The People's Choice Awards, which aired last night beneath a grand, bland, purple cloak of likability that also doubled as host Queen Latifah's dress, fall into the "Awards Shows You Didn't Care Existed" category rather than the "Awards Shows You Don't Know Existed" one. Obviously, everyone knows the People's Choice Awards exist—it's a terrible force that is both everywhere and nowhere all at once, kind of like Applebee's. But at the same time no one's going to bother to do anything to stop it—again, kind of like Applebee's.

Judging by the ceremony last night, virtually no one bothers to care about the People's Choice Awards, even the celebrities who are chosen by the people to receive People's Choice Awards, so much so that "The People Who Are Here Awards" would be a more accurate title. It was painfully obvious who the winners were in categories like "Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star" and "Favorite Movie Comedy"—and not just because the PCAs are a proud, pointless popularity contest that seeks to reward popular stars and movies by telling them they're popular. Robin Williams had to win the "Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star" award, because he was the only one of the three nominees who showed up. Likewise, 27 Dresses was a lock for "Favorite Movie Comedy" because Katherine Heigl and Malin Ackerman wouldn't be there otherwise. In this way, the PCAs are almost an anti-awards show. With most awards shows, the contest, the sport of the proceedings, the wondering who will win this "honor," is the foundation upon which the entire apparatus (Red carpet commentary, who is with whom, how do they look, etc.) is built. The PCAs have no such foundation, but they still want to have the rest of the apparatus, which is why their red carpet might as well be jacked up on cinder blocks on a front lawn somewhere.


Case in point:

There's no pretense of achievement at the PCAs, and an awards show without pretension is a sad awards show indeed. In fact, more surprising than any of the winners were both the utterly desperate non-winners in attendance (like, say, Jewel, who showed up in order to host the "CVS Pharmacy Makeover" contest, which is as humiliating as it sounds), and certain winners who chose not to attend. Some of the stars in the latter category had good reason not to be there, either a. They're very high-profile and are thoroughly secure in their unending popularity (Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt), or b. They have a little dignity and don't want to run down the winding platform lined with fans and slap hands (Tina Fey).


But then there were a number of winners who clearly had no good reason not to stop by and pick up their PCA lucite blob with creepy etching of disembodied applauding hands. These are the winners who evidently think they're too good for the People's Choice Awards, when in actuality their hearts pump pure mediocrity through their veins, they sweat unadulterated blandness, and they are the living embodiments of The People's Choice Awards. Take, for instance, Deal Or No Deal, which won for Favorite TV Game Show but didn't send a representative to get the award. Howie Mandel is too good for The People's Choice Awards? The numbered suitcases are afraid of losing their street cred by showing up? The winner for Favorite Pop Song, Katy Perry, didn't bother to show up either. Katy Perry thinks she's too cool to appear on an awards show with a constant "Facebook Shout-Out ticker" in the left-hand corner of the screen? She doesn't want to be seen on a show that had running commentary from those two talking cartoon M & Ms? If I were "The People" I would be insulted. Of course, I would probably also think this is funny. [youtube:Z_SHwDsffHs]