Emmys 2017: The Best, Worst, and Most Cringe-worthy Moments

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By Jackie McMahon, Contributing Writer

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday, September 17, hosted by Stephen Colbert. Though viewership actually hit an all-time low, the ceremony itself was nothing if not memorable – though, not always for the right seasons. Here are the best, the worst, and the most cringe-worthy moments of the night.

The Best

Girl Power: Female driven shows dominated the night, shutting down the old stereotype that shows centered on women can’t achieve mainstream success. Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based off Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel of the same name, won Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for Elisabeth Moss, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama for Ann Dowd (who was so genuinely shocked and humbled by her win that she broke down in tears), Outstanding Writing for a Drama, Outstanding Directing for a Drama, and the previously announced Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama for Alexis Bledel. HBO’s Big Little Lies won Outstanding Limited Series or Movie in addition to several other awards, including Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series for Nicole Kidman, who dedicated her win to survivors of domestic violence. Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfuss also made history when she won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy for the sixth year in a row, the first to ever do so.

Donald Glover and Lena Waithe Make History: At the ceremony, Donald Glover became the first African-American man to win Outstanding Directing for a Comedy for his work on Atlanta. Additionally, Master of None’s Lena Waithe received the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (which she shared with Aziz Ansari), becoming the first African-American woman to win in that category. Overall, this year’s Emmys was one of the most diverse ever, a trend which will hopefully continue in the years to come.

Politically Charged Humor: With a host like Stephen Colbert, there were bound to be many jokes made at President Donald Trump’s expense. Some highlights: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss stated that Veep scrapped an impeachment storyline because “we were worried someone else might get to it first”; after winning for his portrayal of the president on Saturday Night Live, Alec Baldwin joked that Donald Trump finally had an Emmy (a reference to his past outrage that Celebrity Apprentice never won); and Colbert said that he looked forward to reading Trump’s inevitable tweets about the show.

The Worst

Cue the Exit Music: Actor Sterling K. Brown won his second Emmy Award, this time for his role as Randall Pearson on NBC’s breakout hit This Is Us. Only not long after Brown began his acceptance speech, he was already being played off. When Brown refused to exit the stage, producers cut his microphone, causing audience members to boo in protest. It was disheartening to see considering Brown was the first African-American man to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama since 1998 and many of his white colleagues were given more time to talk. However, Brown stood his ground and completed his speech backstage.

In Memoriam: The Emmys tried a different editing technique with this year’s In Memoriam segment and it did not pay off. All of the recently deceased were photoshopped into a series of picture frames and the video looked like it was created by a middle school student in computer class. Also, Roger Ailes was included in the montage – did the Emmys forget that he was accused of sexual harassment by over twenty women? Ailes wasn’t exactly the type of person that an awards show should be honoring.

The Most Cringeworthy

Sean Spicer’s Cameo: The shock was written all over the audience’s faces when Stephen Colbert brought out former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for a joke that fell flat. Though some audience members laughed, others were visibly disturbed that a former Trump administration mouthpiece was being treated with such blasé humor. The awkward guest appearance did conjure up one good moment though: Melissa McCarthy’s horrified face when Colbert brought up her impressions of Spicer on Saturday Night Live, which perfectly summed up all of the emotions viewers at home were feeling without a single word.

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Author: Jackie McMahon

Jackie McMahon '21 enjoys writing OpEd and A&E articles for The Gettysburgian due to her strong opinions about everything and her borderline unhealthy obsession with television. In her free time, she likes to binge-watch shows on Netflix, post on her Tumblr blog, and attempt to write a novel. She is passionate about feminism, cats and anything with chocolate in it. Her ambition is to someday become a best-selling novelist or a journalist.

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