And The Emmy Goes To…

And The Emmy Goes To…

Adrienne BoettingerSaturday,12 July 2014

The Snap:

Nominees for the Emmy Awards were just announced and across America, people are smashing the crap out of their TVs and mobile devices to avoid seeing manic meltdowns on Fox “News.” That’s because the arch nemesis of all that is right-wing, President Barack Obama, has received a nod from whomever it is that votes for Emmys. Well, technically POTUS isn’t nominated but the spot he did on the Funny or Die series, “Between Two Ferns” was nominated. So if you didn’t hear Fox’s gnashing of teeth and rending of garments when the video was first released in March, get ready because Hollywood is setting out the red carpet for the Affordable Care Act and its malevolent overlord.

The Download:

For those unfamiliar with the Emmys, it’s the long suffering award show runner up. They don’t serve alcohol so it’s not as racy as the Golden Globes. Musicians don’t perform their hit songs whilst having their names butchered by John Travolta. All in all, the show is a little dry. It’s the wheat toast of award shows. The only part anyone really likes (and by anyone I mean me) is the In Memoriam part where they show all the people that died the previous year and you find yourself openly weeping about some screenwriter you never heard of before. But I digress.

For those unfamiliar with ”Between Two Ferns,” the insatiably hairy and awkward comic savant, Zach Galifanakis, gets fairly big name stars to sit on a minimalist set, between two actual ferns, and he asks them cringe worthy questions in between have weird glaring contests. The videos are actually quite enjoyable. Not as enjoyable as “Drunk History” but still enjoyable.

In a last quarter attempt to rope in enough young whippersnappers for Obamacare, President Obama appeared on the online show. And unless you are a highly bombastic pundit, it was pretty funny. But more importantly, it worked. There was a reported 40 percent uptick in traffic to the formerly anemic healthcare website.  And the actual Affordable Care Act seems to be winning. Well, if by winning you mean getting more uninsured people healthcare coverage (which was the objective of the act), then it’s not doing to shabbily.

When the video first dropped, Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly described it as the thing that would convince Vladimir Putin to invade the United States since we had such a weak Prez. Other pundits said it demeaned the office of the President, was tragic, and that President Obama lost to Zach Galifanakis. Perhaps the most wondrous, idiotic criticism of the webisode was that President Abraham Lincoln never would have done it. Technically that’s true as Al Gore had yet to be born to invent the Internet. But of course none of the stalwarts of Mr. O’Reilly’s party would have ever done anything like what Obama did (except here and here).

A big part of elected officials’ job is to communicate with the people they represent. To do that effectively, officials need to reach out to constituents on platforms that the people use and in ways they can relate to. Since elected officials actually represent us the people, and not the omnipotent Super PACs and fundraising groups who usually get most of politicians’ time, maybe it’s not so stupid for the President to appear on a mock interview to be mocked while getting in some good mocking of his own (“When I heard that people actually watch this show, I was pretty surprised.”) in clear view of millions of young, presumably uninsured Internet users. We’ll have to wait til August 28th to see if the Emmys agree.

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Hat Tips:

“Between Two Ferns,” SlatePoliticoTimeVultureForbesThe New YorkerMediaiteThe Colbert ReportLA Times, Image Credit: Flickr



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