There was something humorously surreal about Seth MacFarlane's latest hosting gig, the 2013 Academy Awards. With Family Guy-like timing and lavish but satire laden musical segues, MacFarlane was by all sincere accounts a tour-de-force. I would go so far as to say the only thing truly notable about this year's Oscars was MacFarlane's presence as host. Everything else was predictable and dull.
The self-congratulatory, nauseating nature of award shows is difficult for me to get past; however, being a fan of MacFarlane, I reluctantly gave the program my attention this year. And despite my skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised. The production had a delightfully irreverent feel to it. This very irreverence is perhaps why many have taken issue with MacFarlane.
It's not a surprise that the celebrity worshipping hordes of the entertainment industry have referred to MacFarlane's performance as crude, sexist, and just about everything in between. Though it's a perplexing criticism, seeing as anyone even remotely familiar with his work would be far from surprised at the politically incorrect tone of his humor. So, it might behoove critics to blame the Academy, and not MacFarlane for doing what he does best. What's really tasteless is taking cheap pot shots at one of the most prolific comedic forces in modern times. In fact, this year's program had the highest ratings in years, especially relevant in light of last year's particularly lackluster affair.
The first musical production of the night was "We Saw Your Boobs," a song that celebrated a few nude scenes from some of our favorite starlets. Needless to say, it drew some ire from sensitive critics. It should be noted though that the song in question was framed from the perspective of a future William Shatner (as Captain Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise), expressly warning MacFarlane not
to perform the song. So, it was essentially a self-deprecating jab on the part of MacFarlane. The entire act was poking fun at the stupidity of male chauvinism(not to mention the irony of a gay men's chorus singing about female nudity). Of course, the clever juxtaposition of this song falls upon the deaf ears of the dry, uptight commentators at the likes of the New Yorker.
MacFarlane didn't go out of his way to take anyone down a notch. Sure, he made a few digs at the likes of Affleck and Clooney, but nothing out of line. Nothing Gervais-esque. He's a true showman, through and through. If the critics aren't amused, it might be prudent to ask at this point, who really cares? Most of these people seem too thick to get MacFarlane's humor in the first place, which is strange considering how they all seem to be commenting on how low-brow he is.
There is about as much merit in the sickeningly opulent Oscars as there is in a pornographic film'perhaps even less. It's purely masturbatory. Peering into the theater that night, an alien creature not familiar with our inane human ways might confoundedly wonder why so many resources are being put into what appears to be an utterly pointless production, all the while a good portion of people in the world lack access to proper drinking water. It's confusing even for me, and I've been indoctrinated into the culture since birth. I would urge all the MacFarlane haters to quit whining to go back to vacantly gazing at all the shiny dresses on the red carpet. Either way, you're irrelevant.
MacFarlane is lucky to be alive. But not because of any enemies made on Oscar night. On September 11th, 2001, MacFarlane was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 11, which was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Perhaps that life changing event has shaped the man's perspective on the triviality of award shows. Maybe MacFarlane values something markedly above the horrid aggrandizement of celebrity culture: namely, laughter and entertainment. Life is far too short to take so seriously.