It’s that time of year again — The Emmys! Or what I affectionately refer to as “Prom Night” for the television industry. Like the prom, it has some of the same tropes: An annual event. Formal attire. For most of us girls, it takes all day to get ready: hair, makeup, manicure/pedicure. Not to mention the prep work of finding the right dress, the shoes, and handbag. Unlike our male counterparts, it’s not so easy to just buy (or rent) a tux and be done with it.
It has all of the hype of prom night too. Most importantly, you hope you get “asked to the prom.” In Emmy terms, that means you hope you are eligible to get a ticket. As an executive, it all comes down to where you are in the corporate food chain. Only so many tickets are available for each network, studio and agency. On the creative side (actor, writer, producer, director), it comes down to being nominated.
Going to the Emmy’s for the first time is about as exciting as it gets. It’s pretty glamorous and awesome. If you have a show that’s nominated, it’s even better. If that show wins, it’s a high like none other. And if you lose…
Well, it just sucks.
The Emmy’s themselves are a little like going to church or temple. You are shuttled into a big auditorium and it’s not always so easy to get out. It’s a minimum of three hours and you’re usually waiting for just one or two categories that pertain to you or your company. During commercial breaks, you can crawl over a dozen people to get to the bathroom, but the lines are long and you risk missing your category. This actually happened to Christine Lahti at the Golden Globes when she won Best Actress for Chicago Hope. They announced her name and no one came up. Yes, she was stuck in the bathroom! Once your category is announced, win or lose, you just want to get to the after parties. That’s where you finally get to eat, drink, and schmooze with your friends. If you’re lucky, you just might get to meet one of your favorite celebrities. I admit that I totally geeked out when I met Jon Stewart years ago when he was hosting The Daily Show. Unfortunately, by the time you get to the parties, you are so hungry, dehydrated and your feet hurt so much, you contemplate using one of the large steak knives to saw off your own feet at the ankles.
I remembering sitting next to Sharon Gless (Burn Notice, Cagney & Lacey) one year at the Governor’s Ball and she turned to me and said, “I need a double vodka straight up. My feet are KILLING me and I just can’t wait to go home.” One year, I ended up sitting next to Michelle Pfeiffer for most of the evening. Her husband David E. Kelley had won multiple Emmys for Ally McBeal and The Practice, so Michele was all alone at our table while he was doing interviews. She admitted that she was perfectly happy to be left alone at the table, so that she could rest her feet too.
The struggle is real.
A friend of mine called me this morning on his way to pick up his tux from the dry cleaners and said, “You are so happy that you are not going this year. It’s like 90 degrees in LA today and I am already sweating like a pig.” That’s the only downside for the guys. They have to wear their dark suits and ties and, for some reason, it’s always a billion degrees on Emmy day. So while they are trying to look cool on the red carpet while taking their photos, usually they have sweat dripping down the sides of their heads. The game changes for them when they go inside the auditorium and the air-conditioning is set to the male-dominated 68 degrees. At this point, women in their off-the-shoulder dresses are freezing and their feet start to swell in their tight (un)sensible shoes, as they dangle below them for the next three hours. I know what you are thinking. Just take off your shoes! But that’s a rookie mistake. You feet will swell even more… and those shoes aren’t going back on when it’s time to march around to the after parties.
I know, I know. Stop complaining. It’s an incredible honor to be part of such a star-studded award show. Indeed it is… and I am grateful for the dozens of times that I was invited to attend.
But I am so removed from that world. Both physically and emotionally. My idea of dressing up now is wearing a long-sleeved cotton tee-shirt dress from Old Navy and a clean pair of my canvas sneakers. I don’t even have a pair of high heels at my home in Hawaii… nor a black tie dress. I do have my DVR set tonight. Although by the time they broadcast it in our time zone, most of my friends will probably be home and in bed or soaking their feet in an ice bath.
I hope to go back to the Emmys one day, but only if I am lucky enough to ever produce a show that gets nominated. That, of course, presumes that I ever actually produce another show, but that’s a rant for another day and another blog post.
Meanwhile, I am happy to sit on the sofa tonight and watch in my own living room… in my pajamas and comfy socks rooting for my favorite shows.