Watching the Oscars and Parenting Boys

I made a not-so-rookie parenting mistake Sunday: I let enthusiasm and sparkle-lust get in the way of logic. That’s my excuse for getting all excited and putting on the ritz (crackers) for the 85th Academy Awards. Yep, we watched as a family. Somehow, in the midst of cooking up a wee celebratory feast and getting out the “fancy” glasses, I didn’t let the name Seth MacFarlane come to a full boil.

“Shoulda coulda woulda” known better if I’d thought a little bit more about Family Guy (I try not to…) and a little less about movie magic and Hollywood glamour.

Full disclosure: I am biased. I believe Family Guy, MacFarlane’s animated sitcom, is bigotry all dolled up and “acting” as entertainment. But—honestly?—when I saw that MacFarlane guy host Saturday Night Live a while back, I thought he was funny and talented. (Who knew he could sing and dance?)

Too bad Peter Griffin showed up to host the Oscars.

It wasn’t pretty. Watching the spectacle with my kids revealed the many squirm-inducing challenges of raising children to be considerate, compassionate people. This gala show about honouring and paying tribute to people was also about disparaging and shaming them. Along with all the razzle dazzle and Cinderella gowns there was a putrid downhill stream of sexist, racist, fill-in-the-blank-ist “one-liners.” And then there were the song and dance routines. How about that “We Saw Your Boobs” number anyway? The one that dissed all the industry-leading actresses who put the art of cinematic storytelling before their own modesty?

Predictably, my guys giggled. They giggled the way they did one summer back when they were little and went around with their friends saying “pee pee pee” and “poop poop poop” while snickering nervously and poking each other in the ribs.

Argh. I guess that’s what happens when a parent mistakes the prime-time Academy Awards as suitable family viewing-time. It wasn’t. I’ve read all kinds of follow-up commentary about “edgy” humour and a network’s attempt to attract more male viewers. While movies may, indeed, be about  altered reality, it’s hard to buy into that storyline. Dear Oscar: Bigotry doesn’t equal entertainment.

I’m making certain my guys and I have something better to watch next year. Just about anything else will do.

What did you think about Sunday night’s show?

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