Monday, February 25, 2013

Contrite Oscars Producers Had 'No Idea Seth MacFarlane Would Act Like Seth MacFarlane'

Photo courtesy AP
SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Sunday night marked the debut of multi-faceted animator, voice actor and crooner Seth MacFarlane as host of Hollywood's most prestigious event, the Academy Awards. In an evening that famously parades the elite of the film industry's winners and losers, MacFarlane was counted among the victors, according to Nielsen ratings for the Oscars telecast. An average of 40.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The figures represented a modest two-percent increase from last year, when Billy Crystal returned to host, but the highest numbers since 2010. Nielsen analysts attributed the bump to an 11-percent increase among viewers 18 to 49, the demographic most important to advertisers -- and most likely to consider themselves fans of MacFarlane's work. Despite the ratings, however, criticism of MacFarlane was widespread. His efforts were blasted as inappropriate, offensive, sexist and antagonistic. On Monday, a spokesperson for Academy President Hawk Koch apologized and told dejected fans, "We had no idea Seth MacFarlane would act like Seth MacFarlane. We are deeply sorry to all those offended by Mr. MacFarlane's inappropriate Seth MacFarlane humor."

Hadley Mainwaring, the public relations executive for Mr. Koch, added that the Academy may consider suing MacFarlane for breach of contract. But in explaining the nature of the infringement, Mainwaring was forced to reveal some damning secrets about the Academy's selection process for Oscars hosts and the dark, terrible truths behind some of Tinseltown's past darlings.

Mainwaring admitted that a selected host is legally bound to portray the carefully constructed persona crafted for him by a crack team of Academy staff writers and image consultants.

"Hosts are selected based on their height, general stature, speaking voice, strong bladders, gender and conventionally appealing but non-threatening looks," Mainwaring explained. "Seth certainly fit that bill, but he violated the contractual clause that prevents all prospective hosts from betraying their true personalities -- which, for most celebrities, are horrific and generally evil."

Billy Crystal, one of the most popular hosts in Oscars history, is in real life a raving anti-Semite with an almost debilitating addiction to Quaaludes, middle-aged hermaphrodites and bloodsports such as cockfighting, according to Mainwaring. Crystal allegedly controls the goriest and most ruthless cockfighting cartel in Mexico.

"But when Billy steps on stage to host, he's an affable, harmless, Jewish schlemiel. That's the deal, and he honors it," Mainwaring said.

Bob Hope was reportedly fascinated with an "idiot manchild" he called Horst, whom he dressed in petticoats and blackface while masturbating to phonographs of The Andrews Sisters.

And Gene Kelly, originally approached to host in the 1970s, was refused the position after failing to curb his violent sexual predilections.

"That home invasion scene in 'A Clockwork Orange,' where Alex and his gang brutally rape the homeowner while chanting 'Singing in the Rain,' that was all inspired from Gene's real-life exploits," Mainwaring confessed. "We thought his sense of professional decorum would win out, but he molested three of the dancers backstage during dress rehearsals. One of them fatally, which is why champagne is now served in plastic bottles. We excluded Bob Barker from consideration for those same reasons."

Johnny Carson's deviant behavior -- which involved mayonnaise, rope and an old pack burro named "Steve Reeves" -- remains too graphic to discuss outside of closed doors.

When producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron first approached MacFarlane to emcee the 85th Academy Awards, they spent weeks together developing a more palatable persona, and had gained assurance from the 'Family Guy' creator that he would embrace this new public image.

"But it wasn't our Seth MacFarlane who appeared last night," Mainwaring lamented. "Our MacFarlane was an awkward, politically ambiguous, slightly effeminate but heterosexual song-and-dance man from an indeterminate Midwestern state, with a strong insinuation of a Protestant upbringing. Someone with a broad, Jerry Lewis, Reader's Digest sense of pop culture. Someone confused by the Summer of Love, and mildly embarrassed when confronted with the risque humor of Benny Hill."

Instead, it was Seth MacFarlane, not Seth MacFarlane, who emerged on the Dolby Theater stage Sunday night -- a liberal, boozy atheist who took sick glee in peppering the fragile egos of Hollywood's cherished inner circle with cocaine-snorting sock puppets, Chris Brown/Rhianna domestic violence jokes, the still-too-soon Lincoln assassination references, and a borderline pornographic song about women's bare chests.

"It was disgusting. It was beyond poor taste," Mainwaring told reporters. "This is a show meant to be suitable for all audiences -- to honor the talent and acting abilities of these leading ladies, not the myriad times they've willingly exposed themselves in their films. Even MacFarlane's skit with the teddy bear turned into a raunchy monologue with overtones of smut and bestiality that clearly sickened Mark Wahlberg. And I can't tell you how many decent crewmembers vomited backstage when MacFarlane virtually raped Sally Fields and forced her to drive off in his sports car. It was like something out of 'Crimes of Passion,' or so I'm told."

Mainwaring also said MacFarlane was specifically directed to forgo any mentions of "Family Guy," but insisted on performing the entire show "in the ridiculous voice of that talking dog he has on the cartoon. Just insult to injury. Just one big middle finger as thanks for an honor most celebrities will never receive."

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