It’s time for the 2016 Feel Super Old awards, where we learn what Fox has decided (presumably through market research) the Kids These Days want to see given a surfboard.
I still think the Teen Choice Awards are weird, and this is primarily because it’s difficult for me to get a handle on them. Some of the categories are blatant Fox cross-promotion, some of them are decidedly not. I compared it two years ago (when last I wrote about it) to the People’s Choice Awards and the Kid’s Choice Awards (separately), but it actually doesn’t have much in common with either one of those. It’s its own mutant awards thing.
And there’s too many categories. TOO MANY.
So here we go.
Choice Selfie Taker
You know, I’m not the guy who’s going to get all uppity about the idea of selfies. People have been taking pictures of themselves with cameras for literally as long as cameras have existed, and to pretend this behavior is somehow unique to young people, when it’s really just the result of cameras being many orders of magnitude more common is foolishness. That said, is it really something we should reward, as such?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: No award
Well, this category makes me uncomfortable, but only a couple of these people are actually models by trade, rather than people who happen to be models1.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Ashley Graham, I guess.
1 I realize this is probably precisely the wrong category to “No True Scotsman” about, but I’m an imperfect being.
I actually – and this is 100% true – have no capacity to recognize good dancing from bad. I can sort of see when people make mistakes or whatever, but I have basically no ability to critically judge dancing as a performance.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I genuinely have no idea, they all seem to be doing pretty well to me.
Are these actually the comedians teens are choosing? I would bet a bunch of money that they are, in fact, not.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: None of these people.
Choice Sports Team
Oh, like there was ever going to even be a question here. The olympic team? Go fuck yourselves.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Cleveland Cavaliers.
Choice Female Athlete
I mean, Serena Williams wins everything all the time always. But also, Alex Morgan has led the USWNT to a bunch of high-performing achievements, all while being paid, like, peanuts. So I’ll ride for her this time.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Alex Morgan
Choice Male Athlete
Wait. So the Cavs are clearly the sports team, but LeBron isn’t even nominated as an athlete? That’s stupid. Kobe Bryant is in here, and he’s a welcome-overstaying mummy. Why would you want to give one of these to a damn mummy? You people are weird.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Steph Curry, but actually LeBron James
Choice Female Style
If I were a lady, I would probably choose to dress like Willow Smith. I leave up to you people to decide what that says about me, but I have to be honest with you, my readers.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Willow Smith
Choice Male Style
Of course, that said, I don’t dress like any of these people. That dude that plays Hakeem on Empire always looks great on Empire, though.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Bryshere Y. Gray
Choice Male/Female Hottie
No awards show categories have ever made me feel as deeply uncomfortable as these two. Oh god. They’re all children. Oh god. I’m so old. Oh god, I haven’t been a teen in so long. Oh god.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Oh god. Oh god.
The fandom I choose to be a part of? The fandom I choose as most effective at being fans? The fandom I evaluate as a set of people and choose to be the best of those? I really have no idea what I’m meant to be doing here.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Everyone that figures out a way to nominated the thorny set of options regarding this weirdly-vague category and chooses for themselves is, each in their own way, a winner.
This is why I don’t do these every year. Good grief.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Burn in hell, teens.
Does having a favorite snapchatter get me on some sort of watchlist?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Not being on some sort of watchlist
I typed, and then deleted, three different sentences that ended in jokes about making “generative instagrammer,” because honestly, who is going to laugh at those?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: My powers of editorial decision, except I actually just made a fourth one and then patted myself on the back of it, so not those at all. Probably Britney Spears, then.
You guys haven’t started to suspect that I have no knowledge of or interest in these categories have you?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Me, for being so cleverly deceptive
HAR HAR. BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE “TWIT” BUT IT’S ACTUALLY ABOUT TWITTER GEDDIT?
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kanye West. Now and forever. For either reading of the category.
I have to say, one of my favorite things about YouTube is their sort of elevation to a national platform the things that used to be programmed onto public access cable by obsessives. Now the people can be less obsessive and have a lower bar of entry, and they can win a surfboard from Fox! That’s just great.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: All of us, for living in a world where this category is possible.
Choice Web Star: Music
Did you know that there’s a Duluth in Georiga? It’s where MattyBRaps was born and raised, where he learned to rap, and where nobody told him to make sure his name is clearly Matty B Raps and not Matty Braps. You can read about it in his memoir. He’s 13. All of this is to distract from the fact that this category includes Christina Grimmie, who was murdered onstage in Orlando, and is thus indescribably sad.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Christina Grimmie, because honestly. Under other circumstances, however, it would be Matty Braps, who is actually a dude who got famous on YouTUbe and not some label creation marketed via same. Except that he has a memoir. He’s 13.
Choice Social Media Queen
I guess it has to be Gigi Hadid, since I am unaware of anything she does except exist on social media, and that points to an effective use of social media if nothing else does.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Gigi Hadid
Choice Social Media King
This deserves some sort of award for being the most surreal juxtaposition of people I think I’ve ever seen
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kanye West, probably
Choice Web Star: Fashion/Beauty
It’s good to break out of my comfort zone. To explore facets of the entertainment environment that I would not otherwise be exposed to. So as someone who tried to figure out what was going here, I am reminded that I found the opinions of young people baffling when I was a young person. Truly baffling.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Chaos and bafflement.
Choice Web Star: Comedy
Comedy! I understand comedy! Also, I genuinely enjoy some of this. Some of it (more of it than I’d like) is “people like this do this thing!” jokes, which, y’know, whatever. But even though it wasn’t at all in the period of eligibility, I genuinely liked GloZell’s interviews with other other people that were in the audience at the Tonight Show tapings she attended. I mean, I also like Smosh, but that’s also just pretty regular sketch video stuff. At least they don’t sing.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: GloZell
Choice Web Star: Male
Well, I guess Fox is willing to nominated Nash Grier for stuff even though he’s awful. That’s cool. I’m also willing to point out that that’s pretty much not ok. Yay for discourse! I’m also ruling out his brother, who has never doubled-down on dumb homophobia, but that’s not really a reason to reward someone. Joey Graceffa isn’t a web star, he’s a former reality-tv contestant. Cameron Dallas is tainted by association with Nash Grier. That leaves us with Tyler Oakley
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Tyler Oakley
Choice Web Star: Female
Bethany Mota got famous for haul videos. Those are dumb and gross. I do not have a good handle on Jenn McAllister or Eva Gukowski, which makes it hard for me to believe they’re the best web star in the list. When I made that joke about people making jokes about how “groups of people who are like this do this thing”, I was referring partly to Lilly Singh. I still don’t like it. Colleen BAllinger is a jokey song comedian, and also her videos all seem really mean. I kind of like the Gabbie Show. Kind of.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Gabbie Hanna. Kind of.
Choice Female Summer TV Star
OK, so, heads up here: the tv categories are interminable. I’ll continue to try to make this as brief as possible. Like by sometimes just choosing a name and not saying anything about why in the body of the description so you don’t know if I simply feel it goes without saying, or if I didn’t actually figure out what I was talking about.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Cierra Ramirez, The Fosters
Choice Male Summer TV Star
I mean, part of the problem here in the early going is that these shows are all dreadful.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Gregg Sulkin, Fakin’ It
Choice Summer TV Show
I mean, really, I don’t even know how I’d begin to go about making this decision
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Fosters?
Choice TV: Liplock
Ah, finally! The smoochin’ stuff! At least I understand what we’re doing here2. That’s leaving aside the fact that it’s all somewhat mitigated by the fact that most of the smoochin’ participants here are, y’know, young people. Ew. Surprisingly, it’s Disney who saves the day here.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue, Once Upon a Time
2 alright, so actually I understand just fine all the “Summer TV” categories, I’d just rather not have to evaluate them for reasons related to their quality. That’s on me.
Choice TV: Chemistry
I mean, some of these are fine (Fuller House is most assuredly not fine), but Supernatural is entering its brazillionth season pretty much entirely on the back of Jensen Ackles and Mischa Collins’ chemistry, so I mean. The choice is obvious.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jensen Ackles and Mischa Collins, Supernatural
Choice TV: Breakout Show
Just imagine my delight that this is not, in fact, a show about skin conditions. Also I cannot imagine who thinks the audience for the rest of this stuff is watching Quantico, but I have also freely admitted that I don’t understand the first thing about young people, so maybe they are. Who am I to say? Anyway, while it’s true that darn Supergirl is just gosh-darned delightful, it’s also true that Lucifer, due to a tricksy way for credits to work3, is a tv show that features Sam Kieth’s name right there in the credits, so it wins.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lucifer
3 it’s not actually that tricksy. Lucifer is based on the depiction of the bible dude by Neil Gaiman in Sandman, and his character was designed and first appeared visually as drawn by the great Sam Kieth.
Choice TV: Breakout Star
Hey it’s Quantico again! Still doesn’t make any sense. There are a bunch of Newtons4 I’d sooner watch a television show featuring than fucking Cam Newton. The Shadowhunters tv show is based on The Mortal Instruments, which, for whatever reason, the Teen Choice Awards have been riding for for years. I’ve not watched much of the tv show, but it failed as a movie first, and frankly, that seems like something that should have happened. Tom Ellis is fine as Lucifer, really. Stitchers is a kind-of-ok blend of Dollhouse and Orphan Black (sort of), the upshot of which is that Emma Ishta is doing some pretty impressive work.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Emma Ishta, Stitchers
4 Juice, Isaac, Wayne, Huey P., fig
Choice TV: Scene Stealer
Some strong choices here, and some perennial favorites (hi again, Mischa Collins) but really Empire appears to be building its show on moments of scene-stealery. This year they had a couple of them, in the form of Hakeem’s ladyfriend Tiana Brown, and ambitious Valentina Galindo (she left Cookie’s label for Lucious’s!). Valentina does more with less.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Becky G (who, as I helpfully didn’t mention, played Valentina Galindo), Empire
Choice TV: Villain
A question I’ve always had for the people who complain about spoilers nonstop: do you avoid awards altogether to avoid hearing about something like “Lea Michele is the villain of Scream Queens”? Because the “who is the killer” mystery is pretty much the entirety of the plot there. So if there’s such a thing as a spoiler5, this is one. It’s also certainly evidence of the most fun had on television all year, so it wins here.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lea Michele (who plays one of the killers, obvi), Scream Queens
5 there really isn’t. None of the good parts of Scream Queens are the reveal of the killer, which, because it’s an explanation in a Ryan Murphy show, doesn’t actually, in any meaningful sense, “reveal” anything except that it doesn’t actually make any sense. Without derailing entirely, I will say: nobody thought about anyone’s height throughout the season, and the reveal raised some very real questions about it. Various people’s heights, I mean.
Choice TV Show: Reality
Remember when Masterchef Junior was a fun show about kids doing stuff and not a nauseating study in kids that are aggressively stage-managed? Oh, I’m sure there was more than a little aggressive stage-managing in those early seasons (there’s always aggressive stage-managing on reality shows, especially ones on network television, and especially especially when kids are involved), but it really seems like there’s a lot more #onbrand speech and action in this most recent season. It makes me feel genuinely bad for the kids, in the same way that I feel bad for, say, child athletes and most child actors. Also I had to look up the cast to even remember which season they were, so all of that #branding and all of that stage managing isn’t even working. Anyway, that’s the best of these shows, even existing as it does in the present, because this category is a garbage fire.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: A smack on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper to all of these people.
Choice TV Show: Animated
So, as ever, here’s Family Guy and The Simpsons and not Bob’s Burgers. These people are dumb. At least Stephen Universe is pretty good.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Stephen Universe
Choice TV Actress: Comedy
So, throwing Fuller House out yet again, we’re stuck with Liv and Maddie (the Disney channel Patty Duke!), which is Disney Channel good (that is to say: actually bad, but better than the very low bar one sets for Disney Channel shows), and Austin & Ally, which is Disney Channel mediocre. Luckily for all of us, this one has Gina Rodriguez, who was pretty great on Jane the Virgin, and both Lea Michele and Emma Roberts from Scream Queens, which I really enjoyed. I will fight all of you. ALL OF YOU.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lea Michele, Scream Queens
Choice TV Actor: Comedy
Now wait just a damn minute. You’ve got two of the ladies from Scream Queens up there, but no Chad Radwell down here? This is almsot as stupid as the lack of LeBron in the sports dude section. Luckily there are other, better options.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Choice TV: Comedy
ENOUGH ALREADY WITH FULLER HOUSE ALREADY. I have no more to say about Austin & Ally or Liz and Maddie, except that I appreciate that one uses a written-out conjunction and the other uses an ampersand. Modern Family is a fair distance past the point where it was funny. Jane the Virgin is fine. I’m going to keep riding for Scream Queens.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Scream Queens
Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Truly, where would these awards be without the CW. This category would be very differently populated for starters. Anyway, the people on The Vampire Diaries do the same thing year in and year out, and we all know where I stand on that as a criterion for acting awards. At this point, I think that’s true for Arrow also. The 100 has a pretty killer premise, but I’ve never really noticed the acting. I do think that Lana Parilla deserves credit for finding a bunch of different ways to play the same character (over the years), and this last year was a pretty good one, so let’s go with her.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lana Parilla, Once Upon a Time
Choice TV Actor: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
See above w/r/t The Vampire Diaries, and add The Walking Dead and Supernatural to it. I’m not sure if that logic should apply to The Originals, which is a spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, but Grant Gustin is one charming-ass Flash, so that question is already answered.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Grant Gustin, The Flash
Choice TV Show: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
I feel like I have to do these every other year until these shows are all cancelled, because I can’t keep coming up with things to say about them. There are like two things to say about them.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: iZombie
Choice TV Actress: Drama
Wait, which teens are choosing Shades of Blue? Fucking no one is choosing Shades of Blue, teenaged or otherwise. This is a lie.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The truth!
Choice TV Actor: Drama
There are five thespians nominated over two categories for Pretty Little LIars, and I will be absolutely damned all the way to Dante’s hell if I can figure out why. I’d like to believe it’s because I’m old, but I’m not entirely sure it is. Anyway, that leaves the guy from The O.C.6, who is now the guy from Gotham, and the male principals from Empire.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Taraji P. Henson, who is not a man, but deserves the award more than any of these people, and I made a joke instead of giving one out in the last category.
6 don’t call it that
Choice TV Show: Drama
You know, I really want to like Gotham. I really do. I want to like it a bunch. And yet, here we are, in the really real world, and I don’t. I am unwilling to believe that the inclusion of Grey’s Anatomy is anything more than another of these straight-out lies I keep running into here. Shades of Blue finds itself included again, and, seriously, what are these people doing. Empire started strong and has failed to ramp things up entertainingly, except occasionally. Rosewood, blah. Pretty Little LIars, blah. I think the problem I run into here is that I don’t like television dramas. Which is a pretty big problem, ultimately, but, y’know, I’m the one writing the thing.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Ah, what the hell, Pretty Little Liars. I still don’t get it, but it sure does seem like the Teen Choice Awards people want me to.
And that does it for part I, the internet and television. Tune in in a couple of days for the considerably more exhausting part 2: music and movies. I’ll be there!