Sunday, September 18, 2016. I had come home at about 8 pm and when I walked in the door I found at least two dozen dead fruit flies on the floor below my front window. The window was open, but there is no hole in the screen. So where did the flies come from and why are they dead? It was seriously some American Horror Story A+ level freaky shit. I was so focused on that I forgot to even turn the television on. After I triple bleached and disinfected my home, I took a nuclear grade Silkwood shower to bleach and disinfect myself. Finally, I had calmed down enough to settle into the last moments of prime time. Turning on the TV I saw one of my new favorite actors, Rami Malek from Mr. Robot making an acceptance speech and I realized this is the Emmys, and it was almost over. Oops. I missed it. Then I thought, “What else is on?” As a viewer, fair enough, but as an emerging television writer, to not care about the TV industry’s big do is so wrong, right?
TV by the numbers cites the viewership for the 68th annual prime time Emmy Awards at 11.3 million. Down from last year’s 11.7 million and a far cry from 2013’s 17.6 million (I think host Neil Patrick Harris had a lot to do with that one). So I am not the only viewer with my finger on the remote. The reasons are way too obvi – #1 Football. Who cares about rich celebrities and talented creative types in fancy dress when the Packers are playing the Vikings? #2 It’s the Emmys. The night where the TV academy salutes its brightest shiny objects while the rest of us stretch out on the sofa contemplating returning to our underpaid, overworked jobs. It has no value for a viewer not invested in the nominees. Sure, we love Julia Louis-Dreyfus and are happy to see her win (again) for HBO’s fabulous and funny VEEP but she is not really the President and cannot really improve our lot in life with a witty and heartfelt acceptance speech. The “celebrities, they have families just like us” trope doesn’t cut it when you have to fight with the unemployment office for your check.