Awards shows are always a tricky thing for a TV critic. There’s nothing that is inherently exciting about watching people stand in front of people and read off lists of people that they want to thank. This is why you hire a host, write some material, and hope everything works.
With Ricky Gervais, it certainly seems as though the guy just can’t win with the Golden Globes. Last year, he was criticized for being too edgy. This time around, we have a feeling he is going to be criticized for being edgy enough. He still made some pretty shocking jokes about Justin Bieber and Jodie Foster, but the real difference between this show and the one from last year is simply that the audience seemed to be that the audience was simply more receptive. No one seemed to be genuinely offended by Gervais, and some people (including Madonna and Antonio Banderas) decided to fire back a few zingers in his direction.
Outside of Ricky (who was really just at his best during the first five minutes of the show), most of the notable moments during the show came near the end — otherwise known as when the wine started to flow. The entire cast of “The Artist” was charming when their jokes about “being French,” Meryl Streep forgetting her speech ended up becoming a classic, and “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara and Steve Levitan came up with a creative way to accept their trophy in two languages. These fun moments help to make up for a show that got it wrong on a few occasions — in particular its inability to recognize “Breaking Bad” and “Community” in any sort of tangible way. (At the same time, seeing Laura Dern and Matt LeBlanc pull off wins was a nice touch.)
On the more touching side, nothing on the show came close to touching Morgan Freeman’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award — and his introduction courtesy of the legendary Sidney Poirtier. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes don’t overdo it when it comes to touching on the history of the film medium — so when they do manage to go through with it, it is especially meaningful.
For those of you curious about big winners, “The Artist” and “The Descendants” ended up taking home trophies in the comedy and drama categories for film, whereas “Homeland” and “Modern Family” (as mentioned) were the big TV winners.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the evening — it was funny at times, far more unpredictable than the disaster that was last year’s Oscars, and (unlike its big brother in film) it actually ended on time.