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2014 TCA Awards: Onstage and After
July 21, 2014  | By Bill Brioux  | 9 comments

BEVERLY HILLS, CA.– Who turned out the lights? That’s what everybody was asking shortly after Saturday night’s 30th annual TCA Awards. It was as if once all the stars left from the post awards party, they took all the electricity with them.

With elevators out of commission, the party simply moved downstairs to the dimly lit Trader Vics’ bar. There, critics' pal John Solberg and his FX credit card made beer and wine magically appear. It was a cool little campfire ending to a memorable night.

Earlier in the evening, when the lights were still on, there was plenty of star power in the house. Matthew McConaughey was on hand to accept his Best Actor Drama award for HBO's True Detective. “You guys and ladies did shine a light on our show,” said McConaughey, sparking a theme repeated throughout the night.

Julia Louis Dreyfus took the Best Actor Comedy prize for HBO's Veep and thanked critics with, “I love being criticized.”

Fox’s Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey took the Best News and Information award. The opportunity to make reference to Uranus was not seized in either the set up or the acceptance speech, the biggest drop-the-ball moment of the evening.

True Detective took Best Miniseries and CBS's The Good Wife won Best Drama. Best Comedy was a tie between Veep and FX's Louie. Veep creator Armando Iannucci – an Italian living in Scotland skewering American politics – killed with a very funny thank you speech.

Critics selected Bravo's RuPaul’s Drag Race as their favorite Reality Show, a head scratcher for some of us, as well as for the folks from CBS's The Amazing Race. They were sitting in the room, and probably feeling like they’d missed a checkpoint.

It was disappointing to see just one young lad – 32-year-old "Weekend Update" anchor Colin Jost – accept the critics’ Heritage Award for 39 seasons of NBC's Saturday Night Live. After all, as Jost pointed out, there have been 140 cast members over the years, 220 writers, and 500 hosts.

Dozens should have been onstage, especially Lorne Michaels. By coincidence, three former SNL hosts were in the house: McConaughey, Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston. Jost completely rose to the occasion, however, with a smart speech. Born years after the series began, he relayed something Michaels once told him about how critics stopped loving the show after the first cast moved on. Nobody liked Arthur Miller’s follow-up work after Death of a Salesman, Michaels told Jost, and then when Miller died one critic said even Salesman wasn’t that great.

The great Jim Burrows won for Career Achievement and paid homage to the man who gave him his start, Grant Tinker. The producer and programming executive was honored at the very first TCA Awards 30 years earlier. Burrows repeated the old saw about how Cheers ranked "75th out of 74 shows” its first season and thanked critics for saving it. The master TV director said he didn’t always agree with what critics wrote, but added – waving his trophy – ”I agree with this.”

Program of the Year went to the only real choice – AMC's Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan was humble and Cranston hilarious in their thank you speeches. Since so many had already thanked HBO during the evening Cranston thanked them too – for turning his show down.

Fun for critics was seeing past TCA presidents Dusty Saunders and Ron Miller return to hand out some of the awards. Two top print guys from a time when the TCA press tour was almost exclusively made up of writers on the TV beat, neither sounded like they’d missed a step. The current members who presented onstage all shone, with past president Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times Picayune especially droll and dry in his set up to Veep. It’s a tough room to step up and make funny when you look out and see some of the biggest names in television, so hats off to everybody.

Also fun was the three-minute clip reel of past TCA Awards show moments as well as the slide show before the awards showing many of us back in the day. Kudos to TCA Veep Amber Dowling for pushing for the extras.

Host Terry Crews, of Fox's Brooklyn Nine Nine, showed he can sing as well as do shtick. “President Camacho” was joined by surprise guest co-host Miss Piggy, who seemed right at home in a room full of hambones.

Although, as my tablemate Roger Catlin observed, it was unclear exactly how she was helped by the TelePrompTer...
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Jan 19, 2023   |  Reply
As a co-presenter of the News & Information award, I had Uranus joke ready to roll. But my co-presenting colleague refused (perhaps wisely) to go with it. Basically it went like this. I'd cite my long tenure on "press tour" and how I co-presented at the very first awards ceremony in 1985. All of these years later, as the original joke went, "I feel older than all of our nominees in this category, even the Cosmos.

Rejoinder: "Really? You don't look a day older than Uranus."

Anyway, it turned out to be a non-starter because it took two to tell this joke. And now you know the rest of the story on "dropping the ball."
Jul 22, 2014   |  Reply
Interesting comment about RuPaul's Drag Race winning best reality over The Amazing Race. I've not seen the RuPaul show, but the last few seasons, The Amazing Race has been pretty poor, either in terms of the tasks which must be performed or in the way the race is run: no one should be able to U-turn someone else until they have completed the task they needed to in a Double U-turn, for example, and the way teams form alliances and give answers to one another should be prohibited. Not to mention the blatant product placement: people raving about the back door on an SUV? Really??? I've gotten to the point where I'm seriously considering dropping it next season, and I have been watching for several years and always enjoyed seeing other countries. But the last few seasons have been disappointing, to say the least. I don't know if the RuPaul show deserves to win, but The Amazing Race no longer does.
Jul 22, 2014   |  Reply
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