we-saw-your-boobs1Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts—among the many targets of the host’s pre-adolescent gibes at the Oscars.

When we were planning our live blog of the 2013 Academy Awards, I promised the editors at Women’s Voices for Change that I would submit a follow-up story.

Here’s what I’d like to be writing about: the great films that were honored, the fine performances by actors and actresses, the screenplays, costumes, sets, and sound. The parade of fashion, the “it” couples, the tearful speeches. Hollywood’s willingness to shine a cinematographer’s light on injustice, warfare, and mental illness.

Here’s what I have to write about instead: boobs, boobs, and, well, boobs.

To borrow from the texts of my teenage daughter and friends . . . WTF!

Entertainment people are a little crazy and we like them that way. But on Sunday night, it wasn’t just that the inmates were running the asylum. Pre-adolescent boys had taken over the world—or at least an international television event that’s second only to the Super Bowl in terms of viewership. But what did the folks at the Academy expect when they hired Seth MacFarlane, creator of such crude fare as Family Guy and Ted?

They may have wanted an edgier Oscars. They got: boobs.

Granted, there were moments that were not about boobs. Hmmm . . . there were the seemingly endless racist and anti-Semitic jokes. There were belittling comments about women and gays, mentions of Hollywood orgies and some stars’ preference for much younger dates. The pièce de répugnant résistance? A charming shout-out to the entertainment industry’s poster children for domestic violence. Describing Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar contender Django Unchained, MacFarlane quipped:

“This is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.”

The camera then panned to the happy couple, looking radiantly happy and, for now at least, bruise-free.


I’ve already alluded to the infamous “We Saw Your Boobs” song. If you take a closer look at the movies he mentions, many feature violent scenes of rape. Getting naked in Boys Don’t Cry,  Accused, and Monster was a far cry from women in The Girls Next Door gleefully baring their bodacious tatas. Here are some of MacFarlane’s other brilliant lyrics:

We saw your boobs, we saw your boobs.
In the movie that we saw, we saw your boobs . . .
Meryl Streep, we saw your boobs in Silkwood.
Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive.
Angelina Jolie, we saw your boobs in Gia, they made us feel excited and alive.
Anne Hathaway, we saw your boobs in Brokeback Mountain.
Halle Berry, we saw them in Monster’s Ball.
Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut.
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler, but we haven’t seen Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs at all.

The actresses named were, of course, sitting in the audience along with their male peers. The word disrespectful doesn’t begin to cover it. And it wasn’t even an intelligent stab at humor; the number was just plain stupid. In other words, it was pretty much par for the course.

Despite the overdose of puerile humor—and, believe me, with the Oscars running 3 hours and 35 minutes, some cuts would have been welcome—there were moments that shone through. Not one but two legendary divas performed: Shirley Bassey brought down the house as she belted “Goldfinger,” celebrating 50 years of 007 films, and Barbra Streisand performed an intimate, moving rendition of “The Way We Were” to honor her friend and collaborator, the late Marvin Hamlisch. A younger generation of singers, including Adele and Jennifer Hudson, demonstrated that the torch is by no means out.

There were some thoughtful acceptance speeches and some clever presenter bits. And the entire theater rose in support of Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence after she tripped on her way up to the stage. “You’re only standing because I fell,” she teased before graciously accepting her award. Her class and humor and human-ness were sorely missing at other times.

Even the red carpet offered some food for thought. Jane Fonda (who must still be living by her “Make it Burn” motto—oy, does she look good!), Meryl Streep, and other actresses of a certain age shone brightly. Helen Hunt’s gorgeous blue gown was from H & M, proving that style can be achieved on any budget (granted, she did accessorize the budget dress with three-quarters of a million dollars in diamonds).

Nevertheless, this year’s Oscars left a bad taste in my mouth. And I wasn’t alone. The real-time social media was brutal and mostly negative. As Captain Kirk warned us from the future in a started-funny-but-went-on-way-too-long conceit at the beginning of the show, Seth MacFarlane was the “Worst Oscars Host Ever.” And that’s saying something.

He has already announced that he won’t host again if invited. I say, good riddance.

In recent days, I’ve been accused of soap-boxing, of being humorless along the lines of: “Your political correctness is sucking all the fun out of entertainment.” Would I really rather watch a classy evening of Hollywood honoring its own—without the off-color jokes and nasty jibes?

Uh . . . yes. Yes, I would.

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Daniel August 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Well why some were offensive, what did they expect. Seth Macfarlane brand of humor strives to shock and offend.

  • Diane Vacca March 2, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Alexandra, I would also “really rather watch a classy evening of Hollywood honoring its own—without the off-color jokes and nasty jibes.”

    For my blog (VBIblog.com) and for ComedyBeat.com I wrote two pieces about the “boobs” (“Not everybody loved Seth MacFarLane” and “I saw your junk,” a parody of “I saw your boobs”). I’m also interested in censorship and First Amendment issues and whether comedians have a special role to play (speaking truth to power, pointing out hypocrisy, etc.) that excuses them from the criticism we would level at a politician or other public figure for saying the same thing or using the same language in public.

    In the first piece I too included the picture of Naomi Watts reacting to the song as an example of a typical woman’s reaction.

    What I didn’t know until my daughter told me, worried that I had made a fool of myself, was that the reactions of the actresses were pre-recorded. Sure enough, they are all wearing different gowns.

    And then it all came together. I’m sure the actresses were paid– were they bought off or merely compensated for their work? The whole thing was planned and stage-crafted.

    Are all of us more sensitive to the issues you mentioned than younger women because of our age? Because we’re not so inured to that vulgarity? Or, having lived the civil rights struggle and the fight for women’s rights, are we more sensitive to gender, racial, etc. slurs? My daughter, for example, likes MacFarlane and enjoyed his performance at the Oscars.

    There are a relatively few of us who derive no enjoyment from MacFarlane’s brand of humor. Perhaps we are a dying breed. I hope not.

  • Nina Haft March 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Awesome, thank you for this!

  • Diane Vacca February 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    “But what did the folks at the Academy expect when they hired Seth MacFarlane, creator of such crude fare as Family Guy and Ted?”

    They expected exactly what they got — It was what they paid for.

    William Shatner, reprising his role of Star Trek‘s Captain Kirk prepared the audience for what it was about to see:

    “You sing an incredibly offensive song that upsets a lot of actresses in the audience. … You’ll be able to see exactly how you ruined the ceremony.”

    Did the Academy think this introduction would inoculate it against criticism? Probably not. The producers were fooling themselves if they did. In fact, I’m sure they anticipated the outrage and welcomed the publicity.

    And here’s the kicker: The reactions of actresses Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence were pre-recorded. Their offended reactions were faked. They were part of the show.

    No, the show’s producers encouraged MacFarlane and past hosts. The Oscars had its largest audience ever — a million more than last year. Crude sexual innuendoes play mostly to young men, and in fact, the 18-34 demographic in the audience grew 20 percent over last year.

    It’s all about money. It always is.

  • Leslie in Portland February 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Well put, Alexandra and all of the above commenters (especially Cecilia).

  • Taylor February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I didn’t need to watch Sunday night to agree. I’m not surprised since Hollywood continues to sink lower and lower. Apparently there is not much shock value remaining and this is what we’re left with. I wonder how Michelle Obama explained to her daughters such an exhibition of misogyny, racism and poor taste especially after inserting herself into the middle of it.

  • The Author February 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    If they were looking to ‘dumb it down’, they succeeded. They should leave the rude, crude crap for their crappy cartoons they make for adults under the guise of making them for children. The song? Justified the intellect of the host and the creators. Won’t be watching it again, ever.

  • Alessia February 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I watched all series of Blackadder lately and I was thinking it’s really a pity this kind of humour is no longer produced. There’s just a lot of rubbish that doesn’t make me laugh at all and I’m no way someone politically correct. I liked Achmed the Dead Terrorist of the new stuff. So yeah, not really politically correct, the criticism you predicted doesn’t apply to me and still I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Dana Haan February 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Seth Macfarland is nothing more than a pre-adolescent himself, whose only hope is to pretend he’s all grown up behind the crayons he writes with. Not only does Seth continue to evolve in his childish sandbox of hate and disdain for women and gays, but he also demonstrates his own closet wants and fears when it comes to his personal experiences with him. He’s a nervous guy who cannot express his true feelings and nature of any person or situation he walks into.

  • hillsmom February 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Gee, my comment was deleted because I said I wasn’t interested…so it goes. I’m so glad I missed it. It’s just not what it once was. ;^)

  • Kathryn Kroo February 28, 2013 at 9:25 am

    This year’s Oscars were painful for just about everyone but puerile men. Boobs (really?), anti-Semitism, domestic violence…yes, Seth, it really is too soon.

  • ellen sue spicer-jacobson February 28, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Agree 100%
    I went to bed!

  • Cecilia Ford February 28, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Besides poor taste, the Oscar host’s puerile jokes were remarkable for their poor quality. A friend who is a comedian told me he always avoids sex and race jokes, not only for political reasons, but because they are too lazy. The Oscars represent one of the United States’ most important exports and the telecast was being watched by billions of people. I found myself wondering what the subtitles were looking like across the world during the “Boobs” song. While many of the nominated pictures this year were exceptional,they are just a handful, and 90% of what has been produced lately in (mainstream) Hollywood is unwatchable. Perhaps the show is beginning to reflect what’s happening in the industry.

  • Elaine February 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Totally agree with your assessment. In fact, I could not even watch the whole thing. I tried, but I felt so empathetically embarrassed for those there that I had to turn it off. With so much talent amassed at one event, it’s amazing to me that the product is so bad. I love movies and appreciate the work of those who make them, but the awards shows are inexplicably bad.