Pat Clark

Pat Clark: They must have worked hard to be that bad

As eggs go, the folks who put together Sunday night's Emmy Awards telecast laid the biggest one, mmmmm ... pretty much ever.

And they didn't just lay it once, folks. They came back to lay it over and over and over again.

Oh, it was bad. Really, really bad.

How bad? One of the precious few engaging moments of the evening (and by precious few,

I mean three. Three engaging moments over the course of three hours. One per painful hour.) came from 82-year-old Don Rickles, who got the biggest laughs of the night by mercifully veering from delivering the "jokes" written by Emmy show scribes to instead ridicule the same.

Yes, it was so bad, they actually were lampooning it as it was happening.

That's bad.

Oprah Winfrey opening the evening by declaring how important TV is while simultaneously basking in what she clearly believes to be her very own immense importance?

Roll-your-eyes bad. (Seriously, I am so over Oprah)

The "we-have-no-bit" bit by the reality TV host emcees for the night?

Embarrassingly bad.

The tear-away tux ripped from Heidi Klum by Tom Bergeron and William Shatner?

Bad with the added benefits of being tacky and childish.

Josh Groban's seemingly unending reimagining of classic television theme songs?

Bad and woefully misguided because that poor kid really can sing. He just shouldn't sing peppy theme songs. Or rap. Oh, sweet mercy, no. Don't let the kid rap.

Shall we go on? Because there truly is so much more to attack.

You're right. Let's not. It's just too easy.

But, easy swipes aside, the show has to have been the worst awards telecast in the history of television -- and yes, that includes the writers-strike-

forced reading-off-of-winners-

names ceremony that replaced last year's Golden Globes. In fact, if the crew had reverted to that podium-and-paper format midceremony Sunday night, it would have been a welcome relief from what it was putting on the air.

Because the real losers turned out to be the poor winners. They were hard to pick out, tucked into that heaping morass of repeated incompetence that managed to totally overshadow the stellar work the actors, producers and real writers were awarded for.

Adding to the frustration, this quite likely was the most across-the-board deserving set of winners who have been handed Emmys in recent memory.

"Mad Men," Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, "30 Rock," Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Jean Smart, Zeljko Ivanek: all stellar and all deserving of their Emmys and more. But they all also were crammed into the last minutes of the show -- the biggest awards of the night, the ones we sit through everything else to see -- rushed through double-time because of a bombardment of clunker jokes, poorly re-created classic TV sets and stilted reality TV hosts.

Even clever ideas that really should have worked, like having cast members from "Laugh-In" peek through a re-created flower-power wall of doors and windows, fell flat.

Notice Goldie Hawn wasn't among them? Smart blonde.

Along with the Rickles glib ad-lib winner came brief wiffs of fresh air from Ricky Gervais, with help from Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert paired with Jon Stewart.

But, really, Gervais, Carell, Colbert and Stewart? Those four could be funny in their sleep. Heck, they actually may have been asleep. I know I started to nod off a couple of times.

Sure, times are tough all over, but next year, the folks over at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences really should fork out some cash and pay those four to write and emcee their awards show. Because whatever cut-rate deal they made with this year's group was a clear case of getting what you pay for.

Contact Scene editor Pat Clark at