This Sunday the nation of America and others will enjoy an annual tradition: The Primetime Emmy Awards. Most of the Hollywood actors will arrive wearing stylish fashions and quietly observe this year's host Jimmy Kimmel on the stage while literally millions of viewers do the same from the comfort of their homes or smartphones. But even though the Emmys have been held for over ten years in a row, a lot of people (including me) don't know what they are or who they are for. I hope this long-form journalistic inquiry will shed some light on one of Hollywood's most intriguing mysteries.
INTRODUCTION: WHAT ARE THE EMMYS?
The main question people tend to have when they talk about the Emmys is, "What is an Emmy?" It is a good question and worthy of discussion. A Emmy is a treasure given to a Hollywood celebrity for all their hard work over that past year. The Emmys are basically TV's version of the Oscars or Golden Globes. Seems simple enough, right? But it's not always so simple! Here is an infographic that might make things more clear:
But the Emmys is about more than just a trophy or an angel of music. The Emmys is a celebration of the Hollywood television industry. All of the stars from our TVs get together in one room to enjoy a fun night out for once, and also give each other awards. The celebrities and stars also get to give speeches, which is like an award in itself. You know how we all sit and daydream about getting to attend our own funerals, but it's a paradox because when you are dead it is a dreamless sleep and you cannot experience anything, let alone a funeral? The Emmys are like that except you get to attend and make speeches to all of your friends and also sometimes there are mash-up skits where someone from one TV show will talk to someone from another TV show and it is funny because why are they in the same room all of the sudden? Things like that don't happen at funerals normally, especially not yours.
When it comes to the Emmy ceremony, an important thing to keep in mind is that there are literally hundreds of categories. They do this so that everyone will win at least one Emmy and nobody's feelings get hurt. In 1986 Gimme A Break's Nell Carter was denied an Emmy and she knocked down a bridge. Ever since then the Emmy voters have been careful to make sure everyone gets a trophy.
A HISTORY OF THE EMMYS
The Emmys have been around almost as long as television itself. Nobody really knows when televisions first came to exist, or what came first, the TV or the TV show? This remains a classic conundrum to this day. But we do know this: Both television and the Emmys began in the spring of 1978, and the latter was the brainchild of a bored Michigan housewife named Wendy Emmy who decided that there should be an event much like the Oscars, where awards would be bestowed upon all of her favorite stories. Thus, Ms. Emmy gathered up all of her friends from a local diner where she occasionally ate dinner by herself whenever her husband worked late, and they got to work planning the first-ever Emmys.
Unfortunately the road to the Emmys was not easy sailing. After a few heated disagreements over who should be nominated, including vicious shouting matches and at least one incident in which a seated woman kicked another seated woman in the mouth somehow, the Emmys committee disbanded for a three-year period. Wendy Emmy took a job at a marine sanctuary where she nursed a tuna back to health and meanwhile recruited a new Emmy committee, this time enforcing a strict No Tramps of Any Kind rule. Within weeks the first ever Emmys ceremony took place:
Although at the time there were almost no TV shows, the two that DID exist—Uncle Tampico and The Texaco Prancing Fancy Mystery Hour—swept most of the categories, including Best Drama Series, Best Comedy Series, and Most Caucasians (this category was admittedly an artifact of its time). The Emmys was a rousing success! It made the newspaper and everything.
Despite the fact that the very same committee continues to nominate and select Emmy winners to this day, much has changed. Whereas the first Emmy ceremony was located in the back room of Veronica Messer's Cotillion Hall in West Jamaica, Michigan, we all know that the Emmys have grown and expanded to a tremendous and elegant degree. Today, all of the celebrities gather at the crown jewel of Los Angeles's illustrious L.A. Live entertainment complex, the Nokia Theater:
This theater seats over a hundred people and you better believe all of them will be dressed in shiny clothing and crossing their fingers for an Emmy of their own! But celebrities, beware: Sometime in the '90s Wendy Emmy perished in a tragic marine sanctuary accident (she was mauled by a tuna) and her ghost is said to haunt the Nokia Theater to this day. Typically a Wendy Emmy haunting involves her spirit sneaking into the dressing rooms backstage and licking everybody's makeup, but a trickster at heart, she has also been known to high-pitched shriek directly into Ryan Seacrest's face for minutes on end.
WHO HAS WON A EMMY?
Probably the most important element of the Emmys is WHO has won an Emmy anyway? A plethora of celebrity winners have brought home Emmys over the years, so here is a taste of the most notable ones:
Please consult Google or Bing to find a complete list of Emmy winners!
WHO HAS NOT WON A EMMY?
When it comes to the Emmys, sometimes it is more about who HASN'T won a Emmy than who has, especially for people who haven't won a Emmy. The list of deserving Hollywood actors who have been denied Emmys is long and outrageous, suggesting a sort of institutionalized discrimination such that this country has probably never experienced before. Please, when you are perusing this showcase of abject Emmy poverty, please remember that as still-alive human beings, any of them are still capable of winning Emmys, it just hasn't happened yet. Here is a selection of notable people who HAVE NOT won a Emmy:
As you can see, sometimes the world is an outrage. So too, sometimes, are the Emmys.
One of the most important aspects of the Emmys is the Emmys fashion that the celebrities wear to the Emmys. All of the top designers in the world loan out their best dresses to the ladies and gentlemen of Hollywood so that their fashions can be seen by everybody, including reporters, papa rotsy, and viewers watching the broadcast on their televisions or Kindle Fires. Sometimes getting a picture of your new dress in the paper can really help a designer's business, so it's no wonder. Meanwhile the celebrities try and compete to see who is the most beautiful in the face and body and the results are normally posted on a sheet of paper that is tacked up in the alley behind the Nokia Theater on the following Monday. Here is a photo of all the hottest and newest Emmy fashions and trends:
Expect to see a lot of these looks at the Emmy Ceremony this coming Sunday.
POPULAR FORMS OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE EMMYS
The one thing that will always be true about the Emmys is that the celebrities will be arriving in style. It is well-known that there aren't enough white limousines in Hollywood for all of the celebrities to have their own, so a celebrity needs to book their white limo at least three weeks in advance. Unlucky celebrities who neglected to reserve white limos for themselves this year include: Hugh Jackman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rashida Jones, Alex Trebek, Olympic gold-medalist Gabby Douglas, and Ernest Borgnine (deceased). They will now all need to carpool.
THE RED CARPET EXPERIENCE
One thing that TV viewers may not know about is that for the celebrities who go to the Emmys, the red carpet experience is crucial to having an experience there. Outside of the Nokia Theater, the TV celebrities will be confronted by throngs of reporters, all trying to get the scoop:
Some of these journalists are from places like: Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, US Weekly, Inside Edition, A Current Affair, Access Hollywood, Forgive or Forget?, AskJeeves, The Insider, E!, and sometimes even Kickin' It with Byron Allen. But what you need to know is, it doesn't really matter where the reporter comes from, they are all JACKALS. All they care about is scoop scoop scoop. That's why they shout and scream themselves hoarse at celebrities passing on the red carpet, so that they can be the first to get all the scoop. Sometimes celebrities want to be on camera and will give up morsels of scoop to whomsoever shouts the loudest at them. But other times the celebrities just want to be left alone and have their pictures taken. That won't stop a reporter. Reporters are like junkies, and cannot be trusted when there are scoops to be had. Nobody knows this better than a celebrity, but if you find yourself in a red carpet situation, BE CAREFUL. This is never more true than at the Emmys.
EMMY SWAG BAGS
The main reason that TV celebrities enjoy attending the Emmys is not for the Emmys, the speeches, the fashions, or even the comma roddery. No, it's for the swag bags. One of Hollywood's best kept secrets is that the more successful a celebrity becomes, the less they pay for anything ever, and all of the items they receive—from jewelry to household cleansers to computer software—come in a "swag bag." A swag bag is a bag of items given to celebrities by companies who want to show their appreciation for the celebrities' hard work. Below is an example of the types of swag bags given out at last year's Emmy celebration:
ARE THE EMMYS IMPORTANT?
The most important question you may be thinking to yourself right now is, "Are the Emmys important, I'm kind of tired/busy." It is a good question and worthy of discussion.
On conclusion, the Emmys are an annual event that happens almost every year. All of the dramas and comedies of the season take home trophies for their efforts, including many of our favorite TV stars. But despite who wins or loses, one thing is always clear: It is a win-win situation for the television viewers at home (or at wi-fi hot spots). Because the Emmys are a TV event full of spectacle and humor, in fact they are a lot like the Oscars but about TV. So this Sunday night, when you are asking yourself why the Emmys are on every single TV and laptop nearby, now you know.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
Now that you have read this exposé of the Emmys, it's time to talk about what we've learned.
... Who are the Emmys for?
... Should the Emmys happen more than once a year?
... What do you think about Emmys fashion?
... Should people in jail or prison be allowed to watch the Emmys?
... Are you going to watch the Emmys? (Are you in jail?)
... Are the Emmys important?
... What is your favorite Emmy memory?
... Who is your favorite Emmy snub?
... Are you allowed to watch TV where you live?
... Are you a celebrity, and if so, are you going to win an Emmy this year?