Saturday, October 13, 2012

Funked by the Emmys, Revived by Rick and AJ

I have been afflicted a bit lately from the nearly 6-year itch of the blogger, which hits different people at different times. Tim Footman recently chronicled his own near-anniversary with an homage to "old style blogging," when unrelated ideas flowed so easily, one to the other.

Besides the general wear and tear of weekly blogging, my funk had an odd trigger: the Emmy Award show at the end of September. Not who won/who didn't win, but the show itself.

Starting right as it began with the taped segment "Backstage," which was set in the bathroom with Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks, Zooey Deschanel, Connie Britton, Martha Plimpton, and Mindy Kaling. Bates hears someone crying and opens a stall to see Lena Dunham, naked, binge eating on the toilet. Then finds the source of the crying is Jimmy Kimmel, crazy eyebrowed with too much botox so he isn't going to go on.

The women say they can punch him into shape, and start punching him in the face one by one.

I don't think award shows of any kind should have a sense of self importance, but it's pretty low to locate your sensibility in the toilet, even with Jimmy Kimmel as host.

I have long been a cheerleader for the intelligent creativity of TV, celebrating its spectrum from Three's Company to Scenes from a Marriage, which Bergman made for Swedish television, fascinated by the power of the "miniseries" to bring people back in front of the screen several nights running. And here I was being assaulted by the industry's projection of itself in the lavatory, with an eating disorder and physical violence, which many people thought was funny. I hated all the Kimmel taped pieces, particularly the mock In Memoriam.

With all the talent who come together to create Homeland and Modern Family, this is how the industry presents itself on "their night." I found it so depressing and disappointing that it took my voice away for a while.

The next day I saw a picture of Jim Parsons and Zooey Deschanel presenting that I love for its composition and color, and for the easy elegance of the actors, even if they look like they escaped from a Pushing Daisies episode. But beneath this facade of beauty, New Girl and Big Bang Theory are on Neil Genzlinger's "Trends That Deserve the Unwelcome Mat," for their reveling in urine gags. Crap, we're back in the bathroom.

I agree with Genzlinger that this is an unwelcomed trend, which worries me a little. He's the guy who took on what is clearly Seinfeld territory, "Really," without referencing Seinfeld. As Jerry declared, "You crumbled a bit of civilization off there yourself."

Rick or AJ?

Well, the funk has lifted, fueled in part by the ridiculous Funny or Die, "Greatest Event in Television History," from Paul Scheer, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Jeff Probst and their love of Simon & Simon. It's completely over the top, but done by guys who love and know television from its smallest pixel to every inflection that we all picked up on since our impressionable childhood viewing.

Simon & Simon has that great, lame, 1980s magnetism about it. I was just in San Diego and took a city trolley tour. They did not mentioned Simon & Simon when going over the Coronado Bridge, but I will write to tell them they really should.