September 24th, 2019
By Nick Byrne
My barometer for judging award shows is limited to that of a MTV standard of quality. When it comes to anything higher brow, take the Oscars or the Emmys, I truly can only base my opinion on two things: 1.) Was I emotionally invested in a nominee? And 2.) How many celebrity-audience reactions were there? With that being said, from my perspective this year’s Emmys weren’t too bad, but for some people— those capable of judging the show for the actual show itself— it was awful.
Although ill-equipped to give any real insight on the structure or quality of the show, there were a few things that even a mass-market-moron such as myself couldn’t help but notice, or, at least, things that I once knew, forgot, and then was reminded of. Like a missed call from a student loan debt collector, the Emmys, at times, felt less like an award show and more like a mood altering provoker of bad emotions. In no particular order, I present you with an unranked list, titled, “Relentless Reminders, Brought to You by This Year’s Emmys.”
#1. Seemingly perfect Natasha Leon is still married to this guy:
*Insert unsettling photo of Fred Armisen*
This first reminder is one that I consistently keep forgetting— perhaps because I spend so much time trying to delete it from my brain. There was only one thing that could cast a long shadow along the surrealist-genius that was the Natasha Lyonne led Netflix original, “Russian Doll,” and that was Fred Armisen showing up to every event with the show’s star to constantly remind us that he is in fact still married to her— this year’s Emmys acting as yet another opportunity for that to happen. Don’t get me wrong, with the assistance of Carrie Brownstein, the extremely quotable sketch-comedy show that is Portlandia gifted us with a good amount of tehehes over the years, and to this day I still appreciate Fred’s cameo in the first season of Broad City, but the more time that goes by, the more I realize that there’s just something about this Fred Armisen character that rubs me the wrong way. Never met the guy, but I wholeheartedly believe that someone as special as Natasha deserves something so much more than whatever it is that he’s trying to offer.
#2. People still think it’s a good idea to pay Jenny McCarthy to speak.
I dunno how this one weaseled herself out of cancel culture but somehow she has gone from advising the world on how to prematurely kill itself to hosting E!’s Live From the Red Carpet with what feels like zero pause for social-punishment. Every time she speaks our country loses too many brain cells and although she presented us with several reminders of this while hosting this year’s red carpet, I have to focus on her general unpreparedness when it came to interviewing the respect-worthy, Christina Applegate:
#3. Amy Adams still hasn’t won an Oscar despite being Amy Adams.
Although this was her first Emmy nomination, Amy Adams losing for her performance in HBO’s Sharp Objects is yet another reminder that the Drop Dead Gorgeous actress still hasn’t won an Academy Award either, despite being nominated 6 times. Silver-lining is, however, that the win did go to Michelle Williams, which, in turn, gave light to one of the greatest acceptance speeches of the night.
#4. We’re still all going to die one day.
A host-less affair, each presenter of this year’s Emmys was given a slightly expanded platform in order to create the illusion of transition and structure. This made it feel like there were 50 hosts, but it was Ben Stiller’s time on the stage that felt more morbid than entertaining. It was Stiller’s job to announce the winner of best supporting actor in a comedy series and he did so by honoring deceased comedians Lucille Ball and George Burns, both of who were represented by jarringly realistic wax figures. The camera then panned to a frozen Bob Newhart while Stiller continued the bit, only for the 90-year-old Actor to remind us that, despite being very old, he’s still very much alive. From the perspective of a rapidly aging Millennial who suffers from a great deal of death-anxiety, this sketch just didn’t sit well with me.
#5.Comedians still don’t understand that being offensive isn’t a substitute for comedic talent.
My skin crawls significantly faster when I hear a comic challenge the idea of a more progressive thinking and aware society, especially when they do it with a America needs to learn how to take a joke mentality. I once watched all 4 seasons of “Arrested Development” in one weekend— I know how to take a fucking joke!!! The problem is not about hyper-sensitivity, as much as it’s about comics not wanting to challenge themselves or even just question if they were ever funny to begin with. Sarah Silverman, I’ll admit, has made me chuckle over the years, but the Emmys red carpet was yet another opportunity for her to remind us that she still thinks blatant-intolerance is passable comedy, while she, yet again, compared cancel culture and its effects on the comedic world to the likeness of “righteousness porn.” Do I agree with every move that cancel culture has made? Maybe not. But do I think there are certain comedian-made jokes and tweets that are just completely unjustifiable? Absolutely. It doesn’t help that her words come just a week after the debate surrounding Shane Gillis.
#6. People are still aggressively unwilling to accept the Kardashians.
To those who still rely on the Why are the Kardashians famous trope in order to get them through social interactions, find a new personality. It’s 2019, babes, and the show has been on for 52 seasons. The Kardashians are here to stay and you might as well just accept that, not mock-laugh them while they try to present an award, which is exactly what happened when Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner presented The Competition Program Award at this year’s Emmys. You’re all adults. Do better.
#7. People still think The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a good show worthy of world domination.
Got to be honest, I’ve never seen an episode of this show and I probably never will, but I have seen a lot of ads and although fully aware of the repercussions that stem from the premature judgement of things, this show just seems like another Big Bang Theory-esque train that I would rather get run over by then ride along with. With well received newcomers such as Fleabag, this year TMMM didn’t sweep as much as they usually do, but I am, for reasons that are unclear to me, still bothered that they are getting any cleaning done at all.
#8. Veep is still over.
There are some shows so perfectly crafted that when they reach their conclusion you are met more with satisfaction than you are with sadness, shows that are so perfectly wrapped up that you are completely content with their resolution, take Fleabag for example, but then there are other shows so great that despite as many seasons that it has gifted you with, you still feel a selfish need for it to give you more— because you know that it is capable of doing so. With this year’s justified competition, better known as was Fleabag, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus led Veep didn’t have an opportunity to take home any awards Sunday night, but that didn’t stop the Emmy’s from constantly reminding us that the the seemingly-immortal show was, in fact, officially over.
#9. Catherine O’Hara is still a wildly underrated actor who deserves the EGOT at this point, never mind an Emmy.
Watch Schitt’s Creek seasons 1-5 if you already haven’t, and if you have, watch them again.
In short, this one speaks for itself.
#10. I am still a stunted youth who watches shows like, “The Hills: New Beginnings.”
I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones and I’m not quite sure what an “Ozark” is, but I did binge The Hills: New Beginnings last weekend and it is with a realized-juxtaposition like this that I am forced to accept the fact that my intellectual standards are still comparable to those of a poorly-raised 12-year-old. I can tell you that Heidi and Spencer are still going strong and that Mischa Barton made a surprisingly successful transition into the world of reality TV, but ask me to tell you one specific thing about the critically acclaimed Chernobyl and I will fail you miserably.
And that was this year’s Emmys in a nutshell. What relentless reminders did the award ceremony curse you with? Comment below!