Squid Game, Succession, Ted Lasso, and The White Lotus were just a few of the popular shows that had a fantastic night at the Emmys. There were some incredibly odd musical selections (why did Jesse Armstrong receive an Emmy for writing Succession and enter the stage to “Shake Your Booty”?) and scenes that dragged on for far too long (especially Jimmy Kimmel’s play-dead routine, which continued through Quinta Brunson’s comedy writing win for Abbott Elementary). However, there were also inspiring speeches and triumphs, and we’re here to examine five lessons from the ceremony.
The night belonged to the legendary Sheryl Lee Ralph.
This was not one of those years where you had to decide which part of the event was the finest.
Sheryl Lee Ralph’s acceptance speech for Abbott Elementary’s outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series was not only the highlight of the evening but also one of the best moments of the Emmys. perhaps ever?
Few individuals could perform “Endangered Species” by Dianne Reeves a cappella as well as Ralph did when he mounted the stage. Then she gave a stirring, lovely, and inspiring speech about the value of never giving up on your dreams and appreciating everyone who looks out for you. Although you should download the entire address to your phone so you may listen to it when you’re feeling bad in the future, it actually belongs to her and the impact of her talent and background. Her television career dates back to the 1980s, but with this honor, she joined Jackée Harry as the only other Black woman to win in the category. It was amazing to see even though it was long overdue.
Still, the program has to devote more time to speeches and less to montages and pre-written banter.
With a few notable exceptions, this particular Emmy event seemed to be swiftly burning folks out, despite the fact that some of them, like Jennifer Coolidge, was really entertaining. For her role in The White Lotus, Coolidge earned the award for best-supporting actress in a limited series. When “Hit The Road, Jack” began to play, she decided to dance instead of rushing off stage, which was met with applause from the audience.
There were hardly any significant surprises.
Both Ted Lasso and Succession were predicted to triumph in their respective comedy series and drama series categories, and they did. With victories for Mike White in directing and writing, along with Coolidge and Murray Bartlett in the supporting categories, The White Lotus swept the limited series prizes.
But none of those programs won the most prizes. Michael Keaton won for the main actor in Dopesick, while Amanda Seyfried won for lead actress in The Dropout. Lee Jung-Jae, the first Asian man to ever receive such a distinction, received lead actor in a drama series for Squid Game. The fact that someone won for a non-English speaking performance may come as a surprise, but the show’s widespread popularity and the number of nominations it received had already given the impression that it had a high chance of succeeding.
The reality competition category’s most pleasant surprise was perhaps Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, which ended RuPaul’s Drag Race’s four-win winning streak. With that victory came (of course) a strong and enthusiastic statement from Lizzo about the value of representation, which became a recurring topic throughout the evening.
Still, a lot of repetition is present.
There were several repeat winners despite fierce competition in almost every category and a dearth of programs
that dominated the awards in the same manner that sitcoms like Frasier and Modern Family once did.
It was the sixth time in a row that Saturday Night Live had won the variety sketch category; the result was rather predictable. Its only competitor was A Black Lady Sketch Show. In the excellent drama series category, Succession won again in 2020, while Ted Lasso won again in 2017 for outstanding comedy series. In the lead and supporting categories, respectively, Ted Lasso actors Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein triumphed once more.
People desire to see genuine chances for new victors.
Standards for when a show has won “too much” appear to have shifted since the days when there were fewer acts to pick from. In those days, it wasn’t until something piled up five or six wins that pressure started to rise to get something else, anything else, up on stage with a win.
But today that there is so much available and so much that is terrific, even two wins for Ted Lasso seem redundant, especially when there is a program like Abbott Elementary that feels so new.
The Emmys are beginning to experience an unenviable problem: Even when people disagree with the results of a competition, it may not necessarily be the case that a show was undeserved, but rather that there was another option that should have been considered in a crowded field.
Even the legendary Jean Smart, who won countless fans over the course of a remarkable career and was superb on Hacks, may not have been everyone’s first pick. That wasn’t due to her skill; rather, it was because she had to compete against freshmen like Brunson and Issa Rae, who have been nominated for Insecure numerous times but have never won. The Squid Game wins has a fresh feel because of this; it’s a new show.
One thing is for a victory to feel earned, and another is for it to feel thrilling. Bring on the new competitors; even a second or third victory might get stale after a while.