The 10th Anniversary TV Land Awards were broadcast on Sunday, April 29, and as usual, they didn’t disappoint. With Kelly Ripa as host and numerous celebrity presenters and honorees, we were treated to warm moments, heartfelt speeches, jokes, crazy outfits, and dancing. Lots of dancing. In case you missed it, here are 10 highlights from the 2012 TV Land Awards, the ultimate awards show honoring classic television.
1. In a costume-tastic intro segment, host Kelly Ripa recruited fashion guru Carson Kressley to help her pick out the perfect outfit for the awards show. “I need something special … something classic, yet fashion forward,” she said. What followed was a dizzying array of wardrobe changes transforming Ripa into a “Star Trek” cadet, Daisy Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” Tootie in “The Facts of Life,” Morticia Addams, Wonder Woman (“Too flashy — but let me wear this home for Mark”), Lucille Ball, Zooey Deschanel (“too adorkable”), Cher in full Native American garb, Velma in “Scooby-Doo,” Sue Sylvester in “Glee,” and finally, Catwoman from “Batman.” Meow!
2. What an entrance! To start the show, Ripa was lowered onto the stage in her skin-tight Catwoman outfit (and ears), talking a bit about each of the night’s honorees. She went on to introduce the night’s first presenter, “a first-rate broadcaster, a generous humanitarian, and my sister in perk-hood — and one hell of a cage fighter — Katie Couric.” There to present the Fan Favorite Award to “the original two broke girls,” Couric told the crowd, “Please don’t leave me hanging up here,” before launching into the “1, 2, 3, 4 …” chant of the “Laverne & Shirley” opening theme. The audience enthusiastically chanted along (Faith Ford was seen shouting out with gusto), and Couric even did her own knee-dip at “Schlemiel!”
3. Penny Marshall, David L. Lander, Michael McKean and Cindy Williams accepted the Fan Favorite Award for “Laverne & Shirley,” and all gave touching thanks to the fans and their fellow castmates. But naturally Lander (Squiggy) got the crowd’s biggest laugh with just one word: “Hello.” (He followed that with another classic Squiggism: “Thank you, you may be sitted now.”)
4. Whoopi Goldberg presented the Groundbreaking Award to “In Living Color” — “the ultimate watercooler show,” as she put it — and the large cast seemed clearly excited to be up on stage together, like an old group of friends. After Keenen Ivory Wayans joked that “We were just a bunch of … geniuses!” he stepped aside to let a thrilled Jim Carrey have a few words: “C’mon. This is a tsunami, a wave, a crest of talent, that I feel so incredibly lucky to have been sucked up into. It was bigger than us, and we all knew that. And we had every experience under the rainbow in this show. We laughed, we cried, we broke down walls, and eventually we elected a president!” (Well, who knows? Maybe they sort of did.)
5. No “In Living Color” reunion would have been complete without the Fly Girls. Carrie Ann Inaba, one of the original Fly Girls, said, beaming, “This was one of the only shows that truly gave credit to our dancers. It was RIDONKULOUS.” Marlon Wayans interjected, “I want to thank Keenen for having the Fly Girls because I got to look at their butts every day.” And of course, Shawn Wayans (who started on the show as a DJ) got in one last word: “And I got to play music to their butts.”
6. The “Murphy Brown” cast’s acceptance of the Impact Award contained moments both funny and poignant. Creator Diane English, acknowledging Murphy Brown’s debt to the legendary newscaster who passed away this month, said, “I often describe the character [Murphy] as Mike Wallace in a dress. He’s going to be very missed, and I’d like to dedicate this to Mike.” Faith Ford described auditioning for “Murphy Brown” and feeling she hadn’t done a good enough job, so, “I walked and came back in and said, ‘I know how Corky would dance.’ Y’all wanna see it?” She then proceeded to do a cheerful little two-step for the crowd. And Charles Kimbrough, channeling the laconic Jim Dial, gave his thanks entirely in character, saying only, “Thank you very much. I was really lucky to get the job.” Or at least we think he was in character.
7. John Legend said of Aretha Franklin, recipient of the Icon Award, “I am so thrilled to introduce true music royalty, and an undisputed icon, here to sing for her subjects — the queen herself, the one and only Aretha Franklin.” The Queen of Soul, dressed in regal white robes, showed her age not one bit as she busted out with “Respect,” getting the crowd on its feet in a lively call-and-response that could have just as easily taken place 40 years ago. “It’s the Icon Award,” Franklin said in accepting her honor, “but in Mr. Legend’s own words, we’re just ordinary people.” Now that’s paying respect.
8. Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips, Pat Harrington, Glenn Scarpelli and Richard Masur accepted the Innovator Award for “One Day at a Time” from Fran Drescher. Not surprisingly, Mackenzie Phillips, who grew up on the show amid much-publicized drug and family troubles, seemed most affected by the honor. “When I took the role on ‘One Day at a Time,’” she said tearfully, “I did not take the role with any expectations of getting a family … I didn’t know that I would be getting a mom who actually held me to a higher standard than my own mother did, ever; a sister who loves me to this day with unconditional kindness and acceptance; and [gesturing to Harrington] the best Dutch uncle a girl could ever ask for … And a little brother, my dear friend Glenn Scarpelli …. I’m just so honored to be here with my, maybe not my family of origin, but certainly one of my families of choice.”
9. A little older but still wearing his trademark gray suit and bow tie, Pee-Wee Herman accepted the Pop Culture Award from Mike Myers with a call-back to something any kid who watched “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” will remember. “We wanted you to laugh until you fell off the couch, and scream when you’d hear the secret word,” he said. “And today’s secret word — it’s slightly corny — but it’s ‘gratitude.’ … Thank you for visiting my playhouse for all these years, and please don’t forget this, my little monsters: If anyone ever makes fun of you, the best comeback is still, ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ And what am I? A person filled with gratitude.” With that, the word “gratitude” flashed on the overhead screens, and the crowd obligingly — what? — screeeeeaamed.
10. To close the show, Kelly Ripa appeared on stage one final time, surrounded by the Fly Girls from “In Living Color.” “Before we go, I have one more confession to make,” Ripa said. “Anybody that knows me knows that I always wanted to be a Fly Girl. Only two things held me back: rhythm and coordination. So, to teach me how are the Fly Girls.” Together with her new mentors, Ripa shimmied and bopped as house band the B-52s played “Rock Lobster” and the credits rolled. Now that’s a party.
If there’s one thing 2012’s TV Land Awards winners have in common, it’s a willingness to buck convention. This year we honor not one, not two, but three shows featuring strong female characters in “One Day at a Time,” “Murphy Brown” and “Laverne & Shirley.” Then there’s “In Living Color,” which shattered stereotypes with its cast of irreverent black comedians (plus Jim Carrey), and “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse,” which doesn’t resemble any other show before or since. Add Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin into the mix as winner of the Icon Award, and you’ve got an lineup of amazing shows and people that truly broke the mold.
Innovator Award: “One Day at a Time”
When “One Day at a Time” debuted in 1975, the families on most TV shows were “traditional,” with two married parents and a couple of adorable, rosy-cheeked kids. A sitcom about a divorcée (Bonnie Franklin) raising two rebellious teenage daughters (Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli) on her own wasn’t just rare for the time — it was practically subversive. “One Day at a Time” was ahead of the curve in addressing weighty topics such as birth control, suicide and teenage runaways; but it ran for nine successful seasons because it was funny, helped in no small part by the frequent drop-ins and double entendres of toolbelt-clad super Schneider (Pat Harrington).
Impact Award: “Murphy Brown”
At first, “Murphy Brown” seemed like another version of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”: a female-led sitcom set in a broadcast newsroom. But acerbic, recovering alcoholic, fortysomething news anchor Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) became a powerhouse icon for the modern working woman, tackling work, current events and life issues — even unwed motherhood, once a TV taboo — with humor, toughness and grace … and of course, a little help from her news team and house painter Eldin. The show, which ran from 1988-1998, won two Emmys for Best Comedy and a record-setting five Emmys for Bergen.
Pop Culture Award: “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”
One of those rare children’s shows that could be enjoyed by kids and adults — but in different ways — “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” introduced us to bow-tied man-child Pee-Wee Herman, played by the man once known as Paul Reubens. With his squeaky voice, cheery catchphrases, zany enthusiasm and assortment of friends both human (Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne) and non-human (Chairy, Jambi the genie, Globey), Pee-Wee never lost his sense of childlike wonder, making his “Playhouse” a one-of-a-kind show that talked to kids, but never talked down to them. “I know you are, but what am I?”
Fan Favorite Award: “Laverne & Shirley”
They were gonna do it their way, yes their way … The irrepressible Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams) debuted as Fonzie’s friends on “Happy Days,” but the roommates and Shotz Brewery co-workers made their dreams come true on their own show, which ran from 1976 to 1983. Though they were both (on and off again) single, Laverne and Shirley’s romantic lives never mattered so much as their quirks (Shirley loved her Boo Boo Kitty, Laverne loved her Pepsi and milk), their friends and neighbors (goofballs Lenny and Squiggy) and their sunny determination to “make it after all,” no matter how many comic misunderstandings or pratfalls it took.
Groundbreaking Award: “In Living Color” - The Cast
“In Living Color,” on the air from 1990 to 1994, was unlike any other show on TV. The sketch series was crass, hilarious and unafraid to offend, no matter who it lampooned — gays, the homeless, disabled people, African-Americans or fire marshals — and oh yeah, it featured an almost all-black cast busting stereotypes upside down and sideways. The launching pad for Keenen Ivory Wayan, Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier, Jamie Foxx and “token white guy” Jim Carrey, “In Living Color” brought a wild, off-color brand of humor (as well as cutting-edge hip-hop acts) to mainstream America, and it won the 1990 Emmy for Best Variety, Music or Comedy Series.
Groundbreaking Award: “In Living Color” - The Fly Girls
Some people watched “In Living Color” for its gut-bustingly funny sketches … but some people just watched it for the Fly Girls. Choreographed by Rosie Perez (herself a former “Soul Train” dancer), the Fly Girls punched up the show with their razor-sharp dance routines and eye-catching outfits, sometimes even appearing in skits. They weren’t too tough on the eyes, either. Winning the title of Most Famous Former Fly Girl would be a then-unknown singer and dancer named Jennifer Lopez, whose bodacious booty joined the show in its third season.
Host: Kelly Ripa
She got her big break on the ABC soap opera “All My Children,” playing Adam Chandler’s daughter Hayley Vaughan for 12 years (from 1990 to 2002). But since then, she’s left Pine Valley far behind. After an on-air audition process, she won the job of co-hosting “Live with Regis and Kelly” alongside Regis Philbin in 2001, and then took over sole hosting duties for the show (now called “Live! With Kelly”) when Philbin retired in 2011. With her girl-next-door appeal and ability to put guests at ease, it’s no wonder so many viewers love waking up to coffee and Kelly every morning.
Icon Award: Aretha Franklin
She isn’t just music royalty — she’s the Queen of Soul. In her 52-year career, Franklin has 18 Grammys, 20 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s R&B chart and 45 Top 40 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100. She was the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987). And despite some recent health issues, the 70-year-old is still going strong, releasing new albums and going out on tour. Is there any question she’s a cultural icon? Aretha, we have one word for you: respect.
House Band: The B-52s
“We were at a party,” the B-52s sang in their first hit, “Rock Lobster,” and they’re still at that same party an amazing 34 years later. Fronted by Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, the band (whose name derives from the bouffant hairdos Pierson and Wilson used to favor) knows how to have a good time, and there are few better ways to fill a dance floor than to put their unbelievably catchy song “Love Shack” on and turn the volume way, way up. Tiiiin roof! Rusted.
Presenters: Katie Couric and Fran Drescher
Couric is a renowned American journalist, a special correspondent for “ABC News” and former anchor for “CBS Evening News” and NBC’s “Today”; she’ll soon host the syndicated talk show “Katie.” Drescher, who had early memorable roles in “Saturday Night Fever” and “This Is Spinal Tap,” shot to fame as “The Nanny” and now stars on TV Land’s “Happily Divorced.” Who better to present at the 2012 TV Land Awards than these two leading women of the small screen?
Tune in to the 10th Anniversary TV Land Awards on April 29 at 9PM/8C!
‘In Living Color’ is honored with the “Groundbreaking Award” at the 10th Anniversary TV Land Awards. Tune in on April 29 at 9PM/8C!