The Emmys 2017 Recap: Boom or Bust?


Anyone who has been watching television knows how much Donald Trump’s presidency has shaped many of the shows this year.

The Emmys were no different, with Stephen Colbert’s opening monologue rife with political jokes that may have tuned out viewers who were unaware of the host’s background from The Daily Show or The Colbert Show. While the award show itself drew the ire of fans due to the many snubs (here’s looking at The Leftovers), the Emmys did manage to give the trophy to the people who most deserved it this year. It might not have been an extremely surprising night, it was nonetheless filled with drama and controversy due to a few uncomfortable moments.

The most divisive joke followed Colbert’s opening number when former press secretary, Sean Spicer, rolled onto the stage to make a comment on the crowd size at the Emmys. While the moment elicited a lot of gasps and laughter from some, others (like Melissa McCarthy) looked visibly uncomfortable at the stunt. Not to mention, the joke itself derived from Spicer blatantly lying about Trump’s inauguration size and to normalize that behavior by having him do the same at an awards show is disgraceful. Nonetheless, the scene was a quick one, with Spicer rolling offstage relatively quickly for the show to continue on.

Despite the clunky joke, Colbert’s hosting gig was very entertaining, as he showcased his many talents for showmanship. He didn’t attempt many long bits but chose to let the Emmys flow a bit more by not constantly breaking up the ceremony for large breaks. It’s a nice departure from the typically long gags done at shows like The Oscars but still got a few laughs. One of his best skits was one where RuPaul dressed up as “Emmy the Statue,” to give Stephen all of the hot gossip on the other awards including a funny swipe at the People’s Choice Awards.

As per usual, the Emmys opted to pat themselves on the back about diversity despite the fact that the television is still very much lacking in that category. They managed to fit an awkward video segment that the only purpose was to congratulate Hollywood on hiring minorities more often.

With all of the white-washing problems still currently happening, the video was an eye-roll inducing mess that probably garnered a few laughs from disbelieving actors. While the Hollywood might not be making big strides, at least the real winners from deserving shows took home the awards.

Donald Glover had a big night with wins for Best Actor and Best Directing for his FX show Atlanta,  which was one of the best surprises of the night. This Is Us had only one victory when Sterling K. Brown took home the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama but was cut off during his speech in an incredibly rude way. While it was clear that there wasn’t a lot of time left in the show and two other categories needed to be announced, there was definitely a better way to ask him to get off the stage rather than just killing his microphone.

HBO was not the king of the Emmys this year because being unable to submit Game of Thrones for anything, they lost a couple of big categories. Nonetheless, Big Little Lies won big, sweeping almost every category it was nominated for. The mini-series was a critical success, and one of the best adaptations on television this year.

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However, their victories weren’t shocking in the least and for some reason, the award show decided to spread out the categories before giving Nicole Kidman her Emmy near the very end of the night. The network’s other stable winner, Veep, also took home the awards for Best Comedy and Best Actress setting records for the series as well as the star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. While HBO is claiming the beloved satire will probably sit out of the Emmys next year, it seems unlikely they would want to lose those awards to another streaming service on the rise.

That’s right, Hulu was the true victor at the Emmys with their dystopian hit, The Handmaid’s Tale, taking home many awards. Margaret Atwood’s tale of repression in a radical time enamored voters and viewers who related to the story more than ever. It wasn’t all that surprising, but it was definitely a powerful victory for the series as well as the people involved in bringing it to life.

Elisabeth Moss finally took home a victory for her leading role in the show, while the extremely talented Ann Dowd was finally recognized for her work with a Best Supporting Actress nod. Alexis Bledel also awarded an Emmy earlier in the week, but the entire ensemble has proven what a gifted cast can do with such a powerful story.

Next: The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies win big at 2017 Emmy Awards

While the political content may have displeased some of the Emmys’ viewers, it couldn’t have been very shocking. The world is very divided, and Hollywood is going to try to tell stories of tolerance while poking fun of those trying to stop it. They still have a lot of work to do in order to be truly diverse, but at least the 2017 Emmys was a step in the right direction.