Thursday, July 05, 2012

ted, Seth Macfarlane, Humour

We saw "ted", the movie, this week. Didn't enjoy it. I'd felt sure that Seth Macfarlane would have cranked up his taste meter just a notch or two for the big screen. He hadn't, the opposite in fact. I don't consider myself strait-laced or lacking in appreciation for humour. I'll guffaw with the rest when off-colour jokes are told - in the right way. Seth Macfarlane, the movie's creator isn't a stand-up comedian, of course, he finds other ways to present off-colour, offensive and juvenile lavatory humour. Throughout ted I couldn't help feeling insulted.

Macfarlane has it in him to produce something worlds better than ted. My husband, trying to be kind, thought the movie seemed as though someone had said "better go through it and add some lavatory humour, some in-jokes and bitchiness". Maybe he's right. They have to sell movies or the industry will go belly-up. What is so sad is realising what does sell, and is applauded by so many, these days in the USA.

Ah well!

Back to the thorny topic of humour in general.What's the right way to tell an off-colour joke? That's too difficult to put into words. Billy Connolly can do it. Dave Allen could do it - though he did slip on the edge of acceptable towards the end of his career when he seemed to become all bitter and twisted. Perhaps the key is that "bad" jokes need to be told with some semblance of affection for the human race, life, and its general ridiculousness. I get that from Connolly , used to get it from early Dave Allen. I can't comment on US comedians, other than to say that from the little I've seen of Lenny Bruce, he definitely doesn't get the Twilight seal of approval. He was seemingly filled with hate for people, the world, life in general. That's where my personal boundary line lies, I think. George Carlin was brilliant, he became bitter and cranky, on the edge of hating late in his career, but managed to retain the affection of his audience, myself included, because his jokes continued to tell the truth about matters important to us all. Likewise in the case of Bill Hicks.

Sadly Seth Macfarlane is going the right way to being on the wrong side of my boundary. I realise he'd not care less, and laughs all the way to the bank. In his case though I feel it's such a shame. He's a brilliant voice/accent mimic; his Family Guy, in its early days, was fun - very good without going too far. We stopped watching it later on when it began to feel more hate-filled, bitchy simply unpleasant under the surface "fun" doubt chasing ratings and advertisers. It's always money - all the time.

I posted on Seth Macfarlane's natal chart, back in 2009 - here's a copy of that post:

Seth MacFarlane appeared as a guest on Bill Maher's "Real Time" on Friday night. He's an animator, composer, writer, producer, actor and voice actor, best known for creating the animated sitcoms "Family Guy" and "American Dad", for which he also voices many of the characters: Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, Glenn Quagmire and many additional characters.

Multi-talented? I guess so!

We watch "Family Guy" repeats quite often, The series has now come to an end, but repeats go on for ever in the USA. Stewie's Rex-Harrison-type English accent is a hoot. The humor and satire in the episodes often hovers around the border of acceptable and not acceptable, this is just part of its charm. Later seasons of the show seem to get more and more risque, certainly not fare for faint-hearted, strait-laced religiously oriented mortals.

When Seth MacFarlane appeared recently in a TV commercial, for HULU, and lapsed into the Stewie accent, I was completely taken aback. I'd felt convinced that some retired English actor from the West End stage was responsible for Stewie's lines.

Astrologically, I'd been expecting to see versatile Gemini (often a great mimic) featuring strongly in Seth MacFarlane's natal chart. I was wrong - unless Gemini is his rising sign (which can't be established without a time of birth). The chart below is set for 12 noon on his birth date: 26 October, 1973, Kent, Connecticut.

Just as MacFarlane has a surprising combination of talents, this chart has a surprising combination of Yods, aka Fingers of Fate. (A Yod is a planetary configuration made up of two planets in sextile aspect (60*), both linked to another planet via quincunx (150*), forming a sharp arrow-like shape.

Astrologers consider that these formations are reflected in the personality by the characteristics of the sextiled and harmonious planets blending and being channelled through the planet at the apex, via its own characteristics. A complex concept!

There are three Yods in this chart (as shown). That's fairly rare, I'd say. The Yods are themselves linked too, by Neptune forming part of each one.

Saturn/Mars~apex at Neptune = work/career/energy channelled via imagination and creativity.
Neptune/Jupiter ~ apex at Saturn = Imagination/exaggeration channelled via career and work (almost the mirror image of the previous Yod).
Neptune/Pluto ~ apex at Mars = Imagination/Passion/Darkness channelled via enthusiasm and energy.
The planets involved are exactly right for describing what Seth's career has turned out to be.

MacFarlane needed lots of energy and strong work ethic to get his projects off the ground and accepted by a primetime TV channel. These attributes comes via Saturn and Mars in the Yod configurations. His oddball characters are product of his Neptune links with a splash of Jupiter's excess. Pluto's appearance in one Yod, sextiling Neptune reflects the occasional satirical darkness of some of his storylines.

In general, apart from the trio of Yods, He's a Scorpio/Sagittarius type - intense yet with an outgoing enthusiasm for life and fun. I think he looks Sagittarian.

There are close square (90*) aspects in his chart: Sun to Jupiter to Mars, linked by the resulting opposition Sun to Mars which makes up yet another triangular configuration known as the T-Square. In this case the configuration links his core self (Sun) and two other planets in Fixed signs, bringing in an element of stubbornness and determination to add to the tension indicated by a T-square formation. But this formation does provide a special kind of dynamic tension - that which is is so often a pre-requsite for success.

In a lengthy and interesting interview at (here) Seth MacFarlane admits that he was stubborn and determined about keeping to his initial vision when Family Guy first came to the TV screen. He was unwilling to delegate much to his team at first, but said that he later eased into trusting his team and loosening the reins. This connects to his Fixed and controlling Scorpio planets easing under the influence of his Mutable Sagittarius planets (Venus and Neptune).
MACFARLANE: When Family Guy started as a series, I was very, very controlling....... out of sheer paranoia, because all of our writers had come off of live-action sitcoms. My first thought was, "Oh God, these people have never written for animation before." And really, by the end of the series, I could not have come to a more opposite viewpoint. It got to the point where you just rely on these people. Really, what I found was that good writers are good writers.


Dunyazade said...


sometimes I find the Draconic chart explains a lot. In that he has Sun and moon and also mercury in Aquarius - not Gemini, but also an air sign.

Plus, the natal chart, I checked the midpoints. Sun/Venus= mercury
and there's Venus/mars midpoint at 25º Aquarius which is square mercury at 25º Scorpio. so there are some mercury connections.


Twilight said...

Dunyazade ~~ Hi! Thanks for those observations.

I haven't studied Draconic charts to any extent, and I'm wary of mid-points. That's just a product of my obtuse resistance to some astro theory. ;-) I'm gratful for your input on these, and, as you say, the Gemini which seems so appropriate to Macfarlane's talent can be seen, as well as more of quirky Aquarius - that fits well too.

R J Adams said...

It's a 'sign of the times', as Petula Clark used to sing. All media now advocates violence, overdone drama, foul language, and just about everything that is base and uncouth. The young know no different, They think it's 'normal'.
When my wife was in Britain back in the early nineties she developed a passion for 'Coronation Street'. I'm no soap fan, but it was the best one on UK TV, in my opinion. We continued watching it over here, until recently. Over the last two years it has sunk to the depths: a continuum of violence, arguments, overplayed drama - all from one little Manchester street, and acted out by cardboard characters with ever-changing personalities to suit the 'writers' (I use the word advisedly!) idea of a plot. No-one cracks a smile on Coronation Street anymore. We've reverted to watching episodes from the seventies. What a breath of fresh air! Real actors playing real people you can truly care for. Such things no longer exist in today's media world.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ Uncouth - yes - good word, not heard much in the USA.

Oh! I'm so sorry to hear that Corrie has gone down the road of uncouthness also. I watched it regularly in the UK. It was quality soap opera - and if any US person thinks that's an oxymoron it's because they haven't seen soap opera at its best. Apparently over here soap opera is absolutely dreadful stuff (haven't seen any but relying on husband's opinion).

I'm glad I haven't made the effort to follow Corrie from this side of the pond then. I occasionlly come across reports of former Corrie stars dying, which always saddens me. I'll never forget Elsie Tanner, Ken, Deirdre, Renee and the corner shop.....Betty, sigh.

DC said...

Thanks for the Yod blog I've read in ages :)

Twilight said...

DC ~~~ You're very kind - thank you!

I enjoy finding Yods in a chart - they do seem to work in ways that are apparent even to a distant onlooker without much intimate knowledge of the person involved.