25 February 2013

Oscar the Grouch

Maybe you watched the Oscars last night. I did. I sat by the TV with my kids and my knitting bag. We admired the beautiful gowns on the red carpet and rooted for our favorite movies when the awards presentations began.

And about a third of the way into it, I had had enough.

My main problem with the program was the offensive jokes. I've been accused of lacking a sense of humor before, but I promise, when something is legitimately funny, I'm laughing the loudest. Nonetheless, it really didn't seem appropriate to me to have an entire musical number called "We Saw Your Boobs," listing the actresses who had appeared topless in various films. Was it necessary to subject such big-screen greats as Helen Hunt and Anne Hathaway, actors who have paid their dues just as much as any man in attendance, to fourth-grade-level body-part jokes? Have we made no progress on this front?

Nor was it funny to joke about domestic violence in the context of Chris Brown and Rihanna. I've made my point about this already, and I won't belabor it, but violence against women is not funny. Ever. At all.

And did Seth MacFarlane, or, more accurately, his writers, think that the jokes about Jews in Hollywood would meet with raucous laughter? Since when is it okay to make anti-Semitic remarks thinly disguised as jokes?

But it wasn't just the jokes. The artists who were honored with awards were given an extremely limited amount of time to thank those who had helped them in their achievements. Anyone who went over the allotted speech time was drowned out by a loud, obnoxious rendition of the theme from "Jaws" (which was intended, I assume, to be construed as funny) and swept offstage, sometimes while still trying to thank their mothers or agents. The reason why the artists were given so little time had to do with leaving enough time for the musical numbers ("We Saw Your Boobs," for example) and the comedy routines (one of which involved Ted, the profane teddy bear, theorizing that pretending to be Jewish could further his Hollywood career).

Frankly, I would have rather heard a costume designer acknowledge the adults who inspired and encouraged her as a child than have listened to another cruel joke about how old Meryl Streep is getting.

The question is this: what is the point of the Oscars broadcast? Is it to honor the artists who entertain and inform us through their work, or is it to entertain the masses at the artists' expense? I am an avid movie fan. There is nothing I like better than an evening at the theater, with a big bucket of popcorn and a soda, escaping from my daily life into the fantasy world of a well-made film.

I tune in to the Oscars because I love the beautiful clothes and the well-deserved accolades. I enjoy hearing the actors and directors talk about who and what inspired them. And in the past, I have enjoyed the musical performances, the tasteful retrospectives on the careers of those who have passed on during the year, and the tongue-in-cheek jokes and parodies. This year, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Am I alone?

1 comment:

nalyn said...

could not have said it better myself! thank you, thank you!
i too was offended, and to think this host was brought in to boost viewers in a younger demographic, and that it did help to do just that, leaves me further disturbed. The whole thing poor and tasteless jokes and songs, weird teddy bears and william shatner too?. THAT's what's getting ratings? Lord help us all. anything else i say here would just be a repeat of what you covered. So, no. you're not alone. Crass seems to be selling lots more than class and that's a sad fact.. shame on the oscar dream team. Seth won't be back, but rising from the lows that they stooped to or even if they want to...well i guess we'll see what happens next year..