On Coming to Terms with Seth MacFarlane’s Talent
I’ve spent the better half of my life shouting (literally shouting) at anyone with two ears that Family Guy is, in fact, not funny at all, and if you think so, you probably don’t even understand why Reaganing is such a hysterical concept. Family Guy is not funny; it’s obnoxious. My limited exposure to The Cleveland Show and American Dad produced the same conclusion.
“But Courtney,” you might say, “Why is it so important to you to tear down Seth MacFarlane? Does shitting on his success make you feel better about yourself?” The answer to that question is unequivocally YES. Of COURSE I feel better when I tear down MacFarlane – the guy is one of the most successful comedians of the modern age, so when I shit on his sense of humor, I’m essentially screaming, “I’M FUNNIER THAN THE MODERN KING OF COMEDY, GUYS!”
Truth bomb: I’m not funnier than Seth MacFarlane. Not liking Family Guy does not make me funnier than he is; it makes me a pretentious television watcher/asshole. There’s an exchange in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where Bill Nighy’s character says “I’d rather be happy than right any day,” and Martin Freeman replies, “And are you? Happy?” Bill replies, “No, of course that’s where it all falls apart.” I’m the opposite – I would DEFINITELY rather be right than happy. Remember the part where I called myself a pretentious asshole?).
So imagine my surprise when last weekend, despite my self-promise to the contrary, I actually (gulp) enjoyed Seth’s stint as Oscar host.
That taste in my mouth? It’s me swallowing all the pointed barbs I’ve ever aimed at Seth and his humor. It’s me admitting I might be wrong about the man MacFarlane.
To be fair, his jokes weren’t what made me reexamine my opinion. He employed much of the same obvious pop-culture reference- style he uses on Family Guy (future Oscar host tip: Harvey Weinstein jokes are neither original nor super funny), so his opening monologue fell flat for the most part. But there were exceptions. He thrived most when avoiding topical entertainment to spring instead for classic Hollywood. I mean, how many people can work both Flying Nun AND Sound of Music jokes into the same broadcast? He got to make out with Sally Field. I CANNOT EXPRESS MY JEALOUSY. I tip my hat to you, sir.
But his humor wasn’t what did it for me. His humor alone will never be enough to convert me to Team MacFarlane. It’s that damn voice of his. His speaking voice. His Ted voice. His Stewie voice. HIS SINGING VOICE. Oh my god, I swear that finding his collection of jazz standards on Spotify was a revelation. It probably changed my life as much as discovering Chicago-style pizza has. Since the album has been around for a few years, I feel like I’m the last person to the MacFarlane singing party, but goddamn, am I glad I was finally invited. You don’t know heaven until you’ve heard MacFarlane’s cover of “Something Good” from Sound of Music.
So now here I stand. Just a girl, in front of the Internet, asking it to forgive her for her insistence that MacFarlane is overrated. You’ll forgive me right? If not, I understand. But if so, thanks Internet. Let’s go grab a drink and listen to a little Macfarlane, yes?