How to Not Hatewatch the Emmys This Year

Hayden Panettiere
With each passing year, I know more friends who've finally made it in New York or Hollywood. Directors, actors, writers, designers. These are people I love and for whom I agonize over that next video or audition or pilot. And I suppose it says something essentially pathetic about my imagination or capacity to feel empathy that it took my friends finally being the ones working or standing in front of the camera for me to realize how unfair the snark we hurl at the screen can be.

Because, despite there being many terrible shows, cheap shocks, hacky could-it-beeeee-any-more-sarcastic jokes, thoughtful actors buffed to soft-edged and vaguely inhuman unrecognizability, all of this is a dream for somebody. Somebody looked back at this show or episode as their best work, an ambition realized, some piece of heavenly possibility made real on earth.

This is their apotheosis, their moment, and even if we don't think it measures up compared to the richness of the Western canon—or, I dunno, that first season of Arrested Development—tonight we celebrate the best that thousands of people could do. It's about the hardest, sincerest work of crewman, costume designers, stylists, lighting and rigging guys, writers, actors, directors—even vipers in suits who really do think they're making things better when they cut out that joke that relies on a too-smart sex pun about Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

So pause, if you will, and offer a little respect. A moment of reflection that these are, indeed people too.

Okay?

Okay.

Good. Because now we're going to make fun of stuff. Because we can't help it.

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