Well, it doesn’t take much to achieve disequilibrium, does it? Just the fact that we are more than a week removed from the latest Academy Awards ceremony and there is still outrage over the hosting means that finally, Hollywood has been thrown into some chaos not involving Mel Gibson. The guilty party? Comedian, writer, and master voice artist Seth MacFarlane, a man whose I work I was not even familiar with prior to the show, save for one appearance on Saturday Night Live last year. Not knowing what to expect from his “stuff”, I looked forward to it, hoping it would be a breath of fresh air, and more importantly, someone who more than half the viewing audience can actually recognize—I’m sorry, but Billy Crystal and his material are staler than week-old bread. However, some of MacFarlane’s material was a bit too racy for comfort, mainly his little number titled “We Saw Your Boobs” drawing ire from female actresses who have graced the screen in all their bare-chested glory—the cavalcade of angry ladies to the top of their soapboxes in front of the media has only just begun. The reason for this is, a few of the women whose “boobs” we saw came during rape scenes, so naturally, in this politically correct world, we must jump on the bandwagon and attack poor Seth for poking fun at rape victims, like that was his intention! Only in this depraved, humorless world where people constantly look to be offended do we encounter such a problem. In fact, given the subject matter of the three-minute long song, I thought it was handled with a fair amount of decency. It was cute, funny, and was not even close to the edge that MacFarlane so often walks. In other words, it was harmless! There is a reason why this show had its highest rating since 2004, and the host is it.
Iffy material aside, I felt this year’s Academy Awards ceremony was as classy as ever. Between someone new like MacFarlane hosting, and someone legendary like Barbra Streisand or Shirley Bassey singing, it was a combination of old and new. Television producers and advertisers are only looking for success in the 18-49 age range, unfortunately, but this year was able to garner interest beyond that. In a way, if you did not like MacFarlane’s performance, it would be the Academy to blame, not him, because they know the type of material he thrives on. Though he really watered it down for television, just the fact that he kept pushing the envelope was all too much for people to handle. He managed to work his way out of the safe zone that “Old Hollywood” depends on seeing year after year. I suppose “We Saw Your Boobs” doomed him from the start, and the rest is just gravy. It truly is a shame that all of this outrage will probably discourage Seth from ever hosting the Awards again if asked. Here we had a young, multi-talented individual, who could sing, dance, and tell jokes, and now we must cast him aside.
As a side note, I also wanted to say how much I absolutely loved his little joke about Lincoln, you know, the one where he talked about different actors to play the president over the years, and then said, “The only actor to ever really get inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.” After the audience mumbled and groaned, he added, “150 years later, and it’s still too soon?” Just the fact that it made everyone uncomfortable and nobody laughed was enough for me. That just about sums up today’s world: uncomfortable. There is a special place is hell for people who have a risqué sense of humor, and MacFarlane is making his way across the River Styx right about now. Just one more thing to consider: we remember when James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted the Awards two years ago for the sheer reason they were terrible at it. However, think back to last year. Do you remember one joke or tune from Billy Crystal? The answer is probably no. Just the fact that we are talking about an event that many people were thinking about tuning out all together more than a week later is proof MacFarlane did his job and gave us something memorable. Everyone complains that it’s the “same ol’ thing every year”, then when it changes, more people complain. It really is quite amusing. Shame on you, Seth! Shame on you for making us laugh!