Have you heard? Diversity in Hollywood has been solved. Or so says the opening number of the 70th Annual Primetime TV Awards, in which Kenan Thompson, Kristen Bell, Kate McKinnon, Ricky Martin, Sterling K. Brown, Titus Burgess, and John Legend sang about finally vanquishing two of the main problems plaguing Hollywood: Its (until very recently) lack of opportunities for actors of color and, as the #MeToo and Time's Up movements illuminated, its ubiquitous sexual harassment.
The cheeky musical number was especially inspired by the 2018 Emmys' record-breaking slate of nominees. This year, 38 people of color were nominated in acting categories, a significant increase from last year's 27, and adds up to the most diverse Emmys nomination slate in history. The singers paused for a moment to celebrate Sandra Oh, the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series — as if one Asian woman being nominated means "we're done."
However, one diverse slate does not a problem solve. The opening number, consequently, was delivered through a veil of facetiousness. Clearly, the problems in Hollywood haven't been fixed — this has just been indicative of one good year. RuPaul delivers a phone to Thompson; an anonymous voice delivers the sad reality: We haven't solved any of Hollywood's problems. We're only just starting to talk about them.
The song also mentioned a number of other hot-button Hollywood issues, from workplace harassment (Aidy Bryant trying to lick Milo Ventimiglio and saying, "He likes it") to Roseanne Barr, who got her own show canceled through a racist series of tweets.
But how successful was "We Solved It" in actually lampooning Hollywood? Many Twitter users have pointed out a glaring flaw in the "We Solved It:" There were no women of color in the cast. Either this oversight was a) intentional and meant to prove that equitable representation in Hollywood hasn't been solved or b) unintentional and officially proves equitable representation in Hollywood hasn't been solved.
It wasn't immediately obvious what tone this was meant to solve, or who the song was making fun of. The overoptimistic? People who are pleased by the diverse slate? Straight white men? Overall, the satire went in many cynical directions all at once — and at the very least, the cynicism seemed to resonate.
In 2018, acknowledging rampant societal problems has become a past time. So why not set it to song and have Martin lead the group in dance?