While the 2017 Golden Globes did have several fist-pumping moments of triumph for women and people of color in the show's first hour, it wasn't perfect. A particularly unfortunate Globes bit that mocked Sofia Vergara's accent went over terribly. The extent of the "joke" seems to be that Vergara can't either read or pronounce the lines she was given on the teleprompter, despite the fact that she's actually quite good at verbal comedy when given some good material, which should be obvious from her many years telling jokes on Modern Family. It was a disappointing moment, considering the momentum that came from wins for shows about people of color and other non-white actors, like Atlanta and Tracee Ellis Ross.
Instead, it was a moment that showed how often differences can be mocked, rather than celebrated, at awards shows. First of all, the show decided to abandon Vergara onstage alone, leaving her without anyone to play off of, and then, the joke didn't go beyond Vergara confusing "annually" with "anus" and "anal." Not exactly comedy gold. It ended unceremoniously without so much as a punchline, leaving Vergara looking very uncomfortable.
Instantly, viewers talked about their discomfort with the bit, bringing up how often Vergara seems to be given material of this nature at awards shows, that either objectify her, or mock her nationality and accent. Even the irony of a group of international journalists' awards show being used for this borderline xenophobic joke was brought up by thoughtful writers and commenters on Twitter.
why Sofia Vergara continues to participate in awards ceremony jokes that make fun of her/women/ELL is truly beyond me— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) January 9, 2017
Why do I always feel like awards shows are trying to humiliate Sofia Vergara? #GoldenGlobes— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) January 9, 2017
the hollywood foreign press association award show is a strange venue for making fun of people who don't speak perfect english— Amanda Hess (@amandahess) January 9, 2017
And this isn't the first time an awards show has misused Vergara, either. Back in 2014, the Emmys literally put her on a rotating pedestal as a form of entertainment during a boring speech.
Looks like there's a lot of progress still to be made in Hollywood, especially when it comes to comedy that doesn't objectify women. The Golden Globes should take a cue from some of the movies and TV they honored with their awards when it comes to making better, funnier moments for female actors, especially those of color.