Many industryites called it a slam at middle America and the bedrock viewers that the Oscarcast needs most to maintain its status as a must-watch event.
In the partially pre-taped bit, Kimmel walked onto the red carpet in casual clothes and stopped to chat with pre-show host Lara Spencer, complaining about the everyday people who sit at home sending out harsh comments about celeb fashion choices. The bit was an extension of a recurring feature on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in which celebs read nasty items about them from Twitter.
“They’re vicious,” Kimmel said with mock outrage of mean tweeters. “They should be sterilized immediately.”
Kimmel then stepped through the screen and came through the flat screen TV in the home of a rotund man and woman watching the show from their couch and eating cheese puffs. He read some nasty comments from them and called them out, criticizing their own downscale outfits.
“You’ve got orange fingers, you’re wearing a pink Juicy jumpsuit,” Kimmel said to the woman. “Hello! Is this the Real Housewives of 7-11?”
The bit ended with Kimmel climbing back through the flat screen TV and onto the red carpet, where he assured Spencer that he had delivered the message and that he would never be so hard on celebs.
“I would never do something like that,” he said. “I don’t make fun of people.”
The reaction from the Twitterverse was swift. It wasn’t all negative, but plenty of people found that it hit the wrong note. Kimmel is also set to host ABC’s live post-Oscar special later tonight — which may well provide him with an opportunity to answer his critics.