Sunday, September 21, 2008

Except for the Dundies. The Dundies rock.

I hate awards shows. I mention this today because the Emmys were on last night (Now called the Prime Time Emmys because the stuff that’s on before the evening news apparently wants to feel appreciated too and gets its own version, kind of like the Special Olympics; I believe one of the categories for the daytimers is “Set Design That Most Resembles a Furniture Store Display.”)

Oh, yeah: I hate awards shows. Sure, I’ve watched them before; plenty, in fact. Back in the day I used to sit through hours of televised MTV galas just to catch a performance by a favorite band. It was worth it, too: Mike Patton made me a fan for life in 1990 when Faith No More did the song Epic and he flopped around on stage toward the end like the dying fish in the video for the same song. (Unless you're nostalgic for Faith No More or Arsenio Hall, don't bother with this low-quality video. I include it only to prove I'm not making it up.) While I'm giving awards shows a little credit, the '93 performance of Neil Young with Pearl Jam on Rockin' in the Free World was MTV's high-water mark, particularly Young's guitar solo at the 3:20 mark; it's like your dad is up on stage showing you that he wasn't kidding- he really is way cooler than you ever will be. That was MTV's peak, in my opinion. It may have been mine as well, come to think of it.

But back to why I loathe these self-congratulatory productions: First off they’re, uh, self-congratulatory. The Emmys may actually be the worst because it’s TV throwing a party for itself to tell us how great it is. Watching the Emmys seems like going to the movies to watch the Oscars. The real problem with it, though, is that I don’t watch most of the shows being honored. At least with the Oscars I’ve seen most of the films in question by the time the ceremony rolls around.

Even more damning is the indisputable fact that most, if not all, awards shows are a complete waste of time. It just so happens that No Country for Old Men was the best movie I saw last year, but who the hell is “The Academy” to make this decision for posterity? What if I happened to think Norbit was the best cinema had to offer in 2007? What of it Academy? Sure, I know the opinions of whoever the people are who decide these things are no more or less subjective or definitive than my own, but I’m not renting out a concert hall and pandering to every celebrity in Hollywood just to get mine written into the history books. Because nobody cares.

Finally, the thing that makes me ultimately averse to awards shows is the one thing they all have in common: people we are used to seeing in movies or on TV stuttering and stammering their way uncomfortably through acceptance speeches, just like real people. There are some exceptions of course (Hugh Laurie is as witty and dry as British citizenship demands and Russell Crowe is even more self-confident and arrogant than any character he has ever played), but it turns out that most of those people are just as awkward and unfunny as the rest of us when put on the spot, and I find that extremely unsettling. I can’t stand it. Even if I do watch an awards show, I get up and do laundry or dishes or just pace around in the other room during the acceptance speeches. Or like right now (earlier referred to as “last night;” I was anticipating the publishing of this post in the future by writing in the past tense. Tricky, huh?) I’m in the bedroom with the football game on typing out this post. I realize that watching stars accept accolades and adoration most of us will never approach in our lives while delivering poorly informed political rants with the occasional shout-out to Jesus Christ is exactly why most people watch that crap, but I just don’t have the stomach for it.

I don’t think anyone has invited Mike Patton to an awards ceremony for about 18 years. It’s too bad, because that guy is as strange and awesome as ever.

11 comments:

nancypearlwannabe said...

Mike Patton needs to host more stuff. Tomahawk style.

surviving myself said...

If you think Norbit was the best, then expect Eddie to show up any day now, he thanks all eight of the people who liked that movie personally.

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

OMG awards shows can so bite me.

CarpeDM said...

Award shows are more fun if they are on the big screen at your favorite bar, the sound turned down really low and a bunch of drunk people around you are singing karoke. Because then you can decide what someone is nattering on about for 5 minutes and it rarely is about politics or Jesus but more "And I'd like to thank my faithful wife who is not aware of my addiction to Beanie Baby Porn and that I am leaving her to run off with a 6 foot tall man who dresses up like a giant teddy bear."

Now that's entertainment.

Hi. My name is Dana. I found your blog through NPW. And also, I'm kind of weird.

Courtney said...

I like watching them but usually hit the mute button during the acceptance speeches unless it's someone I'm interested in.

Sometimes they're good comedy, though. Like last night when Tom Hanks went up to accept an award presented by Sally Field and she said, "Have you been a good boy?" and he said, "Yes, mama" in the Forrest Gump voice. That's funny.

Aaron said...

Yeah, come to think of it, the 1993 MTV awards were probably the last ones I actually watched. This year they were hosted by someone I'd never heard of, which officially makes me OLD.

Julie said...

I'm generally ok with awards shows, but the Emmys were just plain bad. Ricky Gervais was the only funny thing on it.

Allie said...

Yeah, I don't have any interest in award shows either. And I don't like to think of actors as real people. It kills the illusion.

Nor do I like to think much about people who have their dream jobs getting awarded for doing said job. Plenty of people would be happy to get paid that kind of money to do what they do without any chance of a gold statue.

Stefanie said...

I stopped watching the Emmys when I realized I'd never heard of half the shows nominated, too. Seems they invented this thing called cable. Apparently no one told me.

Chris said...

I don't think anyone likes acceptance speeches, including the award recipients who are expected to give them. Why not nix the things altogether?

I watched enough of the Emmys to see that it wasn't being hosted by Conan O'Brien or Jon Stewart. Then I stopped watching.

Noelle said...

So I also despise the self-congratulatory stuff, but I love awards shows, for the most part. They're like countdown shows, I can't stop watching them even though I know better.