Logie gems to treasure
SOME moments to treasure from the 42nd Annual TV Week Logie Awards:
8.35pm: as they sing, it suddenly strikes me that the Poptarts, perennial runners-up, are a perfect metaphor for Nine's current relationship to Seven, especially on this night (David Leckie's mob win six Logies, one of which it shares with Ten 1/2, compared to Seven's eight). Sadly, the group is dispatched before this matter can be contemplated further...
8.38pm: Sam Newman looking distinctly unimpressed by host Andrew Denton's teasing about his reconstructed face and unreconstructed attitudes. (Satisfyingly, Newman will serve as something of a punching-bag tonight, accounting for almost half-a-dozen snide references. And, as ever, those most keen to dish it out, are proven to be the ones who least like to take it.)
8.45pm: Nine's Hi-5 ("Wiggles with nipples," Denton calls them) win Most Outstanding Children's Program. Like seemingly every girl here under 25, they have backless tops, plunging decolletages and no bras. By the time Blue Heelers' Jane Allsop gets up in what's essentially a midriff-baring doily, I realise that, with only a very few modifications, this could be the Adult Video Awards: the same tasteless, revealing frocks, the same skinny frames. And really, it's not such a stretch from Best Newcomer in a Series to Best Threesome.
9.01pm: Nick Giannopoulos all but demanding the crowd applaud his achievement with The Wog Boy — then trying to justify it by launching a couple of lame gags. Classy. You want to tell him: listen pal, just because something's popular, doesn't mean it's any good. If you want proof, just look around you.
9.07pm: The first casualty of the night, The 7.30 Report's Kerry O'Brien looking distinctly pissed. "I'm leaning to the Right, Andrew," he manages, mid-banter. Er, doesn't he mean teetering?
9.11pm: Savage Garden sing Crash and Burn. Dedicated to O'Brien.
9.19pm: Dawn Lake appears, just in time to teach the pretty young things a thing or two about elegance and poise — though the B&W clips used to introduce her could hardly be said to have aged quite so well. (This was television's Golden Age?) The most worrying thing is the cut away to Russell Gilbert, and the look of rapturous delight on his face as this D-grade vaudeville unspools; you can almost see him filing away ideas. ("Custard pies in the face? Jeez, this stuff is gold!")
9.35pm: The Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress. Lisa McCune visibly thinking, "Please, don't let it be me again." And sure enough, it is.
9.41pm: Better Homes & Gardens wins Most Popular Lifestyle Program; Noni Hazelhurst takes an on-stage swipe at Don Burke that has her entire cast clapping. Not to mention this viewer.
9.42pm: Ruby Wax's routine about anorexic supermodels falls to earth with a thud. (Hardly surprising, given that many of her audience are waiting for the commercial break to run to the ladies' room and vomit up the half-a-fish stick they swallowed earlier.) Still, at least her dress has a back to it.
9.58pm: The Panel's Tom Gleisner looking like a rabbit in the headlights under Denton's interrogation. Another one who apparently can't take what he dishes out.
10.05pm: The evening's nadir. First the graphic shots of crowd violence in East Timor — slightly at odds with the overall tone of the evening, one would think (this is, after all, an industry in which all the knifing happens behind closed doors) — then the standing ovation accorded Major-General Peter Cosgrove. Who, yes, did do an excellent job, and probably does deserve some kind of recognition. But not, perhaps, at a TV awards show, sandwiched between the likes of Home and Away and Australia's Funniest Home Videos. Unless of course it's intended to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between the media / entertainment and war machines, two arms of the same mechanism. All that could cheapen this further, I comment to friends, would be the Tony Bartuccio Dancers. Then Cosgrove presents a "surprise" award (apparently for "Australian-ness") to John Farnham, and I shut up.
10.19pm: Nadir number two. Not Macy Gray's performance of I Try, which was fine, but the sight of various size-6 waifs grooving along — tragically, while still sitting in their chairs — and miming to the lyrics, often direct-to-camera. Because, really, it's all about you, kids. Lovely shot of Gray at the end, looking out at the crowd with an expression of frank disbelief. Like, who the hell are you people?
10.26pm: Daryl Somers wins the Logie for Most Popular Comedy / Light Entertainment Program. No gobsmacked look of false surprise this time (the jaw hanging open, the eyes staring glassily, as if unable to believe he'd even been nominated) — no, just a tight little smile and a "Told you so, you pricks" expression. Clearly the wounds of his axing have not yet healed.
10.28pm: Who's that Asian boy next to Molly Meldrum?
10.35pm: George Negus makes deprecating remark about TV comedies keeping TV news "honest". Get with the program, mate, Frontline's been off the air for years.
10.42pm: Ray Martin (after thoughtfully reminding us of his own obsolescence) launches a heartfelt tribute to an ailing Bruce Gyngell. Cue music and archival footage. Time to make a cup of tea.
11.07pm: As Don Burke's Gold Logie nomination is read out, and his face appears on camera, the woman behind him can be seen staring at him with a cold sort of hatred. An almost subliminal, yet intensely satisfying moment.
11.08pm: Lisa McCune. What a surprise. (What is this — number 17 for her, or something?) Her expression says it all, a kind of resigned good grace. Her speech is short and faintly embarrassed; clearly, she wanted someone else to win the Gold this time. And so, equally clearly, did Don Burke. I call that a happy ending.