LOS ANGELES – A Ricky Gervais-hosted Golden Globes this was not.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned for the third consecutive year to host the 72nd Annual Golden Globes Awards on Sunday night. In their 10-minute opening monologue, the comedians induced plenty of laughs and jaw drops mocking Bill Cosby, George Clooney, and Reese Witherspoon, as well as referring to the Hollywood crowd as mere "spoiled brats."
But once the show was underway, the hosts were inexplicably absent, paving the way for a somewhat boring three-plus-hour awards ceremony.
"The Golden Globes set a more serious tone right from the start and without more belly laughs from Tina and Amy it becomes repetitive," Hollywood-based career strategist, Suzannah Galland, told FOX411. "It’s clear the direction of the show lacked a certain pizzazz. Without humor, laughter and the usual familiar touches, most of us were left feeling subdued."
The Globes, typically known for its brash delivery compared to the much more formal Academy Awards, was largely given a thumbs down by both critics and viewers on social media, devoid as it was of its usual mini-scandals.
"Pretty stale and a little boring," one viewer tweeted, another referred to it as "too dull, not enough Tina and Amy," and others called it "a snore snore snore" event, and even "the most boring Globes ever."
Even Ricky Gervais, who found himself in the hot seat five years ago when he hosted the show and dramatically ripped every Hollywood power player to shreds, erred on the side of caution this year when he took to the stage to present.
"If we've learned one thing, it's that famous people are above the law," he said. "As it should be."
According to popular culture expert Jenn Hoffman, even the clothes reflected the drabness.
"The show was very straightforward this year, without some of the glitz, shtick or silly gags usually associated with this night. This was even reflected in the fashion choices with most starlets wearing straightforward gowns with slight edge, but no over the top glamour or red carpet risks," she said. "The straightforward understated aesthetic matched the mood."
Perhaps also contributing to the more vanilla tone of this year's show was the very nature of the nominations and winners themselves. This awards season has been all about more obscure, independent movies like "Boyhood," "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," rather than massive, widespread blockbusters, and many of the heralded shows such as "House of Cards," "The Affair" and "Transparent," are on streaming services or smaller pay cable channels.
In the wake of a somewhat lackluster response to the Golden Globes, its likely the Academy -- which will announce the Oscar nominees this week -- is a little nervous over the low-rent films in the spotlight this year. After all, the Oscars saw a prominent rise in its ratings last year with an average domestic viewership of 43 million, following a nine-year slump.
And it surely won't want to go backwards.
"Industry insiders who work on the creative side of Hollywood (writers, directors, actors) are excited that obscure films and television shows are finally getting more public praise and hope that translates to more public attention," Hoffman added. "But in the end it all comes down to dollars."
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Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay