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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