On Sunday I live-Tweeted the Emmys for my Writing for Digital Media homework assignment. Doing so meant that I missed the “Breaking Bad” finale (or so I thought), so yesterday I had issued a personal moratorium on all entertainment news to avoid any spoilers. There would not even be an image search for Emmy winners. Then it turned out that Sunday’s “Breaking Bad” episode was not the finale; that will be this Sunday’s. So while it was still nice not knowing anything about the next-to-last episode until I finally saw it through On Demand, it wasn’t worth the worry.
That said, I would never live-Tweet again. It’s not that it was a painful experience. It was just a weird mix of boredom, anxiety and mild amusement. To give you some background: I don’t think I’ve ever watched the entire Emmys before. Truth be told, I hadn’t watched an award show in years. I’ll watch snippets of the Oscars sometimes, but the last time I ever sat down and paid attention to them was when Jon Stewart hosted in 2006. Award shows were more important when I was a kid. That’s partly because the only other program I was allowed to watch past my bedtime was Nick News and partly because award shows have lots of sparkly things. Heck, I even watched the Miss America pageant back then.
The relative distance from award shows did give it a certain novelty when paired with the new experience of live-Tweeting. Sure, there was “Breaking Bad”, but there was always the encore presentation and if I missed that, it would reach On Demand pretty quickly. Equipped with my laptop and some homemade hummus, I was ready to go at eight o’clock sharp. My first Tweet of the evening read, “Let’s get this party started!”
I don’t know if “party” was the right word.
Again, it wasn’t horrible. Neil Patrick Harris was his usual charming self. It’s just that even though he’s been on TV for most of his life, NPH is a song-and-dance man at heart. He’s not the best choice for hosting a show that has no Best Song or Best Musical categories. I guess the people in charge wanted to limit the singing and dancing anyway, but in doing so, they limited Neil Patrick Harris. During a sketch where previous Emmys hosts, including Conan O’Brien, belittled him onstage, I found myself wishing Conan had been the one who hosted. Or maybe Kevin Spacey. Or maybe Bob Newhart, who appeared to have spent the evening wandering aimlessly around the set.
The other thing about having a show with no Best Song or Best Musical categories is that without musical performances, there isn’t much to fill in the time between awards. I think that’s the only reason the Best Choreography Emmy category exists. When they showed the video of Neil Patrick Harris surprising the Best Choreography nominees with a plan to create a routine involving all the nominated shows, you could tell he was in his element. The product of the collaboration was amazing. The mid-show musical number was clever too. The best of the non-musical time fillers (besides the memorials) was the cute “intervention” sketch with the “How I Met Your Mother” cast. Then there was the JFK/Beatles tribute with Don Cheadle and Carrie Underwood. It was odd. I understand that the Kennedy assassination and the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan appearance were seminal moments in TV history and both have 50th anniversaries coming up, but it still seemed out of place. In general, for a three-hour show, the Emmys seemed very underwritten. I know networks don’t count on people watching after the first half hour, but that doesn’t mean the show should just go on autopilot after that. There should be a reason to stick around besides the announcement for Best Drama Series. I could get that info in real time from Emmys.com while doing something more worthwhile, like reading Get Off My Internets.
Which is where the live-Tweeting came in. Had I more than four followers, I would have been the one depended upon for real-time information while my audience did other things. One of my mistakes in live-Tweeting was that I eventually treated it more like a journalistic endeavor and spent more time getting the names of the winners out there as quickly as possible than providing any unique insight. Insight was the only thing I had to offer that sites like Emmys.com did not. I have a feeling I’m going to get some flack for Tweeting out the names of the winners before making sure my spellings were correct. I made all the necessary corrections during the “In Memoriam” montage, but for some of the Tweets, that was as much as two hours after the fact. The trouble with live-Tweeting is that if you report news even five minutes after everyone else, there’s no point in doing it. It was also tough to be snarky and witty when there was a very small window of time in which the snarked-upon situation would remain relevant. What I should have live-Tweeted was the red carpet coverage. I used to think all the fuss about actresses’ gowns was stupid, but it would have been less time-sensitive and easier to make jokes if I took that route. In addition, I would have been able to watch “Breaking Bad”, which took longer to get On Demand than I wanted. At least that part worked out.
Still, I did my best. I made some comments and tried to add “bonus material” like YouTube links, including one to one of the “Mork and Mindy” episodes that Robin Williams referred to during his touching Jonathan Winters tribute. I hope I get positive feedback on the assignment, but like I said, I’m not doing it again. I hope my four followers don’t mind.