is expecting a child, a fact that Joan
her mother and
fellow co-host announced in her trademark squawk at the onset of E!
Entertainment Television's Emmy Award Pre-Show. Alas, if you were expecting
big stars as you tuned into the sartorial survey, it may have seemed like a
nine-month wait as well.
In fact, it wasn't until the middle of the program's lazy first hour that
E!'s mother-daughter team dug their claws into a flesh-and-blood Emmy
nominee, Everybody Loves Raymond's Peter Boyle. Prior to that big catch,
viewers had to bide their time with Shelley Morrison (who plays Will & Grace
fourth banana Rosario), Rudy Boesch from Survivor (whose wife all but
acknowledged that his 15 minutes were winding down), and some guy named
Curtis, a Big Brother contestant who won his admission on the house-based
But then Emma Thompson showed up, followed by Woody Allen, Ed Harris,
Kathy Bates, Rene Auberjonois and Anthony Hop... no, wait, those stellar
sightings happened as I began impatiently surfing the channels in a quest
for legitimate wattage. Sorry.
Other early stumbling blocks: Mom-to-be Melissa's interview with pregnant
Frasier star Jane Leeves, immediately followed by Joan's banter with new
mother Sheila Schiff (wife of The West Wing's Richard Schiff), threatened to
turn the red carpet review into a Lifetime special. One also
grimaced as Melissa trumpeted E!'s "multicamera coverage" as if she were
Jonas Salk unveiling a vaccine for polio.
By the 45-minute mark, Team Rivers while never to be mistaken for Diane
Sawyer and Jane Pauley began to cull some worthy sound bites. Nominee Kim
Cattrall admitted that "It's fun to get away with a lot of the stuff" she
does as Sex and the City sexpot Samantha, a role she initially turned down
three times. Beefy nominee Brian Dennehy quipped that his tuxedo came from
"the Ernest Borgnine Collection at Armani's Big Boy Shop" yet found
himself perplexed when Joan errantly insisted that he has a recurring role
on ER. (Oops.)
After getting oohed and ahhed by Joan (as does everyone at the actual
procession, only to be selectively skewered on the Riverses' follow-up
critique show), Camryn Manheim of The Practice leaving the Kevlar
breastplate at home this year pointed to her bejeweled designer earrings
and effused, "No more Target!"
The pre-event parade's most poignant moment came when perennial nominee
Kelsey Grammer was asked if his new horseback riding hobby had Frasier
bigwigs concerned for his safety. The recovering addict deftly replied, "The
things I used to do before were much more dangerous."
Alas, such genuine star moments were few, far between and separated by
way too many cast members from The Sopranos (seven middling and minor players
interviewed) and Survivor (five former castaways in all) yet,
conspicuously, not a single member of those Must-See Friends.
Looking back, the two-hour awards show preface served as adequate
background noise for a meat loaf dinner, yet was nowhere near as satisfying.
Then, eyeing the future, one cannot help but wonder which is a scarier
thought: that Survivor truck driver Sue will be joining Joan and Melissa in
their upcoming Emmy fashion review ("What? No Versace tankinis!?"), or that
a third generation of Rivers mouthpieces is possibly en route to our