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Among the Springfield faithful, MacFarlane’s Family Guy is chastised for having borrowed, referenced, or outright stolen a great deal from the denizens of Springfield. He’s criticized among the diehard fans of the show for being tasteless, lazy, and self-indulgent. Suffice it to say, as an avowed Simpsons nerd, he’s not my favorite person in the world.
But he was a great Oscar host.
A good Oscar host can make the room a little uncomfortable. A good Oscar host can laugh at himself. A good Oscar host is versatile. A good Oscar host knows how to put on a show. A good Oscar host knows how to deliver a comic aside. A good Oscar host can bring something unexpected.
And Seth MacFarlane’s ability to do all of those things is why he was great at the Academy Awards. He threw out a fair share of barbs while surrounded by Tinseltown’s elite. He channeled the clever, if raunchy, feistiness, that gave Family Guy its initial cult following. He harnessed his love for Old Hollywood with his crooning, vaudeville-style repartee, and song and dance routines. He tempered it all with healthy doses of self-effacement to soften the blows in both directions.