Things to Skip: The Emmy Awards and Its Viral Video Starring Parker Posey
As far as historical injustices go, the Emmy Awards' refusal to acknowledge the existence of The Wire is right up there with pharmaceutical companies denying poor orphans their wares and our treatment of Vietnam War veterans. I know, I know - it's hard to find love among writer-type people in the media for this little show that couldn't win awards other than the Peabody, but what the Emmys did was unconscionable; indeed, to deny The Wire four Best Drama statuettes (season five didn't deserve one) was to deny an infant her binky, to deny a squirrel its immunity from jaywalking ordinances. So until the Emmy folks issue a formal apology to chronically giggly Wire creator David Simon and retroactively re-award the 2006-7 Best Supporting Actor/Drama trophy (won, I assume, by somebody on Boston Legal) to either Bodie, Bubs, Lester, Bunny, Bunk, Mr. Prezbo, Jay Landsman, Prop Joe, Snoop, Namond, Randy, Dukie, Michael, Carver, Rawls, Slim Charles or Clay Davis, I refuse to grace the Emmys with my tele-eyeballs. It's that simple.
To try and win over more rational-minded TV buffs, however, the Emmys have pumped out one of those crazy-outrageous viral videos that the kids today just can't get enough of. And it's everything you'd expect from an organization that honored Helen Hunt 37 times. Which is to say: tone-deaf, sledgehammer-subtle and unwittingly self-parodying.
The clip, "Emmy Speech Master Class," looses indie-gal-turned-stealth-comedic-weapon Parker Posey upon a gaggle of clueless, sincere acting students. As Posey steamrolls everything in her path, the classmates praise her skill and technique to the cameras, mockumentary-style. Somersaults through low-hanging hula hoops ensue.
One might knock the clip's manic energy (Posey's acting coach comes off as an amped-up acting coach's amped-up impression of an amped-up acting coach), its stale pop-cultural nods (asked to pitch a show from the podium, one of the actors yaps about vampires) or its telegraphed conclusion (of course the health scare proves merely an actorly flourish), but what it boils down to is this: Nothing in "Emmy Speech Master Class" is original or funny.
Award-speech humor is practically its own comedic genre at this point: Cry! Selflessly acknowledge your peers! Fend off the rising swells of the orchestra! Similarly, we might need a Constitutional amendment to curb the violent overuse of the mockumentary format, employed by 92.5 percent of all comic-minded web clips. As for the gags, the level of sophistication peaks when Posey teaches her charges how to behave if they don't win, so that they don't have egg on their faces. Cut to… Posey smashing eggs in their faces. Subtlety does not rank among this clip's charms.
And then there's Posey herself, whose performance exists on a louder, broader, Shatnerian plane than any video of this ilk needs or deserves. One could argue that her over-the-top shtick is the whole point - her character's name is JA,N, short for "Just Act, Naturally" - but it's as if she's being paid by unit of overexertion; she's exhausting to watch. And that's before a weird mid-clip detour into product-plug territory, in which she throws a little love in the direction of Audi's in-car tech dashboard thingie. Intentional or no, it's another distraction in a clip that's already overdistracted.
I wasn't going to watch the Emmys before viewing "Emmy Speech Master Class," so clearly I'm not going to watch it now - well, unless somebody can guarantee not only that Giancarlo Esposito will win, but that he'll accept the award in character. Skip the show. Skip the clip. Have a nice weekend.