Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« In/Visible is Up: Zoe Strauss | "But Taco Bell Was Closed" »

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This is What a Writers’ Strike Looks Like

posted by on January 9 at 10:39 AM


Did anyone else happen to catch last night’s television broadcast of the People’s Choice Awards? Oh my god.

Toronto Star columnist Vinay Menon lays it out well:

With no red carpet, no live audience, no attending celebrities and no reason for host Queen Latifah to be as giddy as she was, the broadcast had the look and feel of a cable-access retrospective. CBS promised a “newsmagazine” approach. We now know what this means: clips, taped acceptance speeches, asinine questions from the People and, most bizarrely, a musty glut of “highlights” from previous telecasts.

It’s as if some executive suddenly stood up during a sombre planning meeting and triumphantly declared, “I’ve got it! We can’t actually have a show this year, right? But we could just replay bits from previous years!” And then somebody else chimed in, “Also, let’s get Queen Latifah to routinely break into song for no apparent reason! And let’s make sure all the taped speeches induce mass narcolepsy!”

From Katherine Heigl to Reese Witherspoon, from a mute Robin Williams to a cue-card using Joaquin Phoenix, the speeches were delivered with all the spirit and energy of political hostages. And let’s not even get started on Queen Latifah. Was she rapping? Doing research for an upcoming operatic role? Trying to be funny? Or just heavily medicated?

Who knows but the People should definitely consider a class-action suit for hosting negligence.

True, true, and true. It was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen on television. Despite being royalty, Queen Latifah worked her ass off, in all directions. If a winning movie or actor came from or took place in Britain, Latifah announced the name in a kicky Cockney brogue. For every category, Latifah came on with a level of enthusiasm typically reserved for lottery wins. It was just her and the camera and she effing went for it, to everyone’s detriment.

More than anything, it reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Springfield bans television so Krusty the Klown commences 24-live broadcasting from a scrappy outpost, eventually just dancing wearily before the camera saying “Hey HEY! Hey HEY!”

If anyone else lived this nightmare, please share your experience in the comments. I’m still kind of freaked out, and need commiseration.

RSS icon Comments


I'm so glad I went to bed early last night.

Posted by boxofbirds | January 9, 2008 10:41 AM

People actually watch the People's Choice Awards? Huh.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 9, 2008 10:44 AM

And today the writers have a message for you...


Posted by monkey | January 9, 2008 11:01 AM

This was the first time I ever watched the People's Choice Awards, and I did it out of a perverse curiosity to see how the WGA strike would affect the show.

I kinda feel for Latifah; wow, was she over the top . But what a strange, sad spectacle.

Nice to have Katherine Heigl, Patrick Dempsey, Chandra Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, the kid from "Two and a Half Men" and others mention the strike. (Impressive that Witherspoon worked in not one, but two, references to her currently shooting film.)

My two larger questions: What substance/s did Joaquin Phoenix ingest right before taping his acceptance speech, and why did he misspell his own name? These two questions are possibly related.

Posted by Turtle | January 9, 2008 11:04 AM

I kept trying to watch it, but it was almost like watching paint dry.

Very very sad, and Queen Latifah did her best to try to save it ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 9, 2008 11:23 AM


I didn't watch the PCA, but Phoenix is a painfully bad guest on talk shows. Horribly shy, can barely choke out the obligatory "funny" story. He was either sober and suffering from his usual phobias, or he ingested some substance to help him deal with public speaking.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 9, 2008 11:27 AM

Yeah, I was drunk, and looking for comic relief but found nothing. I'm SO glad someone posted about it here- I couldnt even watch the whole thing. From what I did see, it looked painful and I was embarrassed for her. I pray she was on something, 'cus I dont know anyone that could do something that lame and not be wasted. Let's just hope she still has a career. Ouch.

I DID however end up watching the documentary Jesus Camp. Holy crap, if you havent seen it already, the BEST cameo is Ted Haggard, a year or so before he was outed preaching and everyone loving the shit out of him. THATS what I call comic relief.

Posted by catnextdoor in albuquerque | January 9, 2008 11:28 AM

I didn't see the show, but did see the Joaquin Phoenix bit online. How funny was it that he spelled his own name wrong. On purpose? To be funny because of his whole "I'm speechless without the writers" message?

Posted by Julie | January 9, 2008 11:38 AM

Oh, and I watched the whole Cashmere Mafia.

Then I had to take a shower.


Posted by Will in Seattle | January 9, 2008 12:38 PM

Darn, the People's Choice Awards is the only awards show I make it a point NOT to watch. It sounds like this year I should have made an exception.

Posted by madamecrow | January 9, 2008 5:53 PM

Last night was suicide on tv. Could only watch a sec. of Latifah...way too weird. Then tried to watch the Frontline on the over-medicating of children in the US ...fucking depressing... and then tried to watch Cashmere Mafia which threw me into a epileptic fit. I went to bed too tormented to even try to read a motherfucking book.

Posted by M | January 9, 2008 7:28 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).