Public vote: Shaun Micallef with his Silver Logie in 2010.
Feelings of dread, cringing embarrassment, and a strong desire to read a book or urgently take up astronomy? For some it can only mean it's time for The Logies.
"Australian television's night of nights" takes place this Sunday night at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne, with a broadcast on the Nine Network, which if nothing else will be a godsend for the sarcastic and the embittered.
Can the Logies be saved? Not really, since their current tacky, populist state - the national equivalent to a particularly big meat raffle at an RSL Club - is exactly what many involved with the annual event want. The Logies didn't get to be this way simply through neglect - it takes hard work to make something this slipshod and irritating. But can the Logies be improved? Yes. Here are five suggestions.
1. Forcibly separate the peer and public votes
The Logies are an unwieldy mix of online public voting for the most popular categories (such as the Gold Logie) and the peer-voted most outstanding; that means on the same night, for example, most popular drama program and most outstanding drama series are both awarded. How can one not lessen the other? A complete stream needs to leave. Take all the popularity awards that television network publicists so diligently vote in and ship them off to a separate telecast where Scott Cam and Asher Keddie can find out who got the most clicks and is the boss of the playground.
The Logies won't be respected until they're respectable, and it appears laughable that in 2014, when television is supposedly in a golden age of content that is slowly even coming to bear in this country, that our annual television awards favour a thumbs up instead of critical assessment. If that means saying goodbye to TV Week's stewardship, then I'm already waving farewell.
2. Get a good host
Has anyone even hosted the Logies in recent years? If people are willing to take on-air jobs at the Ten Network, but no-one will present the Logies, then that's a sad state of affairs. Shane Bourne had the gig a few years back, but no one seems to know how to match either the show business shtick of Bert Newton or the smiling satire of Andrew Denton, who is responsible for one of the finest moments in Logies history when he parked himself on the lap of James Packer in 1999. Denton had this to say about the event in 2010: "With due respect to the late and the living Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, I'm sick to f---ing death of hearing them eulogised [at] every Logies."
3. Bring the hecklers into the fold
Some of the funniest comments about The Logies, some mean-spirited and some motivated by affection, were made in recent years by guests at the event, at least until the Great Twitter Ban of 2011, which pre-empted the efforts of the Turkish government by a good three years. Make the mocking part of the show, and run the Logies and the Anti-Logies at the same time.
If every episode of My Kitchen Rules can feature endless versions of excitable tweets by @EmmaRockDog88 ("that dessert looks yummy!!!"), would it be that hard to sync up Wil Anderson's Twitter stream with the broadcast?
4. Fewer imported pop stars
Sometimes it's as if the most important attendee at The Logies is an American pop star or a British boy band who get screamed at on the red carpet, mime a song that has network entertainment reporters gushing with compliments, and present an award they have no clue about. There appears to be a belief that the only way a television awards show can be a success is if people who are not that interested in television awards shows are induced to watch it.
Have some faith in the nominated programs, not will.i.am.
5. More television talent
Don't just remind the on-screen talent that they're under contract and push them onto the stage with just a teleprompter for scant assistance, create original scripted content featuring them to air before and during the broadcast.
Could we not make use of the creative minds behind The Moodys, House Husbands, and The Jesters? As of writing this, the only interesting thing on YouTube under "Logies 2014" is a mash-up of Karl Stefanovic's Today Show antics, set to Kanye West's Black Skinhead.
We've got a long way to go…