Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle TV Eye

By Margaret Moser

SEPTEMBER 22, 1997:  The Emmys always come off a bit like the Oscars' country cousin: cautious, naïve, and a couple of years behind in fashion. If television had invented the Oscars, they'd come off looking, well... a lot like the Emmys.

Having thoroughly enjoyed this year's MTV Video Awards, I didn't have much hope for the Emmys, and let Weezer make TV Eye's picks a couple of weeks back since I was on vacation. The expression on Chris Rock's face after seeing Marilyn Manson and telling a live audience, "run to church, right now!" was priceless. Rock's comment to this year's Emmy host, the wooden Bryant Gumbel, was even better: "Go back to the 'fro you had when you started. It wasn't a big Link-from-the-Mod-Squad 'fro. It was just enough to say, `Hey, I might be a Panther.' " Being the butt of a joke was the excruciatingly dull Gumbel's best moment in an otherwise ill-advised choice of him as host. I vote for Chris Rock for next year's Emmy host.

It was a good year for many of my own favorites, echoed by Weezer's picks. The Weez is my partner in couch potatodom, so I trusted him to make the choices. He did pretty well, considering our tastes are so similar that we hardly see each during the summer evenings, but when the fall season starts we spend Sunday (King of the Hill/The X-Files, FOX, 7:30/8pm, 9/21), Monday (Melrose Place, FOX, 7pm, 9/22), Wednesday (Beverly Hills 90210, FOX, 7pm, 9/24), and Thursday (ER, NBC, 9pm 9/18) nights sprawled on the couch across from each other, squabbling over the remote. Those nights plus anytime we can catch The Larry Sanders Show (HBO).

When it came down to it, NBC walked away the winner with 24 Emmys while HBO wasn't far behind with 19. Trailing behind at 12 wins was CBS, ABC with 10, PBS with six, and FOX with five. This was fine by me: I watch a lot of FOX and with the obvious exception of The X-Files, Millenium, and a couple other shows, they churn out no-brainer programming, and it works. I watch Melrose so I don't have to think. Okay, let's see who won, lost, and did/didn't deserve a win.

Guest Actor, Comedy: Mel Brooks for Mad About You. We chose David Duchovny for his Larry but we like Brooks just dandy for this win. especially since he turned in a hysterical guest spot on Larry, too.

Guest Actress, Comedy: Carol Burnett for Mad About You. We'll go with her, too, even though MAY is not on on our regular viewing schedule. Besides, the baby episode last week made Weezer choke up.

Writing, Comedy: Ellen. Duh. Weez thought that brilliant Larry roast episode would get it.

Writing, Drama: NYPD Blue. All the cop shows are good right now, as are the hospital dramas. This was no surprise and no begrudging here. But I wept after The X-Files' "Memento Mori," and thought Gillian Anderson had her best moments ever in that episode. So did others.

Writing, Variety or Music: Chris Rock for Bring the Pain. Yes! Encore!

Supporting Actor, Comedy: Michael Richards for Seinfeld. Bah. I have grown weary of Kramer's shtick. Nobody is a better support man than Rip Torn on Larry.

Supporting Actress, Comedy: Kristen Johnston for 3rd Rock From the Sun. Yeah, okay. Weez and I wanted Janeane Garofalo on Larry to win but it's true her appearances were rare last season. Cybill's Christine Baranski would have been my second choice. Again. Supporting Actor, Drama: Hector Elizondo for Chicago Hope. We watch ER regularly but it's almost by default. CH is excellent, as is the win.

Supporting Actress, Drama: Kim Delaney for NYPD Blue. Those of us who remember her as Jenny on All My Children take a lot of pride in watching Delaney mature as an actress. (Better luck next year for the fine ER staff.)

Actor, Comedy: John Lithgow for 3rd Rock. Good for Lithgow, who's stepped from large to small screen with grace.

Actress, Comedy: Helen Hunt for Mad About You. We like Hunt but I don't think last season was a winner. We kinda wanted Fran Drescher.

Comedy Series: Frasier. Weez called this one on the money. But he was right about Larry.

Drama Series: Law & Order. Weez called it again, albeit as a longshot. I wanted ER again.

Variety or Music Series: Tracey Ullman for Tracey Takes On. I hate the late night talk shows almost as much as the daytime ones -- the difference is whether you see commercials for minipads or beer -- so this was a nice surprise. I start to fuss when Weez starts surfing through the testosterone-heavy night talk shows and so he heads to the clubs and I find VH1's Pop-Up Videos.

Actor, Drama: Dennis Franz for NYPD Blue. Another well-deserved win in my opinion, having loved Franz since Hill Street days. Weez wanted Noah Wyle for his endearing portrayal of Dr. John Carter but I say Wyle's a bit green. (And I think Weezer fancies himself a little Carter-like at the Chron.)

Actress, Drama: Gillian Anderson for The X-Files. There is a god, no matter what form he, she, or it takes, for her win. Anderson's Agent Dana Scully has a captivating presence, unwavering cool, dry wit, and a standoffish but smoldering sex appeal that is perfectly suited to the character. That Anderson appears undervalued is a sore point -- she's paid less than Duchovny and does the same work.

But this was Anderson's year to step up and walk away with an Emmy. Think it was because of the heart-tugging episode "Memento Mori" in which she was diagnosed with cancer? Sure, at least in part. But even the bad news was received with typical Scully aplomb: a light flutter of the eyelids and a slight raise of the eyebrows. More likely, though, was that the win came from the way Gillian Anderson carries off Scully with an elegance and dignity all too rare on television, and rarer to FOX. The best win of all.


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