So Kathy Griffin has this term of, well, not endearment — whatever the opposite of endearment is — for the Creative Arts Emmys. She calls them “The Schmemmys,” basically because they're the nerdy little sister of the Emmys, where the supposedly second-tier awards are given out.
We don't know if Ms. Griffin was invited to last night's first ever American version of the National Reality TV Awards, but had she been there, we can't imagine what God-awful derogatory slur she'd come up with to describe this thing.
Actually we don't know who was invited at all. The cast of Basketball Wives? Ryan Seacrest? Kim Kardashian and her bro-in-law Lamar Odom? All of these people were nominated for awards, yet none of them were around. Porn star and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew alum Mary Carey was there, though. That can't be a good sign.
The show, which was held at the Crescent Hotel, had all the necessary ingredients for a glitzy Beverly Hills event. There was a red carpet, there were pretty ladies in gowns, there was plenty of champagne and passed hors d'oeuvres and a massive pile of cheese nobody was eating.
But looking around through the small sea of people, few faces looked familiar. There was that dude who arrived in a helicopter on The Bachelorette, and the guy interviewing people on the red carpet definitely looked like you'd at least seen him on the internet before.
But we deduced that perhaps this was a Glee kind of situation: A gang of misfits banding together to do their own thing, supporting each others' fledgling foray into reality TV by patting each other on the back for that appearance on Cheaters.
We'd been told the awards portion of the show was to start promptly at 6:00, but the pre-party seemed to keep going well into that hour. Finally, at 6:58, two suited young men took to a podium.
Confusion set in. So wait, this awards ceremony is happening right here? In the hotel lobby? This isn't just the pre-theater elbow rubbing space?
What followed was kind of like a summer camp “skit night” version of the Emmys. The two hosts (one of whom was actually Nick Peterson, winner of Bachelor Pad Season 3; the other, we have no idea) proceeded to dole out awards over a microphone that made them both sound like Harvey Keitel in that old SNL sketch where he plays a subway announcer no one can understand.
Some categories, unlike this party, were star-studded, such as Best Host. Up for that honor were Mario Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Guiliana Rancic, Cat Deeley and Tyra Banks. We think there was one more one but the shoddy AV made us miss it. Seacrest won, but like his fellow nominees, he was not present, which started a barrage of the hosts having to accept on others' behalf.
(It should be noted that at one point, some hotel guests quietly sneaked through with their roller bags.)
The awards went at lightning speed, in part because there were very few acceptance speeches. (When Basketball Wives won for Best Docusoap, Peterson shouted out “Basketball Wives, are you here? … Is anyone here?) Still, a few guests took the stage to jazz up the presentation a bit, such as a bizarro Scottish version of One Direction, otherwise known as Downtown Drive.
The real king of this party was Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. who has badass dreadlocks and won America's Got Talent, and was crowned Reality TV Person of the Year. He then made up for all the acceptance speech void by treating the audience to a Bublé-esque version of “Gin and Juice” — the highlight of the whole awards shebang. Which concluded at 7:21.
But here's the thing: this could actually be the beginnings of something really cool for reality TV. Despite its domination of the small screen, reality is not taken all that seriously at the Emmys, and even though it has its own categories now, only the “acceptable” Amazing Race and Top Chef-type programs are acknowledged at all. Love & Hip Hop is never going to win anything there, we know that. But if it were playing amongst its peers, perhaps it could.
Considering the hoards of people in L.A. who work tirelessly in the reality TV industry (and the swath of reality stars who call it home), we'd agree it's high time they receive some recognition, and as this awards ceremony (which has enjoyed two successful rounds in the UK already) gets its bearings, this may be the forum for that to happen.
As long as they don't hold it one night after the Emmys next year.