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Seth MacFarlane: Crude Or Classy? Delightful Or A Dolt? You Be The Critic

Host Seth MacFarlane backstage during the Oscars ceremony Sunday night in Hollywood.
Christopher Polk
Getty Images
Host Seth MacFarlane backstage during the Oscars ceremony Sunday night in Hollywood.

The reviews of Seth MacFarlane's performance as host of the Oscars are in and they're all over the place.

NPR's Linda Holmes thinks the bad boy behind Family Guy was "predictably juvenile" and offensive. She concludes it was "one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history."

The most "voted up" comment from one of Linda's readers, though, reaches the exact opposite conclusion. And The Chicago Tribune's Nina Metz also comes down on MacFarlane's side, saying he "kept a solid handle on the proceedings" and "opened with a series of jokes that were bona fide winners, landing on just the right tone: confident but not cocksure."

Here's a sampling of what six other critics had to say about Seth:

-- Thumbs down. "Awash in self-indulgence, neither he nor his 3-hour-and-35-minute show ever seemed to hit a comfortable, confident stride." (Robert Bianco, USA Today)

-- Thumbs up. "MacFarlane managed to be both immature and gentlemanly, a zany master of voices and a crooner, a little Howard Stern and a little Frank Sinatra." (Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe)

-- Thumbs down. " As expected, MacFarlane was occasionally crude and mildly offensive; unfortunately, he wasn't very funny. Which is a pretty big problem for a comedian." (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times)

-- Thumbs up. "Seth MacFarlane was a delightful, dashing and sometimes hilariously rude host. He had a sarcastic, fun-loving style that was reminiscent of Johnny Carson, but Johnny could never sing as well as Seth." (Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel)

-- Thumbs down. "It's the host who sets the tone, and in that regard MacFarlane was problematic. I say 'problematic' in the way that a Secretary of State might describe a report that North Korea had fired a missile in our direction." (Tom Gliatto, People magazine)

-- Thumbs up (sort of). "Seth MacFarlane isn't [the] worst Oscar host ever. ... [He] brought unshakable self-confidence to the Academy Awards Sunday night, singing, dancing, making out (in a taped bit) with Sally Field and drawing occasional scowls and boos from the Hollywood A-list." (Gail Pennington, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Sounds to us like there's one thing all can agree on: MacFarlane got folks talking. Feel free to share your opinion of his performance in the comments thread.

Note: That's just a question, not a scientific survey of public opinion. We'll keep it open until midnight ET Tuesday.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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