The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences—an organization that has, for several straight Emmys ceremonies, lauded Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory as the sharpest comedy on TV—demonstrated its finely honed sense of humor again last night, with a segment that nodded toward the debate over diversity and equality in the industry by putting Sofia Vergara on a rotating platform to be ogled. However, not everyone felt that this bit was hilarious satire, the kind that awards show skits are known for.
Indeed, various corners of the Internet argued that mocking the objectification of women by really, really objectifying a woman—and pretending to be high-minded while simultaneously providing lowest common denominator eye candy—wasn’t all that clever. Rather, some found it a clumsy attempt at ironic sexism that was actually just sexist, seeing as it lampooned the television industry’s perpetuation of stereotypes that it could just stop perpetuating itself, rather than lampooning them.
So swift was the reaction, reporters were already asking Vergara about these accusations backstage at the ceremony. But Vergara dismissed the notion that the bit was demeaning, explaining that the joke is that she is hot, and it’s funny to mock the idea of the TV industry objectifying her as hot by having the TV industry actually objectify her as hot. It’s like when Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal in the blood of a baby he’d just eaten.
“I think it’s absolutely the opposite. It means that somebody can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself. I think it’s ridiculous that somebody started this—I know who she was—who has no sense of humor [and should] lighten up a little bit.”
It’s unclear who this single, humorless woman is that wrote all those tweets and articles, but clearly she needs to school herself in some Emmy-worthy, cutting-edge satire—perhaps by watching a show that mocks the idea of mocking nerds by mocking nerds.