Monday, January 17, 2011

Did Ricky Gervais Cross the Line? Golden Globes Report

Click to Gervais' Monologue
Did Ricky Gervais cross the line by insulting Robert Downey, Jr. and his wayward ways (while Downey was in the room) during last night’s Golden Globe Awards?  Was it too mean-spirited to go after Charlie Sheen?

Gervais may have been distasteful, but he was funny and his monologue and in-between-awards insults were the best part of the show.  The rest of the writing, for presenters, was dull and unmemorable.  Even the women’s dresses were less than stunning.

Gervais was sharp and witty.

Referring to the aging women of “Sex in the City 2” and the supposed nomination given to the artists who air-brushed the movie poster, he said: “Ladies, we know how old you are!  I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza!”

Plus, everything sounds a little funnier with a British accent.

I don’t know if Gervais was banished.  He seemed to have disappeared from the broadcast for more than an hour.  But without him the program honoring achievements in film and television by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would have been a complete loss.

Even the competition was unastounding.  While there were a couple of good movies this year – The Social Network, the King’s Speech and a few others, I didn’t see anything that inspired passion.  On the TV side, the programs in contention were, for the most part, returnees like Glee, 30 Rock and The Office.   

I hope the Oscar broadcast on February 27th is better.  With Anne Hathaway and James Franco as the designated co-hosts I wouldn’t expect a lot of comedy.  And it seems that fewer actual stars attend the Oscars since they only pay tribute to film.  I’m not getting my hopes up.  Maybe it will be worth watching the Academy Awards for the fashion.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday Night Live Needs Retooling

Last night's installment of Saturday Night Live with Gwyneth Paltrow was so weak it made me think the program needs to be taken off the air and completely retooled.  It was such an obvious plug for Paltrow's latest movie, "Country Strong" and yet so devoid of any comedy that it was sad.

I'd hate to see the program go away forever because it has such great potential, per its past greatness.  But clearly it's being ignored by those who have the power to infuse it with energy.  There's so much fodder in the news these days.  How can a program that relies on current events for its material be so lame?
Last's week's cold open to SNL. (Click here)

Last week's show had an opening that was both hilarious and incredibly insightful.  The  immensely talented Fred Armisen (who usually plays President Obama) addressed New Yorkers as Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the wake of the December 26th blizzard.  It was brilliant.

There has to be a way to mine the what's going on in the world and produce a weekly comedy program that will actually make people laugh.  Jon Stewart does it five nights a week.  Surely, NBC, a major network with deep pockets, can come up with something that can measure up.