Amy Poehler’s Systematic Dismantling Of The Emmys
By Alex Cranz
The Emmys is television’s chance to lay on the prestige and play Oscars dress up. It isn’t quite as prestigious and often times it’s about as genuinely meritorious of quality art as the Golden Globes and maybe Oscar-Winner Kevin Costner called it a joke last night, but it’s still very important.
It’s the Emmys! Growing up actors covet an Emmy. In this Golden Age of Television filled to the brim with excellent television the Emmy is a bragging right beyond compare. Even when it’s a ridiculous “what the hell were they thinking” win like that of Maggie Smith or Jon Cryer last night it’s still a flipping Emmy.
And for the last few years Amy Poehler has been saying “fuck that” and quietly turning it into an actual celebration of quality by manipulating the acting category she’s been nominated in and forcing the spotlight to shine on everyone in that category rather than just the winner. There’s no traditional thanking of God, country, spouse and producer when you’re in a category with Poehler.
In 2009 Poehler was up for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy and managed to convince the other women to all dawn funny glasses. Except for Vanessa Williams who channeled her character Wilhelmina Slater, glared at the camera and said “no.” (Now you know why Williams is so sassy when rejecting you on Tumblr.)
It was a cute moment and maybe a little shocking as you rarely if ever see that sort of camaraderie or silliness in the nominees of an acting category.
Then last year she and some of the other actresses up for Best Actress in a Comedy got together and decided that they’d support whomever won and that maybe they mock the over the top pageantry of the Emmys as well.
It was immediately hailed as one of the most memorable moments in awards history. While it was a shock that Melissa McCarthy won the award it was the sight of those women all standing on stage clutching each others’ hands that we took away from the evening.
And this year we may well remember Julia Louis Dreyfus won, but not because it was a deserved win (she does good work on Veep) or because it was her third win but because Amy Poehler hopped out of her seat, passionately hugged her and then Dreyfus walked up on stage and read Poehler’s acceptance speech.
It was showboating of the grandest order and one of the biggest snubs of the ceremony itself ever presented on stage. Poehler and Dreyfus collectively stole the thunder of the whole damn show while mocking the concept of an awards ceremony.
It takes a special set of ovaries to prank television’s most prominent award. Amy Poehler may have been robbed by Emmy voters last night but with a sly sleight of hand she turned the whole event on its head. I wouldn’t be surprised if next year she has all the nominees go up on stage and give their acceptance speeches regardless of a win and forcing the awards not to reward one singular achievement selected by people who rarely watch tv but work enough in it to get screeners but to highlight the collective best of television.
It’ll be her best win yet.