Wow, wanna know about a social media train wreck you probably didn’t know went down over the weekend? How about red carpet rape jokes, needless racism and clueless interviewing? Yeah, it was brutal. And yet, successful.
The 2014 Daytime Emmys went down over the weekend — a show by old people, for old people and involving stuff that relatively few people care about. By and large, the Daytime Emmys and the content they cover are a dying medium. The younger generation has “free time” at home during weekdays for exactly two reasons: they can’t get a job or they are a stay-at-home-parent. Soap operas are a trope of yesteryear — a diminishing artifact from an age where both partners didn’t have to work to make ends meet.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences knew this going in and were apparently desperate to keep TV before 7 p.m. relevant with the younger demographics. So they turned to social media, recruiting young and “relevant” red carpet hosts to drum up some online interest. Putting out a casting call for “millennials between the ages of 18-35 … who have a strong entertainment news background and/or very strong social media following (300,000 followers minimum),” NATAS managed to snag Brittany Furlan, Jessica Harlow, Meghan Rosette and Lauren Elizabeth. The girls then proceeded to piss all over the festivities by not knowing the majority of the people they interviewed, asking inappropriate questions and providing cringe-inducing commentary about the attractiveness of the interviewees. Fortunately, TV Line provided a handy summary of some of the more egregious moments:
* Furlan said to nominated The Young and the Restless alum Daniel Polo — whom she didn’t know was no longer on the show playing Jamie, but that should be the worst of her shortcomings — “I don’t want to go to jail for this one.” Upon learning the young actor is in fact (barely) of age, she then remarked: “Oh, so he’s legal!”
Furlan literally came onto, and hard, every male in attendance, to a degree that makes E!’s Giuliana Rancic look positively demure. EvenDays of Our Lives‘ Galen Gering couldn’t help but throw shade at the brassy brunette as she squealed, “Oh my gawd!” at his castmate Greg Vaughan (Eric); see photo below.
* Harlow asked Lawrence Saint-Victor (Carter, The Bold and the Beautiful) — “a beautiful chocolate man,” as she introduced him — “What’s it like to be a black man on a soap opera these days?” Not coming from any place of social insight, but simply for lack of anything else to ask him.
* Elizabeth asked veteran actor Joseph Mascolo (Stefano, Days), who had been introduced to them as a daytime legend: “What is so legendary about you, sir?”
* When presented with Monty Hall, Furlan and Elizabeth befuddled the iconic game show host by trying to explain to him what “shipping” is — in the context of Furlan ‘shipping Elizabeth and the 92-year-old Hall. (Putting them in a relationSHIP)
* After she and Elizabeth came onto Ryan Paevey (Nathan, General Hospital) six ways to Sunday, running the full gamut of clumsy doctor and policeman/handcuff innuendos, Furlan said as the actor left, “We’re going to get you away from us before we rape you.”
So how could any of that be considered “a success”? Because it’s doing what NATAS wanted — it’s garnering attention to an event that, to millennials, does not matter. Yes, it did it in the cheapest and most lowbrow way possible, but understand that there is a real changing of the guard occurring before our eyes. The old sacred cows are not the new sacred cows. The millennials are a product of their environment — an environment facilitated by previous generations. Do you blame the monster or Frankenstein, the man who created him? Yes, NATAS is at fault for not vetting their hosts a little more, but they wanted to create an awareness and a stir by bringing in non-industry types to create awareness. And in that, they succeeded. When I read that list of “affronts” to this polished and noble brood of mostly ham actors, I didn’t get offended — I laughed. If they bring them back next year and give them equal free range, I’ll tune in.
Here are some other controversies in social media: