The Very Best of Television, 2007

The Emmys are on this night, a place where television executives, administrators, and critics vote to award those programs they feel are most deserving, selecting among those series that most outstanding, entertaining, and creative, with the only stipulations being that they were cancelled after about four episodes or so.

This year’s ceremony is hosted by American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, ensuring that the show will be mostly milquetoast placeholder commentary punctuated by occasional impassioned pleas that he is straight.

Here are a few highlights of tonight’s contested categories:

Outstanding Drama to Most Efficiently Fulfill The Social Obligation To Have A Show About Homosexuality, the Environment, and How Rotten Priests Are: This one is tough. Boston Legal is almost a sitcom; any show with William Shatner as a lawyer has to be a comedy. I just still haven’t forgiven them for firing the best parts of Marla Sokoloft. Gray’s Anatomy just isn’t my thing. If I wanted to hear a dozen attractive young people flirt, show unnecessary cleavage, create drama, and throw out anti-gay slurs I’d just go to a viewing of High School Musical in Atlanta. I never got the appeal of Heroes; “Save the cheerleader, save the world” is a motto I came up with during the years of my sophomore through senior years in high school, only my definition of “saving the world” was pretty much confined to the back seat of my car. The Sopranos kind of oversaturated the entertainment coverage this year and has pretty much shot itself in the back of the head by a guy wearing a Members Only jacket. House would normally be a shoo-in, but any votes made for an angry, misogynistic, morally suspect egotist will be best reserved in the GOP primaries next year.

Outstanding Collection of Jokes About Erections and Hoo-Has Strung Together To Last About A Half Hour
: This collection is a little brighter. The Office and 30 Rock are both quality programs. Ugly Betty is a critics’ darling, no doubt because most television critics used to be 14-year-old girls who are so insecure with their self-identification that they grew up to be televisions critics. Entourage is too clever by half, by which I mean it’s not funny and is incredibly boring and you still have to pay good money to see it. And…Two and a Half Men? Are you serious? Did every other single sitcom on the face of the planet somehow manage to make itself ineligible to be nominated?

Outstanding Scripted Programming That Is Advertised As Reality Programming Even Though The Concept of Reality in Hollywood Means Their Plastic Surgeon Drives a Domestic Car: I don’t really watch that much reality television, mostly because despite the clumsy flirting I engaged in with that cute brunette who wore that tight shirt at the lottery kiosk last week I have at least a small modicum of dignity. Project Runway seems like it takes the dreams and aspirations of young teenage girls and destroys their souls, converting them into lifeless husks full of diet pills and heroin and slathers them with painted chemicals and duct tape so they can sell clothing that is pretty much only going to be worn by individuals attending the Primetime Emmy Awards. American Idol and its lesser-known, Munster-like cousin, Dancing with the Stars, bring nothing particularly new this year except one less leg and one more trip to detox. The Amazing Race is a quality program, which is of course by no one watches it. Top Chef is a highly rated program for its genre, and its demographics skew largely to the female audience. I could be a chauvinistic prick and state this is because it’s a show about cooking meals, but instead I’ll be an incredibly chauvinistic prick and state this is because it’s a show that has a collection of reasonably attractive male judges.

A few other highlights from the nominees:

Broken Trail: I’m surprised this one was eligible for Outstanding Miniseries, considering that it aired in the summer of last year and as far as I know is still going on.

Forest Whitaker
: He is nominated for his role as a cranky patient on ER. This is an unprecedented move on the ceremony’s part, since as far as I know ER hasn’t been on the air for about five years or so.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: This low-rated and disappointingly bland show was nomination for approximately 15,000 Emmys, all of which it will win since the show was created by, written, produced, directed, starred by, key gripped, and copulated with by Aaron Sorkin, who in his lifetime has somehow managed to be the single greatest powerful force in Hollywood despite the fact that his track record for hit programming hovers around the Dabney Coleman success level. Sorkin either is a gifted talent capable of creating quality programming on a consistent basis, or else he is providing massive amounts of cocaine to all of the voters. Longtime viewers of the Emmys already know which one this is.

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