In a considerably hectic news month, it was a nice treat to be able to watch the 2013 Emmy Awards last Sunday night and see the glitz and glamour of what I consider to be the “kickoff” of awards season, even though the other prominent award shows such as the Golden Globes and Oscars won’t take place until early next year. The shows and various miniseries that have been nominated in the past few years have been remarkable and have made major Hollywood hotshots turn to television for the string of amazing writing and scripts that have been produced lately. Though the television shows have been great, I continually wonder why the quality of the award shows has diminished in recent years. I grew up in a household where my mother would tape all of the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys and I would watch clips of award shows dating back to the 1950s and 60s, going through the 70s and 80s and I just loved them; the superb talent of the actors and actresses, the simple elegance of the 1950s mixed with the groovy 1970s (yes, I did say groovy) makes for television clips that cannot be recreated or replaced. So what is going wrong now?
The Emmys this year had a musical connection, similar to that of the Oscars earlier this year and I sat there wondering why they were trying to blend the two into one show. I am a music fanatic and I’ll be thrilled anytime Elton John wants to appear on my screen and sing a few songs, but his performance, though dedicated to Liberace in reference to Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, felt out of place. The clips from President John F. Kennedy’s funeral (which brings tears to my eyes every time) and the Beatles performing on the Ed Sullivan show are clips that I have seen hundreds of times and appreciate greatly as a lover of history and pop culture but even this tribute to the year 1963, which was hyped up so much in the press, in my opinion fell short of expectations.
I thought the various “In Memoriam” tributes that were placed throughout the show were touching, especially for acting greats such as Jean Stapleton and James Gandolfini, but I was left feeling as though they should have made some sort of montage instead of sporadically bringing down the energy and pace of the show. My mother and I are both a firm believer in bringing back clips and old footage to these award shows, especially the Oscars, because it helps us weave the past into the present. I don’t know if you can tell already but I am an old soul. Music, movies and television shows from the 1940s-1980s are my forms of entertainment. Throw in some Mad Men, Law & Order SVU and Downton Abbey and I’m all set. With the failure to find the right hosts, mixed in with bland jokes and forced banter between presenters, I feel as though the producers of these shows are trying too hard to reach out to a younger audience. They did so with the Oscars back in 2011 by having Anne Hathaway and James Franco host and let’s just say that it did not go so well. Even though I am in the age group that the producers are trying to aim the show towards, I am here with a simple message: stop conforming. Stop trying to conform to today’s “standards” for entertainment, simply because you are scared you are going to lose the young audience. We all unfortunately know that, standards today in the entertainment industry are exceedingly low. The humor is vulgar, the shows border on stupidity and the expectations nowadays for TV pilots are never that high. That is why it is refreshing to see some of the shows that AMC, HBO, PBS, Showtime and even Netflix have been airing; there really is some good television on today if you know where to look. So why do we have to diminish their accomplishments with an awards show that lowers the bar?
Now, I’m not at all here to bash the Emmys; watching them was really a highlight of my Sunday night and I’ll always continue to watch them. All I’m trying to say is that the producers have to stop trying to appeal to the young demographic while in the process forgetting everyone else who is going to be watching these shows. People are always going to tune in and watch the award shows, even the “younger” generation, so we should try to salvage the remaining allure and prestige, so to speak, of these shows and honor these actors in a way in which is respectful, entertaining and not intellectually dumping down in the process.
Lauren Meyer is an undergraduate student at Loyola University Maryland, majoring in Political Science. She is passionate about social issues and women’s rights and is an active member of the Young Democrats of America, the ONE Campaign and the Free the Slaves Movement. She has previously volunteered for a Connecticut state senatorial campaign for Election 2012. With a love for traveling the world and other cultures and languages, Lauren hopes to bring together her passions for foreign policy and universal education for girls into a future career.
Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter