It must have been really fun to be at the Golden Globes this year. Tom Hanks was generous with his love for Denzel Washington. "Empire" star Taraji P. Henson gave out cookies when she won for her role as Cookie. BFFs Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence said things to each other. And that’s just the stuff we saw on national television, not the stuff that certainly went down off-screen.
All that said? It wasn’t all that much fun to watch.
After host Ricky Gervais showed up for a short monologue, it became clear that rather than a celebration of some of the really great movies and TV that were released this year, the Golden Globes would just be a disappointment.
In his opening monologue, Ricky Gervais went hard on a few subjects — including a particularly cutting remark about Caitlyn Jenner — but nothing he said was more shocking than the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler tour de forces we’ve been treated to over the last few years.
And because, again, Gervais’s monologue was so short, it only took 10 minutes for it to become clear that this was going to be a complete mess. Officially speaking, that realization came to us via Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum — you saw Jonah Hill walking out wearing a bear hat, you expected maybe some weird and funny bits around the fake "bear rape" controversy, but you didn’t expect them to crater like they did. But the whole show disappointed on that level.
Perhaps a bunch of really funny things were said — but they were all bleeped out, thanks to NBC’s extremely overworked censor, who had to drop the audio out at least seven times over the course of the show, thanks to some not safe for broadcast moments. And here’s the thing — that’s fine! I’m happy that a bunch of talented people went to a great party! Everyone on screen seemed like they were having a really fun night. But for the home viewing audience, it was a waste of time.
Certainly the very attractive people looked very attractive, and it was nice to see them get their time on screen. It wasn’t devoid of joy. The show’s best moment of comedy came courtesy of a well-scripted presentation by Eva Longoria and America Ferrera, which spoofed the fact that they are two (beautiful) Latina ladies and thus get confused with other Latinas at times.
Actually, wait. Technically that was the best thing written by the writers of the Golden Globes, but that wasn’t the best moment of comedy. Aziz Ansari’s .01 seconds of screen time last night was the funniest thing to happen last night:
And that was not a particularly long moment.
(The funniest acceptance speech, I personally feel, was Maura Tierney thanking Dominic West for the "best performance by a man who makes every woman hate him." Acceptance speeches are always weird, though.)
So, everyone at the Beverly Hilton had a fun time last night. But why did we all watch it, when the show itself clearly didn’t care if we did?
The only thing about getting rid of the Golden Globes broadcast is that they do actually recognize some interesting films and television that fall outside the scope of the mainstream — mostly because they make the weirdest choices. And some of those who won awards last night could use the attention.
Important fact: Rachel Bloom’s win for Best Actress in a Comedy Series probably got her show "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" a second season. Earlier in the day, CW President Mark Pedowitz had been vaguely supportive about it during an executive session at the TCA Winter Press Tour, but cancelation now seems very unlikely thanks to the only award the CW won this year.
As "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is a good show that deserves any extra attention it can get, I can’t hate too hard on its win. The same goes for "Mr. Robot," "Mozart in the Jungle" and many other winners last night. But here’s the thing: Watching Kate Winslet accept her best supporting actress win for "Steve Jobs" so earnestly, after that Hill and Tatum bit didn’t work at all, was actively painful.
So if the Golden Globes aren’t going to treat their awards show as something that the general public should consume, why let us watch it? Why not just make it a fun party for the people involved? I say all this knowing that the show actually racked up some decent ratings — but watching pretty people in very nice outfits say bleeped out stuff to each other isn’t great television. And as someone whose primary interest is great television, I feel confident in saying: This isn’t the best way to recognize it.