Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Globe Awarding

Thanks to my somewhat rabid devotion to 24, and my loathe for spending too much time watching Hollywood getting really drunk and gratuitously fellating itself, I managed to catch only the final hour of the Golden Globes last night. Suffice to say, the show was pretty much as expected: winners, losers, bad speeches, Nicholson on Vicodin, etc.

Pleasant surprises included the award for Best Performance by an Actor, Musical or Comedy, going to Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a Borat. His acceptance speech and his co-star's reaction to it were both priceless. The immensely talented and radiantly gorgeous Helen Mirren getting two awards for playing two different Queen Elizabeths was also a standout -- as was the often underrated Forest Whitaker taking home an award for his astonishing portayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.

And of course, make no mistake: this is the year that Martin Scorcese finally gets a long overdue Oscar. He won the Globe last night for The Departed.

Then there were the predictable bad moments.

Warren Beatty proved that the years haven't dulled his legendary self-indulgence. His acceptance speech after being given the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award was actually five minutes longer than Demille's Ten Commandments. Meryl Streep's performance in The Devil Wears Prada was indeed excellent, which doesn't change the fact that it's unfortunate her competition posed no real competition at all. Finally, Babel, despite being a decent movie, is already lining up to be this year's Crash -- which incidentally was the worst film to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture in my lifetime.

Nothing, however, came close to the travesty of awarding the Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Drama, to Grey's Anatomy -- particularly since the competition included Big Love and my beloved 24.

When I was in my early-20s, I had something that I referred to as "The Litmus Test." The idea was simple: if a woman at any point said the words, "I love Pretty Woman; it's my FAVORITE movie!" I'd know to avoid her like the Ebola Virus, lest I inevitably wind up trapped in a never-ending cycle of Friday night snuggling, boring sex (despite her insistence that she "learned it in Cosmo"), and Madonna CDs on repeat.

During my early-30s, the litmus test became -- not surprisingly -- Sex & The City. As any New York City male will tell you, a devotion to that show automatically carried with it a preference for ridiculous fruity drinks, a closet full of expensive shoes and ugly couture, the obligatory three other "girlfriends" with whom an entire evening could be spent giddily debating which character on the show corresponded to which member of the group (everyone thought they were Carrie), and of course -- an IQ hovering somewhere around 63.

Both of these cultural zeitgeists seemed to appeal to the same kind of female fan-base: dumb. I could pretty much be assured that anyone who confused a shitload of sex and a Hollywood fairy-tale ending with actual feminist empowerment would end up wanting to kill me before the first appetizer arrived. I knew plenty of girls in college who never saw the hilarious irony in clearing a mountain of stuffed animals off the dorm-room bed to make space for that experimental drunken orgy with the men's volleyball team; I also knew that myself and that same girl would probably have as little an understanding of each other a few years down the road as we did at the time.

If I were still single, Grey's Anatomy would be the new litmus test. In addition to simply never wanting to sit through something so fucking vacuous (and if you happen to be dating someone who adores that show, you're no doubt forced to do just that on a weekly basis), the show continues the proud tradition of validating the stupid fantasy of every unimaginative woman in the contiguous 48, while simultaneously casting it in a disguise of supposed empowerment.

When I first began this little experiment of mine, I went into this in pretty strong detail.

I'm sure I'll be verbally lynched for this opinion, but feel free to read on.

Anatomically Incorrect (6/2/06)


slouchmonkey said...

Do you believe in the "So bad, it's good philosophy?" Pretty Woman is just bad, no chance of being good. Sex in the City, not too bad when I see it re-runs. Some entertaining episodes. (Luckily, I never HAD to watch it when it was on. Single days.) Grey's is just bad! The actor's are not believable! I'm tired of supposedly smart, intelligent people being stupid! But, I couldn't stop watching it...hence, so bad it's good! Slowly, I've weened myself off it for my own good.

Vicodin said...

Thanks for the mention buddy. Me and nicholson are like peas and carrots. Lol.

UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

I was in Seattle on vacation when the first episodes of Grey's Anatomy aired. I like ER and Scrubs, so I read the review of it in the local paper to see if I'd be adding a third hospital show to my list. The reviews was rather scathing, however, and so, putting what I suppose was too much faith in the general intelligence of the television viewers of America, In decided not to bother watching it as judging from the reviewer's opinion it was likely to be canceled rather soon.
I was wrong.
And now I am quite annoyed at the amount of attention this show continually gets when I want nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, So Im not pissed about you slagging off Greys Anatomy, while I could only be troubled to give that show 10 minutes of my time it was enough!
I am pissed though at your assumptions about dedicated sex and the city viewers....I am one, (on the hush hush) and I do not drink fruity drinks, Ill have a bourbon and coke please (no ice). I dont own more than two pairs of relatively expensive shoes and me and my obligatory 3 other girlfriends certainly never sat around debating whos who...... and If we did I would have been Samantha. Carries scary looking.(:

Love Kell.

Anonymous said...

I agree that these shows are not the most intellectually stimulating fare out there, but I think they're basically harmless. I don't think most women aspire to emulate Merideth Grey.

I could believe that you are a feminist (with or without the quotes), Chez, except that when I looked at your Anatomically Incorrect post and read "Complain all you want girls; you understand, because at some point there's a pretty good chance that you've thought to yourself, 'Well as long as I've got these, who needs a brain?'"

Perhaps you imagine that if you were a woman, you might be tempted to think--maybe only once, maybe only briefly!--that because you have boobs (so important to men) that you can "get away" with being less. As a woman, I've never once thought that. I bet my friends haven't either, though it's not like we sit around and mull such dilemmas over with one another. Mostly because most women I know just don't even think that way period.

I understood that you perhaps see the world through the lens of a man who somehow thinks he can experientially speak for women. You can't, so trying to only invalidates your arguments.

TK said...

Grey's Anatomy is fucking awful. It's bad acting, bad plots, bad medicine, for that matter. I've always thought that the Golden Globes, while still self-indulgent Hollywood tripe, was at least more legit than the Oscars. But to give a drama award to that schmaltzy, cheesy garbage was a travesty.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. The Wire is hands-down the greatest show on television, in any category. For it to go unrecognized is truly shameful.

The Departed was amazing, no question, though I will freely admit being in Boston colors my opinion somewhat. But despite how much I loved it, it's not Scorcese's best movie. This might be a case of giving it to him to remedy past mistakes.

Chez said...


I admit to over-generalizing simply to make a point. I agree with you that a television show or movie is, in and of itself, harmless. Unfortunately the new model of female empowerment for far too many women seems to spring from the idea that sex is power. I did an interview awhile back with Ariel Levy, the author of Female Chauvanist Pigs; she's both smart and beautiful, and she rails not against women having sex or being sexual, but against an ad culture which now teaches them that using something as simplistic as their bodies to get ahead is dangerous and stupid. Maybe I've just been unlucky, but far too many women I've met have fallen for that bullshit, and it doesn't make them powerful, it simply makes them sheep -- albeit sheep in revealing clothing. Grey's Anatomy is a dumb show -- whether you look beneath the surface of what it sells to women or not. But the fact that it reduces almost every supposedly smart female character to someone ready and willing to be tripped up by hormones and little-girl fantasies is just ridiculous.

No, not all women are like that. Not all women believe that their breasts are a substitute for their brains -- and perhaps I should've been clearer about that fact. I just think it's sad that Hollywood teaches them otherwise.

rasaustin said...

It just so happens, my wife is hitting 3 of 3 on your litmus test. I'm going to go throw myself into a wood chipper now.

Chez said...

Aw, don't do that. Throw her into one.

Vikingwench said...

Chez, I'm a woman, and I think you're spot-on on your assessment of those shows, and the majority of the people who watch them. There are always exceptions; intelligent women who watch and laugh and shake their heads in disbelief, or just want to lose themselves in mindless entertainment. But they shouldn't drag others along with them on their forays into fantasy- it should be a private pleasure.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is it about...a women's anatomy, I'm confused..