Hosting the Oscars is the toughest gig going. The ghosts of the best hosts of Oscars past haunt each person who braves the mission.
Before I go any further, I want to state upfront: I think Seth MacFarlane is one of the wittiest entertainers out there. His Family Guy is always loaded with sick, twisted humour that is politically incorrect but, most importantly, usually very funny.
I would not say the same for his interviews though.
What one could predict though is that Seth will always show up well dressed, charming, and easy on the eyes.
But it is his interviews that foreshadowed his performance at the Oscars. MacFarlane himself told CNN prior that "I'm the wrong guy" to host the Academy Awards.
His hour with Piers Morgan was even more telling. An intelligent, thoughtful, interesting man, but this guy is not a laugh-a-minute. He's much more intriguing and engaging than that.
I think most people expected a life-sized adult Stewie Griffin: an equal-opportunity offender who gets away with murder because the barbs come from someone cute and cuddly. (Stewie is a one-year-old, after all!)
I know I did. I so looked forward to the Oscars this year as I did not care for Billy Crystal's back to the '90s crusty return in '12.
MacFarlane's best moments were his direct hits like when he opened with his "mission" was to make Tommy Lee Jones smile. That, and Jones' reaction, was funny. As was his hit on Jody Foster's desire for privacy as she came out to a billion people at the Golden Globes. Even so, I got the feeling the host watched more award programs than he did the movies of 2012 themselves.
The Oscars this year did experience a spike in ratings but the true test of success is not just ratings. If that were the case, Geraldo Rivera's mega ratings for finding nothing in his two-hour special "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults" back in '86 would have revived his respectability. In fact, the term "Al Capone's vault" has become slang for a heavily hyped event with disappointing results.
So what did we find in Seth MacFarlane's vault? A boob song, a gay chorus to help deliver it, Captain Kirk's cue-carded rescue, non-stop comments on how women looked, dieted (or not -- see the Adele joke), stripped, when they're old enough to bang George Clooney or at the right place (Jack Nicholson's). Heck, I cringed most of all when he introduced Salma Hayek by suggesting it doesn't matter if we can understand her when she looks that good.
Now I'm so politically incorrect it's not funny but I found all that, swallowed whole, a bit icky. It seemed a bit lopsided. Where is the equal opportunity assault on male sexuality? Why women's boobs; why not men's junk? Yeah, Seth, you have a gay following. Where's the cock and balls jokes? Stewie surely would have thought of some -- he's in your head, why didn't you let him out? Then I wouldn't have squirmed as much but squirm I did. And it did NOT bother me that he used the gay chorus to soften or lower the boob blow but I think that was not a coincidence. That's how you go there?
I do think we have gone overboard with the political correctness but I don't know, Seth was NOT funny enough to pull this off without offending.
I've seen Don Rickles, Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli live -- there was nothing lopsided in the attacks. Nothing was sacred and we in the audience all felt we were all one in politically incorrect heaven.
This year's Oscars felt like hours of hell on earth.