Ricky Gervais

Paul Drinkwater/NBC Universal, Inc via Getty Images

The Golden Globes was "leaden." Host Ricky Gervais "bomb[ed]." Put 'em all together, and what do you have? A hit!

Last night's Golden Globes reached the telecast's biggest audience since before the 2008 show-killing writers' strike, in-need-of-good-news NBC said.

The three-hour show, aired live nationwide, averaged nearly 17 million per the network and held off the premiere of 24 (estimated 11.5 million), the debut of Human Target (10.1 million) and the usual bigness of Desperate Housewives (11.2 million).

So what did everybody think of the Avatar-acclaiming, Hangover-hailing, Glee-raising show?

Oddly enough, considering the strong numbers and feel-good Mo'nique and Michael C. Hall moments, they, meaning the critics, didn't think much of it.

"All in all, kind of dull, really," Keith Phipps blogged on The A.V. Club. "And Gervais wasn't really in his element."

The Hollywood Reporter deigned the show "leaden even by Oscar standards," dinged Gervais as "uninspired" and lobbied for Sherlock Holmes winner Robert Downey Jr. to get the host gig next year. 

Huffington Post blogger Mark Blankenship was struck by the "shocking ineptitude of the direction and production"—and yes, this critique included the poor crew guy who altered Chloe Sevigny's Valentino gown with his big foot.

Gervais received his harshest review from author Toby Young blogging for the London Telegraph, or rather from Young's headline writer, who came up with the following: "Ricky Gervais bombs at the Golden Globes."

Young, who admitted to filing his report only 45 minutes into the show, decided his fellow Brit looked nervous and on the verge of flop sweat "as it became clear that his penis gags and his ironic-but-not-really attempts to promote his DVDs were falling flat."

New York magazine tuned in to a different show, arguing the only problem with Gervais was that there wasn't enough of him: "What he did was good!"

Then again, there wasn't even critical concensus on the speeches. The Hollywood Reporter thought the impassioned thank-yous from the likes of Sandra Bullock helped save the night; New York found most of them boring.

After the last couple of Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien weeks it's had, NBC will take boring. And big ratings.

(Originally published Jan. 18, 2010, at 11:04 a.m. PT)


Loved him or hated him, there was more to the Golden Globes than Ricky Gervais. Get the complete list of winners right here.

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