The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, which took place this past Sunday, were unsurprisingly politically-charged. Stephen Colbert made several jokes at Trump’s expense during the monologue and it was a solid funny monologue. It was certainly an improvement from Jimmy Kimmel’s last year and it almost goes off without a hitch. That was until Colbert introduced a surprise guest — former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. In a reference to Melissa McCarthy’s popular SNL parody of him, Spicer wheeled a podium onstage and Colbert then set Spicer up for a gag about the Emmy ratings. It received a big reaction from the audience, notably Anna Chlumsky, an actor on the political satire Veep, who was caught on camera with her mouth agape in disbelief. However it weakens how seemingly progressive the Emmys were this year and highlights the hypocrisy of the industry.
The two big winners of the night were HBO’s Big Little Lies which took the award for best limited series and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale which won for best drama series, with both series winning five awards each in total that night. While The Night Of would have personally been my pick for best limited series, I have yet to see Big Little Lies and it’s good it won because it’s led by an ensemble cast of talented women. Similarly is the case for The Handmaid’s Tale which I have not seen either was an inspired choice considering its feminist politics and the parallels it has with the real world. However, it was a shame to see The Americans one of the most critically acclaimed series currently in the era of peak TV, snubbed again after it was finally recognised with a nod last year.
Emmy veteran, Veep, won for its six consecutive year and while I still enjoy the show, the latest two seasons have lacked the edge it once had especially considering how insane real world politics are. I personally felt Donald Glover’s Atlanta in its freshman season was far more deserving and was the best season of television I’ve seen in a long while. However Glover made history becoming the first African-American to win Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and the second to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. It was one of many firsts as other minorities won and achieved milestones on the night. Sterling K. Brown won an Emmy for his Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, the first in 19 years when Andre Braugher won for Homicide. However, he was one of the only winners to be cut off by the music while Nicole Kidman and Elizabeth Moss who gave longer speeches were not. Riz Ahmed became the first Asian man and the first Muslim to win an acting award. Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, with Waithe becoming the first African-American woman to win that award. She gave one of the best speeches of the night in support of the L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. community saying “the things that make us different, those are our superpowers.” As with the Oscars, let’s hope diversity is not simply a trend but change continues to happen. Until next year, Emmys.