Thanks a lot, Neil Patrick Harris.
It's tough enough to find work these days without you changing the game, raising the bar and whatnot. But did you care?
You had to make audiences want more from their emceees than hit-and-miss monologues. You had to make them expect showmanship at awards shows.
It could be argued that Hugh Jackman is to blame for Oscar producers cooling on Jon Stewarts and Chris Rocks—the actor's super-charged 2009 Academy Awards stint, after all, predated Harris' noted hosting work.
But Harris scored so often on so many shows—at the TV Land Awards, at the Tonys, at the Emmys—that in his wake even Steve Martin, a comic with honest-to-box-office credentials, didn't get the Oscar gig without leading-man Alec Baldwin standing by his side, and (who else?) Harris performing the opening number.
And now look what you've wrought, NPH: Hathaway, with her all-around pizzaz; and, Franco, with his all-around Franco-ness.
Hathaway'll probably sing; she'll probably dance; Franco'll probably take a college course in between numbers. And they'll both look like movie stars doing it all.
And, you, Harris, you'll be the one to blame.
When we can't help but watch the whole blasted show because we'll have no idea what's going to happen next.
Or whether any of it will end up on General Hospital.