The Top Five Surprises from the Emmy Awards

The Emmys have taken a hit in the ratings department, and based on the early returns, the decline appears to be continuing. Some critics attribute the freefall to Hollywood award shows becoming more political commentary than a focus on the shows, while others maintain it is time for a format reboot. The reviews about Steven Colbert as host may also be a factor in future changes. With that as a backdrop, here are the top five surprises of the 2017 Emmys.

1. The appearance of Sean Spicer

Though clearly not humorous to everyone in the audience, the former White House press secretary walked out on stage, podium in front of him, to the laughter and applause of many of the attendees. Trolling President Trump was at the top of his list, to the surprise of no one watching. Making some type of guest star appearance had been rumored since he departed from the White House.

2. Emmy winners who did not use the opportunity to make a political statement

Surprisingly, there were more than a few who focused on the real purpose of the award show, whose ratings have plummeted since Hollywood has chosen to make it a political gathering. This mood was set from host Steven Colbert’s litany of Trump barbs that permeated the show. Then there was Sterling K. Brown. His acceptance speech primarily targeted everyone responsible for his success … and was unceremoniously drummed off the stage before completing his speech. Maybe one political comment would have bought him an additional minute.

3. Lena Waithe 

Her award for Outstanding Writing In A Comedy Series did come as a surprise as she is the first black woman to win the award. But her award was actually a subtext to a much greater recognition by writers as a whole. The wide diversity of characters, themes, plots, and subplots of the Emmy nominated shows acknowledges the efforts of the changing landscape of television programming. The repetitive themes of the past are fading, and younger viewers are getting what they hoped for — original programming with original characters.

4. Zero total awards for Westworld and Fargo 

It is understandable that the diversity and creative dimensions of television need to be recognized, but this should not end up with perennial favorites being left out in the cold. Both Westworld and Fargo are two of the top 10 movie-to-TV series programs of recent vintage. Fargo has carted home a total of 6 Emmys over the last couple of years, and Westworld pulled in 5 awards in the sci-fi category at the Creative Arts. Come on people! Recognizing new talent is a must, but don’t forget who got you here.

5. The Variety Talk Series winner 

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”? Really? Eliminating some of the competition was easy: Bill Maher’s racist slip, James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel do not seem to be resonating well with their audiences. But Samantha Bee seems to have a hit on TBS and Colbert’s ratings have zoomed since taking up a frontal assault on Trump. He comes off more as an infomercial trying to sell you something. His British accent shtick has worn off long ago, and he has jumped on the anti-Trump train but his material is not that much better than the competition’s. Like Colbert and Bee, castoffs from The Daily Show once it shut down a couple of years ago, they seem lost in comedyland. Guess somebody had to win.

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