Monday, September 24, 2012

And The Emmy Goes To ... Homeland

Is there anyone anywhere who laughed at anything any of the presenters said during the Emmy Awards last night?

Anybody at all who thought any of that banter, which is so poorly written and then attempted to be portrayed as spontaneous, was actually funny?

Is this really the best that award shows can do? Supposedly the top writers and most "talented" performers are all working on this show; can't someone come up with something that isn't embarrassingly awkward?

Of course, there is little in the way of actual talent that separates the average TV or movie actor from the other 100,000 or more wannabe actors who don't get the break. TigerBlog has said this before a thousand times, that unlike endeavors like writing or even sports, acting isn't something where the most successful by definition are the most talented.

Still, someone should have been able to stand up and say "no, this isn't funny." As it turned out, the production for the Emmy Awards was pathetic, done in by the lack of anything remotely funny in the presentations and the widespread self-absorption of the winners and sometimes losers on the night.

TB watched the show because 1) nothing else on another channel was grabbing him, including the Patriots-Ravens game (TB thinks that field goal was probably good and wonders how it would have been any different had the regular refs had been on the field) and 2) because he wanted to see how his two favorite shows made out.

The first, "The Big Bang Theory," struck out, wiped out by "Modern Family." TB has heard that "Modern Family" is hilarious, but he's never seen it.

The second is "Homeland," a show TB hadn't heard of maybe three weeks ago, before he watched all 12 episodes in a four-day span in which he simply could not turn away from the riveting show.

TB's favorite dramas of all time are "Hill Street Blues" and "The Sopranos," shows he spent years and years watching, developing a feel for the characters and the different directions the plot went, all while seeing every episode many times each.

In the case of "Homeland," his entire experience with the show lasted half a week, and he hasn't rewatched any episode. And yet it was so well done, so well written, so well acted, with such perfect character development that TB can't help but put it in a class with any show he's ever seen on television.

Even the two major plot twists that could be seen as a contrived really came ended up working, and that's not an easy trick to pull off.

"Homeland" cleaned up with four awards, including Best Drama, a writing award and the two top acting awards. The best male actor in a drama went to Damian Lewis, whom TB didn't know was actually British, something not obvious from watching him in "Homeland" or when he was the top American officer in "Band of Brothers."

As for Claire Danes, her acting performance in the 12 episodes of Season 1 was so over the top perfect that there could have been no suspense that she would win. She made Carrie - the CIA agent who tracks returning POW Lewis - into a nearly flawless professional with a completely flawed personal life, and there was an inevitable crashing together of the two at the end that was simply riveting.

If you haven't seen the show, do it. Right now. Stop what you're doing and go watch it.

Princeton football had its own breakout star on national television this past weekend. Or at least that's what DiAndre Atwater looked like during Princeton's football game Friday night on ESPNU.

Atwater - the son of former NFL great Steve Atwater and the brother of one of the Georgetown players - ran for 92 yards on 15 carries and had around 80 yards receiving wiped out by penalties. Atwater also exploded 53 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for Princeton, Atwater's TD didn't stand up as the game-winner, not after Georgetown drove the length of the field and kicked a field goal with 14 seconds left as the Tigers fell 21-20.

Through two games this year, Princeton is 0-2, having been outscored by a total of four points, in losses to two Patriot League teams.

A year ago, Princeton was 0-2, having been outscored by a total of 37 points, in losses to two Patriot League teams.

Princeton could have won either or both of its first two games, and TB can point to one play in each game that might have swung things. That's not really something that was true a year ago.

Those are intangible improvements, and teams can get some confidence from them. What would be an even greater source of confidence would be wins, being able to say "we're getting better and the record reflects it."

The next chance to do so is this Saturday, with a 12:30 kickoff at Columbia.

Princeton is 0-2 but 0-0 where it counts, in the Ivy League. In many ways, Weeks 1 and 2 are a test run for the league season, which starts at Columbia, takes a week off for the game at Lafayette and then concludes six more league games in six weeks after that.

Columbia is 1-1 on the year, with a win over Marist and a loss to Fordham. Just like the Tigers, Columbia would love to be 1-0 in the league.

It's way too early to push the panic button for Tiger football in 2012. There are some strong pieces in place, and the first two opponents were not easy.

This Saturday is a great opportunity.

Step 1 was to show that the team is competitive, and two losses by four points does that.

Step 2 is to turn a one-point loss into a win.

Step 3 is to see how winning becomes contagious.

1 comment:

Brian McD said...

Homeland's lead producers/writers are Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, both member of Princeton's Class of 1984.