Thursday, February 26, 2009

Super Bowl for Women

Last weekend was the “Super Bowl for Women,” the Academy Awards. Man, do they go all out for that. I’m talking about the entire production and the endless media attention. First, there’s the announcement of the nominees a month or so out. Then, there’s the build up to the big show, with media stories anointing favorites and dark horses, and contests where you and I – mere commoners, mind you, to the royalty of George Clooney’s Hollywood – can speculate on who will walk off with Oscars, from Best Picture down to Animated Short. Game day, Sunday, is non-stop. First, there’s the warm-up show, with previews of parties and behind-the-scenes glances at folks getting ready. Of course, there’re the arrivals on the red carpet – thousands of screaming fans (all chicks, of course), Ryan Seacrest (who’s practically a chick, no?), Oprah, and those award winning journalists, Joan and Melissa Rivers (okay, I’m not certain they’re chicks, but they are a train wreck waiting to happen, and that’s just good television). An interesting collection of pretension, insincerity and cattiness, all televised on cable stations I didn’t know were included in my Comcast package. What do they show on those channels the rest of the year? Finally, we get to the Academy Awards show itself (yawn!). Okay, well then finally, finally, we get the post-award show news. Then, finally, finally, finally, the Today Show on Monday, still on location.

The “Super Bowl for Women” is one helluva accurate description. What really bugs me though is that the Academy Awards are at the end of “awards season.” It’s an endless string of awards – film festivals, Golden Globes, Viewer’s Choice, SAG Awards, Grammys, CMAs, whatever. Crap, it goes on seemingly forever! Every time I want to talk to my wife, she shushes me, sips her chardonnay, readjusts herself on the couch, and continues watching. At least with football and the real Super Bowl, she doesn’t have to go through a whole bunch of … lead up to … the … oh, ah, er, never mind.

Okay, so I’m barely smart enough not to go there. I’ll give my wife the awards shows, all the skinny actresses (plus Queen Latifah) in gowns that cost more than my jumbo mortgage, and I’ll even toss in American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. [Alright, I know that Queen Latifah comment was cheap, but it’s not as if she’ll be reading. D’uh!] If doing so will keep her out of my hair during football and hockey games, as well as the Indy 500, then I’m all for it. It’s a fair trade. But, where I really want to go is the brilliant scam that is the award show in the first place. It’s like one of those Hallmark-invented holidays, for crying out loud. Absolutely, freakin’ brilliant!

My exhaustive research uncovered the actual sequence of events that led up to the creation of the Academy Awards. Staying true to inspiration of the Hollywood dream machine, I’ll report out below in the format of a screenplay.


BILL and TED, two fat, cigar-chomping movie moguls, sit across one another at lunch. They’ve just ordered – off menu, of course.

(pensively, whilst biting into his crab-filled, egg white only omelet)
I’m worried about this crazy film business. It’s really hard to get people to see movies that don’t have a bunch of brazen nudity and gratuitous violence in them.

(in agreement, with concern, aerating his third glass of Bordeaux)
I hear you. It won’t be long before we run out of ditzy, blonde girls here in southern California willing to take their top off to get into the movies. There’s no future in this business, I tell you

(nervously brushing aside the Peruvian flake off his napkin)
I was thinking, though. What if we formed a group, made up entirely of our friends in the movie business. Then, we get that group to pick a bunch of our very own films for awards. We publicize those awards like crazy, which, in turn, leads all those stupid customers of ours into theatres, jumping over one another at the box office just like lemmings leaping into the sea.

(happily slapping his thigh and motioning for the hooker at the bar to join them at the table)
By golly, old man, I think you’re on to something there. That’s the best idea I’ve heard since those MGM boys invented the casting couch.

Is it just me, or are awards, presented to members by fellow members of the very same members-only organization, like the greatest thing ever? Not only do the Academy Awards give an annual goose to box office receipts for a number of films, from a number of studios, but the little geniuses have even found a way to profit off of television rights. Oh, and the best thing – to be a member of the Academy, you have to be invited AND you have to pay dues! I do love a country built on the foundations of free enterprise, capitalism, and entrepreneurial ingenuity.

Ah, so you’re wondering why that shining light bulb is appearing over my head just now?

I’m going to start my own members-only academy. The membership will be middle-aged, mid-manager asses broken over years of not reaching their once promising potential [MAMMA BOY]. Membership dues to be borne solely by corporate employers and sponsors, with an occasional government grant thrown in. Annual meetings at the Atlantis Hotel & Casino in the Bahamas. The highlight of the annual conference, of course, will be the presentation of the prestigious “Dickie” awards. We’ll have cart-loads of booze everywhere and syndicate a reality show featuring all access coverage and plenty of tomcatting and buffoonery on the Spike Network. I figure if the American – scratch that; the world-wide public - is silly enough to fall for the “Super Bowl for Women” -harder and harder every year - it seems the sky is the limit for the next wacky idea. Time for me to get mine.

At least that’s this guy’s opinion.

Follow me on Twitter @RayHartjen

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