Late Night Open Thread

One last “jaundiced” Oscar note, from Dave Weigel:

Seth McFarlane’s “I Saw Your Boobs” song was a classic example of cloaked offensiveness—pretending that you are parodying sleaze when you’re just being sleazy. But on reflection, it was even bro-ier than I realized. In many of the movies in the song—Monster’s Ball, Monster, Boys Don’t Crythe nudity appeared in the context of women being raped or murdered. Wakka wakka!

But only, y’know, for artistic context, of course.

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104 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    cloaked offensiveness? really?

  2. 2
    Alison says:

    Yeah, that didn’t escape my notice. Fucking gross. Not surprising, but contemptible.

    I know it’ll never happen but I kind of wish they’d just ditch the concept of the host. Just have a dude in a booth announce the names of the awards presenters. No dumb skits, no bullshit racist/sexist/everythingist “jokes”, save a lot of time.

    I know, I know. Pipe dream.

  3. 3
    👽 Martin says:

    Wait, rape jokes aren’t funny? Why the fuck doesn’t someone tell us this stuff?

  4. 4
    max says:

    But only, y’know, for artistic context, of course.

    1) I’m still sorry I missed the First Lady, not because I give a shit about the Oscars, but because I like the First Lady.
    2) Colbert for host.
    3) If they want to be offensive, they should make a movie about Grillo starring Will Farrell. Straight from the headlines, etc. It might get an award.

    max
    [‘It won’t get an award.’]

  5. 5
    Wil says:

    Eh…’twas a funny song about boobs. No need to make a huge deal of it.

  6. 6
    rda909 says:

    The big winner last night? James Franco. Now no longer the worst host in Oscar history.

    A day later, I still can’t believe how bad Seth McFarlane was last night. It wasn’t just the fact that the topics were more immature than most 12-year-old boy jokes, it was that those jokes were so painfully UNfunny. And loser-dude…life, and especially the Oscars, is not about you, and who or whatever makes your teenie, weenie peckinpah go erect, which was the basis of all his “humor” last night. I was at an Oscar party last night where about 80% of the people there had no idea who Seth was, and I explained the Family Guy thing and Ted and so on, but then he started on the song-and-dance crooner shit, and the guests were utterly confused as to what was going on. Complete. Lack. Of. Talent. Whatsoevah.

    If there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster in the Great Sea of Marinara above, then I hope his Noodliness will make sure that last night’s performance is the end of Seth McFarlane’s showbiz career forever. To think this guy has made tens of millions of dollars being a “comedian” is disgusting to the extreme.

  7. 7
    rda909 says:

    @max: “2) Colbert for host.” Oh hell yeah. He’s one of the few today who can legitimately carry the torch of the comedy greats in history. What Colbert did at the White House Press shindig a few years back when W. Bush was Prezident, was Andy Kaufman-level brilliance. Not just the performance that individual night, but the years leading up to the night where Republicans were so misled by the his schtick, that something like that evening could even happen. I rarely use this word, but Stephen Colbert is a genius.

  8. 8
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    “Monster’s Ball, Monster, Boys Don’t Cry…”

    Not to mention The Accused. I’m not aware that, as an actress, Jodie Foster has ever been quite so exposed as in that rape scene. It’s one of the most uncomfortable scenes in a mainstream movie I’ve ever seen/endured. And while that’s going on in the context of the movie, one has to wonder how the hell the actors and director maintained the intensity of that scene without everyone just hating the fuck out of all humanity.

    Maybe that was the point of the bit, that not all nude/semi-nude scenes are made for the soft-core allure. I didn’t actually see the bit, and can’t speak to the intent. I do know MacFarlane frequently blurs the line between acerbic satire and devil’s advocate.

  9. 9
    greennotGreen says:

    Why is anyone surprised that McFarlane was crude and offensive? Have you seen “The Family Guy”?

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    @rda909:

    And it is exactly that performance that would keep Hollywood from inviting Colbert to host. No way they would want their bad behavior flayed so completely in front of 40 million viewers.

    @Studly Pantload:
    Sadly, I did see the bit, the entire Shatner from the future thing that the boob song was part of. It was exactly the sort of crap I expected from McFarlane and removed any doubt that I wasn’t going to watch the show. I think they felt he would appeal to a younger audience as kids seem to like his work. I don’t know if it worked or not but the whole thing was dreadfully unfunny.

  11. 11

    Seems like a trend considering last weeks thread by ABL about the comedian who thinks she can drop the N-word because she has sex with black guys.

    Tosh is the same way.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Bruce S says:

    Evidence that Weigel is way overthinking the Oscars, from the threat Seth McFarland poses to the dignity of women to the appearance of “the commander in chief’s wife”:

    And then there was that moment when the commander in chief’s wife gave the Best Picture trophy to a movie about our heroic CIA. I’m no fan of the “imagine if the parties were switched” school of punditry, but that would have raised real hackles in the Bush years.

    Michelle Obama announced the winner – she didn’t give anyone an award. So far as she knew, she might have been announcing “Django Unchained”, which would have been…uh…a whole different construct for the deep thinkers about…Oscars(?!?!) like Weigel. And any conclusions drawn would have been equally inept and pointless. (Other than right-wingers heads exploding with even greater megatonnage than they did and the presumption that the Academy hacks must have assumed Lincoln would win when they booked FLOTUS.) I like Weigel on politics, but since I don’t pay attention to entertainment reporters commenting on the fucking Oscar Show, this piece just strikes me as some remarkably unnecessary typing.

  14. 14
    Wag says:

    The funniest thing during the Oscars was the “What happenened next” Grey Poupon ad that turned into a James Bond spoof

    That was classic.

  15. 15
    TD says:

    Meh, this blog is pretty humorless sometimes. Silly song. Kinda sexist? yeah. But if I stopped finding somewhat offensive shit funny, I’d be pretty bored.

  16. 16
    Robin G. says:

    @rda909:

    A day later, I still can’t believe how bad Seth McFarlane was last night. It wasn’t just the fact that the topics were more immature than most 12-year-old boy jokes, it was that those jokes were so painfully UNfunny.

    Agreed. Offensiveness can be funny and insightful when executed properly (see: Parker and Stone), but MacFarlane was just… lame.

    In fairness, I actually thought the boobs song was kind of funny (what with it being deliberately presented as the most insulting song ever) until reading the point made in the OP. Hadn’t thought of it from that angle, and… ick.

  17. 17
    Horatius says:

    @Robin G.: Parker and Stone are way more offensive and sexist. I’d take McFarlane over those douchebags any day.

  18. 18
    jon says:

    I hate to get away from the meta-analysis of the whole thing, but “seeing your boobs” is rather objectively determined based on whether or not boobs were seen. He didn’t want to be completely full of shit and sing about strong female protagonists who take their tops off. The circumstances of boob exposure are immaterial, as he even mentioned the Scarlet Johansen photos that had nothing to do with the movies. It’s a song about seeing boobs, fertebow’ssake.

    May as well gripe about age discrimination since he didn’t mention Helen Mirren’s boobs, also, too.

  19. 19
    John S. says:

    @Robin G.:

    Selective tastes are… Selective.

    Parker/Stone are just as bawdy with their body of work as Macfarlane is. Attempting to draw some sort of distinction between the two is really reaching.

  20. 20
    John S. says:

    @jon:

    Yes, and people seem to want to forget that at the end of the song, the joke was about Kate Winslet being topless in just about everything she has ever been in. I don’t think any of those scenes involved rape.

    When people have to selectively edit the data to make a point, they probably didn’t have a point worth making.

  21. 21
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Seth hasn’t done an episode in any of his shows about a talking vagina. I find Seth far funnier than Trey and Matt. They have their moments, but I find Seth funny throughout the episodes, especially on Family Guy.

    Edited for clarity. Far too many uses of far.

  22. 22
    joe frank says:

    Um, boobs do not appear in Monster’s Ball in the context of anyone being raped. In fact, there is no rape in MB. The two deaths in that movie are self-inflicted and by vehicular homicide, respectively.

    To echo what someone said above, McFarlane has built an empire on puerile humor, but somehow we’re all supposed to be shocked and offended that he used the Oscars platform to make immature jokes about boobies?

    Next year, Adam Sandler will host the Oscars and everyone will be deeply disturbed by the spike in fart jokes and ethnic stereotyping.

  23. 23
    Glennsyank13 says:

    Stop your whining, you idiots.

  24. 24
    Threadkiller says:

    @John S.:
    There’s selective editing, and there’s plain wrong. The “Monster’s Ball” scenes were consensual sex in the context of a relationship. (I’d say almost sweet, but the image of Billy Bob. . . um, yeah.)

    So out of three selectively edited data points, one is flat wrong. Weak sauce indeed.

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    Seth’s failing was in not being funny. It is possible to be very offensive and still not offend if you either have a point to make about the offensive or are really funny.

    If there was a point to ‘boob’ he failed to make it. If it was intended to be funny he REALLY failed. Therein lies the danger with offensive humor. You better be confident people will find it funny & you better be right.

  26. 26
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    I’m not of the same perspective w/re: to Seth MacFarlane, but the thing with mentioning Jodie Foster in the Accused should have been the tip.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Generally speaking, I agree.

  27. 27
    chopper says:

    @rda909:

    colbert would be awesome, but let’s not kid ourselves, he would still make a good amount of rough jokes and the day after would still be a complain-fest.

    bitterly complaining about the host of the oscars the day after is part of the whole shpiel. it’s like bitching about the refs the day after the superbowl when your team loses.

  28. 28
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    @Robin G.: What particularly brilliant insight does South Park provide? That Barbara Streisand has had rhinoplasty?

    If you’re trying to say that South Park is more explicitly political than Family Guy, then I’ll agree. But dividing the two on matters of *good taste*, well, as Clay Davis would say…

  29. 29
    chopper says:

    @TD:

    i love louis c.k., but he would be terrible as an oscar host. and the day after complaints would be brutal, because his material would be brutal.

    doesn’t mean he isn’t fucking hilarious. it’s just really rough humor and the academy would be stupid to give him the job.

  30. 30
    ricky says:

    The Oscars should have kept the faith with Jesse Jackson, baby.

    And kept Hope alive.

  31. 31
    BruinKid says:

    So is this a good time to mention that I was invited to a script read for Family Guy two weeks ago because I know one of the writers for the show?

    For those offended by his humor, WHAT DID YOU FUCKING EXPECT?? Have you ever SEEN an episode of Family Guy??? Or even his movie Ted? Or did you think he’d suddenly do jokes that were nothing like the kind of jokes he’s done his entire career that got him to that point?

    Now, I happen to be a fan of Family Guy, so I’ve got that sick and twisted sense of humor as well. (Won Cards Against Humanity easily when I played it with a bunch of friends a few weeks ago.) And I thought the boob song was hilarious, and just the kind of Family Guy humor I’d come to expect from MacFarlane.

  32. 32
    Robin G. says:

    @John S.: I disagree. The difference as I see it is that (as a general rule), Parker and Stone use offensiveness as a tool to make their jokes, and their often much higher points; for MacFarlane, the joke IS the offensiveness. Maybe it doesn’t look that different on the surface, but the audience has the option to walk away with much more.

  33. 33
    chopper says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    the really funny thing is, i watched family guy instead of the oscars for a while and it was the ‘birth of jesus” episode which is particularly brilliant. probably pissed off the catholic league to be sure, but fuck em.

  34. 34
    the Conster says:

    Somehow I’ve soldiered on never knowing who Seth MacFarlane was, and somehow I’m going to soldier on never thinking of him again.

  35. 35
    BruinKid says:

    @Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage): And I hate to break it to people, but the South Park guys are pretty big Ron Paul libertarians. They’ll make fun of anything… except really ever skewering the sociopathic ideology of Ron and Rand Paul.

    Meanwhile, Family Guy absolutely skewered the Tea Party last year in “Tea Peter“, showing what the logical conclusion of their ideology would actually lead to.

  36. 36
    Dervin says:

    Wow, the joke of that song was missed by everybody. It was sophomoric, but not misogynist.

    It wasn’t by accident the song mentioned nudity by actresses in very, very non-romantic setting. Meryl Streep getting hosed down and scrubbed after a accident in a Nuclear Power Plant? An in incredibly powerful scene, which is used as an advertisement for thousands of Celebrity Skin websites.

    Does that say something about Meryl Streep or the men of the world?

    The target of the joke were men and their obsession with boob.
    There’s an old joke,
    Q:How do you make 5 lbs of fat attractive?
    A:Put a nipple on it.

  37. 37
    Robin G. says:

    @Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage): There’s way too many episodes to go down, and I won’t claim every one of them is defensible. But in the movie, for example, the grander point is that in the midst of extreme offensiveness on almost every level, it’s the relatively minor issue of bad language that everyone is fixated on. The grander point is that our equalization of clearly unequal offenses (“saying ‘fuck’ got them an R-rating, while Satan having sex with Saddam probably wouldn’t because the lights are off) is bizarre and hypocritical. (There were lots of other points too, but that was the big one.) Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, but I’ve yet to see something like that on Family Guy.

  38. 38
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @John S.: Right, and if it had been about lynching, but the last instance it was about suicide by hanging, all would have be A-OK!
    That said, Seth MacFarlane is what he is. I laughed at his thing with Sally Field, and Shatner was pretty funny, too. But it went downhill from there, with just mediocre “Family Guy” type gags.
    There was quite the heated debate in the comments section to another progressive blog. MacFarlane has some very loyal fans. I don’t care, though, because a lot of his stuff doesn’t strike me as very funny. Junior high isn’t something I want to relive. I don’t mind sex jokes at all, but I like funny ones instead of ones that remind us what a bad boy the joke teller is.

  39. 39
    gogol's wife says:

    @the Conster:

    I soldiered on until I watched 7 minutes of the Oscar intro. Now I know who he is. Talentless and full of himself and certainly not funny.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    @greennotGreen:

    Why is anyone surprised that McFarlane was crude and offensive? Have you seen “The Family Guy”?

    +eleventy billion

    Boob and fart jokes are Seth McFarlane’s bread and butter.

  41. 41
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cacti:

    And so why does this make it all right that he was picked to host this major awards show?

  42. 42
    chopper says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    it’s the academy’s show, it’s their decision.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    Tell you what. Next year, let’s have a raunchy female comedian host the Oscars. She can sing a song lampooning dick shots, with half the montage shots of Hollywood guys freeing willy occurring within the context of movie scenes in which said appendage gets kicked or punched or mangled with a pinking shears. It’d be frickin hilarious.

  44. 44
    gogol's wife says:

    @chopper:

    And it’s the decision of the audience whether they thought that was appropriate and/or entertaining, regardless of their prior knowledge of this talentless jerk.

  45. 45
    Shortstop says:

    @Threadkiller: I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out why anyone thought Monsters Ball had rape in it. The closest I can come is Berry’s “fucking as hard as I can to try to drive out hideous memories” scene.

  46. 46
    Cacti says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    And so why does this make it all right that he was picked to host this major awards show?

    It makes me surprised that he was picked to host the Oscars. When I heard he was the host, I predicted that he would do something crude and juvenile, that would get the viewers bent out of shape.

    Lie down with dogs, get fleas, etc.

  47. 47
    chopper says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    of course. but this isn’t a matter of ‘what’s right’. it’s a TV show presented to you for free. there is no agreement that the host will live up to your own personal standards of decency.

    personally i don’t think he did a very good job, but that’s been a running theme of the oscars for years now. billy crystal and james franco did shit jobs and neither are ‘offense comedy’ writers. i think it’s just something endemic to the whole thing. to be fair, the show is kinda lame from the get-go when you think about it, host or no.

  48. 48
    Cassidy says:

    @The Other Bob: I wouldn’t put Tosh in the same category. His whole shtick is to get you laughing and riding the train then making things really uncomfortable for everyone. His routine is actually pretty brilliant when you listen to it.

  49. 49
    aimai says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Well, you have to figure that the Academy thinks that he attracts a new/other viewership–one that isn’t actually interested in the movies qua movies. I never watch the show because I’m totally not interested in watching a self ratings excercise by the movie industry. If a movie’s great its great, if its lousy its lousy in my estimation and I don’t need to see anyone high fiving anyone else. But the academy, presumably, makes money off the show (ish) and wants to drum up publicity for the industry. They obviously and perhaps correctly feel that different audiences for the event watch for different things. If they picked someone like this McFarland guy they think he brings an audience with him who otherwise wouldn’t watch. Perhaps they are right.

  50. 50

    I think we’re offended because we’re hypocrites or because of our Puritan heritage.

    For all the talk of artistic integrity, female empowerment, or character context, people don’t want to see actresses naked for any of those reasons. They want to see them naked because they’re attractive.

    And if that’s the case, then the abundance of female nudity in movies is less a function of freedom and more a function of using women’s bodies to get money out of the public, which doesn’t separate the ‘legitimate’ studios all that much from porn.

  51. 51
    goober says:

    Jeez but many people have rods up their asses* about the idiotic “Boobs” song. BUT HE’S LAUGHING ABOUT RAPE.

    Good thing they included the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA or the same dingleberries would be shrieking HETERONORMATIVE! all week.

    *RAPE imagery purely coincidental

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    @aimai:

    exactly. the whole thing is pretty surreal, all of hollywood dressing up in tens of thousands of dollars’ (or more) worth of bling to sit down for 3 hours of congratulatory back-patting and gold statues and shit. ooh, 75,000 dollar swag bags!

    complaining about the host is like complaining about the emcee at some ultra-rich kid’s 50 million dollar bar mitzvah.

  53. 53
    Paul in KY says:

    @chopper: ‘Birth of Jesus’ is one of his better episodes. Has some real funny gags.

  54. 54
    goober says:

    @Dervin: I would say “this” but then some shitheel would lecture us on “privilege.” Fuck it: this.
    Gigantic swathes of the left blog-o-sphere really need to chill the fuck out.

  55. 55
    Paul in KY says:

    @BruinKid: While I think ‘Southpark’ is generally better written than Family Guy, I do like Mr. MacFarlane’s perceived politics much better than Parker & Stone’s.

    Those 2 are fucking Republicans, IMO.

    Will note that is is entirely logical for them to be Republicans, given how rich they are.

  56. 56
    Cassidy says:

    @goober: Well, for some, I would imagine men and women who have been raped, even the inadvertent use of rape imagery to make a funny is probably not cool. But, hey, don’t let them slow your roll. Cool story bro.

  57. 57
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cassidy: He’s going to be at Bonnaroo. Will probably not see him, as I get tired of his style of humor (What he says when he comments on a clip, etc.). I do like alot of the crazy internat clips he shows, though.

  58. 58
    blondie says:

    Punching down. Tried-and-true, i.e., stale. If the Academy was aiming for the youth vote, it overshot.

  59. 59
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    @Robin G.: Look, my point is pretty simple: it’s fine if Seth MacFarlane and his work offends you. I can certainly understand that, and I say this as someone who generally likes, but does not love, Family Guy. However, to argue that South Park is subject to some sort of intellectual rigor that Family Guy isn’t, well, I’ve got some bad news for you.

    Now, if you want to declare yourself a fan of South Park/Parker and Stone and not one of Family Guy/MacFarlane, that’s fine too. Just state it outright.

  60. 60
    Cassidy says:

    @Paul in KY: I don’t think I could see him as he does get very inappropriate and offensive. I can take him in small, scripted doses. I do find his shtick interesting, though, in that’s it’s almost like a social experiment. There almost always comes a moment when the audience suddenly finds themselves creeped out or offended by a joke, yet completely aware of what they’ve been laughing at the whole time. The tension and uncomfortableness is thick.

  61. 61
    sam says:

    Wow, scratch a liberal and you find a censorious puritan with no sense of humor. And just so we’re clear, humor is almost always transgressive. And, just so we’re clear, none of those actresses were actually raped. It’s called “fiction.” And just so we’re clear, to say Seth McFarlane is talentless and unfunny is as absurd as denying global climate change or evolution. Plus he can sing and dance. Facts is facts, people. I can see how the issue of rape can engender a feeling of powerlessness and a need to feel like one is being vigilant, but to foolishly attack a jokey song that the actresses themselves participated in is to empower those who scoff and the real battle to fight real rape. Conservatives and misogynists will quote these posts as examples of overblown left-wing hysteria.

  62. 62
    Robin G. says:

    @Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage): I have no problem stating it outright. I’m a fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone because I think their work is multi-layered and often deeply insightful, while I’m not a fan of Seth MacFarlane because I find him to be little more than a shock jock (though I don’t find his work overwhelmingly offensive, just lacking a point). I didn’t realize I was denying that.

  63. 63
    chopper says:

    @Robin G.:

    interesting. i find south park to be, generally, just as ‘let’s make fun of everyone!’ and offensive-for-the-sake-of-offense as family guy, only a great deal more republican.

  64. 64
    Robert says:

    The context of the song should have made it clear that they were intentionally being offensive to take the piss out of people protest Seth MacFarlane hosting the Oscars. For months people have complained that the man behind Family Guy was a terrible person and shouldn’t host. So, he showed them their worst fears with a pretend ceremony that was so panned in the future Captain Kirk himself showed up to change history.

    The rest of the night he had tamer jokes than Ellen DeGeneres. But God forbid he get a bunch of actresses on board with a song joking about nudity in film.

    This was one of the many writers who already provided diatribes against Seth as a host before he hosted. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that. She set out to be offended and she was offended.

  65. 65
    Robin G. says:

    @chopper: It should be remembered that South Park isn’t their only work. I include The Book of Mormon in my ranking of their talents.

  66. 66
    ruemara says:

    Kinda blows my mind how many people are either dismissive of the rape factor in some of the scenes mentioned, engaging in a little downgrading with an explanation of why people shouldn’t be offensive or then comparing it to South Park. I’m not saying that the song isn’t funny. Many offensive things are funny. But usually, a good comedian has a sense of how much offensive to be. You know, when a bit is done. McFarland and the whole damned writing team of Family Guy drags things out to be unfunny. They are also goddammned offensive. If you like them, fine, but for fuck’s sake, can you at least accept that the fact is, the song does refer to some very harrowing if not exactly rape scenes and reduce them to seeing breasts. Can you at least acknowledge that for some people that is a legitimate issue?

  67. 67
    Cassidy says:

    @Robin G.: Yes, the Terrence and Phillip fart and sodomy jokes have certain subtlety. ;)

    I’m messing with you. I get what you’re saying and just thought it’d be funny to poke a little bit.

  68. 68
    Paul in KY says:

    @Cassidy: I would also be afraid he might pick me out of the crowd & start ragging on me.

  69. 69
    Robin G. says:

    @Cassidy: Dude, if we can’t poke fun about people poking fun then society is doomed.

  70. 70
    chopper says:

    @Robin G.:

    it seemed in a number of posts that you were comparing SP and FG directly.

  71. 71
    Robin G. says:

    @chopper: I did at one point, since those are what they’re best known for, but mostly I’ve been discussing Parker and Stone versus MacFarlane. Since this post is about MacFarlane’s performance at the Oscars I didn’t realize I had to say from the beginning that there was more to both sides than just their television shows. I meant the reference to The Book of Mormon as an actual reminder (since no one had mentioned it yet), not as a chide.

  72. 72
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    @Robin G.: That’s cool. Different strokes for different folks. I think I grew out of South Park after about two seasons. But then again, I haven’t watched Family Guy in a while, either.

    @ruemara

    Can you at least acknowledge that for some people that is a legitimate issue?

    Damn straight it’s a legitimate issue. For all people, in case you were wondering. Was anyone suggesting otherwise?

  73. 73
    Robin G. says:

    @Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage): Ah, okay. The early South Park stuff bears little resemblance to the later seasons. The “Dances With Smurfs” episode, for example, was pretty fabulous.

    (Edited: Mind you, the opening is raw post-Newtown. That part could be legitimately skipped, though it’s not meant to be funny, really.)

    (Edited again: Eh, after rewatching, given the opening, can’t really recommend it currently.)

  74. 74
    chopper says:

    @Robin G.:

    well excuse me for replying to your comparison of south park to family guy with my own comparison of south park and family guy. next time I’ll know better.

  75. 75
    handsmile says:

    aimai’s comment above on Academy Award viewership prompted me to search out this “TV by the Numbers” chart on ratings/share/total viewers since the ceremony was first televised in 1953.

    http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.c.....ll/120239/

    It shows a significant decline in all measures of viewership since about 2000; certain years have slight increases but the overall trajectory remains downward. (I can’t immediately find ratings/share numbers for the 2012 broadcast hosted by Billy Crystal, but the television audience totaled over 39 million.)

    Interesting to note that in near-prehistoric 1970, almost 80% of those watching television were tuned into the Academy Awards show. That was also the year that MIdnight Cowboy won the Best Picture Award; it beggars imagination that such a movie could win that prize today.

    As for Seth McFarlane, didn’t know who he was before, know all I need to now. Why doesn’t the MPAA simply invite Donald Trump to host the show and be done with it, if vulgarity and the youths is what it wants.

    And for those advocating Stephen Colbert as host, the opening segment of last night’s “Colbert Report” demonstrated how unpossible that would be.

  76. 76
    Robert says:

    @rda909: Bull and you know it. At least Seth wasn’t high, wandering around the stage like a zombie, and showing up just to cash the check. Disinterest and a big screw you to the viewing audience is always worse than hit or miss jokes.

  77. 77
    chopper says:

    @handsmile:

    i can imagine that colbert’s shtick, while brilliant, would get stale after 3 hours. he probably knows that as much as anyone.

  78. 78
    Bruce S says:

    I have to say that after looking at the bizarre dresses of at least half the actresses who show up for Oscars and which are the focus of several hours of pre-event terrible television, complaints that Seth MacFarlane has sprung some creepy perception of women on an unsuspecting gathering strikes me as ridiculous.

  79. 79
    Robin G. says:

    @Robert: In defense of the Franco Oscars (though not of Franco himself), it was way more entertaining than MacFarlane’s. My husband and I had a bet on how long it would be before the producers yanked Franco offstage and refused to send him back out. (We both lost.)

  80. 80
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    @Robert: Are we talking about James Franco or Renee Zelweigger?

    Thanks folks, I’ll be here all night. Be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses.

  81. 81
    chopper says:

    @Robin G.:

    i remember watching a bit of franco that oscars and thinking i dunno if he’s high or what, but if this guy is kidding he is like Andy Kaufman good.

  82. 82
    Bruce S says:

    @Robin G.:

    No it wasn’t. Not even close. Franco’s disinterest in what he was doing was far more of an insult to his audience than MacFarlane’s often outside jokes – they were a calculated attempt to entertain, even if his humor isn’t to your taste. MacFarlane seriously gave a shit – Franco didn’t. Much creepier.

    Incidentally, the folks who still have a stick up their ass about MacFarlane on this Tuesday morning will totally enjoy Amy Davidson’s screed at The New Yorker. It was absurdly over-the-top as a reaction to the event and diminished my own estimation of her critical judgement, but the self-righteous crowd will love it and shouldn’t miss an even more long-winded but at least a more erudite and carefully constructed prosecutorial version of their Outrage.

  83. 83
    Robin G. says:

    @Bruce S: I’m not saying Franco was better than MacFarlane — he wasn’t — only that I derived more enjoyment from his baked-as-an-apple-pie hosting, because I found it amusing to consider at what point a) the producers would decide that pulling him mid-show would be less of a liability than allowing him to continue, and b) Anne Hathaway would finally lose it and slap the shit out of him. The fact that neither happened was disappointing, but the anticipation kept me more interested than MacFarlane’s consistently flat jokes.

  84. 84
    John S. says:

    @Howlin Wolfe:

    Way to miss my point entirely. I hope your fainting couch is ready to receive you.

  85. 85
    Bruce S says:

    @Robin G.:

    I guess I’m not as masochistic. I also thought Hathaway – who for some reason I can’t explain I find grating – was terrible. Maybe she’s great and it’s just me. Often is…

    I didn’t find MacFarlane to be a brilliant host and I think his humor is pretty predicatably puerile – having now seen it beyond an appearance on Bill Maher(never have seen Family Guy – hate cartoon shows.) But he obviously knows what he’s doing for his audience, which is apparently substantial. The Oscar hosting thing has become sort of a joke. I liked last year a lot if that was the one with Fey and Pohler as I remember – and tend to love the more acerbic hosts because while I enjoy the telecast as much as the next drooling movie fan the damned thing is mostly just ridiculous. (Probably why Franco’s non-appearance worked for you. But speaks to my gut feeling that getting upset about Oscar hosting might indicate one has too much time on their hands. This one barely even rises to what my friend’s daughter calls “white people’s problems.”)

  86. 86
    handsmile says:

    @chopper:

    You may well be right here (though Colbert does have a history of surpassing expectations), but I think we’d agree that we’ll never know.

  87. 87
    Bruce S says:

    @Howlin Wolfe:

    “just mediocre ‘Family Guy’ type gags”

    What a bizarre coincidence – on the night Seth MacFarlane hosts the show! No one could have predicted…

  88. 88
    Wil says:

    Eh….doesn’t matter if the scene involved rape, murder, or whatnot.

    Every hetero male watching any such scene, no matter how he tries to pretend otherwise for his sensitive GF or wife or whatnot, has a part of him that just looks at the scene and says, “Saw Halle Berry’s boobs, CHECK!, saw Jodie Foster’s boobs, CHECK, saw (fill in actress)’s boobs, CHECK!!!”

    No point in whining about it….it’s hardwired in the DNA.

    Saw those boobs, CHECK!!!

  89. 89
    Bruce S says:

    @Wil:

    This!

    But to be honest, I thought this very astute observation had more impact when it was put to music and broadcast on national television.

  90. 90
    Luthe says:

    Christ almighty, I hate 85% of the commenters on this site right now. Who are all probably going to come back screeching at me that I’m a bitchy feminist with no sense of humor, but fuck that and fuck the patriarchy.

    Problems I have with Seth McFarlane’s Oscar hosting:

    -The “I Saw Your Boobs” song reduces women to nothing more than a pair of boobs for men to stare at. It’s implied that the ultimate goal of interacting with women/watching actresses in movies is to see their breasts.

    -His joke about actresses having “the flu” to look good for the Oscars reinforces the idea they are nothing more than eye-candy.

    -He made a sexual joke about a NINE YEAR-OLD GIRL.

    As for the fact many of the incidents of breast exposure came in the context of rape scenes, well, that’s the straight male gaze of the MPAA for you. Breasts and rape scenes get you no more than an R-rating. Cocks and women actually enjoying sex will almost always tip things into NC-17 territory.

    Really, I expected better of the commentariat over here.

  91. 91
    Cerberus says:

    What’s amazing to me about the douchebro defensiveness parade we’ve gotten since the Oscars is the complete failure to understand the difference between “offensive” and “challenging”.

    There are WAY too many people that somehow think it’s hard to create humor that’s offensive. It is not. Anyone can make “humor” that’s offensive without even trying it. It’s so easy, teabaggers can do it.

    They also think that making humor that’s offensive is somehow risky or novel or brave or something. Again, it is not. A large amount of the “comedy” being defended is basically just old tired attempts to punch downwards. The joke is “ha ha black people sure are inferior to white people” or “ha ha women sure are sex objects without humanity”. Tired, safe, retreads of old attitudes that safely enshrine bigoted values.

    And these jokes suffer from that mostly by failing to be jokes. I mean, what’s the joke of the “I saw your boobs” song, why was it funny? And more importantly, why are so few of the douchebros crawling out of the woodwork to once again say “oh, you feminists are so humorless, it was clearly brilliant” actually citing the exact jokes that made them laugh like everyone else who genuinely enjoys a comedy show can. Why can’t they show what makes these jokes funny on their own, as jokes standing up without an edifice of defensive men getting a jollie out of being bullies.

    And these differ greatly from challenging comedy. Challenging comedy pisses people off. Powerful people. Because it punches up, because it’s funny on its own and it actually has something to say beyond “minority group sure is tired stereotype” or “hey, don’t we all universally do dominant group bigoted action”. Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Hicks. These names endure not because they were “offensive”, because they pulled some penny ante shit, but because they really challenged cultural norms and fought for underclass rights. They made the powerful feel uncomfortable. Made the type of people who giggled along to “oh, secretaries sure are dumb” jokes have to take uncomfortable looks into the mirror. And the jokes themselves worked without that element, because they were intended as jokes rather than reinforcements of privilege.

    It’s why at the end of the day, removing all the “offensiveness” of a song that was nothing more than an attempt to universalize the problem of the male gaze as somehow exemplary, that “joke” and the others Seth MacFarlane tried just didn’t work. Because they were more concerned with being defensive and frightened of female power and rights than with either being funny or being legitimately daring and original.

  92. 92
    gogol's wife says:

    @Luthe:

    I hope you reduce that percentage somewhat. There are a bunch of commenters on this thread that I’ve never seen before. McFarlane seems to have access to the NRA’s mailing list. It’s weird that he has all these defenders all of a sudden.

  93. 93
    ThresherK says:

    @BruinKid: Yeah, I’m of the opinion that Parker and Stone insist they have no agenda, while going against “liberal Hollywood” at the drop of a hat.

    “Family Guy” and the other shows (“American Dad” is my favorite) can be all over the place, and douchey, but have more hits than misses for me.

    In either case, I say things coming out of an animated character have more leeway than from a live person.

    (Parker and Stone went to Dartmouth, MacFarlane to RISD, IIRC. Funny how they came out different.)

  94. 94

    -The “I Saw Your Boobs” song reduces women to nothing more than a pair of boobs for men to stare at. It’s implied that the ultimate goal of interacting with women/watching actresses in movies is to see their breasts.

    That’s exactly the reason why the studios place so much female nudity into their films. They want to cater to the young male demographic that wants to see that. No guy hears that say… Anne Hathaway is going to be naked in a movie and thinks, “Huh, I wonder if it serves the artistic integrity of the movie…” and runs out to buy a ticket or watch the relevant clip on the internet.

    No matter how much they couch it in terms of artistic integrity or strong female characters, you will note that it is extremely rare in comparison that such artistic integrity requires male actors to whip it out.

    You may not care for it, but that is the reality.

    Now, should we teach our sons that women are more than the sum of their body parts? Yes. Should we try and raise boys that respect their partners, their friends, and their co-workers? Yes.

    But the business of Hollywood is to sell tickets and make money. They use the actors’ talents and body parts to do that. Porn is simply more honest about it.

  95. 95
    Luthe says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    It’ll probably go down in a bit. It’s just that this thread seems to have a very high asshole-to-sane people ratio. I suspect it’s because a lot of the regulars weren’t commenting here.

  96. 96
    Luthe says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    No matter how much they couch it in terms of artistic integrity or strong female characters, you will note that it is extremely rare in comparison that such artistic integrity requires male actors to whip it out.

    Well, there’s also my last point about how the MPAA punishes films for having full-frontal male nudity. If male and female nudity (and male and female sexual enjoyment) were guaranteed to get the same rating, I’m betting there would be an uptick in guys whipping it out on camera. It probably wouldn’t be a huge uptick, but I’m sure the money-men in Hollywood realize there’s a demographic out there who would pay good money to see Ryan Gosling’s wang.

  97. 97

    I’m sure the money-men in Hollywood realize there’s a demographic out there who would pay good money to see Ryan Gosling’s wang.

    Agreed, but again, that sort of reinforces my point.
    It’s pointless to get upset about a song that for some people reduces women to a body part, when the very industry they belong to and participate is responsible for that.

    I mean, how many stories are out there about studios forcing size 2 or size 4 actresses to lose 10-15 pounds for a role because they’re too fat. Hollywood sells these actor’s bodies as much as they sell their performances. And that’s fine, they’re all willing participants and they have some awareness of it. And so do we as consumers. We want to see pretty perfect, idealized humans in our fictional narratives.

    So getting upset over the song sort of misplaces the blame for the alleged objectifying, when it should be placed on the studios, the actors, and us.

  98. 98
    chopper says:

    @Luthe:

    who are you again?

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Seth’s failing was in not being funny. It is possible to be very offensive and still not offend if you either have a point to make about the offensive or are really funny.

    More than anything, I thought the bit dragged. It’s like, “Okay, Seth, you saw their boobs, can we move on to something else? Anything else? Do you have anything else to say about it?”

    Say what you will about Parker & Stone, but they know how to build a joke in song form and make it more and more outrageous as the song goes on (see pretty much all of “Book of Mormon”). The “boobs” song was just flat.

    I think the Gay Men’s Chorus was supposed to put some kind of button on the ending, but that just made it drag on longer.

    ETA: I giggled at the first couple of lines, but then it went on. and on. and on. and on. I realize dull repetition is one of the things Macfarlane finds funny, but I guess it’s not in my top 10.

  100. 100
    chopper says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    yeah, it seems that much of the boobage in movies, for a long time, has been merely gratuitous. makes sense as half the people going to see movies are out there to watch beautiful people being beautiful.

    whether of not macfarland was trying to make fun of that or if he was being a prick, i dunno.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Sorry, slight correction on my part — I forgot that Parker worked with Bobby Lopez on “Book of Mormon.” Lopez was also the co-writer of another show that knew how to build outrageousness to comic effect instead of just repeating itself: “Avenue Q.”

  102. 102
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: That is sorta like some of his Family Guy gags. 5 seconds of the gag is funny, 25 seconds is a drag.

    I think he does that, because they don’t have anything better to replace those 20 secs with.

  103. 103
    BruinKid says:

    @Luthe: And despite that, they do come close sometimes. I mean, did Magic Mike gross well over $100 million just in the U.S. alone because of its plot??

  104. 104
    Wil says:

    Eh….really seems like movies in the 80s had much more in the way of gratuitous boob scenes.

    One disappointing thing about movies today, Seth McFarlane’s examples notwithstanding, is that they rarely feature random, gratuitous female nudity.

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