The annual Television Critics Association Press Tour has taken a beating this
week, with Defamer calling for its execution and The Hollywood Reporter sighing that blogs are ruining everything for real writers. But before anyone advocates calling the whole thing off, we hope they will note the best product of the tour: the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes and her fabulously grumpy dispatches.
Her regular readers know that De Moraes is a master at deflating Hollywood gasbaggery, but her writing about the tour shows her off at her dismissive, unimpressed best. After dubbing the tour "The Thank God We're Working Summer TV Press Tour," De Moraes pointed out that Florence Henderson is too old to call herself a member of the "baby boom" generation, got irritated by Ed Asner, and started blogging about annoyances like critics who text-message through Q&A sessions and the actors who complain about them.
Most wonderful, however, she's now written columns critical of both Mad Men and HBO, which is practically unheard of in the current critical environment.
Her yawning exposé of the dull answers offered up by Mad Men's actors and creator is probably the only negative press that show has ever gotten, but it's also the most entertaining press the show's ever gotten. As for HBO, she throws some jibes at the network for confusing answers to renewal questions, but she saves most of her delicious bitterness for her fellow critics and their precious insistence on holding HBO up as a commerce-indifferent patron of the arts, expected to ignore petty questions about how many people watch a show or how much it costs to produce.
Perhaps De Moraes's sharply funny writing is offering the best arguments in favor of ditching the tour altogether, but we dearly hope she won't make her point too effectively — because we would really miss our little tastes of her overwhelming frustration. —Linda Holmes