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Arts and Entertainment

TV Junkie: SAG Awards Wrap Up

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The red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium [Photo by Thomas Attila Lewis]

The red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium [Photo by Thomas Attila Lewis]
We're pretty pleased that we scored 7 out of 8 of our TV picks for yesterday's Screen Actors Guild Awards. The only TV win we missed was Betty White's for "Hot In Cleveland" which even she wasn't expecting. We love Betty White, we enjoyed interviewing her at last year's SAG Awards (see video below), but this award was a mistake and it doesn't reflect well on the organization. Betty White received her well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award last year and she is a national treasure, admittedly. Her guest appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "Community," among others, were among highlights of the year in television, but her performance on "Hot In Cleveland" is not among her best work (by far) and it fell well short of the other nominees in her category, even Edie Falco, who has protested that she isn't a comedic actress and "Nurse Jackie" isn't even a comedy.

The very fact that the "Hot In Cleveland" ensemble was nominated also illustrated a fundamental problem with the SAG (at the TV and Motion Picture academies): too many out of touch and close-minded retirees among their ranks. You may have heard us rail against them in our Channel Zero podcasts, but there's a difference between mature and wise vs old and stupid, and the "Hot In Cleveland" nom proves this. The show is a dinosaur from the way it's shot to the jokes to the stereotypes it reinforces. It looks like a show from the 1970s, the "Golden Age of Television" that a certain voting demographic at the SAG and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences yearns to return to.

Let's forget amazing cable comedies whose ensembles didn't get nominated ("Bored To Death," "Louie," "The League," It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," etc.) and look at the broadcast networks - there's no way that "Hot In Cleveland" even came close to touching the ensemble work of "Community" and "Parks and Recreation," or even shows that we don't actively follow like "How I Met Your Mother," "Cougar Town," "The Big Bang Theory," etc. Has the cast of "Hot In Cleveland" done good work? You bet - we're big Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick fans, and the show has had great guest stars like Tim Conway and Carl Reiner but it looks like a bunch of lady folk have taken over the set of "Webster" and reanimated the crew and script writers to do their bidding.

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Betty White was in the limelight last year for a reason: being a TV pioneer who has remained relevant for 60+ years. Now it's time to look at shows and performers that will set high marks for this century - wait, that's what should have happened 10 years ago.

We also scored 3 out of 5 for our SAG movie picks. Melissa Leo's win for her role in The Fighter was much deserved but we went against our own research and chose The Social Network for the ensemble win thinking that if last year's ensemble comedy SAG went to the relative unknowns in "Glee" there would be a similar pick for the young and fresh faces of this high profile film. But of course, the SAG membership fell to the mail-truck-busting marketing ploys of The King's Speech. It's a good movie, yes, but kind of frumpy, and again, we didn't really learn anything new from that film - it's safe and boring.
"Boring" was how we saw people on Twitter describe the SAG Awards broadcast - this was from some of the same critics who complained that Ricky Gervais was "too disrespectful" at the Golden Globes. Make up your minds! Set yourself some low expectations: awards shows are generally boring, cheesy, sometimes embarrassing, and if there are moments that defy that protocol, you have a winner. If a show, like the SAGs, doesn't have a host, it's all about the awards and not about the "show." That's why we make cocktails while watching them - Party Tip: The Death Montage is an ideal time to go make a fresh batch of cocktails for your guests. Our drinks menu: we started the evening out with some champagne (Veuve Clicquot), then Manhattans (Redemption Rye powered), and finished with apple-and-cinnamon-infused (homemade) Knob Creek bourbon hot apple ciders, perfect for a chilly evening. Nobody was bored.
We have a new edition (#9) of the Channel Zero podcast up where we discuss the above, the week in TV, and more. Feel free to subscribe on iTunes.
The TV Junkie Must-Watch Plan: "Chuck," "The Cape," "Border Wars," Conan (Amy Poehler), Fallon (Bill Paxton, Adam Scott, Edie Brickell)

8:00pm Chuck NBC - While Sarah tries to free Chuck's mother, Morgan and Chuck go after Volkoff; Casey and Alex bond; Ellie hopes to ease Awesome's anxiety

8:00pm Human Target Fox - Chance and the team protect a man who suspects his wife is a Russian spy; Ames tries to keep a secret from Chance.

9:00pm Lie to Me Fox - Season Finale

9:00pm The Cape NBC - The ARK corporation prepares to unveil a device that could alter the fate of Palm City; The Cape finds himself defending his arch nemesis.

9:00pm SoCal Connected: The State of the State KCET - Governor Brown's address 2011.

9:00pm American Experience PBS/KOCE - The Greely Expedition In 1881 a 25-man crew sets sail for Lady Franklin Bay with Lt. Adolphus Greely, but three years later only six return.

9:00pm Being Human Syfy - Aidan still haunted by his past tries to make an effort of normalcy.

10:00pm Border Wars: Super Sunday National Geographic - Special Presentation

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11:00pm Conan TBS - Actress Amy Poehler.

11:35pm Late Show With David Letterman CBS - Musician Justin Bieber; actress Pauley Perrette; Best Coast performs.

11:35pm The Tonight Show With Jay Leno NBC - Actor Adam Sandler; comic Larry the Cable Guy; Esperanza Spalding performs.

12:00am Lopez Tonight TBS - Actor Jake Johnson; Jamie Foxx performs.

12:05am Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC - Actress Julianna Margulies; actor Matthew Bomer; The JaneDear Girls perform.

12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS - TV host Rachael Ray.

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC - Actor Bill Paxton; actor Adam Scott; Edie Brickell performs.

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