The Emmys: A Review

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Getting the silent treatment: a crack by presenter Ray Romano about his former co-star Patricia Heaton sleeping with new co-star Kelsey Grammer; winner Sally Field taking the Lord’s name in vain; and “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl, who mouthed a certain four-letter s-word when she heard her name announced as a winner.

Maybe the Emmys should just move over to cable.

Even so, the Emmycast felt looser — and often more biting — than in the past, and the occasional gaffe was part of the fun.

When Heigl was introduced as a presenter, her name was mispronounced by the announcer as “HI-jul.”

“It’s HI-gul,” she reminded everybody with amusement. “It’s all right. It’s a hard name.”

And presenter Ellen DeGeneres did an impressive riff while apparently waiting for a balky teleprompter to give her something scripted to say.

Seacrest’s opening monologue was funny enough and characteristically self-effacing. He saluted past Emmycast hosts including DeGeneres, Johnny Carson and Conan O’Brien, noting, “They were hilarious — if that’s what you’re into.” (Though on this three-hour-15-minute show, he seemed to disappear for hours at a time. Was the ultra-busy personality shuttling between this show and some other gig?)

The evening began with an animated song-and-dance sequence with Brian and Stewie, the outspoken “Family Guy” dog and baby, who took musical swipes at network TV: The leading ladies of “Desperate Housewives,” they sang, “look sensational for being 65!”

TV may be trash, they chirped, “but without it, Americans would have to learn to read.”

In a brief commentary, hothead comic Lewis Black voiced his own complaints about TV’s intrusive on-screen promos that make it hard to watch a TV show. And he complained about the graphics and “crawl” that clutter cable news broadcasts.

“Why not just fill the screen with all the most useless information you can,” Lewis sputtered, “and have a sock puppet talk to us!”

His final rant was sarcastically followed by an on-screen promo plastered over his midsection.

A silly waste of time was the musical salute to “The Sopranos,” delivered by Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” quartet singing classic Four Seasons hits. How come the “Sopranos” clips were relegated to the background while the singers got the close-ups?

Would Tony Soprano have stood for this kind of disrespect?

Ah, but this was just a warm-up for a proper tribute to the HBO mob drama, which concluded its run last June (and, at the end of the broadcast, scored a best-drama Emmy): an onstage gathering of the “Sopranos” ensemble, some two dozen strong, who received a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. On a show that aims to celebrate excellence on TV, this might have been the Emmycast’s towering moment. And since no one said anything, nothing got bleeped.

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