TeeVee Awards 2004: Wrap-Up
So, forthwith, here's a recap of "the year of living blandly:"
The worst actor of 2004? CSI: Miami's David Caruso, who taints every scene he's in. Contrast this with the excellent work of our Best Hour Actor, Tony Shalhoub who makes the lightweight and silly mystery series Monk worth watching.
Reaching back for some of our trademark bile, we declared Joe Rogan the latest winner of our George Gray "Worst Host" award for presiding over both Fear Factor and (lest we forget) the ugly degradation of the post-Jimmy Kimmel Man Show.
At least Rogan didn't host The Swan, our choice for not simply the worst reality show of the year, but the Worst Show, bar none. We didn't find the premise necessarily offensive. We found the execution of The Swan, however, to be truly offensive -- this train wreck was simply bad television.
Our Biggest Disappointment of 2004? The fourth season of Coupling, a show we've repeatedly praised. But this BBC America sitcom fell flat in its fourth year, with the loss of a key cast member, increasingly predictable scripts, and a dreaded pregnancy subplot. Let's hope that the fifth season marks a creative renaissance.
Mixing bile with praise, we curse the cancellation of Home Movies as the Most Unjust Cancellation of the year, but praise that amusing Cartoon Network series as the Best Animated Show on the planet. At least the Home Movies folks can head into the great beyond knowing they went out on top.
And that's where we left you hanging, way back when. So, if any of you still care, let us quickly summarize the other choices we made way back in the late summer.
We love, love, love, love Arrested Development. Apparently we're not alone -- all the TV critics love it. Unfortunately, nobody else seems to be watching it, and this year will probably be its last. No matter: better to burn bright than slowly fade away, or however that song by that hippie goes.
Arrested Development is a phenomenally brilliant show. How else to explain why it's not only the Best New Show of 2003-04, but the Best Half-Hour Show to boot? Its amazing cast has something to do with it. We love Jason Bateman bunches, but we love Will Arnett even more, which is why our straw poll singled out the actor who plays the Segway-driving, failed magician, ne'er-do-well son Gob as our Best Half-Hour Actor.
Arnett's not alone in our Arrested Development love fest, either: We split our Best Half-Hour Actress award right down the middle, choosing to honor both Portia di Rossi and Jessica Walter for their great mother-and-daughter portrayals of Lindsay and Lucille Bluth. Lindsay is the spoiled rich girl who never met a cause she couldn't briefly embrace; Lucille is the force-of-nature mother who insists on controlling her kids, but not really loving them.
We're happy to announce that we love Arrested Development so much, we've declared it the Best Hour Actress too! No, no, that's a misprint. In fact, our choice is Drea De Matteo of The Sopranos, in her swan song as Adriana. If you haven't heard, Adriana doesn't make it out alive. For more information about why we picked de Matteo, see Lisa Schmeiser's Station Break on the topic. (Please note that we voted for this award before De Matteo won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Also, more importantly, we voted before we had seen Joey.)
In addition to Arrested Development, there's one other show we wanted to honor: American Idol. Yes, Fox's weekly sing-a-long is easily mockable, but the fact is that we find ourselves addicted to it. In many ways, it's the perfect reality show -- and the winners tend to win because of actual merit, which places it above just about every reality show.
We like American Idol. But that's the hour-long version of the show, the one with the actual performances. As for the Half-Hour American Idol Results Show.... not so much. In fact, Idol's results show, a padded crapfest full of recycled material, false suspense, shameless promotions, and way too much Seacrest (out!), was the year's Worst Half-Hour Show. Except for the weeks when the results show was longer than a half an hour -- that was even worse.
Also, although we love American Idol, there's one aspect of it we can't stand: the ridiculous screaming and booing of The American Idol Studio Audience, which wins our Most Annoying Fans award. The endless cheering and booing of the judges needs to stop. The ridiculous teenybopper signs need to get toned down. And the cheering for contestants who have just butchered popular music and need to be sent away by the righteous might of America's phone-dialing fingers? Make it end now. Consider yourself warned, American Idol studio audience.
In closing, there's one final point we'd like to make: 2003-4 was the season that brought us Whoopi. And man, wasn't Whoopi Goldberg simply the Worst Actress of the year? We think so.
Tune in 'round about July 2009 for the next TeeVee Awards. Excelsior!
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