Oscars 2013: Rate Seth MacFarlane's Opening Monologue -- With Special Guest James T. Kirk

Seth MacFarlane OscarsABC’s broadcast of Sunday night’s Oscars opened with host Seth MacFarlane firing off a flurry of jokes ranging from funny to downright dry/borderline corny.

And that’s coming from me.

His riffs began soldily enough, starting with his mission statement “to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh” — which he thus did. After making a nod to acclaimed Argo helmer Ben Affleck’s lack of a best directing nom, MacFarlane slipped in a Good Will Hunting-esque, “It’s not your fault.” The host mocked how little an Oscar win can actually pay dividends, deadpanning how 2012’s Best Actor Jean Dujardin is “everywhere” now.

But bits about Method-y Lincoln star Daniel Day Lewis being spooked by a cell phone, Mel Gibson (what year is it?) and the ever-prodigious Coppola clan veritably creaked on their way out of his mouth.

His spiel then got interrupted by an “out of this world” visitor — Star Trek‘s James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner). The space jockey said he was visiting from the future to warn MacFarlane that what he had on tap for the show would earn him the headline “Worst Oscars Host Ever” in tomorrow’s newspaper.

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Kirk shared video of these imminent missteps, from a jaunty “We Saw Your Boobs” tune recounting all of the actresses who have gone bare on the big screen (and accompanied by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, which Kirk said Seth would join in July 2015!), to a sock-puppet version of Flight, to an entirely inappropriate accosting of erstwhile Flying Nun Sally Field.

So to balance things out, the multi-talented MacFarlane worked in classy elements, like dance numbers featuring Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

But was it enough to fend off his fated bit of bad press? At minimum, Kirk’s “intervention” — though semi-inspired — ran several minutes too long and should have been much more tightly directed. MacFarlane’s monologue proper, meanwhile, could have been 10 percent more improper and edgy, instead of covering well-tred (and thus “safe”) ground. (Kirk at one point commented that “Amy and Tina should host everything,” and truly, their infamous Kathryn Bigelow/James Cameron zinger was more pointed than anything on display here.)

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Did the 85th Academy Awards get off to a strong start? Vote in our poll below and check back in a bit for our full review.

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130 Comments
  1. Matt says:

    About 5 minutes too long.

  2. Mare says:

    So far this is the best Oscars opening ever

  3. Dreadful.Only the one with Sally is enjoyable.

  4. James says:

    I got to see Channing Tatum dance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt dance and sing, so it worked for me! :P

  5. Erizabet says:

    Am I the only one that thought the “We Saw Your Boobs” bit was incredibly misogynistic?

    • Kate says:

      NO YOU’RE NOT. Followed up by a gay panic joke. This guy is such a loser.

      • Josh says:

        The only thing I enjoyed more than his monologue is everyone’s self righteous indignation. regarding his monologue. Take this energy you are wasting on a bit that was CLEARLY supposed to come across misogynistic and transfer it to something that matters.

        • Kate says:

          Yeah, misogyny actually does matter. As does homophobia. I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to find more important during a show business awards show. But since Josh, in his infinite wisdom, has deigned to tell where to direct my energy, maybe I’ll spend the next 2 hours writing my own song about boobs. Bite me, jackass.

          • Kate says:

            Hahahahaha. You so mad. I’d say Seth made you his bitch, thus the joke succeeded.

          • malexa says:

            Word x 100000! Kate for president!

          • TV Gord says:

            If you’re going to watch an awards show, you should bring your sense of humor (unless LL Cool J is hosting).

          • dude says:

            The point of the joke is that it’s offensive because it’s misogynistic. That was the joke. It wasn’t serious. Lets not pretend he’s corrupting the future of America by saying “we saw your boobs.” Family Guy secured that long ago.

    • Androme says:

      I think that was clearly the joke.

    • That was the point. Do you not understand how comedy works?

    • Aleksa says:

      /facepalm

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      I like boobs and thought it was great. You people that sit around looking for reasons to be “offended” by every damn joke need to get a life. Some of you try to make a living out of being offended and it’s wearing thin on everyone else that have heard enough about your thought and speech policing. Control freaks.

    • Rhonda says:

      Yes, you are.

    • KR says:

      It was unnecessary. And if you saw some of the reactions from the actors in the audience, they seemed to think so, too. The ‘jokes’ about orgies from the animated “Ted” character were totally uncalled for, too. Not what you expect or want from an animated stuffed animal.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        The “perturbed” reactions to the “Boobs” song were pre-arranged.

        • maya says:

          I find it sad that you chose to point this out instead of addressing how sexist that routine was. It doesn’t matter that the actresses were “in on it” that actually makes it worse. In order for a joke to be progressive and not simply offensive it has to hit society where it hurts. Making fun of women and gays who are already put down enough in society does nothing but help keep the regular power relations in society.
          Plainly speaking – even when the person making the joke knows it’s sexist, that doesn’t make it any less sexist…

          • TV Gord says:

            Still just as funny, though. You’re part of the overly-sensitive society that makes it harder to care when REAL sexism come up.

          • dude says:

            That joke wasn’t making fun of women. It was simply a boob joke, not putting you down as a gender and this horribly overblown reaction only hurts future sympathy when real sexism occurs. Also please don’t put women in the same category as gays and other races, those struggles don’t even compare to the “struggle of the woman.” You have just as many rights as men and people don’t think of you as less of a human being. People underestimate you sometimes? People think you’re weaker than you are? You have to work a bit harder for a promotion? Life must be tough for you.

        • Bob says:

          Yes. If you were paying attention during the “We Saw Your Boobs” (not “We Show You Boobs”, Matt), the “reactions” of Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron were pre-taped, as Lawrence and Theron were in completely different dresses, and Lawrence was sitting in a completely different seat in the theater. So I don’t think anyone was really “offended”.

        • MandaJ says:

          Thanks Matt for reminding folks about the reactions being pre-taped. That proves that enough of the Hollywood audience thought “we saw your boobs” was funny enough to participate in the bit. :)

      • c-mo says:

        It’s a good thing you didn’t see the movie or know anything about Ted the stuffed animal…at least that is my assumption because Ted is about as *wrong* as you could possibly get and was completely true to his on-screen character.

      • TV Gord says:

        Unnecessary! Oh, dear. Uncalled for! Mercy! Clutch the pearls. I do believe the church ladies are offended!

        • jules says:

          Amen, TV Gord! :D Seriously, people need to find some humor, not everything is so serious… it was a joke, and of you don’t find it funny doesn’t mean that it was uncalled for… seriously..

      • dude says:

        “Not want you want or expect from a stuffed animal” you do realize that’s the point right?

      • Paul says:

        That was part of the joke. Their perturbed reactions were staged to make the bit funnier. I don’t find all offensive humor to be funny, but I thought that Seth McFarlane did an excellent job with his monologue.

    • maggie says:

      Seth was misogynistic and homophobic. Some immature people consider that kind of stuff funny, but it’s not.

    • MLO says:

      Yes, probably. How does it point to a hatred of women? It was fun, and catchy, and I can’t get it out of my head. And I mean, come on, they DID show their boobs. And before you blah, blah, blah let me make clear that I am a girl and have my own boobs. Which I saw this morning. Not in a movie. In the shower. And while getting dressed. And, Oh, just peeked at ‘em now.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I was fine with it. I found it hilarious, particularly Jennifer Lawrence’s thumbs up. And believe me, I am someone who would spit nails if I thought someone was being gross and misogynistic. But I think in this case, people are being too oversensitive. Seth was wonderful. He did a way better job than I expected him to. I will admit though, I could have done without the Scarlett Johanssen joke. I feel so terrible for her that she was hacked and her pictures distributed across the Internet like that. It’s not right that happened to her, and it was an uncool thing to make light of her embarrassment in that way.

  6. Mark says:

    I liked it. Loved William Shatner as Captain Kirk! See that JJ Abrams?

    • TV Gord says:

      I thought it was going well until Shatner ground it to a halt (and I LOVE Shatner and Star Trek). It was just wrong. The rest was great. Clearly, Seth thought it would be better than it was, but it was a mistake.

  7. Dani says:

    Calling for a more respectful, almost “Old Hollywood” style is a pleasant change for the Oscars… I look forward go seeing more of this! Lets celebrate the actors…

    • KR says:

      Totally agree. This is supposed to be a a show about hollywood glamour, the arts, and larger-than-life stories. We’re part of their “base” and they’re offending us. I’m looking for more of the Old Hollywood style presentation that was all about the actors and the art.

  8. girlwiredin says:

    He gets a D, only bc of Sally Field and Channing Tatum and Charlize.

  9. PFitzDC says:

    I expected to hate it, so it definitely exceeded expectations!

  10. Aleksa says:

    I thought it was great.

  11. Joanna says:

    Loved it!

  12. Meg says:

    Erizabet- You’re not the only one. That was so terrible and I was super disgusted. I’m not surprised given that it’s MacFarlane and that’s what he’s known for.

    • taliesin says:

      And yet Kaley Cuoco was on twitter 1 few minutes later saying “Totally downloading #wesawyourboobs on iTunes.” Humor is in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure there were plenty of people who wanted to punch Don Rickles in the face over the last 60 years too. Eye of the beholder. If we all only found the same things funny there’d only be 1 comedy on television to watch. :)

    • Lyndsey says:

      It got the biggest laugh of the night from me because I saw it for what it was, a harmless joke…..and a natural reaction from every heterosexual man I’ve ever known when it comes to boobs!

  13. David4 says:

    It was great, the corny jokes were so bad, but then he started making fun of people and the fun started. Anytime Captain Kirk is around I’m happy. But they should have made a joke about Spock, and maybe a “Watch out for the ribbon” to Kirk.

  14. Peter says:

    Shut up, Meg.

    But yeah…it kinda blew.

  15. reinetteg says:

    One of the most entertaining Oscar shows ever…reducing the boring thank you time by the actors only improves things

  16. dizzylie says:

    All hosts seem sub-par post Amy and Tina.

  17. It wasn’t the worse but it wasn’t the best, ran a little too long, though I enjoy charlize, tatum, daniel and joseph, gave the show glamour

  18. Lynda says:

    Jessica Chastain? Kathryn Bigelow

  19. Tanner Vander Weerdt says:

    Sorry we like boobies.. some people need to loosen up, prime example of what is wrong with America… find No humor what so ever.

    • taliesin says:

      It’s not just America which lacks the ability to find humor in a situation at times. :)

    • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

      Agreed, gotta listen to a bunch of whiny feminists who were lining up in droves to see Magic Mike.

      • Rebecca says:

        Haha!! I loved this comment! Couldn’t agree more!

      • TV Gord says:

        Hahahahahahahaa!

      • mia says:

        There’s a difference between consensual erotica and a body part being openly mocked and objectified by the opposite sex. Plus, its the frakn Oscars – way to be classy McFarlane.

        • TV Gord says:

          Oh, brother…

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          so:
          .
          If the part is a part of the male body it = consensual erotica = awesome.
          .
          If the part is a part of the female body = openly mocked/objectified = horrible!
          .
          BTW, how many guys raised a storm over Magic Mike? any? anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Heck, I’ve heard some praise it as a well made movie.
          .
          Now make the EXACT same movie in every last single respect only every male was swapped with a female and vice-versa and, honestly, what would you be saying about it? Would you praise it as a well made movie even still?

    • Lisa says:

      I was waiting for the coda, “We Love Farts”! With Seth at the helm I was waiting for something more, but he was holding back and he had Ted for that this year. I think he wants to be asked back next year, then he will pull out all the stops!

    • Bob says:

      The people complaining about “We Saw Your Boobs” are also driving around town with bumper stickers saying “Feel Your Boobies” and “Save the TaTas”. A little hypocritical because “boobies” are “boobies”, no matter the context.

  20. DecentDiscourse says:

    I had expected much better from McFarlane. He has the talent, but it’s just not on display tonight. This is pretty bad. Uneven, crass and classless bits outweigh the good.

  21. MTB says:

    One thing about Seth. He gets it. Smile people.

  22. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    I think they forced him to tone it down. I lol’d when he asked if Daniel Day Lewis was still in character as Lincoln and was going to try to free Don Cheadle. That’s what this guy gets paid for, to make the off color jokes that others won’t. I would love to see and Ricky Gervais. I would love it, all the “offended” would be raging.

  23. tahina says:

    The presenter got D-. =/

    • forrest says:

      25 minutes for an opening that was more embarrassing to the actresses and the cringing of an audience that the host is suppose to be entertaining. Obviously, I’m not the target audience for ‘family guy’ or ‘ted’ level of humor. Hopefully the producers who chose SM got the audience they were aiming for. Basically, I didn’t feel the host’s tone throughout was in honor of hollywood, but to degrade and humiliate. Granted, Shatner said as much in his opening statement referring to SM as ‘worst host ever’. I get it. Yet we had 4 hours of ‘the worst’.

      • TV Gord says:

        All of those women cringing in the audience were IN on the joke. I can’t believe there are people who didn’t “get” that! Holy smokes, people!

      • Paul says:

        I’m not exactly his target audience either, but I “get” it. Shatner’s comment was completely scripted, and I believe that McFarlane actually told a couple of stinkers on purpose to lead into this bit. I can’t believe, in this day and age, there are still people who don’t understand how comedy works.

  24. Gene says:

    This opening was too long and not really funny.

    • Bob says:

      I thought it was mostly funny. A couple of jokes fell flat. I do agree that having the first 25 minutes of the show taken up by “opening” was a bit long.

  25. Rhonda says:

    Thought it was incredible. He’s extremely talented and bright. Only offensive to those who have no sense of humor and those who take things too seriously.

  26. Moses says:

    Wasn’t laughing nor offended just plain BORED!

  27. Lea says:

    I expected to be outrageously laughing. I was bored.

  28. HRG says:

    I can understand not liking it. I can understand liking it. I don’t understand bored!

  29. Karen MT says:

    Just like the children’s rhyme, when it was good, it was very very good, but when it was bad, it was horrid. And uncomfortable. And a bit too long.

  30. mia says:

    I pretty much despise the man, so my standards going in were rock bottom. But he did okay. Not the best, but not as awful as I expected. And the boob song was just offensive. Misogyny + homophobia are why I hate McFarlane in the first place.

    • Jay says:

      Seth MacFarlane makes fun of misogyny and homophobia. That’s the joke. If you don’t get it, that’s not his fault. And the boob song was f**king hilarious!

      • Michael says:

        I suppose… but I don’t see how simply making misogynist and homophobic statements under the guise of “humour” makes them funny.
        That’s probably why I don’t consider Seth the comic “genius” that others do.

  31. Rebecca says:

    I loved it! Lighten up people!! If woman are taking offensive then they need a life or need a cause!! I always love the Oscars no matter who is hosting but I did enjoy what Seth brought!

  32. anil says:

    He gave the Oscars (aka funeral gathering) a refreshing vibe. I loved it.

    Idk why the harsh comments? He showed off his talents REALLY WELL. What were u people watching

  33. Ryan says:

    I liked Seth get a life people

  34. Gwen says:

    I thought MacFarlane was a lot funnier in interviews he did before he hosted.

  35. Crystal says:

    Seth was great. I liked it. That being said, I agree with Captain Kirk, Amy and Tina should host everything!

  36. Waffles says:

    After tonight I want them to bring back Letterman.

  37. Sadly dull. He seemed nervous at various points, and self-aggrandizing at others.

    Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Hugh Jackman … so much more entertaining.

    Academy, you can do much better. At least the vocal performances were outstanding.

  38. James says:

    I actually thought the writers of the banter of the presenters was terrible. Who wrote that awful Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy skit?

  39. maggie says:

    Seth MacFarlane was blah. He told a few good jokes, but more bad ones. He’s a strange mix of an old-school, sophisticated, rat-pack style entertainer, and a misogynistic, homophobic juvenile who thinks that shocking people is funny. When he leaned towards the former, he was good. When he leaned towards the latter, he bombed.

  40. TV Gord says:

    If people want to deal with some real misogyny, you should be confronting some of those dress makers and shoe makers! LOL!

  41. Cocacola says:

    Awful

  42. Susan says:

    Time for another new host…..

  43. greg says:

    Im not a fan of the guy or his brand of humor FOR the Oscars but I understand why he is popular. But you took someone who has made a living for crass humor in the hopes that people who are his fans would watch the show and he gave them really nothing of what they would have tuned in for. he should have scorched the place knowing that he would probably not be asked back to do it again. Thought the boobs thing was sort of funny but not really. Very weak overall

  44. jsswite says:

    I didn’t find the boobs number particularly funny but was not offended by it. Just frat boy humor which is McFarland’s thing. But am I the only one who found the Lincoln/John Wilkes Booth joke (if you can call it that) way out of bounds? Since when is the assasination of the United States President funny. Boo Hiss to whoever wrote that joke and to McFarland for delivering it.

    • Bob says:

      Just Google ‘President Kennedy jokes’ and you’ll be offended for about a week.

    • TV Gord says:

      Wow, you would’ve hated the Martin Luther King joke Sam Kinison made 30 years ago, then.

      • Jay says:

        I don’t know that one, do you have a link to it?

        • TV Gord says:

          Essentially, it’s Sam Kinison saying, “I have a dream”, then making a gunshot sound, and then saying, “I have a head wound!” I saw that about 30 years ago on Letterman. My point is there has always been offensive humor. A Lincoln joke in 2013 is not that unusual. (And then there’s the reporter who asked the First Lady, “Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”)

  45. cjeffery7 says:

    i think seth did a great job. i think his sense of humor is such that if he DID go edgy, it would be too much, a la family guy, which not everybody can appreciate, so i think it was probably just easier for him to keep it low key. he also has such a silky smooth voice and a nice face to look at… i was entertained.

  46. Amanda says:

    Really it would have been best if when Shatner astutely pointed out that Tina and Amy should host everything, they would have walked out and taken over from there.

  47. dude says:

    I thought Seth was great. His material was awful but he was a great host and was good at alleviating awkwardness when jokes didn’t land. His “150 years later and it’s still too soon?!” was hilarious.

  48. Nero theTVFiddler says:

    Seth is a good guy, and I thought he did a pretty good job throughout the telecast – that hosting job is the toughest job in Hollywood. However, regarding the opening sequence of the show – just two words crossed my mind as I watched the whole boobs, Kirk, dancing, etc. extravaganza: Uma Oprah.

  49. Bob says:

    Good g-d all you overly sensitive people. It’s not like he came out on stage dressed in a Nazi uniform and proceeded to put Jews in a gas oven! That’s his style of humor – take it or leave it. Based on the increased audience from last year, I guess a few more million decided to take it.

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