Way to Go, Seth!
For those who don’t know, MacFarlane is the creator of such animated hits as Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show. He also wrote and directed the 2012 Mark Wahlberg comedy Ted, the main character of which is a talking bear that, you guessed it, MacFarlane voiced.
A true Renaissance man, at least in the world of entertainment, MacFarlane’s titles include actor, animator, screenwriter, voice actor, comedian, producer, director, singer and, after last night, awards show host.
Unfortunately, his first Oscar hosting experience may also be his last. It seems that not everyone shares my appreciation of last night’s performance. Go figure.
People who know MacFarlane’s work understand that he is edgy, witty, tactless, chauvinist (at times), energetic, talented, multidimensional, fearless… basically everything you could want in a modern humorist. To him, nothing is “out of bounds” and everyone is a target. But MacFarlane is no hypocrite, mind you. He can take it just as well as he can dish it out.
You just can’t please everyone, though. And his detractors continue to come out of the woodwork to denounce the Academy’s choice. Words like “sexist” and “awkward” have been tossed around all day and, if you ask me, the people using them need to get a life.
I’m sure younger viewers appreciated his humor and his candor. That’s just how we roll these days. And yes, I lumped myself in with young people since in my mind, I’m still one of them. The older folks in the crowd likely know where I’m coming from.
At any rate, criticism of MacFarlane’s performance includes the following, which comes from Slate’s Dana Stevens and focuses on “We Saw Your Boobs,” Seth’s opening number: “It put into relief a recurring theme in last night’s ceremony: A defensive anxiety about the ascendant power of women (emblematized, later on, by the pairing of the statuesque [Charlize] Theron with the wee Dustin Hoffman as awards presenters).”
Later, the Anti-Defamation League laid into MacFarlane for a joke he made through Ted, his talking teddy bear, about Jews controlling Hollywood: “It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.”
Oh, come on.
Is it me, or does anyone else think people in this country are far too sensitive? If all these “complainers” got their way, you wouldn’t be able to say anything in public because everything would be deemed offensive. And what would be the point of that?
Personally, I believe the same thing that Seth MacFarlane probably believes: that humor is a great way to affect positive change. Making light of serious issues, saying what people are thinking but are too afraid to say themselves, poking fun at public figures… it all breaks things down in an irreverent and hilarious way. And if you ask me, it makes people more open-minded and accepting because suddenly, things don’t seem so desperate and serious any more.
Bear in mind that I rarely get offended or embarrassed, have no internal filter between my mind and my mouth, have been accused of lacking tact, enjoy a sick sense of humor and wrap it all up with a nice, juicy piece of sarcasm. Slap it on a realism biscuit and BAM! There I am.
In other words, Seth and I are cut from the same mold—in a basic sense, at least (he makes more money and is far more successful)—so I absolutely love him. And I thought he was a great Oscar host. The guy can even sing and dance!
Of course, I can understand how some might view his humor as rather tasteless. At one point, MacFarlane referenced the domestic violence of Rihanna and Chris Brown, which drew some gasps from the audience and some harsh words from critics. But given the over-saturation of this annoying couple in the media—as well as Rihanna’s decision to get back with the man who beat the shit out of her not long ag0—I was fine with it.
Someone needed to say it. At least Seth did it with humor.
MacFarlane also dropped a Lincoln joke that many considered inappropriate. And while I admit that it was touchy and a little “out there,” it certainly didn’t bother me. Check it out.
“This is interesting,” MacFarlane told the audience. “Daniel Day-Lewis is not the first actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln. Raymond Massey portrayed him in 1940’s Abe Lincoln in Illinois. This is true. I would argue, however, that the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”
I can see how some might consider this tasteless and maybe even unpatriotic, but come on. It’s funny! And if you take it literally, MacFarlane is right: no one got further into Lincoln’s head than the man who put a bullet in it.
And I certainly don’t hear Lincoln complaining. The man has been dead for more than a hundred years.
Yes, Seth MacFarlane has a demented and twisted sense of humor, a sharp wit and a questionable delivery system, but that doesn’t make him a bad host. If anything, he injected some life and laughs into a ceremony that has become increasingly dull and long-winded. And I guarantee that he connected with young people, one of whom was the lovely Jennifer Lawrence, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Silver Lining’s Playbook.
“I loved the boob song,” she said, despite being named in the song (for not showing them yet). “I thought he was great. I thought he was hilarious.”
I couldn’t agree more, Jennifer.
The fact of the matter is this: the new, younger generation of actors, directors and other film professionals are here. And “out with the old, in with the new” can also apply to humor. This generation is simply more open-minded, tolerant and accepting than the last. Fewer things offend them and nothing is sacred, especially where comedy is concerned.
But that’s just my opinion. And so is this: you kicked some serious ass last night, Seth, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I just hope we get the chance to watch you again next year!
Posted on February 26, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged Academy Award, celebrities, commentary, current-events, Daniel Day-Lewis, entertainment, humor, news, Oscar, perspectives, Seth MacFarlane. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.