Thus the bitching began on the red carpet, where Chloe Sevigny, of HBO's "Big Love," unexpectedly spotty in Valentino, grumbled, "Somebody should've put a tarp up."
Not that good weather would've helped. Not with Julia Roberts telling NBC's Billy Bush, "NBC, you are in the toilet right now."
And Tom Hanks chiming in, "NBC said it was going to rain at 10, but they moved it to 11:30."
Even NBC's own talent couldn't resist. "It's not rain. It's just God crying for NBC," quipped Upper Darby's Tina Fey ("30 Rock").
Host Ricky Gervais barely made it two minutes into his monologue before he'd weighed in: "I'm not used to these viewing figures. Neither is NBC."
Gervais, who mostly struck the right notes for a party as raucous as the Globes, saved his best line for someone else, however. Quaffing what appeared to be a beer, he announced, "I like a drink as much as the next man. Unless the next man is Mel Gibson."
Which, as it turned out, it was.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger worked the network's negotiations with the departing Conan O'Brien into a joke about winning director James Cameron ("Avatar"): "I've seen his deal. The only way he can make more money is being hired by NBC. Or being fired by NBC."
But if it wasn't exactly the Peacock's night - the network's sole winner, "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin, wasn't even in the house - it was a very good one for cable.
Showtime picked up awards for Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") and Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow ("Dexter"), and for a little while was even running ahead of powerhouse HBO.
Then the "it's not television" network won for "Grey Gardens" (best TV movie or miniseries and for Drew Barrymore's performance), for Philadelphian Kevin Bacon's performance in "Taking Chance" and for Chloe Sevigny's performance in "Big Love."
Bacon had a shout-out for writer/director Ross Katz, a Temple grad who grew up in Havertown.
AMC's "Mad Men" won for TV drama.
On the broadcast network front, Fox's "Glee" won for TV comedy or musical, Julianna Margulies for CBS' "The Good Wife"
Other winners on the movie side included Mo'Nique, who won for her best supporting actress performance in "Precious," Jeff Bridges for actor in a drama ("Crazy Heart") and Meryl Streep, actress in a comedy or musical ("Julie & Julia").
As always, there were winners in categories that never made it in to the telecast:
* Person most likely to be the focus of a Monday morning diatribe by the Parents Television Council: Tie between Gervais, who opened the show with some of his trademark remarks about his penis, and presenter Paul McCartney, who said, "Animation is not just for children. It is also for adults who take drugs."
Runner-up: Robert De Niro, who in his tribute to Cecil B. DeMille winner Martin Scorsese, said, "I hear there are videos on the Internet of Marty having sex with film."
* Most revealing unscripted comment on how the Globes process is believed by actors to work: By an emotional and only semi-coherent first-time winner Barrymore, who noted, "I've been meeting with the Hollywood Foreign Press for like 97 years."
* Most revealing scripted comment on the Globes process: By Gervais, who said, "One thing that can't be bought is a Golden Globe. Officially."
* Best twist on the too-often-boring litany of gratitude: By Robert Downey Jr. ("Sherlock Holmes"), who listed all the people he wasn't going to thank, and managed to sound both grateful and sincere.
* Best acceptance speech opening: "I want to change my name to T Bone. T Bone Streep. It sounds good," by a certain winning actress inspired by T Bone Burnett, who went on to give a moving tribute to her mother.
* Worst followup to "I'm King of the World!" Cameron's assurance that "I'm going to try to make this as brief as I can, because frankly, I have to pee something fierce."
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