It’s difficult to nail down what was more offensive about last Sunday’s Emmy telecast on Fox – having to watch host Ryan Seacrest make a fool of Paula Abdul, the Fox network shamelessly pimping its dumb shows to viewers or the network’s inane decision to cut away from Sally Field during what would have been the most entertaining speech of the night. These offenses almost make James Gandolfini’s loss to James Spader (again) tolerable. Gandolfini certainly didn’t need to win a fifth Emmy, but one expected some sort of tribute for the Sopranos’ final bow. The show did end up winning Best Drama series.
Sally Field, upsetting in the Lead Actress category, inadvertently stole everyone’s thunder, however, but only because the decision to unceremoniously lop off the last part of her speech smacked of political censorship on a live news event.
Poor Sally. It seems she can’t take to the podium and accept an award without it become Page One news. She was famously misquoted for her 1985 Oscar speech for Places in the Heart when she supposedly said, “You like me, you really really like me.” Of course, she actually said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me.” This time, she said: “If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn’t be any god-” and the network cut away. Isn’t it ironic that what they left in is far more potentially hurtful to conservatives than what they took out? That if women ruled the world there wouldn’t be any God?
Either way, Field’s moment in the spotlight made Fox News look bad, particularly since the word they supposedly censored isn’t technically “obscene,” according to the FCC. Offensive, perhaps, but not something that would have cost the network thousands of dollars in fines. But this wasn’t about money.
Field’s whole speech was really quite eloquent: “And to, especially, the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait, wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm’s way, and from war…. I am proud, I am proud to be one of those women, and let’s face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamned wars in the first place.”
Fox really had nothing to fear with what the actress was getting across. She wasn’t making an anti-Iraq war statement so much as she was saying that women are, quite simply, better than men. It was supposed to be funny and straight from the ’70s era from whence she emerged.
Either way, Fox’s version of the Emmys went down in history as the second lowest rated Emmys since 1991. That has got to hurt. It probably had less to do with the unwatchable format as it had to do with bad publicity. No one I knew even knew the Emmys were airing last weekend. Someone is not doing their job over there at Fox television.
We can now safely say that it was a mistake to air the Emmys on Fox and hopefully a mistake that won’t be repeated next year. They can dump the format as well. Someone thought it would be a good idea to turn the Emmys into one of American Idol’s live shows, complete with Ryan Seacrest hosting. It was such a blatant attempt to cash in on Idol watchers who could care less about the Emmys. Why? Because the public doesn’t vote on them.
The Emmy telecast must come to terms with the fact that the reason people don’t watch their show is that the same people win over and over and over and over again. There is nothing more boring than that – even Ryan Seacrest milking the last drop out of poor, drunk Paula Abdul.