Looking back on the Golden Globes’ tarnished past

Take a good look around your workplace, your church, your doctor’s waiting room or the DMV.

Do these look like the sort of people who should be throwing a party attended by some of the absolute biggest names in Hollywood?

They should. It makes as much sense as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doing it.

The main criteria to be one of the about 90 members of the secretive organization that presents the Golden Globe Awards (5 p.m. Sunday, NBC) are living in Southern California and being able to provide four bylined articles from a foreign publication — regardless of how obscure — along with proof that you were paid for them.

That’s it.

Remember that berserk “interview” with Drew Barrymore in EgyptAir’s in-flight magazine? The one that went viral thanks to head-scratchers such as, “It is known that Barrymore has had almost 17 relationships, engagements and marriages”? That was written by Aida Takla-O’Reilly, a former two-time president of the association.

Despite their having inexplicably become one of the main bellwethers for the Academy Awards, it isn’t much of a stretch to say the Golden Globes have a voting membership with all the critical heft of a suburban pinochle club.

That’s infinitely more true when it comes to the television awards. Maybe the notoriously starstruck foreign press is too busy fawning over the actors and actresses on the movie side to actually watch television.

Need proof? In the history of the Golden Globes, only Edie Falco, Angela Lansbury, Julianna Margulies and Sharon Gless have more nominations as a leading actress on a TV series than Heather Locklear. (She has four for “Melrose Place,” two for “Spin City” and — somehow — zero for “T.J. Hooker.”)

Locklear wasn’t even the only nominee from the Aaron Spelling Cinematic Universe. “Beverly Hills, 90210” garnered two for best drama as well as two for Jason Priestley as best actor.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s curious taste isn’t always bad.

Among the actors who never received an Emmy for their outstanding work, but took home a Golden Globe as a consolation prize, are Martin Sheen for “The West Wing,” Steve Carell for “The Office,” John Goodman for “Roseanne,” Jerry Seinfeld for “Seinfeld” and Ian McShane for “Deadwood.”

For the 2001 ceremony, Sarah Michelle Gellar received her only major nomination for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Of course, that was diluted somewhat by the presence of “Dark Angel’s” Jessica Alba in the same category. (They both lost out to Sela Ward for “Once and Again.”)

The biggest problem with the Golden Globes’ television categories, though, is that they give voters the opportunity to keep repeating their mistakes. When they like something, they really like it. Almost pathologically so.

I love me some “X-Files,” but three best drama awards to tie “Mad Men” for most wins for a dramatic series? The only thing stranger is that the show that interrupted the sci-fi hit’s reign was “Party of Five.” As the best drama. In all of television.

Golden Globes voters really wanted to believe in “The X-Files.” David Duchovny was nominated four times — winning in 1997 — for playing Fox Mulder and four times — including another win in 2008 — for his role as “Californication’s” Hank Moody.

Kelsey Grammer won twice for “Frasier” and once on the dramatic side for “Boss.”

Matt LeBlanc finally took home a Golden Globe for playing a version of himself on “Episodes,” but he was previously nominated for playing Joey Tribbiani on “Friends” — and Joey Tribbiani on “Joey.”

Elsewhere on the comedic side, “Entourage” has six nominations for best comedy.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That’s the same number as “M*A*S*H” and “Taxi,” twice as many as “The Office,” “Roseanne” and “The Cosby Show” and three times as many as “Veep” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Even that, though, seems fairly reasonable compared to 1982, when the nominees for best comedy or musical included first-ballot hall of famers “M*A*S*H” and “Taxi” along with “Private Benjamin,” “The Love Boat” and — gasp! — “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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