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We liked Seth MacFarlane just fine (and other Oscar thoughts)

By Marisa Nadolny and Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication:

Published February 26. 2013 2:00PM   Updated February 26. 2013 5:13PM

I had to call on my partner in TV-watching crime Kathleen Edgecomb on this edition of Pop Blog. There's just too much to say about the bad press Seth MacFarlane has received after his stint as Oscar host. Neither of us were outraged. At all.

Besides, nothing he said comes close to that Onion tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis. (The missing word is a four-letter word often dubbed "the C-word" because it's so inflammatory and disgusting.)

Here's our post-mortem on host MacFarlane.

***

Fabulous K,

I thought I'd leave you alone for awhile after our fantastic run of "Downton Abbey" blogs, but the collective panty-bunch that's ensued after Seth MacFarlane's turn as Oscar host is too much to bear alone.

OK, so the Abe Lincoln joke was way too crass for an Oscar audience (or anyone really), but seriously, nothing could ever be worse than the Horror Show of 2011 when Ann Hathaway and James Franco hosted. Remember the cross-dressing bit? Actually, sorry I brought that up. Really...sorry.

I'll take a tacky joke over stilted, indulgent rambling any day; MacFarlane is a triple threat: he can sing, he's funny, and he's a natural on camera. These things matter!

And really? The audience got mad at him for dissing Mel Gibson? A proven racist, misogynistic abusive nut???

As Will Ferrell once asked, is everybody on crazy pills?

Annoyed,

M.
***

Dear Annoyed M,

Who are these people dissing Seth MacFarlane? He was, how should I say this, fab-u-lous as host. He can sing. He can dance. And he isn't afraid to poke fun at, well, everyone. Loved after the Lincoln/Booth joke when he cracked, "What too soon?"

These thespians need to get over themselves, and bringing out William Shatner was genius.

The "We Saw Your Boobs" number was hysterical. How can anyone be upset, especially the actresses? Their breasts were probably 10 feet across on the big screen. That's okay but no one's supposed to notice --or sing -- about them?

Baffling.

K

***

Ms. K,

Loved the Shat! The device of using glimpses into "the future" as a way for MacFarlane to do some of his "Family Guy"-flavored stuff was perfect. (Note: George Takei would've been better, but I digress...)

Now, I'm compelled to mention that the ratings are in, and they're up. AP says ratings were up 11 percent over last year among the Holy Grail demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds. So there.

Perhaps some of MacFarlane's biggest critics are post-49s who long for the days of Bob Hope and Jack Benny.

Also, let's remember that show producers greenlighted a lot of what got Hollywood so sulky. Right before the Kardashian joke (in discussing Ben Affleck Argo, MacFarlane said, "OK. The first time I saw that dark a beard, I thought, 'My God! The Kardashians have finally made the jump into film!"), MacFarlane did doublecheck with handlers off camera. They said go. Thank God MacFarlance has zero to no recovery time after a joke bombs. Had he dawdled in embarrassment (Hathaway/Franco-style), we would've been squirming all show long. And since when are the press-hungry Kardashians delicate, off-limits treasured nobility? Pullease.

And everyone's missing the boat here anyway: Kristen Chenoweth was far more irritating than MacFarlane could ever be. Great singing voice, but that's where that party ends. Loved the final song, of course, but her (and everyone else's) vapid interviews on the red carpet were soul-suckingly grating. And then there was that hairdo and makeup job…

BUT, the absolutely worst aspect of the show was watching otherwise talented actors haltingly read off the teleprompter during their respective award presentations. How does that happen? Aren't these the same people who memorize scripts? I almost left them room when the dudes from the Avengers were doing whatever it was they were supposed to be doing, and I LOVE Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson. I really hope they were super drunk…or near-sighted.

Gah! What other alleged "bad" jokes did you enjoy?

Luv,

M.

***

M,

Let's see. Loved Ted. But the you-have-to-be-Jewish-to-get-anywhere-in-Hollywood bit is old. Don't know how anyone could be offended by that.

Fawning over Sally Field in the green room dressed as the flying nun made me laugh out loud.

Oh, and the Jaws theme cue to let winners know they were boring us to tears -- brilliant.

-K.

***

K,

I think the wrap-it-up signal via "Jaws" theme is one of the greatest innovations of our time. For reals. I know people are saying it's not nice to cut off people during their moment in the sun, but I say it's rude to hijack the audience, rattling off names that mean very little to most of the audience. Be graceful, people.

As for Ted's attempt to ingratiate himself to the Jewish community, that was pretty lame. The Archie Bunker thing works in some contexts, but not at the Oscars. Particularly if you're a hologram at the Oscars.

I also hated the quip that "Zero Dark Thirty" was about "every woman's innate ability to never ever let anything go." Again, way too Ralph Cramden for a clever writer like MacFarlane, but maybe some of his better stuff got kiboshed by producers.

AND, if Sally Field can play a fabulous straight man to MacFarlane's flying nun without getting her nose out of joint, then the rest of Hollywood (and the press) can settle down and lighten up.

Bottom line: yeah, some jokes aren't funny, but Seth MacFarlane is not the first Oscar host to say or do something stupid in the name of entertainment. Billy Crystal donned blackface last year, so comparatively, let's all calm down for a sec.

This is just as absurd as the outcry after Ricky Gervais ripped everyone a new one at the Golden Globes. Do producers do ANY research? Have they watched "Family Guy" and/or the British "Office"? If Oscar handlers were shocked they only have themselves to blame.

-M.

***

M,

I liked the "Zero Dark Thirty" joke. Yes its cliché but there are women can't let anything go (that's where the cliché comes from) and that's why it's funny.

I also thought it was a joke when Ernest Borgnine popped up on the in memoriam screen. Loved Ernie in everything from "Marty" to "McHale's Navy" but thought he had already died. I swear he was honored years ago. He died this past July at age 95. So, sorry for laughing at that one.

I guess what I found most amusing was the audience bristling at the jokes. As you said, lighten up people.

And just to keep the "Zero Dark Thirty" joke going, I think this discussion has gone on long enough.

Sincerely,

K

Follow Kathleen, @edgecombday; and Marisa, @TheMDesk on Twitter.

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