Future award shows take notice: This is how you get people to tune in. Take a random category that typically induces people to scroll through their phones like, say, Outstanding Directing For a Variety Special. Have the nondescript, non-famous winner, like the 2017 Oscars' director Glen Weiss, start to give a heart-warming speech in which he thanks his family members and his girlfriend, Jan Svendsen, who has been supportive in the two weeks since he lost his mother. And then, have him transition his speech into a proposal.
"Mom always believed in finding the sunshine in things. Jan, you are the sunshine in my life," the long-haired Weiss said, as the camera turned to his smiling girlfriend in the audience. "And Momma always said, don't ever lose your sunshine. You wonder why I don't like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife." Let the audience erupt in cheers. Let Leslie Jones stand up and point with an expression that says, "Is this happening?" Let Benedict Cumberbatch reveal his boyish genuine smile for perhaps the first time in his career. Let us confirm that Hollywood, like the rest of us, is composed of a bunch of romance-starved saps who will gladly melt at the first display of true love.
Security, quickly realizing this was turning into a Moment, ushered a trembling Svendsen onstage for her movie moment. Weiss took out the ring that his father used to propose to his mother decades prior, and asked the big question. "Jan, I want to put this ring that my mom wore on your finger in front of all these people and in front of my mom and your parents watching from above. Will you marry me?" He knelt, just as Cher in Moonstruck instructed. She said yes, because obviously. They kissed with the well-deserved knowledge that their proposal is more memorable than anything ever seen on the Bachelor franchise.
This whole proposal scene definitely exceeded the 37 second time allotted for acceptance speeches. But unlike most speeches, this is not a slog. This, my friends, is the magic of live TV. One guy, throwing the rules of speech-giving out the window, and injecting some life into an award show.
Of everyone, it makes sense that Weiss would seize this opportunity to propose to his girlfriend. As the director of the Oscars, Weiss recognizes that award shows are supposed to be infused with the spontaneity only available in live TV. There can be memorable flubs (see: the Great Oscars Best Picture mix-up of 2017) or wild speeches. By proposing to his clearly exuberant girlfriend, Weiss did the Emmys a favor. He created an instant classic moment. He made us believe in love.
It's the first proposal in Emmys history — and it's a TV moment that anyone watching will never forget. If anything, this kind of unpredictable moment compels me to always tune in to award shows, just in case something unforeseen and magical like this happens. I don't want to watch it on YouTube after the fact. I want to be in the room where it happened. And we just were.