Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays brainiac Chloe on Fox series "24" was the kickoff entertainment at the Television Critics Association's trophy show.
Male critics in the room loved her; female critics -- not so much.
Rajskub started by noting how hot it was outside; the Los Angeles area has experienced record heat the past couple days -- up around 118 degrees in Pasadena, where the critics' death-march-with-scrambled-eggs known as Summer TV Press Tour 2006 slogs through its final week.
Rajskub told critics she intends to tell her boyfriend, Rush Limbaugh that global warming is real.
It didn't seem to play well in the room; maybe TV critics hadn't seen the photo of the conservative yakker planting a big wet one on her mouth during a recent "24" convention hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington last month. Or, maybe they just didn't want to think about it.
"I think I'm the one who listens in the relationship; he's not the listening type," she said of Limbaugh. She called herself a blank slate politically and said he tells her that we're waging "a war on war about a war and we have to go to war so we don't have to go to war."
Mostly silence, some tittering.
Then, Rajskub started to talk about her Tuesday night talk show which, she said, is in her head.
Before she goes to bed.
And covered in ants.
What seemed like hours later when she finally finished her bit, Hugh Laurie was the lucky guy who got to follow her act; picking up his trophy for best drama actor, he said had not believed his respect and admiration for TV critics could grow greater, but it has. Laurie also won last year.
ABC's "Lost" was pronounced best drama series but ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was named program of the year. Someone forgot to tell their entourages the trophy show isn't being televised so they didn't need to give such earnest speeches: this little show was never supposed to work, how "amazing" is it that when we told network suits we wanted to do an episode in which a guy puts his hand into a guy who has a bomb in him they said that's cool, blah, blah, blah.
Greg Garcia, whose NBC series "My Name is Earl" was named best new show, did get the The Trophy Show Will Not Be Televised memo. He nicked critics for not loving his other show, CBS's spectacularly un-funny "Yes Dear," saying if there is one thing he learned working on "Yes, Dear" it's that you need critics on your side, because otherwise your show will only run, oh, maybe six seasons.
Best-comedy trophy went to NBC's "The Office" and star Steve Carell was named best comedy series actor. Accepting his trophy, Carell read a review written by Peter Ko of his performance in a short-lived late-90's ABC series called "Over the Top," starring Tim Curry and Annie Potts, in which Carell plays a deaf mute chef.
"I wish I could say that Carell is bad," Ko wrote, " but that would imply that I have some frame of reference to judge him against. The truth is I have never seen anything like what I saw last Tuesday night. I have stood in a freezer full of dead people at the morgue. I have seen a man's scalp pulled back over his nose. I've even seen 35 minutes of Ellen DeGeneres's 'Mr. Wrong.' But I can now honestly say that until Steve Carell's turn in the premiere of 'Over the Top,' I have never known true horror."
When Carol Burnett picked up her TCA lifetime achievement trophy, she said she still worked and she wanted a guest gig on "The Office." Uncomfortableness all around at "The Office" table.
NBC's "The West Wing" got the TCA's Heritage Award - aka the The So-Long Trophy. Creator Aaron Sorkin -- looking positively naked without uber-wrangler Pat Kingsley, who'd stuck to him like glue at the NBC party the night before to make sure critics couldn't get at him -- told same critics it was an "incredible compliment" to get this award.
PBS picked up two trophies: best movie, mini or special went to the "American Masters" Bob Dylan miniseries, while "Frontline" got feted for best news program.
And critics gave their best-kids-show trophy to Disney Channel's hit "High School Musical," although some critics afterwards admitted they're so tired of the hype they want to beat it with a bat until it's dead.
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