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David Poland

By David Poland

“It Takes A Village To Make A Car Wreck” & Other Thoughts On The Oscar Show

Interesting conversation this morning… how much do you blame Seth McFarlane—who is a reasonably talented singer, dancer, and tooth whitener —and how much does last night’s debacle of lowered taste land on Meron & Zadan, producers of “Smash” and The 85th Annual Academy Awards?

For me, the line is at the jokes, more so than the production numbers. It’s really simple. If Seth McFarlane was hit by a bus a week ago and Billy Crystal stepped in… if Leno stepped in… if Letterman stepped in… if Steve Martin stepped in… very few of those jokes—in terms of tone, style, and content—would have been told. Period.

Whose stupid idea was it to do a 17-minute opening with old Captain Kirk commenting on the quality of the show? Who thought it would be okay to do “The Boob Song” so long as it was couched in meta spin? Who said, “Ready Seth Go,” without realizing that 3 of the movies referenced in the song only had nudity in rape scenes?

I can’t say. I wasn’t in the room. But I can’t imagine that Mr. McFarlane was not making some of the decisions.

I apologize for saying this aloud, but if there was a show designed to reenforce the stereotype that gay men hate women, this was it. So I can’t just assume that the jokes were not tacitly approved—and/or enjoyed—by the producers.

Moreover, the cutaways in the show (some of the few) to Academy boss Dawn Hudson laughing her ass off, reinforced my worst concerns about the current trajectory of this organization.

It takes a village to make a car wreck.

The biggest problem I have with those who are saying, “Hey… they were just jokes.. get over yourself” is that the deeper you dig into the show, the worse it gets. Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about the rape thing. And if that were it, I could accept the notion that it was a one-off and should not be held over anyone’s head. But it was not a one-off.

To start with, it was part of “The Boob Song”… a song making fun of actresses showing their breasts in movies. And in the context of “Family Guy” or Ted or Mr. Skin, perfectly appropriate. In the context of the Academy Awards, one joke about, say, repeated topless scenes by Kate Winslet, is just about where the line is. Tastefully teased, you can get away with that. “The Boob Song”… no.

The Onion has been raked over the Twitter-coals for a joke that, in the context of The Onion, was right on the edge, but not really shocking. (The joke was in a tweet, saying in all the ennui-ish rage that you see so much on Twitter during the Oscars, that 9-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané  Wallis was being a c***.) I am sympathetic to those who are unhappy with that choice, but I am also conscious that sometimes a big shock joke in a situation where the same things are being repeated endlessly is what a writer feels the need to do. And I don’t think anyone really felt that the tweet was meant to be a truthful representation of the situation.

So where is the rage about—in the context of an event honoring people’s work —Ms. Wallis, in the room, still well underage, being part of the punchline about a joke about George Clooney’s sex life with younger—but not very young—women? Where is the rage about an off-handed joke about the big Hollywood orgy at Jack Nicholson’s house… where, btw, Roman Polanski gave drugs and alcohol to and then anally raped a 14-year-old?

Again… in the context of the one line, you can write it off to a stupid joke, the layers of which were not considered. But it just kept happening.

Three Latinos—Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Salma Hayek—all shoved together, marking the time one “comes on stage and we have no idea what they’re saying but don’t care because they’re so attractive.”

McFarlane said in one interview that he thought his job was, in part, to be roasting the talent. But the show is about honoring the work… even of people with accents unlike McFarlane’s.

There are more sexist comments being shoved around the internet today.

And then you get to the show… the show where someone thought it would be funny to play someone off with an increasingly loud Jaws theme as someone tried that speak after, likely, the greatest public honor they will ever receive. In the case of the first play-off, the winner was trying to mention the bankruptcy if Rhythm & Hues in the face of winning Oscars for Life of Pi.

There were not 1, but 2 tributes to Chicago… which coincidentally, the producers of The Oscars produced a decade ago.

There was, what seemed to many, a truncated In Memorium segment so we could get to Barbra Streisand singing.

There were live performances of 3 of the 5 nominated songs… including an attempt to stir Les Mis love with the five leads of Les Mis singing and then being sung over by the chorus… while the other 8 nominees were relegated to clip packages, bunched together in packs of 3 to save time for more musical numbers. Why was Ted sung live by someone who didn’t sing the song in the film and the other two films left to clips and segments of their nominated songs? I can only assume it was because they don’t matter as much.

The James Bond thing laid a big fat egg. People loved Shirley Bassey, but almost exclusively because she IS Shirley Bassey. And then, for an un-BP-nominated movie, we ended up with Adele being a second segment, completely removed from that presentation.

And once again… the 17-minute opening… which thank God was not a musical extravaganza. But what it also was not—and this is what matters… it was not about movies. It was self-reference (and multiple references to The Globes) that had nothing to do with the actual purpose of the show… honoring the best movies of the year.

McFarlane was okay. He is a good joke teller. He dances a little. And he looks good in a tux. But the material was in the toilet a large percentage of the time.

One win was the Sound of Music joke… which was imperfectly set up, but fitting. Jennifer Lawrence falling up the stairs and accepting had charm and surprise. And Daniel Day-Lewis won the night with his Meryl Streep joke, which worked on so many levels.

But the core of the show they put on last night is not the core of what Oscar is about. It’s about celebrating the best work of the year in movies. And it very rarely felt like that last night. More like they deigned to interrupt the mediocre but beautifully costumed and production designed show from the summer stock troupe now and again to give out an award.

Is this how The Academy wants to be represented?

I don’t think so.

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136 Responses to ““It Takes A Village To Make A Car Wreck” & Other Thoughts On The Oscar Show”

  1. Sam says:

    Yeah, it’s weird how the Academy is so obsessed with the host selection and finding a tone that will pull in the kids today and don’t seem to care at all about the actual movies.

    Even the tribute to movie musicals, which was transparently an excuse to self-tribute the producers, featured numbers that were written for and made famous on the stage. So that wasn’t really about the movies either.

  2. molly'sdad says:

    Right on the nose, Mr. Poland. It’s not just that it was crass, mean, ugly, homophobic, repetitive, sexist and misogynist – it simply wasn’t about the MOVIES and honoring the best of year. It was about Mr. McFarlane and his ego. It was about the producers and their egos. (For example, as you so correctly pointed out, didn’t it occur to ANYONE that Shirley Bassey and Adele could sing over the Bond clips? And those clips were a disgrace. Bond movies are NOT just about things blowing up.) Anyone who saw McFarlane do the nomination announcements knew what we were in for. Anyone who’s seen any of the lumpy, thudding TV musicals produced by Meron and Zadan could have predicted what the evening would be like. Your most astute and telling observation is that film artists who spend years doing the work that won them awards were roughly played off with the JAWS theme, while McFarlane et all were allowed to go on and on and on and on pointlessly. The show in the end is about the people who are nominated for their work, and the people who win for their work. For making FILMS. When will the people running the Academy ever figure that out?

  3. Rob says:

    You know how every year people say, “It seems like the host disappeared after the monologue?” Not this year. This was a lot of Seth. And I have to believe the nasty, fratboy tone turned off a lot of the core viewership (or at least my mom, who texted to let me know she turned off the TV after the Les Miz number because she found Seth so offensive).

  4. Don R. Lewis says:

    I thought Seth was fine. The only thing more popular and played-out to do on Oscar night and the following day than gripe about the host is gripe about how awful the show was. Every voice is in dissent every year on the Oscars. It’s annoying at best, a waste of time at worst. My twitter feed was roiling with anger and bitterness all night. It’s a fucking awards show. Calm down or don’t watch it. Seriously.

    It’s the one night of the year where EVERYONE is talking about MOVIES, a thing we all love. Then the people who have the good fortune to get paid to talk about movies all year round turn into petulant asshole children (not you, per se, David) who stomp their feet and freak the hell out on their twitter feed/live blog and articles.

  5. chris says:

    Um, you should apologize. Where does your “gay men hate women stereotype” even come from in that show? From the fact that two not-well-known gay men produced the show? From the fact that Salma Hayek’s dress came from a gay designer? The hate was coming from MacFarlane, who is not gay and who has ownership of that — agreed — stupid material.

  6. Dignan says:

    “Why was Ted sung live by someone who didn’t sing the song in the film and the other two films left to clips and segments of their nominated songs?”

    Nora Jones sang the song over TED’s opening credits. Who else would have sung it?

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    As I have posted elsewhere: Big ratings uptick for last night’s Oscarcast. Was it the competitiveness of the major races — or did MacFarlane do what he was brought on board to do (i.e., attract a larger, younger viewership)?

  8. Joe Gillis says:

    And also, can we just talk about the fact that every time Anne Hathaway makes a speech, the media just loves to talk about how terrible she was, but whenever Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Forest Whitaker, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson or Philip Seymour Hoffman steps in front of a microphone to ramble and “uhhh” their way through a couple of sentences, nobody thinks anything of it? Appalling.

  9. Geoff says:

    I really have to disagree. The show had its share of genuinely awkward moments for sure….using the Jaws theme was bizarre, WAY too much attention given to Chicago, and the Bond montage was a huge missed opportunity….it doesn’t even make sense why they didn’t just try to combine the Adele and Bassey performances into some sort of medley.

    But….McFarland did a bang-up job for the most part. Never a fan of the guy or Ted or Family Guy for that matter and I am a much bigger fan of Chris Rock and Jon Stewart….neither of them even came close to achieving the balance that he did between irreverence and devoting some genuine attention to the movies. Hell, I could honestly say McFarland is the only recent host outside of Steve Martin who actually displayed a real enjoyment of movies in his act. Maybe he came off as more of a fanboy, but wasn ‘t that the point? I really dug the skit with Sally Field and sorry, that joke about Jack Nicholson….in the context of the Oscars, WAY overdue!

    Dave, that’s a genuine reach if you take it back to Polanski – for over 20 years now, Nicholson has been sitting near the front smugly with his sunglasses on and hosts like Billy Crystal have kissed his ass. What McFarland said was not mean-spirited but a good-natured ribbing at the guy.

    The Jon Wilkes Booth joke and that jab at Salma Hayek just before she came out were probably the most inappropriate ones of the evening, but he just threw so much out there that they were quickly forgotten.

    Give McFarland this: from the beginning of the show until the end, no other recent host has even come close to truly working his ass of keeping the show going and actually displaying some talent with singing, dancing, and bits. And though he too many more swings throughout the telecast, I’m still pretty confident that his batting percentage was MUCH higher than Billy Crystal’s.

    And I’m guessing you’ll disagree but IMHO, this was the first show since the expansion of the Best Picture category where you actually got a genuine feel for EACH of the movies nominated. Nobody watching last night’s telecast did not have a dramatically improved awareness of movies like Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Part of that was probably due to the actual awards being spread out so much but still…..they did a good job of spreading the wealth when it came to each nominated picture just based on clips and cut-away jokes as well.

  10. Dan says:

    I agree with David. What has happened to basic standards? How much lower will the bar be dropped? McFarlane wasn’t a war criminal or a disgrace to his mother, but the material was weak, juvenile and worst of all, boring. Seen it all before.

    By the way, what I would have given for the Jaws theme to have started playing during Ang Lee’s speech. I’m sure Spielberg was secretly hoping it would kick in.

  11. Double D says:

    The Sound of Music bit was genuinely hilarious.

    But the “We saw our boobs” number listed a couple of actresses who appeared in naked in rape scenes. Bad form. Seriously. That’s an easy fix that could have taken 10 seconds of research.

  12. Don R. Lewis says:

    Someone alert the owners of Mr. Skin that nudity in rape scenes in movies is inappropriate!! ALERT! ALERT! No one cares unless you *want* to make a big deal out of that.

    also- the Jaws thing was funny at first then, not at all.

  13. YancySkancy says:

    Holy God, am I glad I never follow live tweeting or blogging of this thing. My girlfriend and I watched the show together and found it much funnier and more entertaining than any in recent history (at least until, as usual, things started going long). Except for a line here and there, McFarlane’s material in the first hour or so played like gangbusters with us, including the Capt. Kirk stuff. I do think “The Boob Song” was saved by the “meta spin;” the entire premise of it was that it was an example of the kind of extreme tastelessness that would earn disapproving reviews for McFarlane.

    I think the attractive-but-unintelligible-Latinos line was a dud, and much of Ted’s attempts at edginess fell flat (Jews run Hollywood; Ed Harris is short, I guess?). The biggest botches for me, though, were on the production side: the yawn-inducing Bond montage, an oddly structured In Memoriam (with no Andy Griffith!–but Streisand sounded great), and a perhaps ill-conceived tribute to “musicals of the last ten years,” a category that doesn’t give you a lot to work with (J-Hud’s a great singer, but after DREAMGIRLS and umpteen iterations on American Idol and countless other shows, the song’s effectiveness is a bit played out).

  14. David Poland says:

    Chris – Whether the producers are “well known” in your view or not, they are extravagantly gay and the show was extravagantly misogynistic. From there, it’s just math.

  15. The Pope says:

    It’s all context and for Family Guy, you know the tone of the show. But last night’s ceremony is supposed to be representative of the Academy. There are ways of telling jokes where everyone is in and no one is outside of it. And that’s incredibly hard and when the host delivers a joke like that, it’s heaven. By which I mean, here’s to hoping it’s Tina and Amy for the next few years.

    BTW, the worst speech of the evening was Tarantino. His arrogance stank up MY room. And if I have to hear about his effing legacy one more time…

    Best speech: Clooney. Classy all the way.

  16. ChrisA says:

    Where on earth would you ever come up with “gay men hate women” stereotype. Take a look at the audience at any Madonna or Lady Gaga concert, any fashion shoot and look who are the men making women look fabulous. A gay man and his BFF shall never be separated!

  17. David Poland says:

    So ChrisA… you are saying there is no such thing as that stereotype?

  18. theschu says:

    It’s funny because I’ve been quite forgiving of past Oscar shows and past hosts because the good has usually outweighed the bad. I’m also so sick of the day-after tradition of trashing the show and the host(s).

    But I have to say that this was maybe the first Oscar show that I kind of hated.

    It’s not the winners. I was happy with all the winners. While I agree that Seth kind of bombed the opening there was enough funny throughout that I think he deserves another shot next year. I also was happy to see that they featured him a lot more throughout the show than previous hosts in previous years.

    What I hated was this ridiculous tribute to Music in the Movies because the songs that were performed not only had little to nothing to do with the nominated movies, they had little to nothing to do with any movies. Especially not any Oscar winning or nominated movies. If I’m wrong someone please tell me.

    The opening songs. The songs from Chicago and Dreamgirls which were not even the nominated songs from the movies in those years. The Bond songs were well performed I guess but whoever suggested they somehow be combined or at least have Bassey sing while the montage (which was awful) plays was right. There felt like so much wasted time.

    Performance. Applause. Performance. Applause. Performance. Applause.

    The way they presented the Best Song nominees was not only totally confusing but really insulting to the other songs that didn’t get to be performed.

    Even the montages of the Best Picture nominees felt strangely lackluster.

    One of the other things I noticed that felt really weird is that the show was never once referred to as The Academy Awards. It was only The Oscars. Was this another way The Academy was trying not to feel old? By not acknowledging themselves or the fact that this was the 85th show? So weird.

    I feel like, if you’re going to do some kind of tribute to Music in the Movies or musicals or whatever, play a montage or some kind of musical tribute medley like they did a few years ago (maybe it was in 1999). The way they did it just left me confused and bored.

    Thankfully the show picked up some momentum and enjoyment in the last half hour or so. But I felt like most everything else was pretty terrible.

  19. waterbucket says:

    It was such a mess. I kept nagging my roommate to watch the show with me and I was so embarrassed by the opening that I apologized to him for making him watch it.

  20. christian says:

    The show needs to get over the self-loathing of “Hey, we’re mocking this shit!” and just accept that it’s about honoring film, which it could do a more entertaining and representative way.

  21. Lex says:

    Who would ever be offended by anything, ever, comedically?

  22. etguild2 says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people saying it’s a mess, but it’s kind of fitting, considering this is probably the last time we’ll have a different film win each of the 6 major awards. The show was a confused jumble, and so were the awards, in a ceremony that displayed voters’ continued disdain for the most significant director in film history, and the best cinematographer of the last 20 years.

    We now live in a world where a German Television actor playing cartoon genre characters in pulp trash has collected more Oscars than Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud or Jimmy Stewart, after all.

  23. anghus says:

    I laughed a lot and enjoyed it. There are two things i walked away with after last night’s telecast.

    Number one: No host ever walks away unscathed. Other than early Billy Crystal hosting gigs in the 1990’s, i can’t remember a host that wasn’t considered average, less than average, or an abomination. No one ever goes “DAMN, that was an amazing show with a dynamic host.”

    No one is ever going to universally love an Oscar host, unless Meryl Streep gives it a go since she seems to be the only universally loved thing in Hollywood.

    Number two: Why do entertainment reporters continue to complain about the length of the show?

    I saw so many tweets and articles from people whose job is reporting on the industry complaining about the length of the ceremony.

    You’re an entertainment reporter. What the hell else do you need to be doing? It’d be like John Madden declaring “Christ, this Super Bowl is endless!” right in the middle of the third quarter.

    This is what you do. You report on this shit. So stop moaning about the one day a year you have to pay attention for four damn hours and complaining like you’ve been locked in a chemical toilet.

  24. adura84 says:

    worst directed variety show i’ve ever seen. no cutaways when they would have been appropriate, cutaways to unrecognizable faces (seat holders?), odd angles, even the butt of the prerehearsed jokes seemed to be a surprise to the powers that be …just a genuine mess. i was not a fan of the host or most of the content, but even if you were, there was no forgiving the man in the control room last night.

  25. theschu says:

    etguild2 – You’re an old man aren’t you?

  26. YancySkancy says:

    “Why was Ted sung live by someone who didn’t sing the song in the film and the other two films left to clips and segments of their nominated songs? I can only assume it was because they don’t matter as much.”

    I’ve been thinking about this one, David. Judging from Scar-Jo’s absence (both as a song performer and as a presenter with her fellow Avengers), I assume she was either unavailable or didn’t want to sing live in front of however many billions of people watch the show (a shame, ’cause I thought she sounded great on the recording). As for the LIFE OF PI song–well, it was barely a song, from what I could tell. Dreamy vocalizing without lyrics might have put everyone at the Dolby and at home straight to sleep (I haven’t heard the entire song, so apologies if there’s more to it than that).

    etguild2: That would be a great point if Waltz weren’t such a fine actor (is there really anyone who begrudges him his win for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS?). Still, I guess this kind of thing could be fun to play: We now live in a world where a seventh-place finalist on AMERICAN IDOL, playing a show biz cliche in a cheesy Broadway musical, has collected more Oscars than Ida Lupino, Jean Simmons and Deborah Kerr–put together!

  27. Bob Burns says:

    liked the show and MacFarlane.

    Your Les Miz comment is dumb. luv ya… dumb comment.

  28. Daniella Isaacs says:

    “So”, you say, because the producers are gay and there’s this stereotype that gay men hate women, you David, “can’t just assume that the jokes were not tacitly approved—and/or enjoyed—by the producers.” You’re saying you believe the stereotype and assume it’s in large part the gay producers fault. “So” means “therefore” or “as a result,” right? Wow. I can’t believe you wrote that, David.

  29. anghus says:

    Well, everybody on their mother is talking about Macfarlane. More so than the show itself. And for the first in ages the Oscars seemed to be an actual event instead of an entertainment obligation….

    There are no losers here. Unless you are factoring in good taste and dignity. But come on, this is Hollywood. It’s not like that’s a hot commodity in those parts.

  30. etguild2 says:

    @theschu In spirit, maybe.

    @anghus. I don’t know about Waltz being a good actor one way or another yet because servicing QT isn’t necessarily acting. He was fine in “Carnage,” but hammed it up in the other three American movies he’s done. I have a feeling that ala’ Hilary Swank, we might see that the emperor has no clothes in the Gorbachev biopic.

    Also, anyone can win an Oscar. Winning two for doing the same thing when you’ve only been in three decent movies in your life is irksome.

  31. chris says:

    By the way, if you want to talk about stereotypes: “extravagantly gay?” Jesus.

  32. Theschu says:

    etguild2 there are so many things wrong with what you just wrote I don’t even know where to begin.

  33. manliano says:

    I’m a gay men, and I don’t hate women. I know lots of gay men, and none of them hate women. I’ve never heard of this stereotype once, and I’m 33 years old.

    I’m on the inside of gay culture, and let me assure you, that stereotype only exists to those who stereotype gays to begin with.

    How funny, that in trying to defend “good taste”, you show just how easy it is to show bad taste.

  34. CinemaPsycho says:

    The jokes were in bad taste. Not because gay men hate women, not because of what happened at Jack Nicholson’s house. Because THE JOKES WERE IN BAD TASTE. The Lincoln joke was the worst of all. The absolute low point in a night of lows. The Oscars are supposed to be about CLASS. There was very little of that last night. Next year they should get the wino who hangs out in front of the porno shop to read from his dirty joke book. He can probably smirk just as insincerely as McFarlane.

  35. Triple Option says:

    Yes, I agree! The Oscars need to be more smug! In fact, whose idea was it to call it The Oscars? It should always be referred to as the Achievements from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. How dare they let Seth McFarland host! In fact, I can’t think of one good reason why this event is event broadcast to the general public! Next year, we’ll maybe move it to The Riviera or better yet some restricted area like Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio. No press, no limos, no red carpet, just black helicopters shuttling talent in during the middle of the night. No one will ever speak of the awards AGAIN! They should ditch the statues and replace them with tiny little owl lapel pins that will be digitally etched out of photos so no one is ever quite certain who’s a member of this secret, excuse me, non-existent society. The re-animated head of Walt Disney will call out non-sequential numbers that will correspond to a code tattooed on the back of each selected guests hand that can only be deciphered under uv light.

    There’ll be rumors, inconclusive clips on youtube and leaked copies of dailies across the internet but no one, I repeat NO SINGLE Achieving member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences will ever confirm any involvement in, knowledge of, or participation with this soon-to-be-deemed urban legend.

    Then and only then would it be would it be worthy of the Hollywood intelligentsia who nary utter a word of profanity, never indulge of wine or strong drink, who remain chaste and chaperoned when in the accompaniment of members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses, who refer to all men regardless of their financial position or company status or work affiliation as equals if not their betters, who never desire to portray people of unbecoming character or are never critical or demeaning of those who make mistakes or can’t read their minds, who voluntarily submit to urinalysis tests for foreign substances and disavow all material possessions in their desire to humble themselves to be of better service to mankind.

    Wouldst that maketh such an award presentation worthy of thine approval?

  36. leahnz says:

    a pretty amateur-hour, ego-tripping fuckarow of a show — perhaps not the train wreck some are making it out to be, but cringe worthy and downright creepy in places (and the commenters here and elsewhere making out like the rampant and embarrassing sexist, misogynist over-and-undertones throughout the show are no big deal are exactly who the show was aimed at – I expected no less from ‘family guy’ mcfarlane, a creepy and at times mildly amusing little douche – so you get what you pay for)

  37. cadavra says:

    Yancy: Johansson is currently starring on Broadway in a revival of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. They might have let her skip a couple of performances if she’d been nominated, but not to be merely a presenter.

  38. brack says:

    So gratutious movie nudity is okay to make fun of and is acceptable, but talking about movie nudity in the context of rape is bad. Please explain the logic here, and how that’s not being hypocritical.

    Loved the show. Seth was great. The jokes that fell flat and/or offensive, like the John Wilkes Booth joke, were meant to get a reaction. He had that “Oh really, 150 years later, and it’s still too soon?” response well prepared. His jab at the actors who speak English as a second language was rather innocent, and I think he meant it more in the foreign language sense than the fact that you can’t understand them when they are speaking English, but perhaps I’m mistaken.

    Wasn’t too surprised by the winners. Argo was my favorite film from last year, but then again I have only seen 3 of the 9 nominated movies. Jennifer Lawrence’s win was nice. All and all a good show.

    I don’t get how the show was not a celebration of film. You actually enjoyed the countless “80+ years of movies” montages of films that screamed “films are still relevant” have never seemed to stop in recent years? That stuff got old a decade or so ago. At least they acknowledged all the Best Picture nominees this year, unlike last year.

    And with all due respect, The James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting was the worst I can remember, mostly because of James Franco perhaps took too many anti-anxiety meds or something; completely lifeless.

    The fact that the pre show always asks the nominees “Who are you wearing?” kinda leaves the whole “let’s keep it classy” argument in the dust. The Oscars is not just a celebration of films David, and you pretending that this is some new phenomenom is rather naive.

  39. YancySkancy says:

    cad: I figured it was likely to be that rather than Dave’s guess that the producers decided the song “[didn’t] matter as much.” Though I suppose you could argue that if they thought it mattered, they would’ve gotten someone else to perform it live.

  40. goran says:

    Yeah, you’re totally right. If last night confirmed anything at all, it was that gay men have no respect for women. Unlike heterosexual men, who clearly do. Only a gay man could come up with jokes about ‘we saw your boobs’ and ‘let salma hayek speak her pidgin english – i’ll just stare at her’.

  41. Vicki Hobb says:

    Here were my thoughts while watching the show. I liked the opening with Captain Kirk, sue me. I laughed out loud several times, something I haven’t done with the Academy Awards in a while. Some of the jokes were somewhat cringe worthy as mentioned in previous posts.

    I understood the theme to the show, but I found it stupid that the orchestra was in another building when the theme was music. They butchered the best song category by only having live performances for some but not other songs that were nominated. That they constantly played movie theme music to accompany presenters and such throughout that often had nothing to do with the presenters involved, it was disconcerting to me. And the blatant reminder that they won an Oscar for Chicago, yuck. They should have used the effort they expended for that expanded musical interlude on a better Bond package and what would have been great is to have all the actors who played Bond on stage rather than the quartet from Chicago (yes I get you won an Oscar for it).

    The Ted joke about Jack Nicholson, I did think of Roman Polanski and the rape.

    Christopher Plummer needs to get over his hate for the Sound of Music.

    I love Michelle Obama, but she had no place there and as others have mentioned before, what the hell would they have done if it had been Zero Dark 30 or even worse Django Unchained (worse as in the subject matter of the film not that it would have won).

    I hate that they play off the winners of the more technical awards and using Jaws while a bit funny, in a South Park way, but I always find it inappropriate. I do wish people who win would stop rattling off long lists of people, I much prefer the funny irreverent bits, like when Emma Thompson won for Sense and Sensibility.

    Ultimately the Academy Awards SHOW is for the people who sit through the commercials and watch it, the ones who pay the money to keep seeing the movies. The Awards themselves are for the industry.

    Here’s what I liked, whether Christoph Waltz deserved it, it was a surprise in a night that did not have many. Jennifer Lawrence, love her. Great for Argo. Great for Ang Lee, Love Adele. Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron were wonderful. The tie was funny, especially Mark Wahlberg’s “No BS”. The string of men winning with long, flowing blonde hair was funny.

    Despite my gripes, next year, I will be sitting in front of the TV watching again.

  42. Popcorn Slayer says:

    Next year – Trey Parker and Matt Stone! They’d probably do a pretty good job.

  43. anghus says:

    “Is this how The Academy wants to be represented?”

    This line kind of lingered with me. It’s funny that this is your final thought, because in reality how they want to be represented is almost antithetical to what matters in media these days.

    All they want is to be relevant. Something 85 years old will always struggle to be. There is something to be said of tradition and of pride. However, in this modern age of tweets, page views, and talking points, the 85th annual Academy Awards typifies that “you won’t believe what you’re going to see next” mentality. Seth Macfarlane made the Oscars a must see, must talk about moment. Whether he tarnished the dignity of the institution is less important than a) the ratings b) setting up next year’s show.

    People watched this year. So this will be the talked about show that others are compared to. Every few years the Academy has to take a few dings and mix it up to seem relevant. Then, next year, when they apply some polish to it the purists will be pleased and maybe they can hold on to some of the casual viewers who tuned in this year. It’s win/win.

    The fact that you think the Academy cares about it’s perception is kind of funny. Like, in a “oh that’s cute” kind of way. You’re like the kid standing in front of Shoeless Joe Jackson declaring “Say it ain’t so, Joe”.

    Were you there when the guy came on stage to announce the Academy museum complete with a ‘Red Carpet Experience. This is not a body concerned with maintaining dignity. This is a group desperate to remain important in a time where attention spans and viewership is rapidly diminishing.

    Don’t worry Dave. Next year they will placate their base with a centrist host who is both inoffensive and barely entertaining.

  44. Greg says:

    Christ o’ Mighty…’if there was a show designed to reenforce the stereotype that gay men hate women, this was it’?!? Im a gay man, 41, and have never heard of this offensive stereotype.

    As a looooooong time reader, I’m quite shocked at this statement.

    I guess all those swishing fags behind the scenes really got to stick it to the women this year.

    Im wondering, David, what other stereotypes do you hold against gay men?

    If the ‘I Saw Your Boobs’ number was sooooo offensive and misogynistic, why did all the actresses agree to cameo in the number?

  45. anghus says:


    im amazed at all the misogyny comments regarding the opening number. And i’m just specifically talking about that number since it seems to be the crowning example people use.

    First, a duh statement:

    The world we live in places a huge emphasis on beauty.

    And a second duh statement:

    Women in Hollywood are judged on their outward appearance.

    So a song that celebrates women being naked on camera and our stupid fascination with that fact, the fact that there are websites that exist solely for this purpose, the fact that it’s headline news when a top starlet agrees to pose on camera without clothes…

    That’s misogynistic?

    I’m not buying it.

    Maybe the actresses who participated understand these basic fundamental truths and have no problem playing the game that has made them rich and famous. Maybe they understand that objectification is an unfortunate aspect of our society and a huge part of being in show business. Maybe they saw the humor in making fun of that.

  46. Glamourboy says:

    I’m the person who usually defends the Oscar telecast while everyone tears it apart the next day. I enjoy the show and have thought that although it might sometimes be boring…that it would be very difficult to break the Oscar telecast.

    This year, amazingly enough…it broke.

    SF was the worst host ever. His jokes bombed every which way.

    His biggest mistake was thinking that the Oscars were about lambasting the stars….a new trend that I don’t understand at all. And the biggest problem overall is that the show itself has become more important than the awards. They have taken up the task of trying to appeal to kids. Kids don’t give a fuck about the Oscars…and trying to lure them into watching the show will never work. The Oscars should just get out of the mega-rating TV business and put on a show for people who really love movies….give the presenters something real to say…not those bullshit comedy sketches that they give to Melissa McCarthy. The minute the Oscars lose their dignity they cease to be relevant at all. The younger audience is NEVER going to flock to this show…and in trying to get them to watch…the Oscars turn off their core audience.

  47. theschu says:

    Funny that the last time Ang Lee won Best Director all the major categories winners were also from different films.

    2012 – Argo, Pi, Lincoln, SLP, Django, Les Mis

    2005 – Crash, Brokeback, Capote, Walk The Line, Syriana, Constant Gardener

  48. Martin Pal says:


    It’s only happened three times, the other being 1956:
    Around the World in 80 Days, Giant, Lust for Life,
    Written on the Wind, The King and I, Anastasia.

    1956 was also a year where there was an upset: Giant was
    thought to be the frontrunner. And Giant also starred a
    lot of gay men, hmmmm…Rock Hudson, Sal Mineo, James

    The reason some of you gay men have never heard of Dave
    Poland’s stereotype of “gay men hate women” is because it
    is a notion that comes from straight men. If you don’t
    want to have relations with them, you obviously must hate

  49. chris says:

    That was just the tip of the misogyny iceberg, anghus. Did you hear him telling the women who lost weight because they “got the flu” looked terrific? The “Zero Dark THirty” joke? The Rihanna joke?

  50. Don R. Lewis says:

    I think next year we should ALL avoid social media during the show then write an immediate reaction article (still having not looked at social media) and see how it matches up. The show was fine and social media set the tone all night by attacking any and everything. I bet every 3rd piece written “blind” attacks something that no one else caught. It’s like people are always falling over themselves to rip every minute moment of the Oscars every year.

  51. Martin Pal says:

    My thoughts after reading all these comments on this years telecast is that if it disturbs so many people each and every year, don’t watch it! I happen to like to watch each year just to see who wins what. The years that I like a lot of the movies are the years I like better. Simple as that.

    As for the carping about them–one year it’s “they should get rid of performing all the Oscar nominated songs” and this year seems to be “why didn’t they perform all of the Oscar nominated songs?” In other words, humans have a deep inner need to complain. One year it’s “too many montage sequences” and the next year it’s “not enough.” One year the show is “too disrespectful” and the next year it’s “too staid and respectful.”

    The one constant seems to be that it still draws a considerable anount of attention.

  52. storymark says:

    Don – Really, isn’t that how the internet/social media treats *every* goddmaned thing now? Attack!

  53. SamLowry says:

    For anyone who said “I Saw Your Boobs” was okay, would it have been just as okay if he referenced Shame and Django and Bad Lieutenant and Watchmen and Boogie Nights and The Crying Game and Partners by singing “I saw your penis”?

    The reviewer who initially asked the question said MacFarlane’s fratboy fans would’ve gagged at the mere thought.

  54. hendhogan says:

    “Coming up next, the cast of Prometheus explains what the hell Prometheus was all about.”

    I think Seth is the perfect host. He cleverly loves the industry. He skewers it, but frankly, it needs skewering every now and then. They aren’t curing cancer.

    The prepared bits fell flat. The Rudd/McCarthy thing was just awful and then painfully long. The Kirk thing was funny, but then went on way too long. I watched it with a group of female actresses and they were not offended or outraged by the song. I could have done without the Musical tribute. Thank God, it wasn’t on NBC or we’d have had the cast of Smash there. Jaws theme is kinda crass, but there were maybe three people played off all night (which is rare).

    But all in all, I enjoyed it. I laughed. And as someone else pointed out, that is a rarity at the Oscars. If only the Academy got around to giving Deakins his Academy Award, it would have been better. But that’s my only real complaint.

  55. hendhogan says:


    Yes, that would have been funny too. Fingers crossed for next year!

  56. YancySkancy says:

    SamLowry: You’re kidding, right? If it had been “I Saw Your Penis,” everyone who complained about “I Saw Your Boobs” would be falling all over themselves to proclaim how “refreshing” it was.

  57. anghus says:

    chris, in my post i specifically mention that i’m only talking about the opening song because so many people are using that as their example of misogyny at the Academy Awards, when it was the most harmless gag of the night.

    Yes, there were plenty more examples, and i’d be hard pressed to argue with anyone that Seth Macfarlane is not from the old-school ‘women are second class sexbots’ school of thought.

    However, that opening number was harmless.

  58. FilmBuffRich says:

    @SamLowry – I would probably would have laughed just as hard as at a “We saw your penis” song, and they could have subbed in Harvey Kitel in Kate Winslett’s spot.

    I for one don’t get the anger over the joke about in sixteen years Quvenzhané Wallis would be too old for George Clooney. It was a jab clearly aimed at Clooney, but I guess people who had their knives already sharpened for MacFarlane didn’t care.

  59. Joe Leydon says:

    On a lighter note: Even though it’s already available on DVD/Blu Ray, could Argo score a significant post-Oscar bounce at the box-office this weekend?

  60. anghus says:

    ” but I guess people who had their knives already sharpened for MacFarlane didn’t care.”

    Which sums up 90% of the criticism. People are looking for an excuse to be offended.

  61. hendhogan says:

    Heck, the We Saw Your Boobs bit doesn’t make fun of the actresses. It makes fun of the guys who sign up for sites with video and screencaps. I don’t remember this outrage when Seth Rogen’s character in Knocked Up was trying to put together a Mr. Skin type site.

  62. etguild2 says:

    As a gay fratboy, I’m starting to find this whole thread offensive;)

  63. Krillian says:

    I didn’t care for the “We Saw Your Boobs” number. It’s very Family Guy. It seems to be poking fun at Mr. Skin creators and connissuers (you know what word I mean there), and also the notion that most nudity is in the name of art. (Which I why I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s “Yes!” during the song).

    The Kirk stuff was funny. Picard would’ve been a little funnier, just cuz. The opening bit did go too long, and there was a lot of stuff they could have trimmed. The Rudd-McCarthy improv stuff was awful.

    I think it’s time for the Academy to have more patience with acceptance speeches. If the winners aren’t rattling off a laundry list of names, let them speak past your set time. They make the winners of all the secondary awards speed-read in one breath whatever thanks they want to do in 12 seconds, and yet, we have Shirley Bassey sing the entire “Goldfinger” song and not have that int he background for the Bond montage?

    Also, how come the Oscars have the worst Im Memorium every year? Globes, SAG, Emmys all do it better. Oscars leaves out people like Andy Griffith and Russell Means and yet they can squeeze in marketing executives.

  64. movieman says:

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned this.
    Yet I found it interesting that Ang Lee–who now has as many Best Director Oscars as Steven Spielberg (and one more than, uh, Martin Scorsese)–has won both of his awards without either film (“Brokeback” or “Pi”) nabbing the Best Picture crown.
    I know that few directors have won twice, so there isn’t a whole lot of data to consider. But isn’t this some kind of “dubious achievement” honor?

  65. YancySkancy says:

    I’ve seen it mentioned here and there, movieman. I’ve always found it interesting that three of John Ford’s four directing Oscars were for films that didn’t win Best Picture.

  66. David Poland says:

    “I Saw Your Penis?”



    Not the MTV Movie Awards.

  67. David Poland says:

    So am I getting this right?

    Nothing is offensive because on the Internet, people find too much offensive?

  68. movieman says:

    Yancy- Speaking of John Ford, I’ve always found it interesting/ironic that he won his directing Oscars for the wrong (Ford) movies.

  69. cadavra says:

    “The Rihanna joke?”

    Chris Brown almost killed her, and MacFarlane’s the bad guy here?

  70. Joshua says:

    Say what you want about Brett Ratner … if he had produced the Oscars (as he had been originally scheduled to do last year), he probably wouldn’t have included multiple tributes to the “Rush Hour” movies during the ceremony.

  71. brack says:

    I saw your penis.

    That would be funny.

  72. Daniella Isaacs says:

    Yes, David. Some things are offensive. Again, like your insinuation that gay misogyny on the part of the producers had something to do with misogyny in the show. JESUS. If anything, the misogyny (and yes, you’re right. It’s there) was a result of a decision about trying to reach out to straight dudes with a “(straight) guy friendly” show. If there was any doubt about your reasons for disliking BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN so much, it’s gone now.

  73. samlowry says:

    I think it’s hilarious that Lady Gaga and Madonna were offered as “proof” that gay men do love some women.

    Perhaps the quote should be “Gay men hate straight women.”

    Also, is it meaningful that the only Oscar broadcast I can compare this to is the 61st…which just happened to be Allan Carr’s show? (…where Jodie Foster won for The Accused, which just happened to be referenced in this show.)

  74. YancySkancy says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I say I’m not offended by something, I’m not suggesting that others should NOT be offended. But sometimes the offended seem to take it that way. I wasn’t offended by the boob song, partly because of the meta nature of the context (Capt. Kirk telling Seth that the song was so offensive it led to bad reviews). If the song weren’t at least somewhat offensive, there’d be no joke. Personally, if I’d been writing that song, I’d have left out examples from rape scenes, because I wouldn’t think I needed to go that far to make the concept work.

  75. YancySkancy says:

    Agreed, movieman, with the slight clarification that I think Ford’s work on those films was absolutely Oscar-worthy–and I would have chosen him over his fellow nominees in the category in three of those years (1935, 1940 and 1952). The directors I would have chosen for those years were not even nominated (1935-Leo McCarey; 1940-Ernst Lubitsch; 1952-Rene Clement, or Kurosawa, or Fellini, or De Sica, or Naruse, or Jacques Becker…you get the idea).

  76. leahnz says:

    “I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I say I’m not offended by something, I’m not suggesting that others should NOT be offended. But sometimes the offended seem to take it that way.”

    that’s a good clarification yancy, because i think one of the problems (after reading this thread specifically) is that a few guys here come off as sounding like because they weren’t offended by macfarlane’s lowrent fratboy douchery that nobody should be, so therefor the criticism is unreasonable or unfounded or FAUX because it’s on the internet, which is silly, talk about myopia. I wasn’t offended so nobody could have been! So some dudes weren’t offended my macfarlane’s numerous tired sexist barbs, not exactly a newsflash. It’s people’s refusal to see how others could be genuinely critical of the show that’s a little disturbing, and defending it as if they themselves were the host – I mean really, what skin is it off your nose that people didn’t care for it? is macfarlane your friend or are you related to him or something? who fucking cares.

    (and really, holding up the actresses who participated as a defence of the boob debacle as meaning it was therefore OK – unless they either had a word-for-word transcript of the entire show or a time machine, a) they had no way of knowing that particular stupidity was just the beginning of snowballing lowrent sexist dickery; and b) they were probably just asked to appear in a send-up skewering Mr skin and its inane ilk, which on paper sounds ok — the problem is macfarlane himself; just because something is presented under the guise of a send up/taking the mickey doesn’t mean it’s actually intended that way or that it works that way, Macfarlane is known (and often roundly criticized) for his sexist persona, so macfarlane attempting to skewer/do a send up of mr. skin DOES NOT WORK – steve martin maybe, but seth macfarlane, please – because it wasn’t clever or well-considered but rather just an excuse for a sexist douche to do a stupid bit about a bunch of actresses boobs for laughs)

  77. etguild2 says:

    Speaking of weird Oscar trivia, I realized after seeing Clooney win…he’s been nominated in six categories (Lead Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Picture). That has to be a record, right?

  78. mark pierce says:

    Mr. Poland.. you have your column on this website and are therefore entitled to fill it with whatever you want. But you should take responsibility for what you say.
    First of all, for someone calling himself a movie critic, not knowing that the reason why Norah Jones was performing on stage the nominated song from Ted, was that she performed it in the movie, makes one think that you either have never seen the movie, or you have seen it in a superficial, distracted way. Which is simply unacceptable, given your job.
    But, most of all, quite simply you do not do a moralistic article, only to include the “I apologize for saying this aloud, but if there was a show designed to reenforce the stereotype that gay men hate women, this was it” sentence.
    Quite obviously, you fully embrace this false stereotype, and, really, beginning the sentence with an apology and then saying what you want, is no better than singing a Boob Song and passing it as a meta reference.
    McFarlane might not have been the perfect host, but he did a nice job.
    Whereas, mr. Poland, you are becoming more and more something of a bitter spinster with heavy prejudices and a limited view of things.

  79. Joshua says:

    etguild2: Walt Disney was also nominated in at least six categories — this was mentioned in the red carpet pre-show. (Best Picture, Cartoon Short Subject, Live Action Short Subject, Documentary Short Subject, Two-Reel Short Subject, Documentary Feature.)

  80. etguild2 says:

    Yeah but Walt got to slap his name on pretty much whatever the studio churned out.

  81. samlowry says:

    I loved Lindy West’s column at Jezebel explaining that she had a mental implosion during the Oscars and decided to leave the heavy lifting to others because she was suffering from “sexism fatigue”:

    “I am tired of trying to have an intellectual discussion about dog-whistle sexism in a culture where prominent politicians are still trying to grasp what rape is, and in a world where little girls are shot in the head because they want to go to school.” And before noting that some commenters refuse to believe that rape actually occurs she said “you might as well write me a note on a banana peel demanding that I prove to you that bananas exist.”

    Perhaps the Chinese are right–perhaps we should do away with internet anonymity.

    How many of MacFarlane’s fans would act like 12 year-old boys if they thought their name would be attached to their comments? I like the fact that a guy lost his job after hitting a crying child on a plane, even though the flight had nothing to do with his job; we need more real-world accountability for such idiotic behavior.

    These fanboys haven’t changed a bit since the mid-90s, when either Spin or Rolling Stone (I subscribed to both) sent a female writer to cover Beach MTV. Right away she noticed a group of guys standing waist-deep in the water, drinking beer while shouting at every boat that puttered by. If there were girls on board they shouted “Show us your tits!” and if the boaters were listening to music the lads shouted vile epithets. Then a boat went by blasting Nevermind and the boys shouted “Nirvana! Nirvana!”

    The writer quipped “Now I understand why Kurt Cobain killed himself.”

  82. brack says:

    samlowry – Seth is by no means a frat boy. Frat boys probably don’t get half of his references on Family Guy. You act as if he’s the new Andrew “Dice” Clay or something.

    But back to your point, that column equates what Seth MacFarlane did to the likes of the Taliban and right-wing conservatives defining rape, as if they’re all one of the same culture. How can anyone take such comments seriously. It’s just a sad attempt to try to make anything not completely politically correct as something that’s wrong and evil, and that’s just stupid.

    Did you feel the same way about Mike Judge and think he promoted stupidity when he created Beavis and Butthead? Don’t confuse the message with the messenger.

  83. samlowry says:

    Having grown up in the ’80s, I honestly see no difference between the Taliban and Rebublican congressmen who want to shut down abortion clinics, redefine rape, and force prayer if not at least creationism (sorry, “intelligent design”) back into schools. I’d like to see anyone point out any differences in thinking between Pat Robertson and the mullahs who called America the Great Satan.

    As for Judge, the difference is that Beavis and Butthead (note the name?) were clearly delineated as losers and idiots. MacFarlane’s characters are often presented as witty social commentators.

    If MacFarlane had been given the script for Idiocracy he would’ve made it into a celebratory toga party–the morons have won at last!–whereas Judge turned it into a dirge mourning the loss of a civilization that once valued intelligence (which actually bit the dust not long after the ’50s.)

  84. storymark says:

    “I think it’s hilarious that Lady Gaga and Madonna were offered as “proof” that gay men do love some women.

    Perhaps the quote should be “Gay men hate straight women.”

    A pretty daft conclusion to draw, given that both have a friggin huge list of male conquests.

  85. storymark says:

    ““The Rihanna joke?”

    Chris Brown almost killed her, and MacFarlane’s the bad guy here?”

    As far as Im concerned, they could have cut to every commercial break with McFarlane flipping off the camera and saying “Fuck Chris Brown” and I would not have been offended. Because, well… fuck Chris Brown.

  86. samlowry says:

    “A pretty daft conclusion to draw, given that both have a friggin huge list of male conquests.”

    A pretty daft conclusion to draw, given that if you type “is lady gaga” into Google, the number one completion offered is “a man”. Madonna is also very, very dykey in taste if not in behavior; at the very least you could look up “Sex”, which you may still find resting on doilies atop only the finest coffee tables.

  87. chris says:

    Yeah, MacFarlane is a bad guy, cadavra. Making fun of a battered woman who, for whatever sad reason, is unable to get away from the guy who “almost killed her” is not cool.

  88. I’m coming late to the conversation but much appreciate the rich diversity of opinion and points of view on the subject; but what mustn’t be overlooked is the simple fact that the Academy is first and foremost about POLITICS; it’s not so much about who wins the award but who doesn’t get nominated. (Hitchcock never won an Oscar, and Argo directed itself.)

    The artisitc, cultural and/or intrinsic value of a film is something they consider somewhere down the line.

    The TV show, itself, is an entertainment to attract viewers to ABC which trades ratings for advertising dollars. Here, it’s strickly business.

    “Ted” summed things up for anyone watching the show who might have ambition to work in Hollywood or hope for a career there: Basically, Seth (as the teddy bear) is saying you had best be young, Jewish, white male and gay.

    As for the misogyny, Seth is a satirist as much as a realist; it didn’t quite qualify as “Violence Against Women”…but it does go back to that thing that Ted said.

  89. brack says:

    samlowry – I was referring to lumping MacFarlane with the Taliban/rape redefiners. If you think that’s an accurate assessment, that’s beyond baffling. Family Guy is a funny title because Peter Griffin is a terrible example of a family man. He’s not a very good husband or father, but damned if he’s not funny, along with the rest of the show.

  90. cadavra says:

    Chris: Overlooking the fact that the zinger was directed more at Brown than her, the simple fact is that Rihanna is wealthy and famous. She could probably be with any man she wanted. She CHOSE to go back to and remain with the guy who almost killed her. That is her right, of course, but it does not exempt her from remarks (joking or otherwise) about her poor judgment.

  91. anghus says:

    “MacFarlane’s characters are often presented as witty social commentators.”

    Do you watch any of MacFarlane’s shows?

    The only character who even comes close to being a social commentator is Brian (the dog, for those who don’t watch), and he is constantly made fun of for being an aspiring writer who compromises his integrity for every and any shot at success.

    None of the characters on SM shows are social commentators. They are merely players in whatever social commentary Macfarlane is making, using them to expose the stupidity and lowest common denominator mentality that American society is all too quick to employ.

    The occasional genius of SM’s work is making fun of a given topic at the expense of his characters. He doesn’t use them to lob criticism on a subject with the kind of sardonic wit Lisa Simpson would use. In SM’s world, every character is a Homer. They are all self involved, selfish individuals unable to see past their own wants and desires. He presents an ugly world with deeply flawed characters who devolve into the absurd.

    Macfarlane comments on society’s failings by exposing his characters’ flaws, ignorance, and stupidity.

    But in no way are his cast of miscreants witty social commentators. I’m not sure what shows you’ve been watching.

  92. storymark says:

    “A pretty daft conclusion to draw, given that if you type “is lady gaga” into Google, the number one completion offered is “a man”.”

    Oh, well, since Google determines gender now…. seriously, wtf does that have to do with anything??

  93. samlowry says:

    Nope, haven’t watched much Family Guy–tried several times but it doesn’t take long for MacF to fall into an obsessive rut or pointless gross-out moment that makes me lunge for the remote.

    However, I have seen the baby on several T-shirts, making some insightful comment and MacF more money. The only time B&B became “insightful” was during their video commentaries, when they would say things like Siouxsie & the Banshees make music for “people who have no friends”.

    It’s the casual misogyny, though–“microaggression”, as West put it–that slots MacF into the same Venn diagram as the aforementioned rightwingers. The frattish “Make me a sandwich, bitch” has actually led some smiling young women to appear scantily-clad while making sandwiches; Stockholm Syndrome and house slaves come to mind–when will the burquahs arrive?

    Oh, and though Chasey Lain has, according to The Bloodhound Gang, had a lot of dick, she appears in the same Venn diagram as Lady Gaga and Madonna only because all three were also born with vaginas, supposedly. The latter two, if you haven’t figured it out yet, don’t otherwise fit into the same category at all.

  94. hcat says:

    ‘Seth is by no means a frat boy. Frat boys probably don’t get half of his references on Family Guy’

    I admit to not watching a lot of Family Guy, but from what I recall all that was referenced was old television shows. Not exactly hard to keep up with.

  95. anghus says:

    You apparently didnt watch a lot of Beavis & Butthead either.

    There was occasional story based societal commentary, like the time B&B watched a documentary on Ben Franklin, went out to fly a kite in a lightning storm and almost got killed. Then they tell everybody they were just doing what they saw on TV and the anti-media PC groups start blaming another show because it couldn’t possibly have to do with something on PBS.

    Do you watch any of the shows you make grand statements about, or are you just making assumptions based on a limited knowledge of the subject matter.

    I mean, if we’re being honest, there are dozens of examples one could use to make a reasonable argument that Seth Macfarlane is a misogynist. And yet, i’m not hearing anyone citing anything relevant.

    It sounds like a game of telephone where people are repeating things they’ve gleaned from other sources or conversations but really don’t have any experience.

    If you don’t watch Family Guy, how are you in any way able to make comments about the characters being ‘witty social commentators’? Why even make a comment about a show that you are woefully unfamiliar with?

  96. Don R. Lewis says:

    “It sounds like a game of telephone where people are repeating things they’ve gleaned from other sources or conversations but really don’t have any experience. ”

    That’s precisely why this pointless and apparently endless discussion of MacFarland and misogyny is STILL HAPPENING. It’s a whole “get behind the orphans” mentality where people are angry and going on about it but aren’t really sure why. Nor, are they really angry. Just bored more than likely.

  97. leahnz says:

    christ anghus, you just admitted that macfarlane is a misogynist, but continue to argue the point because people aren’t bothering to give you the specific examples you want; maybe you can just list them and win the argument with yourself!

    (seeing macfarlane described by whoever it was up there as a satirist AND a realist re his misogyny was pretty amusing though, more signs of the apocalypse)

  98. anghus says:

    “It’s a whole “get behind the orphans” mentality where people are angry and going on about it but aren’t really sure why. Nor, are they really angry. Just bored more than likely.”

    And that, my friend, sums up 90% of the conversations on the internet.

    Maybe 95%

  99. samlowry says:

    Meanwhile, there’s a battle raging in the comments at Cracked over whether the VE-Day photo of the sailor kissing the nurse was rapey or not. The “things were different in the ’40s, so it was okay to forcibly kiss someone” side appears to be winning.

    Yep, times are so different now. All that sexism stuff is long since gone.

  100. brack says:

    “I admit to not watching a lot of Family Guy, but from what I recall all that was referenced was old television shows. Not exactly hard to keep up with.”

    Frat boys are known for their old tv show knowledge. I had no idea.

  101. samlowry says:

    When I was in college in the mid-’80s, all the party animals on the floor couldn’t get enough of “Love that Bob”, which at that point was nearly 30 years old (maybe it had something to do with Joi Lansing).

    The local stations back then, even when there were only 4 or 5 stations per town, ran all sorts of shows that can’t get a slot on one of the hundreds of cable channels now operating.

  102. christian says:

    Well now that Justice Scalia has determined voting rights are “racial entitlements” then what’s all this hubbub about sexism?

  103. anghus says:

    “christ anghus, you just admitted that macfarlane is a misogynist, but continue to argue the point because people aren’t bothering to give you the specific examples you want; maybe you can just list them and win the argument with yourself!”

    the point which you fail to grasp isn’t whether he ‘is’ or ‘isnt’.

    It’s that there are people having full blown conversations on the subject with zero knowledge of whether he ‘is’ or ‘isnt’.

    Group think. Disgusting. Regurgitate things you hear online and pass it off as patent truth.

    I’m sorry that doesn’t bother you. I find it depressing as hell.

  104. samlowry says:

    Heck, I didn’t even watch the Oscars because I had to work but have been commenting anyway based on what I read; those who appear halfway intelligent said it was horrifying, and those who are looking forward to the world depicted in Idiocracy said it was totally awesome.

    Another clear distinction I’d make between Beavis & Butthead and Family Guy is that I actually found B&B to be funny; whenever I’ve tried to spend more than a few minutes watching FG I’ve always had to change the channel because it became annoying as hell. It’s like it was made by the twits who think it’s a hoot to go up to random people and ask them stupid-ass questions.

    For example, the first time a teenage boy came up to me while I was stocking cheese and asked “Do you sell smegma?” I wondered if he just escaped a group home. After the second time I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to toss all these morons into a mass grave. And now the cool thing to do is go to the rear of the store and record your buddy throwing a gallon of milk as high into the air as he can–two is even better!–and then post the resulting mess on Youtube.

    The snooty waiter in Ferris Bueller wept for the future and that future has come to pass. Idiocracy, however, says it’ll get even worse and jerkasses like MacF can shoulder most of the blame.

  105. Lex says:

    Anyone male who’s ever offended by “misogyny” is a raging douche.

    I mean, if the CORNERSTONE of American situational comedy dating back a hundred years is that men are slobbering beer-swilling jock morons, and women are eternally wise and “deserving” of the perfect romance, then everyone else oughta be able to handle a few softball “boob” jokes. Jesus. To be offended by ANYTHING COMEDIC is to have NO sense of humor.

    Why would anyone want to go thru life being a Nurse Ratched? I swear at any given time, 80% of the people found arguing online seem to actively ASPIRE to be a Nurse Ratched.

  106. leahnz says:


    anghus: wait, what? of course it’s about the misogyny, the fact that you’re changing your argument halfway though the thread is on you, you started out arguing that you’re not buying that the opening number was misogynist and that it was ‘harmless’ (as opposed to what, lethal?) and defending macfarlane as the victim of people looking for a reason to be offended (I just re-read the thread), to now jumping ship to ‘the misogyny doesn’t matter it’s the GROUP-THINK!’ bandwagon, seemingly because it’s convenient and you and don lewis can row around together in your little boat named ‘groupthink’. (DP likes to row around in that boat too when it suits him)

    i hate to burst your bubble, but there’s such a thing as reputation (whether you like it or not) and macfarlane already has a reputation as a sexist, this is nothing new. here’s the thing: if you make your living doing ‘comedy’ using sexism and misogyny as cornerstone devices then you make your bed and you have to lie in it, which is exactly what’s happening to macfarlane right now. is it a pile on? hell yeah, there’s always a pile on, what’s new, you just don’t like it because you found it all ‘harmless’ so it’s suddenly down to GROUPTHINK.

    personally i sat down willing to give macfarlane the benefit of the doubt for the ceremony, i personally think he’s an asshole and his ‘humour’ is generally loathesome and nothing special, but when the show started i thought, oh he can sing (which i didn’t know) and his teeth were very white and I thought maybe he can get through this on a classier note and not douche it up, but noooooo, he was true to form. and he’s paying for it. they should have known better.

  107. Sam says:

    The debate about MacFarlane’s alleged misogyny wouldn’t be so tiresome if it were at all intelligent. The angered cry out that he made statements that, on a literal level, are indeed sexist. The defense says, “But it was a joke!” as if humor negates all other content.

    Neither side seems to know what irony is. MacFarlane’s jokes were clearly ironic, which means the literal truth of what he said is superseded by a different underlying meaning. That said, saying “irony” isn’t an argument. It isn’t a magical panacea that makes you win a debate.

    It’s like Pierre Rissient’s motto about film criticism: “It isn’t enough to like a film; you have to like it for the right reasons.”

    I’m open to the charge that MacFarlane is misogynistic, or the defense that he isn’t, but how come the arguments are as reductive and shallow as “He talked about boobs!” and “It’s a joke!”?

  108. anghus says:

    “The debate about MacFarlane’s alleged misogyny wouldn’t be so tiresome if it were at all intelligent.”

    Nail on the head. The argument would be interesting if the participants weren’t basing their positions on ‘reputation’ or what they think they know on the subject. But leah seems to think that one should come armed to a debate with conjecture and speculation instead of facts and examples and should still be taken seriously.

    “anghus: wait, what? of course it’s about the misogyny, the fact that you’re changing your argument halfway though the thread is on you”

    I’m not changing my argument. I’m changing the nature of the argument because people were doing it wrong. It started being about Macfarlane and misogyny. Then when i realized half the people participating were unfamiliar with his work, and yet, citing it as proof positive, i took offense. As i would expect most intelligent people would.

    The internet: where winning is more important than accuracy.

    And leah, you do nothing but prove my point with your whole ‘reputation’ rant. Yes, reputations do matter and do exist and people do make entire arguments based on very limited factual knowledge. But still, that doesn’t make the person making the argument anything more than a boob repeating things they heard and passing them off as knowledge.

    Seth Macfarlane’s perceived misogyny isn’t as depressing as people passing themselves off as experts on a subject they know nothing about.

    and i don’t know where you come from, but arguments and discussions often evolve (or devolve) from their foundation.

    People don’t want to have a real, intelligent discussion on this. It’s a torch wielding mob of easily offended twits looking for what direction to be pointed in.

  109. hcat says:

    to get off topic for a moment, anyone have any thoughts on the fact that before Argo the last major studio movie to win was the Departed, and before that Million Dollar Baby. For all the attention spent on the Weinstein hype machine where is the credit for Warners who keeps bringing home the wins (three times in the last ten, four if you count Rings which was a Warners subsiderary). Do they just have their shit together more than the other studios? More willing to take a chance and loose money on movies aimed at adults?

  110. christian says:

    Since leah watched Seth (as others have) what’s the “groupthink o ignorance”? SOUTH PARK nailed FG for its lame style already. And Seth is intellectual fratboy humor aimed at ‘liberal’ dudes – and all that implies.

  111. anghus says:

    “Since leah watched Seth (as others have) what’s the “groupthink o ignorance”?”

    That would be people referring to Macfarlane’s body of work as further proof when they are completely unfamiliar with his body of work.

    If the subject was “Macfarlane’s oscar hosting was misogynistic” that would be one thing. The groupthink comes into play when you have people making indictments about his shows and then they admit never having really watched them.

    Bad form. Torch wielding mobs looking to be pointed in the right direction.

    My entire original point was making fun of people who cried that “We saw your boobs” was misogynistic. That is by far the weakest example from the show you could use. In fact, that number wasn’t really misogynistic at all. But since most people saw the opening of the show they used the most iconic production piece of the night to try and prove their half cocked theories. I’m guessing a lot of people probably didnt even watch the entire show and found their indignation in the first fifteen minutes.

    People are way too eager to find offense. And then they can’t back up their indignation with actual examples. They base their poorly formed opinions on ‘reputation’. It’s stupid people trying to participate in an intelligent discussion.

    It doesn’t matter how strong someone’s opinion is. It matters that they have facts and examples to serve as the foundation. The problem with the internet, and the people who use it, is that they can’t just sit on the sidelines. Their opinion matters, god damnit, and they will offer it even when they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    “And Seth is intellectual fratboy humor aimed at ‘liberal’ dudes – and all that implies.”

    This sentence is so dense. What is ‘intellectual fratboy humor’ and please, tell me ‘all that implies’. Can you cite an example from the show itself, or are you defaulting to the Parker/Stone summation of his work based on an episode of South Park you saw?

    No one wants to show their work anymore. They just want to regurgitate shit they heard in other places and claim its based on ‘their reputation’. Soooooooooooo lazy.

  112. YancySkancy says:

    What I love is when commenters say something to the effect of, “I didn’t see the show, but I’ve been reading all the comments about it, and now I have a fully formed, valid opinion. Since I’m not a misogynist, I agree with everyone who found misogyny in it. If you DIDN’T see the misogyny, it must be because you’re a misogynist or just too insensitive to see it. I don’t know anything about Seth McFarlane except that a lot of people who seem to share my worldview think he’s a douche, so to hell with him.”

  113. christian says:

    Anghus, your typically literal mindedness is as narrow a view as those you’re trying to critique. I’ve watched FG – and actully know folks who work on the show. I’ve never found it funny – it plays at being a satire but has no real pov outside of mocking everything without meaning anything. The pop culture references are just that, devoid of even punchlines. So stop acting as if YOU know that everybody’s critique is based on groupthink. The Boobs song invluded RAPE scenes whether Seth pickd the clips or not. Tasteless and stupid. And the show was pimped as “for guys”…..The worst phony groupthink outrage usually comes from angry white dudes who always complain that they’re the victims…..

  114. YancySkancy says:

    Unless I missed something, the boobs song didn’t contain any clips, of rape scenes or otherwise. The lyrics did include mentions of actresses whose breasts were seen in rape scenes, which is indeed tasteless. As I mentioned, I thought the song was funny in the context in which it was presented. For the premise of the sketch to work, the song had to be offensive. I think that’s irony. At any rate, I let them have their premise, and judged accordingly. The “meta spin” may not be enough for some people to excuse the song, but it can’t be ignored either. It’s as much a part of the bit as the lyrics.

  115. anghus says:

    Who do you side with?

    The guy who tried to entertain in his own tasteless way or the angry mob constantly telling me what i should and shouldn’t find funny?

    What has the humorless mob ever done for me, other than piss in my punch?

    It’s funny how much this debate boils down to the artist vs. the critics. I really can’t say it any better than yancy. People with similar worldviews coming together for a nice joyless discussion sapping all the air from the room in their fun free way playing “Six degrees of indignation.” I did like this comment from Christian:

    “I’ve watched FG – and actully know folks who work on the show”

    Name dropping is the lowest form of conversation. Mel Gibson told me that.

  116. Foamy Squirrel says:

    i c wut u did thar

  117. Joe Leydon says:

    I actually thought the show was, on balance, very funny. And if someone told me that Seth MacFarlane is coming back next year to host again, I wouldn’t complain.

  118. christian says:

    Not name dropping at all since I mentioned no names – just breaking your premise that a herd of unawares are not judging for themselves. I see no evidence of a herd mentality since obviously some folks liked the show.

  119. cadavra says:

    I think it was Larry Gelbart who said that if you haven’t offended somebody, you haven’t done your job.

  120. chris says:

    If Larry Gelbart had said, “If you haven’t offended everyone who doesn’t have a problem with women, then you haven’t done your job,” that clever jape would be applicable.

  121. YancySkancy says:

    Among those who didn’t like the boobs song: Cathy Schulman (producer of the lamest Best Picture winner, CRASH) and bottom-feeding attorney Gloria Allred.

    Among those who liked it: Jennifer Lawrence and Sarah Silverman.

    I know which side I want to be on!

  122. SamLowry says:

    I can’t wait for the day when a black man running down the street shouting “Cracker! Cracker! Cracker!” is considered offensive.

    In the same vein, I was going to say that things will never equal out until a man is worried he might hear “Show me your dick or GTFO of my car”…but that day will never arrive. He’ll not only whip it out, but offer rubber gloves and cold lube in case his date wants to examine his prostate, too.

  123. sanj says:

    the guys behind Free The Children have commentary about the oscars…

    “As the host of this year’s Academy Awards, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane managed to make light of domestic violence, reduce women actors to their breasts, and offend African Americans, Jewish Americans, women again, and, well now we’ve lost track. ”

    Behind The Headlines: Seth MacFarlane Is More Bully Than Comic

  124. scooterzz says:

    are you all done?…do you feel better?…post-oscar outrage has been a tradition for decades…never accomplishes a thing…but all y’all think you’re going to change someone else’s mind… regardless of your ever-so-well-thought-out arguments (you know who you officious little pricks are) there will be no sanctions, no penalties and no official recriminations…. nothing you say about the 85th Academy Award ceremony means dick to anyone who counts…but, thanks for playing…..

  125. scooterzz says:

    well, that might have been a tad more aggressive than i intended…

  126. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Apology not accepted!

  127. anghus says:

    “well, that might have been a tad more aggressive than i intended…”

    it’s the last line of your rant that comes across so wonderfully sanctimonious:

    “nothing you say about the 85th Academy Award ceremony means dick to anyone who counts”

    It immediately frames you as someone who believes that there are people that ‘count’ and people that dont. And i think i can pretty easily guess where you put yourself.

  128. YancySkancy says:

    Man, that Advocate article was refreshing. Some of the commenters there are having none of it, but still…

  129. anghus says:

    It’s nice to see common sense prevail over the easily offended mob of joyless drones.

  130. SamLowry says:

    Well, if we’ve been wasting our breath here since what we say won’t make the world a better place, I guess we should’ve skipped ahead to step two and hired snipers instead.

    Not that we actually want to kill anyone, just hit ’em with a blowdart so they’ll wake up on an uninhabited atoll that’ll never be revisited for at least a century. My first nominees for Exile Isle are everyone associated with the NBA and NFL, but after taking Penn State into consideration maybe all of college ball, too. Perhaps MLB, rugby players, and of course all lacrosse players, duh.

    You never seem to see anyone on a curling team bust up a hotel room or appear wasted in public or complain that $21 mil over three years isn’t enough to feed their kids.

  131. leahnz says:

    man i’ve caught up on this thread super late but pretty hilarious stuff.

    “But leah seems to think that one should come armed to a debate with conjecture and speculation instead of facts and examples and should still be taken seriously.”

    THAT’S what you gleaned from my comment above anghus? you’re quite the little cherry-picker when it comes to making an argument (or you don’t comprehend what i’ve said, probably the latter).

    and ftr, i’m not easily offended, probably the happiest person i know, and to quote alice in res evil, seth macfarlane is STILL JUST AN ASSHOLE. (but it’s so much more cozy to label those who are critical as easily offended joyless drones, esp when the ‘jokes’ aren’t – and rarely ever are – at your ilk’s expense, I’d LOVE to see the shoe on the other foot, but that will never happen)

    those defending seth’s really rather boring, taking-up-way-too-much-screen-time, bully-boy oscar gig here as IRONIC are pretty amusing, because irony would required seth to poke his toe outside his usual tired sandbox of objectifying and demeaning woman for cheap laughs dressed up as ‘social satire’ (yeah right) to find a way actually to take the piss out of himself and his tired routine, THAT would have been irony, but no, just the ushe, ‘family guy’ at the oscars. if people consider that irony, civilization is in big trouble (which it is anyway, so strangely fitting — macfarlane should host the next 10 oscars, work in some jokes about female trafficking and the austrian guy who kept his daughter as a sex slave in the basement for 24 years, etc, hilarious and ironic!…)

  132. SamLowry says:

    Is it telling that the only Family Guy line I can recall is the one where the dog was introduced to “Sex and the City” by a group of gay men and he asked “So it’s a show about three hookers and their mom?”

  133. christian says:

    That Advocate piece reads like Andrew Sullivan: breathless narcissitic fawning.

  134. SamLowry says:

    Yeah, they found a woman who likes MacF. I’m sure if you looked long enough you could find a woman who likes to watch bukkake.

    It boils down to “Seth supports liberal causes, therefore he’s not a pig”, though the content of his shows says otherwise.

  135. christian says:

    It’s the same faux-liberalism that pops up here and is a mainstay of Well’s site. Angry White Men complaining about political correctness as if they’re victims. But in SM’s defense, the guy is clearly of the left in terms of his targets.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon