The Emmys: Award Shows are Kinda Important TBH

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

Television is one of the most influential aspects of Western culture. This is a fact that can be quite depressing. “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been on the air for 10 years. “Monk” was only on for eight years. The society we live in is inundated with content, a majority of which is television or consequence of television. 

Youtube is a more creator based platform providing the same product of TV at a different scale. Similarly, “made for TV movies” are a rebranding of cinema, and though it may be older than television, it is the household TV set that is far more ubiquitous. Ever since Queen Elizabeth II’s televised coronation, there has been a television set in nearly every household in the Western Hemisphere. 

The popularity of TV only increased with the start of production companies like the BBC and PBS. Stars like Lucille Ball, Ed Sullivan, Mary Tyler Moore, and so on, led to the acceptance of television programming as part of the average American family routine. The Academy of Television Art and Science recognized the significance of television and the individuals that make it the cornerstone that it is way back in 1949. 71 years down the line, the 2019 Emmys depicted the significance of recognizing the people who define our society through their creations. 

The Emmys are actual seven or so award shows focusing on specific niches of television. The main event is the Primetime TV award show. This year Phoebe Waller-Bridge was recognized three times in connection to the hit show “Fleabag,” which she was the main creative force behind and which she starred in as the titular character. Bill Hader won outstanding lead for his work in “Barry.” Alex Borstein finally received some much needed recognition for her role of Suzie in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” More significantly, Borstein also used her moment in the spot-light to share a message of perciervience and homage to her Holocaust survivor grandmother. Recognizing these influential creators is important but that isn’t the only significance of the Emmys.
The Emmys this year did not have one host, rather many presenters and comedian Thomas Lennon acting as the commentator. This allowed for more memorable “skits” and moments brought by a variety of comedians, as well as touching speeches and remembrances. Ben Stiller combined comedy and touching remembrances by adding a fully alive Bob Newhart to a line of wax models of some of the most influential faces in television. Newhart objected to his presence on stage and held his own, making fun of Stiller at every step. These moments captured the reasons TV made it to its place as a beloved member of the nuclear family. 

A facet of the Emmys is the other smaller award shows. These shows recognize the significance of how much television captures. Mariska Hargitay’s documentary “I Am Evidence,” which addressed the amount of backlogged rape kits that go untested for years, won Best Documentary. The documentary worked to give these victims, who have yet to receive any justice, a voice. Hargitay followed the trend set by Laverne Cox, Billy Porter, Michelle Williams, and many others started, as she took advantage of the platform being offered to her. Hargitay named every woman who contributed to the documentary and listed what they were evidence of. “I Am Evidence” regards the fact that these survivors are merely evidence to the current justice system. They sit in boxes and gather dust, but that does not describe their own journeys. “You are all evidence of courage, and of strength, and of perseverance, and the possibility of reclaiming a life,” was only a fraction of what Hargitay said in her speech. The recognition of documentaries and any piece of art with a meaning is an important way to give support. This support is not only for the creators but the represented or affected parties. 

Whether one watches TV for a weather update or a soap opera, there is an Emmy Award’s show recognizing the people who star in, work on, produce, edit, design, write, and create these medias. Award shows share these works of art with middle America and those less “with the times.” They give celebrities a platform to advocate for causes, address injustice, and sometimes just a space for ridiculously rich people to laugh at the Kardashians for their “unscripted” lives on live TV.