Seth MacFarlane's Oscar hosting gig, full of low-brow and sexist jokes, received mixed reviews. The Academy struggles to reach a younger audience and remain a family-friendly show.
As Oscar host Seth MacFarlane is surely learning Monday, helming the annual awards ceremony dwarfs all other challenges. Rescue hostages from under the nose of armed revolutionaries? Piece of cake! Free American slaves amidst a young nation’s bloody civil war? In my sleep!
But host a three-hour industry telecast to the satisfaction of a global audience of a billion and counting? The faint-hearted need not apply.
Mr. MacFarlane, the creator of Fox’s “Family Guy,” has been criticized for making sexist, racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic jokes (does this miss any groups?) as well as general bad taste and lousy clock control (the show ran until midnight EST, a half hour over schedule).
But pop culture audiences seem to be as divided as political ones. According to Fizziology, a social media research firm, 13 percent of Facebook and Twitter users discussing the show ranked MacFarlane as “the best host ever.” And early Nielsen ratings show the broadcast up nearly 20 percent over the 2012 show with some 37 million US viewers.
But there is one question that all Oscar viewers are asking: Will he be back?
Not if the Academy is a tad more careful next time, suggests Thelma Adams, Yahoo! Movies contributing editor. The “central conundrum” is having a show that remains true to its film industry audience.
“Watch an episode of ‘Family Guy’ and you’ll know it’s not a good match for Hollywood honchos sitting in stiff chairs in tuxes and tiaras,” she says. The first thing to acknowledge is that the audience inside the Dolby Theater, where the show is held in Hollywood, “is a tough and tense crowd.”
There are several groups on whom MacFarlane’s humor was wasted.