*In the hours and days following the Oscars, the reaction to Seth MacFarlane‘s hosting gig developed into a full-blown freakout, the charges of misogyny and sexism hurtled at the telecast like darts in a pub.
Check out the New Yorker‘s outraged column, for example (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/02/seth-macfarlane-and-the-oscars-hostile-ugly-sexist-night.html), or the sniffing of Vulture (http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/why-seth-macfarlanes-misogyny-matters.html).
We should all relax about the content of his jokes. This is the creator of Family Guy and Ted here – he does what MacFarlane does. Half the time it hits, a quarter of the time it doesn’t, and another quarter of the time it offends. You should expect nothing less. That’s what he was signed up to do, and that’s what he delivered. Oh, and there wasn’t a single thing in his monologue any worse than what’s said in an average Louis CK, Chelsea Handler or Sarah Silverman bit – maybe not said with the same eloquence, but the content is still the same.
Let’s acknowledge another thing, too – MacFarlane as a host? He really wasn’t that bad. Sure, the “I saw your boobs” sketch was kind of juvenile – but at least it was intended as a spoof of his image. Framing the entire opening sequence with the Captain Kirk time-traveling bit was clever and rather hilarious – and the all-puppet Flight sketch (with an amazing Jay Pharaoh Denzel impression) was brilliant. He had a couple of good musical numbers with other celebs, cracked some jokes that worked (and some that didn’t) and generally kept things going at a brisk pace.
It’s also the toughest possible gig to have – full of a building full of celebrities who aren’t used to be made fun of. They’d be stone-faced through any presenter. With that in mind, MacFarlane went for the audience at home laugh – and judging by the ratings, the gambit worked (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2013/02/25/seth-macfarlane-oscars-tv-ratings/1946345/).
One more thing – would you really rather have had someone else up there on stage? Billy Crystal’s insider schtick lost its charm a decade ago. The creative Anne Hathaway – James Franco pairing was an utter disaster. Even super-talented hosts like Ellen DeGeneres, Jon Stewart and Chris Rock couldn’t make their hosting gigs that memorable. MacFarlane did better than any of them. Why not have him back sometime? He’d be welcome.