Will Seth MacFarlane Be A Good Oscar Host?

By Katey Rich and Kristy Puchko 2012-10-01 13:37:44discussion comments
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This morning even people who follow Oscar season religiously were surprised to learn that the Academy had chosen Seth MacFarlane, the Family Guy creator and director of this summer's comedy Ted, to host next year's Oscar ceremony, which will be held on February 24. MacFarlane is best known for voicing a bunch of cartoon characters, at all, and this summer's R-rated Ted won't exactly be an Oscar contender, even though it was a big hit.

But MacFarlane is more than just a peddler of dirty jokes-- he's also a singer and a blatant lover of all things Old Hollywood, both of which are pretty much requirements for the Oscar hosting gig. So could MacFarlane surprise us all and kill it come Oscar night? Or is choosing him just another pathetic effort on the part of the Academy to appeal to younger audiences? Katey and Kristy had surprisingly different opinions, and got together to Debate it and tackle the issue head on. Check out our conversation below, then vote in the poll at the end of the post!

KATEY: So Kristy, I've already come out with some vague optimism about MacFarlane as Oscar host. Lay it on me: what do you think?

KRISTY: I loathe the idea. I think this is blatant pandering to the lowest common denominator and the Oscars should be better than that.

KATEY: I assume you're saying this because Family Guy and Ted represent the "lowest common denominator" >

  KRISTY: Well his sense of humor typically does; it's largely lazy in that its more about being shocking or referential. Like it's so much, "remember this show from the '80s-yay!" It's like that easy joke every stand-up can start out on to build a rapport, "Who remembers Sesame Street?"

KATEY: So I'll give you that Family Guy is lazy-- so much that I've barely ever watched it. But the reviews for Ted this summer-- which I also haven't seen-- convinced me that MacFarlane can be better than that.

And more to the point of Oscars, an Oscar ceremony kind of is ENTIRELY about that "Hey, remember this!" It's just focused on the year in film that came before. If MacFarlane can translate a little of that to the usual Oscar year-in-review stuff, it might actually work well in the context of a live show.

KRISTY: Well, I have seen Ted, and I thought it was funny, but not great. But to your point of year in review, MacFarlane doesn't really offer insight in much of his references -they are frequently just references. It doesn't inspire confidence. I have no problem with the Oscars trying to court a broader audience, but this pick just seems in bad taste to me.

KATEY: Hiring for his sense of humor seems like a gamble-- though the format of the Oscars is set up to kind of subsume the host into the proceedings, except for the opening monologue, so he might not have a chance to do much of his Family Guy stuff anyway.

But what I think gives me more hope in this guy than if they brought in, like, Daniel Tosh, is that he has this whole dorky song-and-dance man side of his personality. He recorded an entire album of singing showtune standards, and clearly loves musicals based on all the Family Guy references. He doesn't have the chops of Hugh Jackman, of course, but I don't think he's a bad substitute in that department. And any time the Oscars hint at including more musical numbers, they win me over.
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