|Courtesy Disney ABC Television Group|
I personally liked last night's Oscar telecast, although to be fair I generally do. The only time I ever agreed with all the day-after host-bashing was when Anne Hathaway and James Franco conspired to show critics exactly what a truly bad Academy Awards emceeing job looked like. I can understand that people feel inclined to judge each performance on its own merits rather than grading it as being less awful than a previous one, but seeing as they tend to point out when one is less great than another that would seem like an unfairly hypocritical criterion.
Even without drawing comparisons however, I still found Seth MacFarlane to be pretty funny. Sure, some of his bits were a little weird, and sometimes he seemed to be unsure of whether he should fully commit to it (in particular with how quickly he broke character after a Von Trapp / Nazis gag), but he frequently made me at least chuckle, even when he was being a bit more risqué than one would expect during the Oscars.
I still can't say I'm all that surprised by the nearly unanimous outpouring of hate towards him from the TV critics however. Firstly because I can't recall the last time they genuinely seemed to like an Oscar telecast that wasn't hosted by Billy Crystal (who really isn't nearly as amusing as they claim he is). And secondly because Seth's brand of humor has always been pretty polarizing. While last night actually saw him toning things down a bit, it was still basically Seth being Seth with absolutely no surprises. He even managed to get absurdist humor cutaways alá "Family Guy" into his opening.
Perhaps more surprising is how much it would seem the normal TV viewing public DIDN'T hate him. As of this morning a poll of visitors to the "Today Show" website has nearly half of respondents saying they loved him and less than 20% saying they hated him [click here for article]. And seeing as the vast majority of the viewing audience is made of people who are not paid television critics, that seems like a significantly more important number to me.