Seth MacFarlane’s Cringeworthy Night at the Oscars

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Seth MacFarlane’s Cringeworthy Night at the Oscars
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Seth MacFarlane

It seems another host is victim to the most thankless job in Hollywood. Seth MacFarlane, fresh off the impossibly high expectations set by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes, had a less than stellar night making his foray into the Hollywood elite. The Oscar telecast ran too long, felt more like the Grammys and had little to no surprise winners to amaze and keep us watching. While none of that is the fault of Seth MacFarlane, his job of running the show and keeping it light faltered throughout the night, and provided an array of cringeworthy moments.

Was that an opening monologue, or a live action episode of "Family Guy"? Long enough to fill a 30-minute episode time slot, the show began with a barrage of random activities fit to MacFarlane's writing but not to the Oscars. A time-traveling William Shatner and a song called "We Saw Your Boobs" sounds just like an episode of the Fox animated series, not the way to kick off the biggest night in Hollywood.

While comedy is welcome in the very long and serious evening, the Academy Awards is arguably the one night a year when jokes about Rihanna and Chris Brown's relationship and the word Kardashian are just not welcome. Though not quite as harsh as Ricky Gervais, MacFarlane was less than hesitant about making chauvinistic jokes at the expense of every female in the room. If "We Saw Your Boobs" wasn't enough, MacFarlane made several inappropriate comments about 9-year-old nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, and belittled Jessica Chastain's real-life character from "Zero Dark Thirty" as an example of a "woman's innate ability to never let anything go."

Many were hopeful that the TV writer's known love of movies would shine through and an earnest admiration would carry the night. But MacFarlane took to the films they way he writes his TV show, with random gags for cheap laughs. Wondering if a cell phone freaked out Daniel Day-Lewis while shooting "Lincoln" was a weak joke with a terribly delivered punch line. There was a drawn out Von Trapp family joke that took too long and epically failed. He used his own animated character from "Ted" to tell Jewish jokes and speculate on a post-show Hollywood orgy. He found moments along the way to mock everything from "Chicago" to "Argo," doing all he could to show a minor disdain for the films he was there to celebrate.

While arguably not the worst host in the history of the telecast -- see James Franco and David Letterman -- it is clear that MacFarlane was far from the best. With a look fit for a tux and a crooner's voice, there was real potential in becoming the next regular Oscar host, but letting the comedian write material led to his ultimate downfall. Seems his last effort of the night was a fitting end, a song for the "losers" in the crowd. Though arguably, the song might have been a better bet to do offstage after Ben Affleck's warm acceptance in front of a mirror.

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