Opening number: A key element to any awards show, this star-studded hilarious skit was a total triumph. You knew Betty White
was going to be in it, and be hilarious. But this number took television absurdity to a new level, and amazingly reached new heights
with every televised moment. Kate Gosselin getting rejected from the "Glee" club! Jon Hamm dirty dancing for Betty White and then busting out onstage! Tina Fey camping it up! Jorge Garcia randomly joining the group! Did we mention that both Jon Hamm and Tina Fey were dancing absurdly onstage in front of millions of people? Absolutely amazing. I want to watch it again and again on TIVO. Grade: A+
Host: Jimmy Fallon deserves total props for leading the opening number, which was sublime, and a big part of the gig. It set the tone. Fallon then held down the fort admirably during the show. The audience guitar-singer-intro-thing never really entirely worked, but never got annoying. Grade: B
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Clooney cameo: The entire "Modern Family" skit in the middle of the show was hilarious, but the George Clooney cameo made it a true standout. As brilliant as "Modern Family" itself, but with the fantastic Clooney playing the cherry on top. Grade: A
Social networking tie-ins: You know you want the young folks to take part in the show. But did the Twitter shout-outs from the podium during the show have to be, well, so lame, dude? If you're going to diminish the respectability of the awards show with this clear audience pandering (more suitable for the Viewer's Choice Awards than anything serious) at least make the comments funny or insightful. Twitter is the most inane social medium out there, but it does have moments of brilliance. Couldn't you find something close to that? Or at least slightly funny? Apparently not. Grade: F
John Hodgman's award intro: A great idea to give a personality and an edge to the normally mysterious voice and words said about the award winner during their trip to the stage. Most of the comments hit the mark, especially the joke about plastic surgery in Hollywood. A few fell flat. Grade: B+
Acceptance speeches: Surprisingly lame this year. It seemed like everyone was just waiting for the "wrap it up please" signal before saying anything significant and then came the boring laundry list. Even Al Pacino managed to underperform in this department which was especially painful because you never want to waste a Pacino moment. "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet's speech probably was the closest to the true poignant mark, but there wasn't a lot of heart after that. If you have to thank your agents people, do it quickly. But give the viewers some acceptance magic! There wasn't enough here. Grade C
Nominees video look-in: I liked the idea of giving some personality to the writer/director nominees with short little videos before their
awards. It didn't always work and sometimes the brief bits were hilarious. But it's better than just being strange names read to the
audience. A worthy effort. Grade: B.