Monday, September 19, 2011

The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards: In Memoriam Segment.

The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards: In Memoriam Segment.

[Note #1: We're introducing a new feature on the blog: Nibble My Sad. Bite-sized pieces of sad for your nibblin' pleasure. I apologize for how gross all of this sounds. Hat tip to FOTB Zach Gibson for basically this entire idea.]

[Note #2: I do not intend to be disrespectful to the people who died in the last year who were included in this tribute. Let's see how well I do at that.] 

0:00: OK did they seriously spell "In Memoriam" wrong? I didn't even notice this yesterday. We're off to a FLYING start.

0:36: The first notes of "Hallelujah" are the same as "O Holy Night," and for a split-second I was very confused. That would've been a marked improvement, though. I'm picturing Groban, and some fake snow, and everyone thinking about Christmas even though it's September. I love Christmas.

0:42: My reaction here, and I believe I was with just about everyone in America on this, was twofold: (1) oh God not another version of "Hallelujah," and (2) who the hell are THESE guys?! What!? You can't just spring some nobodies on us for the In Memorium Memoriam thing! You need someone like Celine Dion, or Norah Jones, or Groban, someone who we're comfortable with and won't distract us with their randomness when we're trying to focus on the dead people. Of course, we'd all later find out that these are the Canadian Tenors. We'll discuss that shortly.

Re: the "Hallelujah" thing: it's a great song, of course. But MY GOD has it been done to death. Most songs have one definitive version. I'd argue that this has THREE: the Leonard Cohen original, Jeff Buckley's, and Rufus Wainwright's. And yet everyone just keeps on trying. I don't watch American Idol or The Voice or America's Got Talent or any of that other nonsense, but I'm still pretty sure there's at least one version of this song on every goddamn season of those shows. On its Wikipedia page, I just found this quote from L. Cohen himself:

"I was just reading a review of a movie called Watchmen that uses it [Editor's Note: hilariously] and the reviewer said: 'Can we please have a moratorium on "Hallelujah" in movies and television shows?' And I kind of feel the same way... I think it's a good song, but I think too many people sing it."

This is coming from a man who MAKES MONEY for DOING NOTHING when other people sing his song! And he's sick of it! Goodness. 

0:49: Leather Jacket Guy is singing now. His lyric is: "But you don't really care for music, do ya?" Which is just too easy. Also, you are wearing a leather jacket when singing a song to honor dead people! FOTB/Democracy Diva Samantha Dercher would not approve. If you're going to be underdressed, why not just go full Canadian Tuxedo?

0:58: Here's Fedora McGee aka the Canadian Tom Haverford, croonin' away. If Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Donnie Wahlberg had a Canadian gay-baby who really liked Justin Timberlake, he'd be this guy. Also worth noting: he can't sing.

1:05: "Oh God oh God oh God oh God not a smoke machine."

1:14: They're all together on stage now, and have to harmonize for the first time after each having their solo parts, so they do that thing where they're trying to blend well but they're all too quiet at first because they've overcompensated. It's great. Also, their left hands are all doing the same thing. It's like some Canadian puppetmaster is just offstage, hiding behind the smoke machine.

1:23: The montage begins. Commence that awkward moment in In Memoriam montages where they're still singing, but there's also a snippet of dialogue from one of the deceased and/or applause from the audience (which I always thought was mean and arbitrary, by the way; applauding for some of the dead people but not others based on how famous they are seems to me an accurate microcosm of what Hollywood is like.)

1:57: Verse two. Montage still on. It starts building and building until...

2:29: Oh my God the backing track just smacked us in the face. I saw that this was referred to on some blogs/Twitters as an "a cappella" performance, which really suggests that a lot of people don't know what a cappella means. Because good Lord that music! Do we have to cry now? We've had like two hours of jokes (or attempted jokes) before this!

2:40: And THEN they go and undercut our Canadian friends by showing us Leslie Nielsen being hilarious during their dramatic second chorus. What are we supposed to do here! Oh the mood swings!

2:55: Really smooth timing there. The drums come in right as Mr. Cunningham finishes a sweet line. Aww Mr. C.

3:28: They are really swinging for the fences with the harmonies on Chorus #3. Don't strain anything, fellas.

3:46: Soaring guitar solo! Soaring guitar solo?

3:54: Oh OK it was only like two measures long. Tasteful.

4:02: We're back on our lads. LJG leads the way. They're doing the same left-hand coordinated emoting that they did at the beginning, which leads me to believe that they've been doing it for the last four minutes. 

4:25: LJG pulling out all the stops for this final chorus. My goodness. Don't hurt yourselves, fellas.

4:46: The singing ends. The audience applauds, possibly for Bubba Smith. What's a word that means more overwrought than overwrought? Overoverwrought?

Here's a true story. Several months ago I attended an Aimee Mann concert at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Virginia. I went by myself. Upon arriving I quickly and horrifyingly discovered that the Birchmere is pretty much a dinner theater, with tables set up and everything. Furthermore, I realized that arriving around the time of the concert's advertised start time and blending in with the crowd was not, as with most venues, the thing to do, but that for a venue like this one the thing to do is to show up like an hour early and eat, with all your friends, at these big dinner tables, and then chat for a while until Aimee Mann shows up a little after the advertised start time and plays to pleasant, elderly applause. And further that the thing definitely not to do is to go by yourself and eventually have to share a table with two people who were absolutely on a date and absolutely hated that I awkwardly snuck onto their table after the first song. And so in the fifteen minutes between my arrival and the beginning of the concert, I wandered around aimlessly outside the hall, terrified, planning my next move. Adorning the walls of this part of the venue were a bunch of signed programs of acts that had performed there in the past. Let's just say these were the kind of acts that don't usually play at the hip venues in town. And right outside the men's bathroom was a program for the Canadian Tenors. I literally laughed out loud at the absurdity of all of it: the ridiculous venue, my ridiculous situation, and the fact that there exists a group called the Canadian Tenors. I had forgotten all about them until last night. I was so happy to have them back in my life.

5:05: "IN MEMORIAM." I guess they had two different interns working on the intro and outro.

How I felt after the montage ended: Utterly bewildered.


  1. Speaking of The Voice...MOVES LIKE JAGGER!!

  2. Juliana (friend of Joon)November 8, 2011 at 5:40 AM

    You forgot k.d. lang's "Hallelujah" cover.