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The 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards: I'm Dreaming of a White Betty

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They already gave out the only Emmy anyone was actually interested in last week, when Betty White won Oldest-Ever Saturday Night Live Host. Why bother with the rest? Incidentally, this was Betty's 7,351st Emmy, a new record. She has them all over the house: bookends, doorstops, cup-holders, blunt instruments. But then, she has been in broadcasting since the days of silent television.

And before you say, as one dolt I spoke with last week did, that Betty won because she's "trendy" at the moment (more than 60 years on TV, four -- or is it five? -- hit comedy series, including a new one this year at age 88. That's not "trendy," that's talent), look at the other nominees in her category: Christine Baranski, Kristen Chenoweth, Tina Fey, my new BFF Kathryn Joosten, Jane Lynch, and Elaine Stritch. With the exception of that Chenoweth creature, that's one of the highest-powered female comedy lineups I've ever heard of!

And Isaiah Mustafa won an Emmy last week for his crotch-watering Old Spice Guy ads. Isaiah, I have an award for you right here. Just drop by anytime (I mean it: anytime at all!) and collect it. Arrive undressed for sucsex.

Jimmy Fallon was the host this year. I'm told he has a late-night talk show, though I haven't seen it. If I have a talk show on that late, it's always Craig Ferguson, whose program just keeps getting weirder and weirder. I do remember when Fallon was funny on SNL, but then, everyone seems funnier when they are working with Tina Fey.

Oh dear. The opening filmed bit depended on my knowing who a bunch of folks I've never set eyes on before are. (I don't watch Glee. Little Dougie is gay, but not that gay!) Fortunately, they had Tina Fey. So that's what Kate Gosselin looks like. Someone had sex with her eight times? Were all the bars closed?

So in the cut between the Jane Lynch-throws-pink-crap-on-people bit, and the starting to sing part, while Jimmy Fallon was still wearing the pink-stained shirt, his t-shirt was miraculously instantly cleaned. Do they think we're blind?

What's Hurley doing there? Who's minding The Island? And why hasn't Amazon gotten my season 6 DVDs to me yet? (Notice how they put a real dancer in front of Jorge, so we could see the actual choreography, while Jorge faked it behind her.)

Okay, I'm old, but not so old I didn't recognize the Springsteen song or Joel McHale.

Note to Randy Jackson: you were pitchy, dawg. But you did your thing. You were, I don't know, but I liked how, well, it was what is was. Know what I mean? (I'm sorry. That had way more actual content than a genuine Randy Jackson meaningless babble of a critique.)

There is a tremendous irony in seeing Jorge Garcia in a performance of Born to Run. I've never seen anyone less born to run. Jorge, darling, I adore you, but you were born to walk. The comedy will end if you pitch over with a coronary in the middle of the dance.

Jimmy it turned out, hasn't the breath to sing and run around the stage at the same time. Not as easy as it looks, is it, James? Actual singer/dancers are athletes, not sedentary talk show hosts.

Anyway, nice energetic start for the show. (Was Susan Sarandon flossing in the audience?) But they never paid off their premise. Did the gay kids from Glee win the money to buy tickets? Were tickets still available after the show had started? Why didn't Jimmy, who makes a nice living, just give them the paltry amount himself? Why, as performers in the show, weren't they admitted free in the first place; in fact, as per AFTRA rules, why weren't they being paid to be there? And why didn't the writers think their premise through in the first place?

Eric Stonestreet, who is certainly very funny in Modern Family, felt it necessary to tell us that without his mom, he wouldn't be here. Eric, all of us, even the other gay viewers, know where babies come from.

Jimmy said that this year they asked twits at home to contribute to the banter-writing. Given that award show banter written by top professional comedy writers is often horrid, why would we want the work of utter amateurs? Twits, don't try this at home.

My gracious, Steve Levitan actually is sexy. Whoever heard of a sexy comedy writer? People become funny because they're not sexy. I thought I was the only exception. (Congrats Steve, well-deserved.)

Stephen Colbert listed off a series of hilarious men-in-drag, yet omitted Charles Busch and Dame Edna. Hello? They're the leaders of the rack. But Stephen has a point. The funniest women all have penises. (Of course some of them, for instance Elayne Boosler, since she'll be reading this and will give me heck otherwise, have ones that are growing out of someone else.)

Oh fine, Jane Lynch, prove me wrong seconds after I wrote that last paragraph, by kissing your hot lesbian wife as you take the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Circus, or Beauty Pageant. Damn your immense, penis-free, comedy talent!

LL Cool J, you're indoors. Take your hat off. Were you never taught manners? And while you're at it, the shirt could go too, and the pants.

Jim Parsons, eat something, I'm begging you. Harrison Ford thought you were his wife.

Let me understand this: Edie Falco beat out Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for Best Actress in a Comedy Series, Tent Show Revival, or Flea Circus? I haven't seen Nurse Jackie, so I can't say they're wrong, but my credulity is more stretched than Lucille Ball's face on the set of Mame. (And Amy darling, you look fabulous! Sofia Vergara's boobs have nothing on yours!) Edie had trouble believing it also. I was amused that the model-award-girl who escorted Edie off the stage was wearing a gown that was the precise reverse of the gown Edie was wearing, so it looked like she was walking off with her wish-fulfillment funhouse mirror reflection.

Best Reality Series (Is this a real category? Shouldn't it be Least-Worst Realty Series?) went to Top Chef, which is an insult to all the great chefs out there who were excluded merely because they are bottoms. For some reason, they never nominate the nightly-news in this category.

I don't get cooking competitions as TV entertainment. On American Idol, we can hear for ourselves how well or poorly the contestants sing. On So You Think You Can Dance (which should have won and wasn't even nominated), we can see for ourselves how well or poorly they dance. But on TV cooking competitions, we have no idea if that souffle is tasty or pasty, if the chocolate is yummy or cruddy, if the steak is perfect or wretched, and so forth. Take the judges word for it? Puh-leaze! How do we know they're not the chef equivalents of Randy Jackson or Ellen DeGeneres? At least when they eat bugs or raw fish guts on Survivor, or slop on Big Brother, we know it tastes hideous. I never watch The Food Network. I have a kitchen somewhere. Where? Oh. Little Dougie says it's just beyond the liquor cabinet. (I have a stagger-in liquor cabinet.)

Like Betty's award, the Emmy for Best Reality Show Host, Game Show Host, or Foul-Mouthed Sock Puppet, got shunted off onto the non-televised ceremony. Poor Jeff Probst, who is hoping to best Betty White's record. (He won again, as always. Cat Deeley was robbed!)

Two years ago, Probst and four other reality-show hosts emceed The Emmys themselves and bombed like Hiroshima. Now their award isn't even on the show at all. What a come-down. Careful, Jimmy Fallon; louse up tonight, and your category will end up in the Limbo-Night Emmys as well. (Oh wait. Jimmy doesn't have a category. He wasn't nominated for anything. It's almost like his show isn't very good. You'd think having Jay Leno as a lead-in would at least make it appear better by comparison.)

Okay, John Hodgeman was funny (as usual) pointing out that the only reason anyone becomes an accountant is because they're failures. No one wants to be an accountant.

Mad Men won Best Writing for a Drama Series, High School Play, or Civic Parade over the final season of Lost. (With Doctor Who not even nominated.) Okay, I suppose, but I disagree. On Mad Men there's lots of smoking, but on Lost, the villain was made of smoke. I'll give them this: The 1960s were weirder than The Island. Clearly the Academy has their DVR season passes set to different shows than mine is. (Nice to see Bobby Morse, clapping in the audience. I loves me some Bobby Morse. Any show that employs him is okay with me, even without Ben Linus.)

Matthew Weiner, certainly a brilliant writer, was given the musical equivalent of the hook. Get a clue Matt, Hollywood doesn't respect writers.

How in hell are Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson "supporting actors" on Lost? And how in hell did they not win? I know each has won in previous years, but this year, Terry in particular, had to be extra brilliant, and was. And what was great comic Martin Short doing in this category at all? (My true condolences on your other, much-deeper and more tragic loss this week, Martin. We all understand why you were not present. Our hearts are with you.)

Wait a minute! Archie Panjabi is a woman? Betty and Veronica are going to be deeply shocked!

Bryan Cranston was "humbled" to win his third consecutive Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series, Puppet Show, or Passion Play. Winners, please stop using that cliche. The only thing less humbling than winning an award is winning the same award three times running.

This very pretty actress from Undercovers is named "Gugu"? Did her parents say: "We'll let her pick her own name. Whatever her first utterance is, that shall be her name"? And honestly, everyone knows it's spelled "Googoo." (And Boris Kodjoe, this is the first time I've set eyes on you, and I am in love already!)

Turns out wonderful Ann-Margret won a guest Emmy last week at the The Academy-Doesn't-Think-You're-Good-Enough-to-Broadcast Emmys. I saw her winning performance, and she tore up the screen, as she had to to beat this line-up of nominees: Shirley Jones, Elizabeth Mitchell (Her Juliet's death was even more heart-rending than Shakespeare's Juliet.), Mary Kay Place, Sissy Spacek and Lily Tomlin. I worship all of those goddesses! (All right, I don't actually worship Mary Kay Place, but I like her a lot. I've been known to sacrifice goats to the goddess that is Lily Tomlin.)

I can't argue with John Lithgow's win at the The Academy-Doesn't-Think-You're-Good-Enough-to-Broadcast Emmys; he was brilliant and terrifying. I just hate that he beat my darling Bobby Morse.

Ann-Margret, you goddess, at the age of never mind, you still manage to be a floozy and a classy dame simultaneously. I don't know how you do it, but I'm in awe of you.

I've never seen a gay piano before, and I used to watch Liberace.

Kyra Sedgwick, winner of Best Actress in a Drama Series, Videoblog, or Magic Act, was at the podium for a day and a half, endlessly repeating "This is so low," before she even got around to reading her written speech. If she'd been a writer, she'd have been blasted off the stage by the band long before she got around to thanking her movie-star husband. But then, if her speech made anything clear, it's that she's no writer.

In the Variety Show clips we saw Betty White showering with Hugh Jackman. Betty, this means War! In the shrill almost-words of Big Brother's deeply-insane Rachel, known as "Boobiac" over in my Big Brother recap columns, "Nobody comes between me and my fantasy fiancé!" Hugh, you can be clean with Betty as long as you're really dirty with me!

Joel McHale (who is -- what? -- a foot taller than Jeff Probst?): "Writers is good. Them makes we two look good spoken."

Jeff Probst: "We did that to show you that improv is dangerous."

Jeff, when you're reading a joke off a Teleprompter, that's not "improv!" (And the irony is, Probst is excellent at speaking spontaneously on TV. That's why he keeps winning Emmys.)

Poor Fallon. Introducing anyone with a really lame joke is unfortunate. Introducing Ricky Gervais with a really lame joke is humiliating. You know he's going to be funnier than you, even if you were brilliant.

Directing nominee Joel Gallen's mom wanted him to be "a really good father," yet he hasn't even taught his little son that, when on national TV, don't keep your hand on your crotch. I have to give Joel a "Fail" here. He lost his Emmy too.

George Clooney was awarded an Humanitarian Award, which he certainly deserves. But the award was named for Bob Hope. The irony here is so dense, a black hole could form around it. George was very gracious.

John Krasinski, was that a misfired bit? Do you need glasses? Have you never heard of a teleprompter before? What gives? You're adorable, and I want always to like you, but shape up. Come to rehearsal.

Julie Ormond, winning Best Supporting Actress in a Movie, Miniseries, Haunted House, or Didactic Lecture, showed her great respect for the magnificent Catherine O'Hara by completely forgetting her name. Wow. That's some high level of respect all right. Like Kyra Sedgwick, she wrote a speech, and then took half an hour to get around to reading it, while she continued, unconvincingly, to praise Catherine O'-What's-Her-Name. Meanwhile, I've seen a lot more work I love from Catherine O'Hara than I ever have from Miss Osmond? Orlon? Orlando? Orgasm?

Relax everyone; I was absent from the "In Memoriam" montage again, but there were several faces in it I wish were absent as well. There's no pleasure in seeing the faces of Soupy Sales or Jean Simmons up there. And even as we were watching it, longtime TV writer Jackson Gillis died at age 93. Gillis wrote a hell of a lot of TV, specializing in mysteries, from Perry Mason to Columbo, though for many of us, his most-memorable work was The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of Applegate's Treasure on The Mickey Mouse Club more than 50 years ago. Goodbye Jackson, and thanks for all of it.

Claire Danes, who won Best Actress in a Movie, Miniseries, Cult Ritual, or Improv Review, thanked HBO for helping to make television "electric." What? Has she money in a power station? But she's right. Those old hand-cranked, mechanical TVs were not very effective.

Danes also thanked someone whose name I couldn't decipher from her pronunciation for helping her to "find my way into Temple's body." I don't think I've ever heard lesbianism described that way before. Did she give her a map and a flashlight? Did she use the north entrance or the southern? Temple was there, and every time someone mentioned her, she stood up and took a wave. Nice cowgirl duds. Miss Temple does not look as though she ever, at any time in her life, looked like Claire Danes. Ah, Hollywood.

The always-lively Al Pacino won Best Actor in a Movie, Miniseries, Evening of Vaudeville, or Broadway Musical for playing Dr. Jack Kervorkian. I'm going to assume he was good, he being Pacino and all, though I can't quite imagine Dr. Jack hollering "Booyah!" as he pulled the lever or pushed the plunger, or whatever the hell it is he does. Frankly, I didn't see the movie, and I discharged Kervorkian as my personal physician some time back, after violently disagreeing with his recommended course of treatments for me. That's the last time I let an undertaker refer me to a doctor.

Kervorkian was there, and on-call, which kept everyone from making medical complaints during the broadcast.

Al got the "Please wrap it up" signal during his rambling remarks. This is not a wise thing to say to someone playing Jack Kervorkian.

Tom Hanks, in accepting The Pacific's award for Best Miniseries, Tableaux Vivant, or Ocean, thanked his Australian crew. Yes, Godless forbid that a 10-part American miniseries about America's role in the Pacific front during World War II should employ an American crew to make it.

By the time Temple Granden actually mounted the stage as part of the Emmy team winning for her life story for Best TV Movie, Mime Performance, or Rodeo (she was dressed for the latter), I felt like she was Fallon's co-host, which Heavens knows he needed, as his banter throughout had been considerably less amusing than John Hodgeman's insouciant voice-over, walk-up gags.

When Matthew Weiner returned to the stage when Mad Men won Best Drama Series, Animal Act, or Touring Ice Show, he simply resumed the speech he had been rudely interrupted making when he got the musical hook two hours earlier. Good for him. Anyone who puts Bobby Morse on TV is aces in my book.

Modern Family, in its freshman season, won Best Comedy Series, Poetry Slam, or Campfire Sing-Along, triumphing over such beloved favorites as The Office, 30 Rock, and Temple Granden, which was a surprising nominee. Good for it. The death of the half-hour comedy is once again a premature announcement. Lloyd and Levitan have done the near-impossible: they've put on a family sitcom with kids on it that I not only can stand to watch, but enjoy.

And speaking of doing the impossible: the show ended on time! How the hell did they do that? Were you watching, next year's Oscar producers?

If you need more Emmy snark (and you know you do) be sure and read Ken Lenvine's hilarious Emmy review, right here on this site. He always makes me think: "Why didn't I notice that? Doh!"

I'll be back Friday with my next Big Brother recap. Until then, cheers darlings.

To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life.