I’m giving TV star Sofia Vergara a pass for her turn — literally — on a slowly spinning pedestal Monday night onstage during the Emmys telecast. I don’t think it was particularly sexist, as outraged viewers tweeted it was. I think it was meant to be parody — and it worked. The idea of sending anyone the least bit distracting out onstage to vamp during the obligatory and predictably dull speech being delivered by the head of any “academy” during an awards show is an inspired bit.
As Bruce Rosenblum, CEO and chairman of the Television Academy, dutifully droned on about how “our academy is more diverse than ever before, both in front of and behind the camera,” Vergara slowly rotated around in a stunning form-fitting white Roberto Cavalli gown that accentuated her every physical asset. “No matter the device or platform, television has and will always be about great storytelling,” Rosenblum pledged as Vergara hammed it up for the audience, lightly patting her butt to emphasize its great storytelling appeal.
OK, in a night of clever skits, this one was a little dicey. (It’s unclear if “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul, caught on camera as Vergara began her spin, was chuckling because he thought it was funny or over the top.) But come on. Anyone who has casually tuned in to the much-Emmy-nominated “Game of Thrones” is practically hit over the head with female nakedness — in the service of storytelling, of course.
The entire red carpet arrival subjects stars — particularly women — to a microscopic, unforgiving assessment of their every bump, lump and wrinkle, whether the wrinkle is in a dress or on a face. E! Entertainment, which pioneered coverage of red carpet fashion, has deployed its 360-degree GlamCam to red carpet awards shows and asked stars to pose on a spot while a camera rotates to give TV watchers a 360-degree view of the stars’ form and clothes — not too unlike Vergara on the spinning platform.
Vergara, 42, is reportedly the highest-paid actress in television. Don’t forget that she soared to that fame and fortune adroitly playing a character in the hit sitcom “Modern Family” who is a Latina bombshell, one who understands the power of her looks but is not limited by them. She obviously put a bit of her character, Gloria Pritchett, on that pedestal.
On the other hand, it would have been monumentally awkward to put on that spinning pedestal, say, Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” who had just won an Emmy for playing a tough-minded lawyer who has evolved over the seasons from loyal wife and dutiful law firm member. (Even though Margulies looked just as fabulous Monday night as Vergara.)
So next year, they’ll send up this whole incident and put the host on a spinning platform.
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