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COUNTERPUNCH

Time for modernization of Emmy

September 29, 2003|Mark S. Raymond

As I watched this year's Emmy Awards, I was once again disappointed that they haven't created categories to keep pace with the changes in television programming. Here it is the new millennium and we're still giving awards to writers, directors and working actors. Where are the reality show categories? The talk shows? The infomercials?

Instead of writing awards, there should be an award for "most horrifying reality show concept."

Instead of directing awards, give an award for the "best behind-the-scenes manipulation of a contestant."

Instead of those silly best actor and actress awards, give recognition to the "best wannabe actor who got on a reality series hoping to create a career out of it."

It's time the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences finally woke up and smelled the new millennium. To hasten things along, I would like to propose a few categories:

Most Inappropriate Confession on a Talk Show. This may require several subcategories, such as substance-abuse-related confessions, sexual confessions, and confessions no one cares about (or the "Rosie O" award).

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News Story Flogged the Longest After the Public Has Ceased to Care. Or the "Beating a Dead Horse" award. This category may result in many ties.

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Most Machiavellian Reality Show Contestant. I'm sure Richard Hatch will be disappointed that he predated this category, but no doubt he will be in the running for lifetime achievement.

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Most Ridiculous Infomercial Product Made to Sound Plausible. The bar was set pretty high with "spray-on hair in a can," but that's just going to make future entries try harder.

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Most Disgusting Thing Consumed on a Reality Show. Contestants have consumed everything from live insects to the parts of animals that go over the fence last, and it's time some recognition was given to the person with the junior high school boy's sense of gross-out who thought someone should eat them.

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Least Qualified Actor Turned Politician. It's not clear if the winner should receive an Emmy or just be awarded the governorship of California, but that's for the academy (or the 9th Circuit) to decide.

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Most Humiliated Parents of a Child Appearing on a Spring Break Show or Segment. It's time these people got some humiliation of their own.

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Most Embarrassing Acceptance Speech on an Award Show. Or the "You Like Me" award.

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Most Misleading Preview of a Future Episode. Previews are 30-second mini-episodes and an art in their own right. It's time to pay homage to the talent necessary to edit an entire episode into less than a minute, add some narration and turn out a masterpiece that entices the viewing audience into watching something completely different from what they expected.

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News Preview Most Likely to Cause a Panicked Viewer to Tune In. The "airplanes strike World Trade Center, film at 11" award.

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Best Rhyming Patter on a Talk Show. Once again, the bar was set pretty high in the past. Such gems as "Is my sister right, are you a whore? Better give me some answers or you're out the door" and "Dump that zero and get a hero" will be hard to top.

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Finally, a couple of lifetime achievement awards:

Andy Warhol Snooze Alarm Award -- Reality. For the reality show contestant who keeps his "career" going the longest. This award should not be limited to the reality category; it should also be given in the categories of actor, athlete, athlete-turned-actor, sportscaster, athlete-turned-sportscaster, talk show host, athlete-turned-talk show host, etc.

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Annoying Catch Phrase Award. Which in all fairness should be named after the first recipient. I would suggest calling it either the "Dyn-o-mite" or the "What-you-talkin'-about" award.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg for possible new categories. Once the television academy decides which to add, I hope it includes the category that has been overlooked the longest: "Award Show Lasting the Longest After the Audience Has Lost Interest."

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Mark S. Raymond is a writer based in Costa Mesa.

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