God Weighs in on TCA Picks with Darkness

2014-tca-award-winners-listHonoring antiheroes had its consequences Saturday at the 30th TV Critics Association Awards.

Just after awarding “Breaking Bad” a repeat win as program of the year on a night that also honored a cop investigated for lawbreaking on “True Detective” and jailed women in “Orange is the New Black,” a fumbling candidate in “Veep,” lights went out in the hosting Beverly Hilton hotel for three hours.

A reception in the anteroom for the ballroom also used each year for the Golden Globes Awards plunged into darkness before emergency lights clicked on, replacing chandeliers with dim emergency lights. Workers with flashlights blinkered by as desperate reporters worked out deals with the bartenders who were reluctant to serve without their computerized registers.

Revelers in residence couldn’t trudge back to their rooms so easily; elevators were out too. And after a night of saluting television, professional critics were denied the ability to actually watch it.

Earlier, star power competed with candlepower as Matthew McConaughey appeared to receive the night’s first award, for individual achievement in drama for his work in “True Detective,” which also took the category of miniseries. He thanked critics for helping “shine a light on the show early on and creating a nice little phenomenon” and his own character Rustin Cole, “for having a bullshit meter of zero.”

He, like individual achievement in comedy winner Julia Louis Dreyfus of “Veep,” appreciated the lack of gender distinctions in the acting categories, unusual in awards shows. Coed lists of nominees, she said, were like “coed bathrooms in college: At first they’re shocking, then you get used to it.”

Perhaps showing a wisdom in retrospect considering the blackout, she literally ran out of the ballroom following the event. Her show, “Veep” also shared a win for outstanding comedy with “Louie.” That gave an opportunity for “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci to tell a filthy joke in the acceptance speech, taking advantage of the event’s non televised status. (Louis C.K. wasn’t present for the win, though a couple of producers were).

Taylor Schilling, star of Netflix’ “Orange is the New Black” gave a rollicking speech on behalf of a handful of cast members from the show who joined her. It began: “I’m reading off a teleprompter.” (And she was).

Also on teleprompter for the first time was the evening’s host, Terry Crews of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and the night’s surprise guest, Miss Piggy of the Muppets. The teleprompter screen scrolled along in their opening exchange that included a song, though it was unclear how a puppet could have actually benefited from it.

Julia Marguiles wasn’t there as “The Good Wife” was the rare network winner for outstanding drama; nor was Seth MacFarlane or Neil Degrasse Tyson for “Cosmos,” which won outstanding achievement in news and information. RuPaul didn’t even show up to pick up the outstanding reality show award for “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He was across town shooting.

And a long-in-coming heritage award for “Saturday Night Live” drew its least known player, Colin Jost, to pick up what he called “the Teen Choice Award.”

Elder former presidents were brought back on the occasion of the event’s 30th anniversary to dole out awards, and one introduced career achievement award winner James Burrows as James Brooks. The winner played along, saying he’d regale everyone with stories from “Terms of Endearment.” But he ended: “You write stuff I don’t always agree with. I agree with this.”


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