That crashing sound you heard was the collapse of the final vestiges of taste, civility, respect, decency -- whatever you want to call it - after the allegedly classy Oscar producers named "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane as the host of the 85th annual Academy Awards next February. MacFarlane used to be the highest-paid sleaze ball in television. He is now the King of Hollywood.
Hollywood, bow to your king. Pick up your pukesicle and lick, lick, lick. You deserve each other.
The first-time producers of this new cultural low are Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who both know something about dwelling in the gutter. They produced the outrageously fictional nonfiction movie, "The Reagans," that even CBS declined to run. Among other beauts, they made up a scene in which the president preached in the White House that AIDS sufferers deserved to "die in sin." The word "classy" is not in their political vocabulary.
They found their match in MacFarlane, who, during one Oscars interview, was asked if Obama would win the presidential race. "I think at this point, Obama can walk out with his penis out on stage and he'd still be able to win." Yes, Hollywood, your new king is that refined.
For his part, MacFarlane has tried to deny he was bringing a flame-thrower to Oscar tradition. "We're not going to turn the Oscars into 'Family Guy,'" he insists. But the descent from Bob Hope and Johnny Carson to Seth MacFarlane is from the clouds in the sky to the bowels of the sewer.
MacFarlane also joked that he hopes people don't remember he hosted Comedy Central's very mean-spirited Charlie Sheen roast. That was when he predicted Sheen would soon be dead, and read the personal obituary he'd written, declaring the actor was found dead in his apartment, then stopped. "I just kinda just copied Amy Winehouse's obituary," he said. Then he added: "I only had to change three things: the sex of the deceased, the location of the body, and the part that says 'a talent that will be missed.'"
This is the Oscar producers' definition of "new and fresh." It's about as fresh as something that's curdled in the back of your refrigerator unnoticed since the 1990s.
On the Sunday before MacFarlane was crowned King of Hollywood, "Family Guy" premiered on Fox with a plot that had the whole Griffin family competitively climbing Mount Everest. It was so tiring that Peter, the "family guy," vomited, but his eruption froze immediately at the high altitude. Peter then asked Brian the talking family dog if he'd like a "pukesicle," and Brian gratefully replied, "I would love a pukesicle."
Violent death is another standard formula for laughs. Trying to keep warm on the mountain, Baby Stewie imagined a gambling run in Las Vegas. When it went bad, he imagined strangling a showgirl in the bathtub with the cord of her hair dryer.
Then on "American Dad," Roger, the effeminate space alien, found himself having a nervous crush on Hayley, the college-aged daughter of the title character Stan. Since it made him nervous to talk to her, he shot her dead. Ha. Ha.
This notion of hilarious death even extended to the commercials. The liberal group, Rock the Vote, asked MacFarlane to make a public service announcement for voter registration that ran during MacFarlane's shows. Stan, the "American Dad," and Brian, the "Family Guy" dog, touted voting before they started insulting each other. Stan called the dog "a whiny, sanctimonious liberal voice that wants to get illegal aliens free hair gel and heroin," and the dog called Stan a "trigger-happy conservative weasel-faced hate spigot" -- and then Stan shot the dog dead. He bled on the floor as Stan urged people to vote.
MacFarlane's target audience is clearly modeled after a coarse and twisted 12-year-old boy. One of the "gags" on "American Dad" had Stan wanting to buy an incredibly wasteful SUV that ran on carbon, oxygen and potassium -- the "Hummie C.O.K. Guzzler." His wife then lamely added, "Wouldn't it be cleaner if they added another carbon molecule before the potassium? Then it would guzzle C.O.C.K."
You have to wonder McFarlane keeps his costs low by paying his writers with used PlayStation games, Slurpees and McDonald's coupons. McDonald's and other large corporations (Dodge, Toyota, even Domino's Pizza) keep fanning the flatulence beneath MacFarlane's wings.