The Oscars may have been tasteless, but the twits who reviewed the Oscars were almost uniformly without taste. Forget the chattering classes: it was a fab show. In fact, it's instructive to read the witless reviews online -- "offensive, boring, misogynistic" -- and then the comments beneath those reviews, along the lines of "the first show I've watched from beginning to end in my entire life."
Seth MacFarlane, nicely classless, was a class act. Every rude comment drew attention to its own outrageous nature: You knew that MacFarlane was very much aware of which buttons he was pushing -- he was pointing out that the very existence of these buttons says something about our own bigotry.
The most outrageous comment was Ted the bear's: the suggestion that Hollywood is run by a cabal of Jews meeting in secret synagogues. Ted, of course, is Seth MacFarlane himself in bear drag, and the joke was a nice jab at both the anti-Semites who foam about the Jewish influence in Hollywood, and the undeniable fact of the Jewish influence in Hollywood. (I'm Jewish, by the way. Relax.)
The song "We Saw Your Boobs" was framed in the context of Captain Kirk spanking the host for insensitivity. The John Wilkes Booth comment (priceless) wasn't meant to insult Abe; it was directed at the piety of Americans. We're all the Party of Lincoln, right? Way too soon to call attention to our self-important reverence for a guy few of us will ever live up to. (I'm Canadian, by the way. Be annoyed.)
The proper response to Seth MacFarlane -- and this may be the professional response we in fact encountered -- is envy. Here's an entertainer who can simultaneously deliver the irreverence that Generation Z requires to stay focused, as well as the suave soft shoe that we associate with the golden age that probably never was. He's a cross between what James Franco, like, totally failed to pull off, dude, and our gilded memories of gentlemen like David Niven.
Oh, and by the way, the all-mighty Nielsen agrees:
The show drew an average audience of 40.3 million viewers, up about 3 percent from 39.3 million viewers last year, according to the Nielsen ratings service. The audience among those between the ages of 18 and 34 grew 20 percent, to post an 11.3 rating, compared to 9.4 last year, when Billy Crystal was the host.
Sorry, cynics, but Seth MacFarlane was a kick-ass, all-purpose host. May he reign for many seasons.