Since the ceremony aired on Sunday night, ‘Family Guy’ creator Seth MacFarlane has received very mixed notices for his job as Oscar host. Some viewers called him the best host in years, while others decried the whole event as a fiasco. What did you think? Would you like to see MacFarlane come back to host again, or would you rather see the Academy burn his likeness in effigy?
I had very low expectations for MacFarlane. ‘Family Guy’ ran its course years ago, and I usually find MacFarlane annoying in public appearances or his occasional attempts to act. With that in mind, he did a much better job hosting than I feared. That sock puppet version of ‘Flight’ was inspired, and he got in some good zingers here and there (among the bad ones).
Quite frankly, anything would have been an improvement over last year’s simply dreadful performance by Billy Crystal. Not one single thing that Crystal said or did could even remotely be interpreted as funny or entertaining. The producers could have dug up the corpse of Bob Hope and left it rotting in the middle of the stage for four hours, and even that would have been a significant improvement over Crystal. By that measure, MacFarlane was a rousing success.
On the other hand, a lot of the show just didn’t work. The endless skit with William Shatner was terrible. Many of the jokes were needlessly juvenile, sexist and/or homophobic, which was very disappointing. (A friend of mine writes: “MacFarlane’s whole persona is just smug entitlement spraying out at his audience… and the misogyny underneath most of his gags was exhausting.”) Perhaps worst of all, MacFarlane never quite overcame the tedium and bloat that inevitably set in with this show, year after year.
Despite some of the negative reviews, there’s a good chance that MacFarlane may be asked to host again. The broadcast’s ratings were up this year, especially in the coveted 18-49 demographic. At the end of the day, that’s what the producers and the network really care about.
[Update: MacFarlane says he won't host again.]
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