This year’s Emmys was full of political satire, Trump-centered sarcasm and seriously low ratings
The 2017 Emmys proved to be just like all the other award shows. Acceptance speeches consisted of the usual nod to family members and fellow cast mates, a quick thank you to the writers or directors and the socially accepted—and socially encouraged—joke about President Donald Trump. Exit stage right.
It is inevitable and unavoidable to hear politics being brought up at most awards shows, specifically in response to the 2016 presidential election results. It really is too easy to make a joke about President Trump; it’s a guaranteed laugh from your Hollywood elitists.
Ratings for this year’s show just about tied with last year’s numbers, according to ABC, where the 2016 show broke a record for the lowest viewings ever. What’s to blame?
The award titles are the same, there is the same amount of glamour and red carpet coverage, the awards are still a prestigious honor to receive. There is more diversity in the nominees, and definitely more diversity in the winners. But something is making viewers turn their televisions off. There are multiple contributing factors; a Washington Post article claimed it might be because of “larger trends rippling through the entertainment industry.” I think I might be able to pin point a big one.
It really might be as simple as we think; no one wants to hear about politics at awards shows.
The name that was spoken the most that night was not those who were breaking records or the celebrities who were best dressed. In fact, it was not a nominee at all. The name that was spoken the most was President Donald Trump.
It seems utterly ridiculous to think that President Trump would be the most popular name of the evening, but it is true. Not only did host Stephen Colbert make a jab at him almost anytime he had a chance—and sometimes they were presented in a musical montage—most award recipients said something about him in their acceptance speeches as well.
As Donald Glover took the stage to accept his award for outstanding director for a comedy series, breaking history by being the first black director to win this award, he gave a special shout out to the president.
“I want to thank Trump for making black people number one on the most oppressed list,” Glover said. “He’s probably the reason I’m up here.”
Sarcasm was clearly the name of the game that night.
Alec Baldwin accepted the award for best supporting actor in a comedy. His character? Impersonating Trump on Saturday Night Live (SNL).
“I suppose I should say, at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy,” Baldwin said.
One of the most memorable appearances from the award show was not a celebrity or director, but former White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. Celebrities gasped in the audience, some even stood and applauded.
Some of the winners, like Lena Waithe—who made history by being the first black woman to win for comedy writing—honored and brought attention to the LGBTQIA community and made no political jokes at all. Instead, she chose to use her few fleeting moments on stage to bring attention to something she deeply cared about.
The 2017 Emmys will not be remembered as the year that Riz Ahmed became the first man of Asian descent to win an acting prize, or the year that Sterling K. Brown became the first black actor to win best lead actor in almost 20 years. It won’t even be remembered as the year that Reed Morano became the first woman to win for directing in over 22 years. It will most likely be remembered as the year that Sean Spicer rolled on stage with a portable podium, while Colbert dedicated an entire opening montage to political satire, claiming “everything is better on TV.”
When you take the Emmys for what they were originally intended to be—a night to celebrate actors, directors and writers—it can be a truly amazing ode to the entertainment industry and the hardworking people who make it so enjoyable for their viewers. If they just laid off the predictable political jokes, more people might tune in instead of turning off their televisions.