Seth MacFarlane hates you and doesn’t care if you know it: “Ted” (2012)

9 July 2012

I think the feeling is mutual.

The problem is not that writer-director MacFarlane’s show Family Guy is unwatchable; nor is his film début Ted, for that matter. It’s that 90% of McFarlane’s humor belongs to a 13-yr-old, and 90% of that is about pushing at your boundaries. Jokes about gays, trashy white women, Asians, more gays, prostitutes, fat kids, Jews, and gays — and all with the gleeful “will you let me get away with this?” spew that I have only witnessed from unreconstructed frat guys who don’t know they’re being overheard.

To which I suppose MacFarlane would respond, “Hey, I know all about feminism and how wrong it is to make homophobic cracks or racist jokes about an Asian guy with a duck — I’m doing it ironically!” Thus, you’re the asshole if you complain.

So the whole audience will laugh at the gay jokes because no one wants to be an asshole, but the jokes are actually not funny even if you’re not a humorless feminazi like me.

The remaining 10% of jokes are better, and the film sports an incidental moment or two in the dialogue that are so good they make me want to weep for all the time this writer-director wastes on the other shit. There’s one particularly perfect reference to Flash Gordon (1980) that was so crystalline and throwaway it almost felt like something I’d hear from a friend of mine. MacFarlane’s scattershot references to other films are clever and enjoyable.

But … the rest of it? It’s Mark Wahlberg. Who has a life history (and criminal record) of thinking homophobic/ racist jokes like this are funny. (And who, BTW, cannot pass as a 35-yr-old. Sorry.)

Mila Kunis is charming as always, yet this material reminds me that a hefty chunk of her acting career is with material like this (That 70s Show, Meg Griffin on Family Guy). I’m not sure whether this is a problem of typecasting, craven career decisions, or that she actually thinks this stuff is funny.

And oh, did I mention? The story is about a boy who has no friends other than his teddy bear, a boy who grows up to become a man who has no friends other than his teddy bear. Autobiographical? You be the judge.

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4 Responses to “Seth MacFarlane hates you and doesn’t care if you know it: “Ted” (2012)”

  1. servetus Says:

    I read recently that people who use transitional objects into adulthood (it’s fairly prevalent, apparently) are more likely to be independent-minded.

    • Didion Says:

      I’m not sure that exactly applies in this case, as the bear isn’t really an object but a live person with a potty mouth and a penchant for dope smoking and hookers.

  2. info Says:

    Whatever, it’s probably amusing.


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