We now know he is not a fitting host for the Oscar ceremonies, which beg for a rather more elegant showman who engages the wider audience, someone who honors the industry even while gently knocking it.
"I just want to be a part of it," he said in the voice of Ted, the star of his movie. But, no. MacFarlane won't be admitted to the ranks of best Oscar hosts.
Racist jokes, adolescent male humor, silliness on the topic of domestic abuse, a Kardashian reference, audio problems and too many taped bits marred Sunday's 85th Academy Awards telecast.
Even if you enjoyed the "We Saw Your Boobs" musical number (and Jennifer Lawrence seemed to be the only one in the audience who did), the general tenor of the opening was better suited to "Family Guy."
We had so hoped Seth would surprise us as a bold Oscar presence. We never expected classy from the creator of "Ted" and "Family Guy," but entertaining would have been nice.
His reliance on taped bits rather than live performance didn't help. In fact, there were more pre-packaged songs and bits than any Oscar show in memory. Thank goodness for Barbra Streisand, who showed those lip-syncers how it's really done.
By turns too "inside," low-rent and goofy, MacFarlane wasn't the worst Oscar host ever. David Letterman's turn was less amusing. But it was far from distinguished. The infamous Snow White and Rob Lowe production number now has company. The James Franco-Anne Hathaway debacle now has a rival.
Lip-syncing, big kisses to the executive producer's own film "Chicago" (huffing, puffing Catherine Zeta Jones), and flat jokes resulted in a lurching, uneven night.
There were some great moments: The sock puppets re-enacting "Flight." (In the dryer.) Shirley Bassey celebrating Bond's 50 years with "Goldfinger." If you loved "Les Miz," you no doubt approved of the musical number. And the "Jaws" music playing off the verbose acceptance speeches was a fine touch.
The ironic stance, the smug self-awareness that MacFarlane represents, doesn't match the Oscars' reason for being.
Speaking of too inside: The ads rivaled those of the Super Bowl: Diet Coke's and iPad's Hollywood-themed commercials. But that's another column.