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MacFarlane gets mixed reviews for Oscars show

The verdicts are in for Oscars host Seth MacFarlane, and the critics were fairly even-handed. Although Twitter response on the night had suggested that the man behind Family Guy and Ted had drifted into puerility too often, there was an acknowledgement that getting the tone right at an Academy Awards ceremony can be a tricky juggling act.

MacFarlane had opened with an adolescent ditty called "We’ve seen your boobs", essentially a list of Hollywood stars, including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway and Charlize Theron, who had filmed topless scenes. That was greeted more with bafflement than amusement.

A few more broadly tasteless gags ensued. Quentin Tarantino’s violent slavery film Django Unchained was described as "a Chris Brown and Rihanna date movie" and he said that nine-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis "still had 16 years to go before she was too old for George Clooney." For anyone who has seen a few episodes of Family Guy though, MacFarlane’s material seemed relatively restrained.

The Daily Beast was not amused, describing MacFarlane’s routine as "replete with silly jokes touching on rape, race, sexism, Nazis, and the Lincoln assassination." They concluded that the event had been a disater and should have been billed as the "Juvenile Oscars". The Hollywood Reporter was kinder, arguing that MacFarlane "took the job extremely seriously and put himself out there. Ultimately, he excelled at balance."

The New York Times pointed out that MacFarlane was a smart choice by the Academy, because his edgy humour chimes with a young audience while his love of old-time show tunes is accessible to an older demographic. His jokes were described as "borderline-offensive irreverence", but the paper suggested that he had managed a successful balancing act. "MacFarlane didn’t ruin the show. But the show almost ruined the Oscars."

MacFarlane has made it clear that the job is too time-consuming for him to take on again, even if invited.

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