Seth MacFarlane's stint as Oscars host will be remembered for two things: His envelope-pushing jokes about race, sex and religion, and the show's big ratings. The 2013 Oscars were watched by 40 million people, an increase of one million over last year, with a 20 percent rise in the coveted 18-34 demographic from the 2012 ceremony. In short, the MacFarlane experiment worked, at least from a viewership standpoint.
"We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, so we're happy," Craig Zadan, who produced the show with Neil Meron, told The Los Angeles Times.
Unfortunately for MacFarlane and his producers, many were not so happy. Reviews of the 85th annual Academy Awards from Jezebel, Vulture and The New Yorker, among others, were largely negative, with special attention paid to the way MacFarlane treated women during the show. The nadir was the song "We Saw Your Boobs," a meta moment that occurred during the monologue when William Shatner-as-Captain Kirk showed the "Family Guy" creator what a disaster his Oscar night could have been if he wasn't more careful. MacFarlane still performed the song during the show, however, an upbeat number that recounted how many actresses have flashed their breasts on screen. (As many noted, at least three of the actresses did so in movies where there characters were being raped: Hilary Swank, Jodie Foster and Charlize Theron.)
"It’s not humorless to call MacFarlane and his producers out for what was a crass celebration of violence against women — both real and fictitious," wrote Katie McDonough for Salon. "It's low, it's violent and there is nothing funny about it. Even coming from the creator of 'Family Guy' and 'Ted.'"
For Meron and Zadan, the criticisms were secondary to the show itself: "We weren't concerned at that level [of shocking people]. We were concerned with putting on entertainment, which we think we did, and people tuned in great numbers," Meron said.
"We looked at ratings and said, 'Men are not watching, and young men are not watching, and why does that have to be?'" Zadan told The Times. Whether next year's Oscar producers will now say the same thing about young women remains to be seen.
For more on the Oscar ratings, head over to The Times.
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