By Seth Tamarkin, Staff Writer
This past week, the 70th Emmys Awards aired and many of the usual suspects took home awards, but there were a few surprises in an otherwise uneventful night.
Right off the bat, Saturday Night Live magnate Lorne Michaels’s new role as Emmys showrunner was felt with a musical number consisting of SNL cast members old and new. Musical numbers at the Emmys are as ubiquitous as overly long acceptance speeches, but this one attempted to showcase the Emmys new “woke” mindset with a self-aware song that promises that the Emmys “solved” their diversity issue.
They even stopped the song mid-way so Sandra Oh, the first Asian actress nominated in the lead actress category, could joke “it’s an honor just to be Asian” from the audience.
From there, more SNL cast members arose as Weekend Update stars Colin Jost and Michael Che hosted the event. Their rapport was fine, but the jokes were unremarkable enough to make much of the Emmys an awkward affair as many in the audience feigned laughter.
But anyone tuning in was not in it for the jokes, but to see who would win each coveted award.
Saturday Night Live truly was everywhere, winning its 65th Emmy for outstanding variety sketch series. SNL Alum Bill Hader also did well int he comedy category with his acclaimed HBO show Barry.
While it was nice that Hader won for best actor, all the lights were on his co-star Henry Winkler. “If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you,” Winkler said in his speech, almost 43 years after his first nomination for playing The Fonz, “And tonight I got to clear the table.”
Another great moment in the overly long telecast was when Glen Weiss, who won for his work directing the Oscars, used his acceptance speech to propose to his girlfriend live.
It was a heartwarming experience during a ceremony that felt unusually stale.
The biggest winner of the night was Netflix because they tied HBO with the number of wins, the first time a network has done that in sixteen years. Huge Netflix hits like Black Mirror and Queer Eye won awards as well as sleeper hits like GLOW, while the main contribution for HBO’s success was their awards cash cow Game of Thrones.
To watch Game of Thrones dominate television both critically and popularly for so long, seeing it finally meet some competition, and from Netflix of all places, was certainly a sight to see.
One more fan favorite to nab an Emmy was RuPaul for his show Rupaul’s Drag Race. The ten-season long show has missed out on a win every year, so the jubilant RuPaul declared the win “on behalf of the 140 drag queens we have released into the wild.”
After RuPaul’s win, the Emmys claim they “solved” diversity with what first-time Emmy winner Kenan Thompson claimed were the “most diverse nominations in Emmy history” starts to ring hollow when you realize how few and far between the wins are. There were tons of nominated people of color, and many award presenters like Tracy Morgan who quipped “I’m only rooting for the black people”, but there were only a couple wins for people of color overall.
For a show that eschewed the usual anti-Trump political message to hammer home diversity, it was eye-opening how little diversity there were in the wins.
Couple that with the jokes that mostly fell flat, the lack of surprises, and the extremely long telecast, and it should not have shocked anyone that this year’s Emmys were the lowest-rated in the show’s history.
PHOTO COURTESY: SPUTNIK NEWS