth-targeted programs never acknowledged, resulting in Buffy never getting a Best Drama Series nom despite it once being one of the most original shows on TV; this year, the flat-out brilliant Gilmore Girls was shut out for Best Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Comedy awards after its fifth and best season, with Lauren Graham still remaining the medium’s most underappreciated talent.

Speaking of mediums, what the f– was the Academy thinking by giving Medium’s Arquette the Best Actress in a Drama statuette?! I’m still waiting to wake up from this Donald-Trump-in-overalls-singing-the-Green-Acres-theme-with-Karen-Walker nightmare. Sure, the newbie NBC supernatural drama was a solid hit, but Patricia Arquette?! This is beyond dumbfounding, beyond infuriating, way more horrifying than her Emmy-night hairdo – it’s plain twisted. What was always predicted – more so known – as a direct head-to-head between Law & Order: SVU’s buzzworthy Mariska Hargitay (who won the Golden Globe in January) and The Shield’s explosive Glenn Close turned out to be a load of bull as Arquette (Arquette?!) walked up the Shrine Auditorium stage. Still, I cannot comprehend this: why not even Frances Conroy in Six Feet Under’s swansong season, or a stunning and pregnant Jennifer Garner, albeit Alias’ so-so fifth season? Maybe both Medium and Patricia (she’s an Arquette, for Courtney Cox’s sake!) just seemed so arbitrary that no one really noticed some morbid grassroots conspiracy started by depraved Emmy voters wanting to show pundits they aren’t so predictable as we once thought. Nevertheless, the perversion of the situation is beyond what is funny or moral in this world, and its wicked stench will always linger as one of the most grotesquely freakish Emmy wins in history.

Not all surprises were however unwelcome. In the most anticipated category of the night, worthy in itself of another Vanity Fair photo shoot, three divas from Wisteria Lane squared against perennial faves Patricia Heaton and Jane Kaczmarek from Everybody Loves Raymond and Malcolm in the Middle, respectively, in the race for the Best Actress in a Comedy Series statuette. Big mistake on the part of Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry: by submitting his girls into the Comedy category, he urged them to choose their best comedic performance as their Emmy episode submissions. We all know the real acting on TV’s most addictive soap comes during its actual dramatic, not comedic, sequences: Bree threatening her husband on his hospital bed; Lynette’s breakdown in front of her kids; Bree’s cold response to her husband’s "Where’s the woman I fell in love with?"; Bree’s heart-wrenching silver-polishing upon hearing of Rex’s death. You may have noticed my staunch Bree bias; she really is the most intriguing, hilarious and heartbreaking of the housewives. I couldn’t keep it together when the amazing Marcia Cross finally cracked open Bree’s porcelain façade on that dining table during Housewives’ season finale, and she deserved the Emmy for an entire season of heartfelt and gripping acting.

Teri Hatcher however was the predicted victor, who after red-hot buzz following her Golden Globe and SAG wins almost assured her as a lock. But to the world’s awestruck surprise, Felicity Huffman, the housewife everyone marked off their list, thankfully won. My utter contempt for Hatcher’s so-called acting (if looking cute and shallow constitutes as such) has overwhelmed my adoration of Cross; I would’ve rather Huffman, a true actress with fierce bravado and charm, claim the prize over an irritating cover girl-cum-wannabe-actress. Maybe next year voters would have already realized the powerful acting of Marcia Cross, who in that so-luscious-it’s-almost-edible Elie Saab gown should have been awarded the Emmy on the red carpet.

Yet despite all the Housewives chatter, Best Comedy Series, what was expected to be the ceremony’s most obvious category, was anything but: instead of a Wisteria Lane sweep, Emmy chose sentiment over buzz, giving the award to Everybody Loves Raymond, feeling a proper good-bye was all but necessary. Only twice has a comedy won the category posthumously (either Frasier or Sex and the City couldn’t do it last year), and despite one of the best sitcom series finales in history, I still wish my Housewives, or Arrested Development, what is undoubtedly TV’s funniest show, should’ve taken the prize.

Perhaps this year will be a lesson learnt for the Emmys: change is very good, though as evident in 2005’s many curious upsets, must be done in all the right places.
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For comments, e-mail me at lanz_gryffindor@yahoo.com.

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