Co-hosting the 70th Annual Golden Globes on NBC, 30 Rock's Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler started the night with a smashing duologue – a flawless link of strong one-liners.
If the bit had gone on long enough, you could have protected our national borders with it.
Poehler made the one oh, no you didn't joke with a reference to Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow's controversial drama about the hunt for Bin Laden. When it comes to torture, Poehler said, "I trust the woman who spent three years married to James Cameron," the powerful director of smash epics Titanic and Avatar.
But the joke was made with such finesse – there was no meanness, injury or sting. Poehler could have inserted it into a balloon without risk of puncture.
Well, I thought, this will turn out just fine. And what a nice change from the strange tension of previous Globes hosted by that poisonous baby, Ricky Gervais.
Hold that thought.
After the opener, unfortunately, these two excellent comic actresses had very little presence at all, except to pop up at a few inspired moments disguised as acting nominees named Darcy St. Fudge (Poehler with bucked teeth) and Damian Francisco (Fey in drag).
Their restraint was deliberate – neither actress is inclined to milk it – but I began to wonder if the show doesn't need a colossal ego, so abundantly supplied by Gervais and his smiling dollops of humiliation, or at least a really distinctive talent to make a night crowded with categories flow along with any coherence.
Yes, I'm talking to you, Sarah Silverman.
More than usual, Sunday's show just bumped along from moment to moment. It was like watching untethered logs jostle each other while floating downriver.
People will be scrutinizing Jodie Foster's acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille achievement award for some time. A coming-out statement combined with a plea for privacy, it was also an extension of a piece she'd written in August for The Daily Beast asking the media and the public to allow young Twilight star Kristen Stewart a stab at a normal life.
But her long speech had a chatty, too ardent brightness, and she zigzagged from point to point and memory to memory. She was laser-intense and yet puzzlingly unfocused.
Adele, accepting an award for her song from Skyfall gave a short speech that was boisterously down to earth and completely delightful. Now we can all look forward to her win at the Oscars.
Funniest moment: Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, presenting the award for best actress in a musical or comedy, described the nominees' films at great length but as if they hadn't seen any of them. Ferrell claimed that Dame Judi Dench was making her film debut in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Before that, he said, she'd been a police officer.