Emmy wrap: After last year's surprisingly interesting and varied show, the 57th Annual Emmy Awards on Sunday were a return to form -- stale, predictable, boring form. But don't take our word for it: The San Francisco Chronicle mocked the show from the outset -- an opening number uncomfortably joining Earth, Wind and Fire with the Black Eyed Peas -- and most critics echoed MSNBC's take that "the awards [that] followed were too often predictable, the ceremony flatlining even as it tried too hard to prove that it's hip and with it." Variety was at least as unimpressed: "While the words 'desperate' and 'lost' seemed to dominate the television landscape, it's a surprise that those terms also described Sunday's Emmy Awards telecast. A ho-hum affair that failed to deliver on officials' promises to be a more lively event, CBS presented a safe and uninspiring show that puttered along and got the job done with no sparks, planned or otherwise." Even the review of the show in the Times, probably the most positive of the lot, could only come up with: "It was not the most electrifying Emmy Awards night, but much of it was brisk and good-humored."
With the exceptions of S. Epatha Merkerson's acceptance speech -- she confessed to losing her notes somewhere in her bra, saying "Oh, God, it's down there. My mother's watching, and she's going to die" -- and a sketch by Jon Stewart, the only real surprise of the night was "Everybody Loves Raymond's" winning best comedy over "Desperate Housewives." Blythe Danner was the only one to take the night into Kanye West territory, adding a few comments about Iraq at the end of her speech: "Let's get the heck out of there!" (Though Zap2It was quick to point out that "tomorrow morning, all over America, people will be wondering what on earth 'Huff' is and what Blythe Danner does on it.")
All the scripted writing was as canned as possible, or as the Minneapolis Star Tribune described it, "banter straight out of a Bazooka gum wrapper." There was a lot of talk about the Emmys' tendency to reward the same shows year after year, as happened when James Spader won again for his role on "Boston Legal," passing over actors like "Deadwood's" Ian McShane, who the Detroit Free Press says "would have been a more deserving honoree." Then there was the bizarreness of "Emmy Idol," a "ridiculous competition" (Hollywood Reporter) that worked like a mini-"American Idol" within the show, featuring songs performed by stars such as William Shatner, with Donald Trump's version of "Green Acres" winning the call-in vote. It was, as New York blog Gothamist wrote, "maybe the worst Emmys ever, both telecast and winners wise." (Variety, MSNBC, S.F. Chronicle, New York Times, Star Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Hollywood Reporter, Gothamist)
For a list of the winners -- along with picks from Salon readers and critics -- go here.
The producers of ABC's "Extreme Makeover" have found themselves the defendants in a lawsuit by a former almost-contestant: Deleese Williams, who was dropped by the show at the last minute and never received any of the plastic surgery she'd allegedly been promised, is suing the show for breach of contract and intense emotional distress. As part of the run-up to the show, Williams' friends and family were asked to ridicule her looks on camera, and after she was turned down at the last minute because a dentist said her recovery might take too long, Williams' sister committed suicide because of the things she'd said, according to the suit ... Courtney Love has been sentenced to six months in a rehab center instead of jail after convincing a judge she was making good progress on the road to recovery. Love was on probation for drug use and hitting a woman with a bottle of whiskey when she admitted using drugs last month and entered the rehab facility. On Friday, she was also sued by the woman she hit with the whiskey bottle ... Tori Spelling and husband, Charlie Shanian, are splitting up after being married since July 2004. The couple has been living apart since August, according to People magazine ... Lil' Kim is heading to jail today to start her 366-day term for perjury. There has been a lot of rumor and speculation over the last few days about how her new album, "The Naked Truth," managed to get a five-mike rating -- the magazine's highest -- in the Source. The N.Y. Daily News asks, "Does it have anything to do with the longstanding romantic relationship between Kim's manager, Hillary Weston, and Source founder and CEO Dave Mays?"
Tony Shalhoub at the Emmy Awards on his relief that the multiple-award-winning "Everybody Loves Raymond" has come to an end: "To my fellow nominees, whoever they are -- I'm not that familiar with their work -- I just want to say, there's always next year. Except, you know, for Ray Romano." (Contactmusic)
William Shatner on the secret of his success: "I'm an example of what can happen when you don't drink, don't smoke, exercise every day, eat carefully, love passionately and eat Wheaties. Wheaties are good." (Washington Post)
Dan Rather after telling a reporter he missed covering Katrina "a lot": "There never has been a hurricane I didn't want to cover. You don't get to cover them all." (Washington Post)
The new series inspired by Anthony Bourdain's memoir about life behind the scenes at a top New York restaurant, "Kitchen Confidential," has its debut at 8:30 p.m. EDT on Fox. Also, it's the Season 2 opener of "Medium," starring freshly chosen Emmy winner Patricia Arquette (NBC, 10 p.m. EDT).
-- Scott Lamb