In order for this year's Primetime Emmy Awards to be considered a success, I decided early on that one of three things must happen. The first one is obvious: To hell with the restraining order, I gotta finally meet Mariska Hargitay. Next, I must observe at least one uncomfortable moment between Sex and the City-movie killer Kim Cattrall and her resentful costars, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. And lastly, and this is a big one, the Academy has to end what's arguably become one of the most egregious snubs in awards show history and hand Scrubs the statuette for best comedy series. What? It wasn't even nominated? Great, I'm 0 and 1 and I haven't even put on my tux yet. Mariska, here I come!
1:15 pm/PST I arrive at the security check-in and there's a homeless man at the front of the line trying to gain access. Ah, Hollywood.
1:16 Wait, that's not a homeless man — it's Garry freakin' Shandling! Apparently, the starstruck guards were ready to let him pass through the gate even though he didn't have his official pass with him. "Anyone could come up here and say they're the host," Shandling deadpans to the guards. "Are you going to let them through, too?"
1:17 After some more good-natured ribbing, Shandling passes through the metal detector and meets up with his posse of heavily walkie-talkied producers and assistants.
2:15 I'm out on the red carpet and... oh my god, it's Kermit and Miss Piggy! Someone pinch me!
2:15:30 Ouch. There's no reason to get violent.
3:05 I just got my picture taken with Kermit and Miss Piggy! Someone pinch me!
3:05:30 OK, that hurt.
3:06 I just shook Kermie's little hand. Someone... hug me!
3:15 The Amazing Race finalists make their way down the carpet. Lord, Nicole's boobs are huge.
3:40 What's this? Colin and Christie are standing within inches of Mirna and Charla and they're not ripping each other's throats out! What gives?
3:42 "Let's just say, what happens on the Race stays on the Race," Mirna tells me. Um, what about the public thrashing you gave Colin just a few weeks ago on TV Guide Online? "We're all one big happy family," she insists, as if under some kind of mind-control spell. Just then, Charla — eyeing her Race cohorts posing for the paparazzi — tugs on her cousin's shirt and whines, "Oh, they're taking pictures of the whole group. Let's go." Ah, Hollywood.
3:45 The buzz on the red carpet: Omatrocious is gonna crash the festivities.
3:50 There's Bill Rancic! Let me ask him if Omatrocious was invited. "I don't believe she was," he replies. "It's just Carolyn, George, Trump and myself." Of course, he adds, "It's possible she may show up anyway. She could have bought a ticket."
3:59 Survivor millionaire Rupert arrives and pandemonium erupts.
4:16 A fire-breathing dragon makes its way down the red carpet. Oh, wait — it's Omatrocious. She showed up after all. Security!
4:30 William Shatner beams up right in front of me. What's the latest on his rumored Enterprise guest stint? "When I talked to them about money, [UPN] blinked," he says, adding that there's still a chance it could happen "if they open their eyes." Shatner then drops another juicy tidbit: The gig would be for two episodes, not just one. Scoop!
4:30 There's Kim Cattrall, getting grilled by Access Hollywood's Billy Bush. I can't be sure but I think he's asking her how it feels to be the one who killed the Sex and the City movie.
4:31 Oooh, Sarah Jessica Parker just arrived — and she's within spitting distance of Cattrall!
4:32 Damn, they missed each other. Where's Mariska?!
4:45 Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy hints that he may leave the show at the end of this season.
4:47 There's Mariska! She looks beautiful! She's talking to some mannequin from Entertainment Tonight. Get away from her — she's mine!
4:50 I walk up to Mariska, introduce myself and she gives me a big hug! What follows is our exchange:
Mariska: Thank you so much for all the nice things you've written!
Mike: Are you kidding? Thank you!
Mariska: It's so exciting to meet you. I hope you got all my messages.
Mike: I did! I'm rooting for you tonight.
Mariska: You have to meet my husband. (She grabs her new hubby, Peter Hermann.) This is Mike Ausiello from TV Guide.
Peter: Hey, It's really nice to meet you.
Mike: I'm obsessed with your wife.
Peter: I'm obsessed with my wife, too.
Mike: You have good taste, my friend.
4:51 The lovefest continues for a few more minutes before Mariska makes a beeline for the Shrine Auditorium. You go get your trophy, girl! Don't forget to thank me in your acceptance speech! (I didn't actually say that last part. I thought it, but I didn't say it.)
5:00 I get all settled backstage in the pressroom just as the show begins. Perfect timing.
5:07 All eyes are on the show feed as the supporting actor in a comedy award goes to... Frasier's David Hyde Pierce? Yawn...
5:10 Michael Imperioli wins for The Sopranos! Hooray!
5:20 Imperioli strolls backstage clutching his trophy. The press applauds.
5:35 A reporter refers to Imperioli by his character's name, Christopher. D'oh!
5:37 Cynthia Nixon is the next winner to meet the press. But just as she's about to answer her first question I look up at the monitor and... Oh my god, it's Adriana! She's alive — and she just won a freakin' Emmy!
5:39 No one has asked Nixon about Cattrallgate. I raise my hand but I'm too late. No more questions allowed. Dang it.
5:45 And today's "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" award for the lamest question ever posed backstage at the Emmys goes to... the reporter who asked best guest actress in a comedy winner Laura Linney, "Are you doing anything special for fitness?" Her reply: "Well, I breathe on a regular basis."
5:59 She's alive! Sweet Jesus, she's alive! Adriana and her new pal, Emmy, arrive in the pressroom to field questions.
6:00 "I was praying that I was not going to win," she admits. "Having to get up there was the scariest moment of my life."
6:00 "I don't know if she's dead, but if she is, she'll probably come back and haunt them," Drea says of Adriana's off-camera whacking. She then adds that she "would love to come back" in one form or another.
6:36 Sopranos scribe Terence Winter, who won best writing in a drama for penning Adriana's swan song, "Long Term Parking," reveals the reason viewers didn't actually see the mob mole get shot on screen. "It just would have been too painful." True that. True that.
6:37 Winter then puts the final nail in the character's coffin when he confirms once and for all that Adriana is indeed dead.
6:40 Elaine Stritch is still in a crotchety mood. Attempting to adjust the microphone, she barks, "Don't anyone help me."
6:41 Scanning the room to try and find the reporter who just asked her a question, Stritch scowls, "Put your hand up!"
6:46 "You're not a very responsive group," Stritch kvetches. "I'm gonna go back out on stage." No, don't go. You're bitter and funny — my favorite combo!
7:03 Daily Show double winner Jon Stewart denies reports that he may jump ship to CBS to succeed Craig Kilborn on The Late Late Show. "I'm very happy where I am."
7:04 And today's second "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" award goes to the reporter who asked Stewart, "What makes a woman happy in marriage?" His classic retort: "I'm sorry if I gave you guys the wrong impression, but I'm not a woman."
7:05 Stewart is asked to comment on Britney Spears' surprise weekend nuptials. His response? "Who gives a f--k?" Hey, this bitter-funny thing is contagious.
7:12 There's a lull in the pressroom, so everyone's attention turns back to the show feed and... The West Wing's Allison Janney wins for best lead actress in a drama. No!
7:12:30 What the SVU...? She's inviting my girl Mariska to join her at the podium. Don't do it, Mariska — it's a trap!
7:13 Mariska finally gives in and walks on stage — only to be banished to the sidelines and completely ignored! Not cool. Not cool at all.
8:25 After another long lull, the press room comes alive with the sound of Emmy winner Sarah Jessica Parker. She's immediately asked about the fate of the Sex and the City movie, to which she replies, "No movie."
8:26 Is no one gonna ask her about Cattrallgate? Gimme that freakin' mic!
8:30 "Was there any weirdness seeing Kim for the first time since she killed the Sex movie?" (That's not exactly how I worded it, but you get the point.) "No," Parker replies, rather unconvincingly. "I think we all wanted very much to be here tonight.... I think the thing that I wanted everyone to remember was that this was the first time all four of us were nominated, and that's really special. And sometimes things like that get [overshadowed] by things that are titillating and untrue. And it can be frustrating because what we want to do is celebrate this extraordinary moment... So it wasn't weird for me. I can't speak for anybody else." I think I can speak on behalf of passersby everywhere when I say I'm not buyin' it.
8:32 Hey, I finished the night 2 and 3 — and I met Kermit and Miss Piggy, too! Now that's what I call a successful Emmys.