Did you watch the Academy Awards show last night? We recorded it and I watched it later and zoomed right through all the commercials and the often interminable acceptance speeches that I didn't care to hear. I actually watched the "entertainment" portion of the show. I should have zoomed through most of that also.
I did not know who Seth MacFarlane was and I'm willing to bet that a significant portion of the audience was in the same quandary as me. I read later that he created "Family Guy," another show which I've never watched and never will. Apparently, he is considered young and hip and edgy, none of which describes the demographic to which I belong, so perhaps it was not surprising that I found him rude, repellent, and unfunny in equal measures. Joan Walsh says I shouldn't blame him. I should blame the producers of the show who knew what they were getting when they hired him and who approved his execrable script in advance. Well, there's plenty of blame to go around.
Many commentators today have pointed out that this show reached new heights of misogyny, racism, inappropriate religious references - well, you name it. Anything that was beyond the pale, they went there. If this is hip and edgy, give me Bob Hope. Even his cadaver would be funnier.
Why is the Oscars show such a godawful mess? This year reached some new lows for sure, but it's been a nasty spectacle for years. I have no criticism to make of any of the winners who were mostly classy and charming and even sometimes funny in their acceptance speeches. For the most part, the presenters, too, were okay, although many of their "jokes" fell flat - or maybe they were just so hip and edgy I didn't understand them. But this is the movie industry, for gods' sake! Why can't they put on a decent awards show? With all the wonderful entertainers in the world available to them, why can't they find a host who can hit the right note of charming irreverence without being nasty, mean, and churlish? Truly, it is a mystery.
As for the entertainers performing in the show, some of them were good - Shirley Bassey, Adele, and Barbra Streisand come to mind. Some of the dance numbers were good, if not spectacular or even particularly memorable. But, come on! This is Hollywood! Surely they can do better than this.
And they can start by finding a way to cut the show down to a reasonable time limit. That would be an instant improvement right there.
As an appropriate coda to the evening, it seems the satirical publication The Onion got caught up in the spirit of the thing and sent out an extremely offensive tweet referring to a nine-year-old African-American child actress with a racially and sexually charged epithet. They have since removed the tweet and apologized profusely, but they'll have to do some work to regain my respect. As will the Oscars.