The Emmy’s last Sunday night were a stunning reminder of how television reflects real life, or maybe the real life that society wishes it could have.
The Hollywood elite watched host Stephen Colbert comfortably deliver the opening monologue with the politically charged wit and charm he’s been portraying so far on “The Late Show.”
The monologue featured a song-and-dance number, but with a surprise guest tacked on at the finale: former Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The audience tried to fight their shock with amusement, but it was a challenge for some on-screen stars.
Keeping up with the evening’s theme of political satire, Saturday Night Live (SNL) won the most Emmy’s this year, taking home nine. Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin, who played Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last season, both won Emmy’s for their portrayal of the candidates.
Baldwin, who skewered Trump all season, drew the highest ratings for SNL since the mid-1990s, said, “I suppose I should say: at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy.”
However, the evening wasn’t just about poking fun at President Trump. It was also about celebrating the people who are disenfranchised by this administration.
There were many “firsts” in the list of winners, as well as topically relevant speeches that spoke to social issues, especially about race and gender.
“The things that make us different-those are our superpowers,” Lena Waithe said, as she accepted her award for Outstanding Comedy Writing (Netflix’s “Master of None”), the first Black woman to do so. Donald Glover was the first Black man to win an Emmy for comedy directing (FX’s “Atlanta”). As far as the television dramas, Hulu’s “Handmaid’s Tale” took home eight awards, including Outstanding Drama Directing, awarded to Reed Morano. Morano is the first woman to win that award since 1995.
The acting awards showed diversity as well. Sterling K. Brown won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (NBC’s “This Is Us”), the first Black man to win the award in twenty years.
Actor and activist Riz Ahmed was the first South Asian man to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited TV Series (HBO’s “The Night Of”).
“This show has shone a light on some of the prejudice in our societies, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that is something,” he told the crowd when receiving the award.
Although television viewership was the second-lowest in history (narrowly defeating 2016’s numbers), the Emmy’s were not ignored.
Many of the award show’s moments were trending on Twitter and Facebook that same night. For example, Waithe’s speech, shared on Refinery29’s Facebook, has 2.2 million views in just a few days. For the third year in a row, the Emmy’s are more diverse than the last. Now, television viewers at home are now able to see the diversity of off-screen America being shown and awarded on-screen.
Abby Shepherd can be contacted at email@example.com