At a time when a million Americans are still in dire straits amid the aftermath of Katrina, are viewers ready to watch wealthy celebs crack jokes and pat themselves on the back at the Emmys? There will be constant reminders of Katrina throughout Sunday’s Emmy broadcast, from New Orleans-bred Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue to on-screen pleas to donate to Habitat for Humanity, to the magnolia blossoms many stars will be wearing as corsages or boutonnieres, since that’s the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi. On top of that, there’s the nation’s already apparent awards show fatigue: ratings for nearly every red-carpet event slumped over the past year, including the Emmys, which suffered their second-worst Nielsen numbers ever in 2004. CBS execs have to be wondering if anyone at all will feel like tuning in to this year’s gala.
Still, people asked the same ”Is it safe to laugh yet?” questions four years ago, when the Emmys followed 9/11 and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Turns out the Emmys did lift the nation’s mood in 2001, thanks to some deft humor from the emcee, who was, of course, Ellen DeGeneres. If anyone can make it safe to snicker at showbiz superficiality again after Katrina, it’s Ellen.
PopWatch readers, are you ready for the glitz and guffaws of the Emmys, or is it still too soon?
(Get complete Emmys coverage from AOL, People, InStyle, and EW)