Some critics took offense at Seth MacFarlane's Oscar jokes—but the more universal complaint was that the show dragged, perhaps even more than usual. Among the reactions:
- "Well, that didn't work," writes Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times, calling the show "long, self-indulgent, and dull even by the show's time-honored dull-defining standards." Obsessed with the musical aspect of the night, producers "forgot the essential truism of their business: It's all in the timing and the presentation."
- At Salon, Andrew O'Hehir notes that we spent "three and a half hours of our mortal lives on some bizarre variety show, hosted by a guy most of the audience probably didn’t recognize, that ended with five minutes of movie awards." It eventually became clear "that MacFarlane was just going to keep telling increasingly distasteful fat-chick jokes and John Wilkes Booth jokes until it was time to segue into 'Why is this show so long?' jokes."
- OK, MacFarlane wasn't "out-and-out terrible," writes Spencer Kornhaber at the Atlantic. He was full of "fake edginess," but "what the jokes were, really, was stupid, boring, and empty: humor that relied less on its own patently sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. content than on admiration for or disgust with the host's willingness to deliver it."
- In short, notes Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times: "MacFarlane didn’t ruin the show. But the show almost ruined the Oscars."
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