As television shows are slowly awakening from their summer-long slumber, we were treated to the first taste of this new TV season over the past week. On Monday night, Dancing with the Stars returned with a very promising new crop of celebrities. And on Tuesday, The Mindy Project started the next chapter of its life after its move to Hulu.
I was all set to write about the ending to the season premiere of The Mindy Project for this post. I had a lot to say about Chris Messina’s ability to say so much with so little and the beauty of Mindy Kaling’s smile. I also wanted to talk about how important it was for Danny to tell Mindy he’d like to be wrong about marriages never working out. Because that’s what mature love is—it’s a leap of faith that you choose to take instead of something you blindly fall into. It’s knowing that there’s a chance this could end in disaster but choosing to believe there’s also a chance it might not. Love is belief—belief that the person you love is worth the risk and belief that your own happiness is worth fighting for. All those themes were wrapped up in one moment—in one line, really. And it gave me so much hope for the future of this show.
I had all that planned, and then last night’s Emmy Awards happened. Viola Davis happened. And now I don’t want to write about anything else.
Viola Davis is class, elegance, and power personified. When she talks, you listen. And when she talks about the struggle for African American women to find their voice and their own place on television, you don’t just listen; you cry.
You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.
What an honest and deeply moving statement. There’s still so far to go for women—and especially women of color—in television, but progress and change are happening. And it’s happening because of a community of writers, creators, and actors who believe in what they’re doing and believe in each other. As Taraji P. Henson embraced Davis with such emotion on her way up to the stage, as Kerry Washington cried her way through Davis’s speech, and as Davis mentioned so many of her peers who are making their mark on the television landscape, I was moved to tears by the power and beauty of women supporting other women.
The Emmys weren’t perfect, but they gave us this moment. And for that, I am so grateful.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week? And let’s use this post as a post-Emmys discussion group, too! What were your thoughts on the night’s winners, snubs, and overall entertainment value?
As far as regular TV goes, the best thing I saw this week was Dancing with the Stars. I hope you are prepared to listen to me talk about Nick and Bindi for what will likely be the whole season because I got invested.
I love everything about Bindi Irwin. She radiates joy and positivity and love and it is beautiful to watch. She’s already talented and Derek will bring out a lot in her and continue to be a wonderful choreographer so I already expect her to be in the finale.
And then there is Nick. I already texted you about this but I am still that crazy fan I was when I was 13 and I love it. Sharna’s reaction to meeting Nick and getting to incorporate what is probably their most well-known choreography into her own work was the kind of joy you only get from a fangirl and it was beautiful. This was the first time I had seen her and I already adore her. Her choreography was amazing, she seems so fun, and she’s gorgeous. I cannot wait to watch these two throughout the season.
And now onto the Emmys. With every reblog and article, I keep crying over Viola Davis’s win. What an incredible speech from an absolutely incredible lady. Her words and the truth of what she said was powerful and her support of the other leading ladies of color on television right now was beautiful. It was the moment of the Emmys. Yes, I’m glad Jon Hamm finally won, but this was the reason to tune in. This was the reason we watch these shows year after year, regardless of how much we complain about the other winners. It is for moments like this, and moments like the excitement for Regina Kind, and Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor’s words for the transgender community, and Uzo Aduba being overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity she has been given. This is why awards matter, at least a little bit. This is why television and media matter. They give people a chance to shine and be recognized and their fight heard. They give people a chance to see and imagine themselves on that stage achieving the same dream.
I cannot wait to talk about this whole DWTS season with you! Bindi just radiates joy, which is so wonderful considering the tragedy she went through at such a young age. And I’m so happy you share my love for Sharna. She’s my favorite female professional on the show, and I got such a kick out of her being a total fangirl over Nick. She really is one of us! 😉
I also just want to co-sign everything you said about the reason we watch award shows even when we complain about who gets nominated/who wins. It’s for those genuine moments of joy and recognition for people who’ve worked their whole lives to find success doing something they love. And as you said, this win for Viola Davis was so special because it represented a woman whose presence on television has given women of color a chance to see someone like them reaching new heights. It’s why Gina Rodriguez’s win at the Golden Globes was so special, too. And it’s why I will never stop watching these shows—even when they drive me crazy most of the time.
When I said that I wanted Viola Davis to win I was thinking about that episode fairly early on where she stripped off her “armor” and how incredibly powerful it was to see her so vulnerable and bare. I had no idea that an African American woman had never won an Emmy for leading actress in a drama. No idea. I just can’t believe it. I hope that things are starting to change – that the people in charge will see that we want a diversity of characters and actors and stories on our screens.
That episode was such a moment—not just for Davis but for television as a whole. The television landscape is changing in such a powerful way in terms of representation and diversity, and I feel like this win was a win for that movement toward a world in which so many different kinds of complex women are shown as the main characters of their own stories on television.
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