The Gemini Awards. Live? No. Dangerous? Yup

Cory Monteith can relax. He survived his gig hosting Saturday night’s Gemini Awards in Toronto without any major hiccups. The same could not be said, however, for the rest of the Canadian TV industry salute.
A sweet, unplugged set by Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith and Feist half way through Saturday night’s award-fest was both the high point and the low point of the broadcast. The moment was lost when the screen went black before the end of the song.
Elvis had not left the building; a technical snafu sabotaged the end of the tune and a strange, Groundhog Day-like comedy of errors followed. Viewers at home (east of Winnipeg, at least) were left baffled as the Elvis blackout was followed by a rerun of a “Top 25 Canadian Shows” segment that ran immediately prior to Costello’s set. A quick glimpse of Cory, and then, instead of cutting to a commercial, they ran it again. Three times we saw the pre-packed salute to Due South, Being Erica and The Friendly Giant. Screw up, screw waaaay up. Then they cut off Cory again to show a clip from The Good Wife! WTF??!

Hey, as Costello would say, accidents will happen. The snafu exposed the fact that the show wasn’t really live but was in fact being fed live to tape about a half-hour behind the actual proceedings. Perhaps the Trailer Park Boys were in the switchers booth. The mid-show mishap was sorted out before viewers west of Manitoba caught up to it.
Better to dwell on the fun cold opening, a pre-packaged comedy bit with Monteith supposedly in his trailer in L.A. calling up Canadian pals like Ron Maclean, Cathy Jones, Ron James, Colin Mochrie, Fred Ewanuick, Jason Priestley and Rick the Temp. Maclean’s advice to the homesick Gleek: light a scented candle and crank up “Life is a Highway.” Always good advice.
Monteith then entered the Wintergarden Theatre with a marching band and did his drum shtick. It got the show off on a strong beat and distracted anyone who might have been hoping for some song and dance from the Glee guy. The comedy monologue that followed was hit and miss but Monteith never claimed to be Leno. (Best line–on Americans who think Canadians are all so nice: “I invite you to stare into the cold black depths of Hugh Dillon’s eyes.”) What came across was Monteith’s good-natured charm and his genuine enthusiasm at getting this gig.

Working against him as well as many of the presenters and acceptors throughout the night was the generic comedy store wall used as a stage backdrop. Take my TV industry awards show–please. Otherwise good use was made of Toronto’s elegant and eccentric Wintergarden Theatre.
Here are the TVFMF Awards for the night:
Best acceptance speech: Cle Bennett from the short-lived TMN drama The Line. The dude dazzled in black and chrome and then paid tribute to his prolific author/producer with this memorable statement: “George Walker is like Betty Crocker–follow the recipe. Instead of getting a chocolate cake you get a Gemini cake.” He then advised kids at risk across Canada to basically put down their guns and take acting classes. And you think there’s too much drama on Degrassi now?
Funniest sketch line: much of the “stars pitch ideas on Dragon’s Den” sketch seemed pretty lame except for when Videos on Trial wiseguy Trevor Boris started pitching names for his new GayHL sports league–and ended with the Montreal Alouettes. It IS the gayest pro sports name ever!
Best presenters: Tie between Enrico Colantoni and Leah Miller, who seemed to be engaged in some sort of weird, intense private conversation and the 22 Minutes duo of Geri Hall and Gavin Crawford, who could tour as a team with their timing and chemistry.
Most mangled category name: “Best performance by an actress in a featured supporting role in a dramatic series.” Would it kill them to just say, “Best supporting actress in a drama”? The deserving winner was Catherine Disher from The Border. Too bad she was a no-show, but, then again, so is The Border.

2 Responses to “The Gemini Awards. Live? No. Dangerous? Yup”

  1. This latest media snafu can be added to CBC’s blotched Remembrance Day coverage (on a clear sunny day), CTV Toronto’s despairing municipal election night – as well as Sun TV’s results show disappearance and CityTV’s cable one(?) only offering instead of broadcast. Then add in Astral Media’s Boom 97.3 fm radio station’s current No Canadian Artists Included street posters and (I believe through intermittant listening) music multi-clip station promos.
    Who’s left? The Star newspaper and its 40 establishment Smitherman supporters’ agenda?
    Go Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Buffalo Bills, Go!

  2. I overlooked nearby Hamilton CHCH’s “this week’s” 50 million +11 LottoMax commerical which was aired on Friday night (it wasn’t that week’s prize). As if I was gonna walk away from a Smallville episode. Buy Your Ticket Now 😉


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