As with the natural order of things, the Oscars’ post-mortem has revealed a bloodbath. Unfortunately for this year’s host, creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane, it appears it’s his blood that we’re all splattered in. If you’ve ever seen Family Guy, or even overheard one of Stewie Griffin’s matricidal cracks at his mother, you’ll know that Seth MacFarlane was poised to offend lots of people at this year’s Oscars.
MacFarlane’s banality taps into a culture of self-satisfied cynicism that is so crude it’s sometimes funny. The Family Guy franchise doesn’t boast its multi-million-fan base for nothing. MacFarlane’s debut film, Ted, isn’t the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time merely because the main character is a talking teddy. With the culture shift towards more caustic humour, political incorrectness has become the new black. Being “refined” is, like, so yesterday.
Granted, I’m neither fortune-teller nor pious MacFarlane fan, but even I could see the storm of scathing reviews looming long in advance; Amy Davidson from The New Yorker, congratulates MacFarlane on hosting a “hostile, ugly, sexist night”. Even, in the midst of the ceremony, a Captain-Kirk-ed William Shatner predicted the train wreck of reviews that would ensue. Naturally, this prediction was followed up by a minute’s worth of breast chronicling as MacFarlane humiliated Hollywood’s onscreen, breast-bearing beauties with the tender musical number “We Saw Your Boobs”.
The corpse of the Academy Awards is beginning to rot. The need for reform is almost as dire as the need for Adam Sandler’s terminal retirement from film. Despite, at times, finding myself wondering whether I was watching the 85th Academy Awards or the Seth MacFarlane Variety Show, the 3% increase in Oscar viewership since 2010 is testament to MacFarlane’s knack for both attracting the crowds and for tickling, or rather abrasively elbowing, their funny bones.
After all, the awards are a spectacle – not a parliamentary address. Whether or not his jokes were juvenile, sexist, racist or blasphemous, MacFarlane gave a provocative performance. He ripped on everything from Clooney’s pseudo-pedophilia to Lincoln’s assassination. In any case, MacFarlene isn’t the main event. We watch the Oscars because we relish the opportunity to play “spot the nose-job”. However we also watch just to be entertained and thankfully this year we were – from First Lady Michelle Obama’s presentation of the Best Picture award to Jennifer Hudson’s downright awesome performance of “And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going”. In saying that, a lot of unremarkable things ensued this year. Creepy Quentin Tarantino told a crowd of A-listers to “peace out”, Adele performed a musical number and Kristen Stewart’s hair was greased to repellant perfection. Standard.
So, MacFarlane was chosen to host the awards precisely because he is a button pusher. He made us wince with his borderline anti-Semitic Teddy bear (who alongside Mark Wahlberg, groveled onstage desperately asking where the post-Oscars orgy would be), but once we’ve recovered, we’ve forgotten our inhibitions and succumbed to our crass cravings.
There’s no need to get all self-righteous about it, you culture-sensitive wanker.
Let MacFarlane’s muddy vulgarity wash over you. You can shower later.