The award for the stuff that matters


I don’t know why I care about awards shows, but I do. I like the pomp. I like the circumstance. I like finding out who designed Jessica Chastain’s dress (as long as that’s not all you ask her.) My life is pretty humdrum, and I never have the opportunity to wear Balenciaga anything, so when every couple months I get to watch something glamorous and completely out of my norm, it’s a little fun.

But still I understand that ultimately, none of these awards matter. A committee of people I don’t know are picking winners based on how they feel; there’s no “getting it right” or “getting it wrong.” They’re just people picking, like we normies pick our favorite things, too. It doesn’t matter if Modern Family wins the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series because it isn’t outstanding. And I know it isn’t, and that should be enough. But there are a few awards show moments that make me really happy and make me feel like the whole dumb institution might be worth something.

Here’s one in particular that I think I will remember for a very long time:


That’s Alan Yang, co-creator of Netflix’s Master of None, winning the Emmy for Best Comedy Series Writing for the episode “Parents.” I watched this speech live at my parents’ house. My Asian parents’ house. My parents encouraged me to take piano lessons, study hard, and work towards a degree in preferably nothing entertainment-based. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are wonderful, supportive people. They just don’t really *get* what working in TV means. It’s out of their wheelhouse; they weren’t exposed to it in the same way I was.

And here was Alan Yang essentially telling them it would all be ok. Telling me it would all be okay. That my story, and my parents story, were worthwhile and could be treasured by people who didn’t just look like us. And he was saying that on national television! To the whole world! See, that is the stuff that matters. If 15-year-old me, secretly harboring dreams of making it in the TV biz, watched that, it might have made me a little less insecure about pursuing this field. Also, it’s just a funny speech because Alan Yang is a funny dude.

So yeah, 99% of the time awards shows are nonsense and should be watched with that as the understanding. But 1% of the time, some really cool, life-altering stuff can happen. And if we’re very lucky, sometimes even stuff that generates some amazing, life-altering memes.

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