Pop Rocks: Betty White Needs A Break
The Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Betty White aired last weekend, thanks to the efforts of some 500,000 Facebook users who bravely took a break from complaining about the security of those photos they posted from the Senor Frogs wet t-shirt contest in 1988 to create a group expressly for the purpose of making that happen.
The "Delicious Dish" sketch was pretty representative of the whole show:
Repeat for 90 minutes (minus Weekend Update). See, it's funny because they're using "muffin" as a euphemism for "vagina." And the comedy effect is doubled because White is old. Because if we've learned nothing else from the Rapping Granny and Goldie Hawn, it's that senior citizens spewing profanity or talking about S-E-X- is the Mt. Everest of comedy.
I've got nothing against White -- I still remember watching her as a kid alongside Judge Smails and Captain Stubing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- and I caught the occasional episode of Golden Girls, but that was mostly to address my burgeoning fascination with older women ignited by one Rue McClanahan (that Blanche could rock the hell out of a pantsuit). And White's been a steady presence on television for over 30 years, from Mama's Family to Boston Legal. In spite of the fact most people became re-aware of her following her Super Bowl Snickers commercial (see, it's funny because she implied she was having sex with that guy's girlfriend), her career "resurgence" isn't really a Robert Forster/Jackie Brown kind of comeback.
Besides that, transforming a prim and proper septuagenarian into a foul mouthed old lady might be a mildly amusing concept, if they hadn't already gone to that well in 1999:
See, it's funny because she told the guy to suck her...oh, never mind.
You can't blame White for capitalizing on her new popularity, of course. She's 88 years old, and as William Hung or Gerardo could tell us, Americans are a fickle bunch, moving from one shiny media obsession to another faster than you can sing "I eat 'em raw like sushi." But frankly, it's time to start looking for the next elderly TV stateswoman to exploit for cheap laughs. Should it be Florence Henderson? Marion Ross? Or my personal favorite, Joyce DeWitt?
I so wanted to go with Isabel Sanford, but...she's dead.