Film and TV

Who won the 2008 Golden Globes?

The writers.

It's tempting to say that we, the viewing audience, did too—after all, we didn’t have to watch the ceremony this year. But honestly, the Globes are often the most entertaining of the annual awards telecasts, since they pride themselves on being less stuffy than the Oscars and the Emmys, less predictable, less scripted. But even less scripted wasn't unscripted, and so the 2008 Globes were reduced to a 2-hour Matt Lauer Globes-themed Dateline (which felt like filler—which it was, since running it meant that NBC didn't have to return paid ad revenue for the night) and a "news special" on NBC.

The "news special" was a strange little thing. Hosts Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell (from Access Hollywood) are practiced fluff-featuring teleprompter readers. But they looked more scared than anything, fumbling for something to say, trying desperately to fill the emptiness. It didn’t help it looked like they were at a podium in front of an empty auditorium. It was reminiscent of the "Wake Up and Smile" bit from Saturday Night Live, when the teleprompters go down, and a chipper morning show turns into Lord of the Flies. I kept waiting for Nancy O'Dell to tear Billy Bush's head off, and exclaim "HIS STRENGTH IS WITHIN ME."

That, at least, would have been something notable from the staid proceedings—and the Globe award-winners certainly didn't do anything to create excitement. But as I said, the real winners were the writers anyway. Because the pain felt by Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell and Matt Lauer and everyone else involved with presenting what amounted to a non-event? That's a victory for the writers. The fact that NBC lost a huge segment of the audience, who tuned out early or decided not to watch in the first place? A victory for the writers. The revelation that without writers, the television world can't just keep on spinning? Victory for the writers.

Let's just hope that producers realize it, and agree to terms that will end the strike soon. -- Teague Bohlen