2018 Emmys: Jokes fall flat but the celebration of television continues

Ana Costanzo

By Ana Costanzo

It was the anniversary of the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards and to celebrate the television actors, actresses, and shows on their nominations, hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost formulated stiff jokes, an outrageous dance sequence, uncomfortable digital shorts, and topped it all off with a thrown-together skit about the history of the Emmy.

All this marked an unremarkable night for an otherwise life-changing moment for the winners of this prestigious television accolade. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I think I’ll choose the latter.

Not only did the people in the audience look unamused when the night began with a song and dance celebrating the most diverse nominees in Emmy history, but the 10.2 million people watching at home (the least-watched Emmys on record, according to CNNMoney) must have felt increasingly uncomfortable when Saturday Night Live (SNL) Weekend Update anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost walked unto the stage equipped with sexual harassment allusions, racist jokes, Nazi pokes, and Roseanne hate. It was uncomfortable, to say the least, as the two hosts joked each other, evoking nervous chatter from a seemingly empty audience (the seat fillers had left to go refill their alcoholic beverages). It all seemed like one big SNL Cold Open, but without any laughs and any familiarity.

Once the hosts scrambled off the stage, the awards ceremony granted the first winner of the night: Henry Winkler for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series which he won for Barry. After that, the customary banter between award speakers commenced, but something was just a little off. Though watching on the screen, there was a peculiar atmosphere one could feel at Microsoft Theater where the awards ceremony took place.

However, there was one special moment that pleased everyone. Glenn Weiss, who won the Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special for the Oscars, proposed to his girlfriend on live television, who accepted (otherwise, it would have been an even awkward night). Che and Jost couldn’t have planned that even if they wanted to. The audience died for it.

But continuing onward (if only to see the favorites of the night hopefully win), the most awarded show of the night went to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, taking home the Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Rachel Brosnahan), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Alex Borstein), Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.

And because Netflix had the most nominations, it was obvious that the online television company would take home some awards. Merritt Wever won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Godless; Jeff Daniels won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Godless, as well; the episode “USS Callister” of Black Mirror won for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special; Regina King won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Seven Seconds; John Mulaney won the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for his stand-up comedy special Kid Gorgeous at Radio City; The Crown won the Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series; and Claire Foy won the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the Crown.

But of course one cannot forget HBO which tied with Netflix for total Emmy awards with shows such as Barry (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series), Game of Thrones (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series; Outstanding Drama Series), Westworld (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series), and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Outstanding Variety Talk Series).

FX was also quite a contender with shows such as Atlanta, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and The Americans. The Assassination of Gianni Versace won three awards including Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Dramatic Special, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Darren Criss), and Outstanding Limited Series. Fan-favorite The Americans won the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Matthew Rhys).

And between the award speeches and quick host appearances where Che and Jost begrudgingly walked onstage like scared children, the Emmys was itself once again. To begin with, the Emmys were never a unique experience to watch and enjoy, but simply an award ceremony for the wealthy and elite in Hollywood, and, this year, it was no exception.

Despite the hosts’ enduring desire to spread laughs and stretch out the night as humanly possible, thankfully the night was over after the final award was called. And one may sit there gloomily, looking over the three hours wasted, hours you could have used to binge-watch the shows possibly to become contenders for next year’s Emmys. And even though this year’s award ceremony was at its all-time low, the small screen platform will continue to spread with more people viewing talented shows deserving of such awards. So, until next time, Hollywood.