Highlights from the 2014 Logies
Scott Cam takes out the Gold, Asher Keddie and the cast of Home and Away nab multiple honours and Kylie Minogue makes a return at the 56th Logie Awards in Melbourne.PT3M30S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37cit 620 349 April 28, 2014
Logies, it's time. The winds of change are blowing, it is time for the Logies to grow up and take its place as a mature, modern awards ceremony able to compete in today's ever-more-competitive awards ceremony market.
The highest honour a televisual artist can attain is decided by the same method as Big Brother evictees.
There are a lot of things wrong with the Logies. The red carpet, for example, although this isn't really the Logies' fault: all awards ceremonies have red carpets, and the fact that televising the arrivals is for all intents and purposes a crime against humanity shouldn't be held against them.
Housos winning Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program is confirmation of the Logies's shortcomings. Photo: Eddie Jim
The length of the ceremony is another problem – most awards run pretty long, but when you already know it's going to be a long night, it's just perverse to stretch it out even longer by preceding every single award with an excruciating little comedy skit between the presenters. This would be true even if the skits were of a uniformly high quality: that they mostly seem to exist as a way to offer employment to the writing staff of The Comedy Company does not make them zip past any quicker.
Also, the whole bit where you think you're hiring a big overseas celebrity but actually you've hired someone really lame was funny when Martin and Molloy did it on The Late Show: when it happens in real life and you end up with Jason Derulo it's simply a cause for anger.
But look: no awards show is perfect, and we have to face the fact that for all their horrible flaws, the Logies are a big deal. They're a big deal because everyone in TV wants one. I know I want one. I'd kill for one. Hell, I'd kill for an invitation to the ceremony – when I didn't get invited this year, I felt that pain of injustice that Bob Dylan wrote so eloquently about. But suspect invitation policies aside, it's a night keenly looked forward to by the industry, and they are awards furiously coveted by all. And that's just the way it is.
Logies red carpet 2014
Carrie Bickmore attending the 56 Logie Awards at Crown in Melbourne on Sunday 27 April 2014 .
So if it's going to be a big deal, let's make it a night worthy of a big deal. Here's the thing: there are two kinds of awards shows. Some awards shows celebrate excellence. Other awards shows celebrate the collating of hundreds of thousands of votes by the folks back home and are basically stupid.
Which one do you want to be, Logies? Time to decide.
For many years, the Logies were purely in the latter category. This is because the Logies are not put on by an august industry body or academy of the arts, but by a cheap magazine that is mainly devoted to telling everyone what happens in soap operas before it happens, and used to make a lot of money selling copies to publicists who had their staff clipping coupons for months.
Things have changed: now you can vote by SMS, which is a very modern cash cow. Also, eventually, TV Week made a concession to those who wanted people who made good TV rewarded for making good TV, and introduced “outstanding” categories, so the ABC could win some awards too.
And so now, awards for being really good rub up uncomfortably on the night next to awards for having the most teenagers spam the voting numbers. And so we have a big, bloated, weird “night of nights” that sort of celebrates excellence but also sort of spits in the face of the very idea. It's awkward.
The Logies has just gotta choose – is it for the best TV we can produce, or is it for the most popular, but not actually the most popular, just the most-voted-for in a particular way?
The correct choice, obviously, is to ditch the popularity categories. This is correct firstly because Australian TV, which generates a lot of utter crap, also actually generates some pretty damn good stuff, and it'd be good if we could have a big event every year that recognises and celebrates that fact, and is something to genuinely aspire to. As it is, the highest honour a televisual artist can attain is the poor relation to the flashy stuff given out on the same night and decided by the same method as Big Brother evictees. The biggest award in Australian TV is the Gold Logie, a gong that doesn't even try to pretend it's got anything to do with quality.
Secondly, guess what? We've already got a way to determine what shows are the most popular. It's called “ratings”. Networks have other ways too, to measure audience engagement and find out whether the target demographic is on board, but the point is: we know what's popular and what's not, and the outcome of the Logies doesn't affect it one bit. People who are popular on TV already have their award: it's called “being popular on TV”. Believe me, the Oscars wouldn't be considered such a major event if the winners were chosen by popular vote. And rightly so. The Logies voting system creates absurdities like the NRL Footy Show continually winning “Most Popular Sports Show” despite being verifiably far less popular than the AFL version; or Bondi Rescue even having a chance at being “most popular reality program”.
Thirdly, getting rid of these “most popular” categories would really cut down the running time. Then we could have more awards for outstanding achievements. We could include stuff in the telecast like the awards for kids' shows and sports shows, which don't deserve to be shunted to the “earlier in the night…” segment. Hey, maybe we'd even have time to actually have a category for Outstanding Comedy, as opposed to the repulsive slap in the face that is “Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program”, an idiotic category that squashes together comedy with reality TV, so that Please Like Me competes against The Voice, because apparently making a narrative comedy series involves essentially the same skillset as making a singing competition.
Look, the Logies are the biggest TV awards we've got. That won't change. The TV categories at the AACTAs will never be as prominent as the Logies. People won't stop wanting them, networks won't stop boasting about them. “Logie-winner” is always going to be most impressive appellation you can put in front of a TV artist's name. So wouldn't it be awesome if that appellation meant something more than an affirmation of the fact someone was already famous? Wouldn't it be great if the Logies grew up?
Then again, Housos won Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program and Mad as Hell wasn't even nominated, so maybe we should just burn everything down and start again.