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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Live from New York, it's Saturday Night with Betty White

Well, such high expectations usually do lead to disappointment - and last night's special Mother's Day edition of Saturday Night Live with the fabulous Betty White was, unfortunately, no exception to the rule. There were a few funny sketches, but overall the material just didn't live up to Betty's comedic talents. However, the funny lady can make almost anything amusing without even saying a word - and it was still a hoot to see her hosting. I also loved that Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer all returned to SNL to join Betty. But the show should've been so much better. I mean, come on, folks, no Golden Girls spoof? Or a visit from Sue Ann Nivens still lying in her vibrating bed? The following are my random thoughts while tuning in to the show:

10:30 pm: Fred Armisen makes a terrific Lawrence Welk and I love the "Lennon Sisters" - even though Kristen Wiig's character definitely pushes the boundaries of good taste. But I do find it strange that SNL is making fun of these people who haven't been on television in 30 years.

10:35 pm: Betty's opening monologue is hilarious as she talks about Facebook being a huge waste of time and needing a Ouija board to contact her old friends. Also, "poking" used to occur on hayrides under blankets back in her day.

10:40 pm: Betty plays MacGruber's Nana who tells embarrassing stories about him as he tries to defuse a bomb. It just isn't that funny - but, of course, SNL wants to promote the movie version of this sketch, which will be released on May 21 (are people actually going to pay money to see this?)

10:42 pm: Shannon and Gasteyer are wonderful as hosts of the NPR show, Delicious Dish - characters they used to play when they were regulars. But when Betty shows up as Florence Dusty, an old baker discussing her muffin, the three of them really shine in this bawdy sketch, which is the best one of the evening.

10:50 pm: I like the commercial for Betty's new TV Land show, Hot in Cleveland - and Valerie Bertinelli looks great.

10:51 pm: Fred Armisen plays the host of The Manuel Ortiz Show, a Spanish talk show in which all the guests have to dance with him before sitting down to chat about their telenovela lives. It's an amusing but weird sketch that doesn't really go anywhere.

10:55 pm: Another MacGruber sketch, which is less funny than the first one.

11:00 pm: Another odd sketch with Betty telling everyone in her family back in 1904 that young daughter Gingey (played by Poehler) is a lesbian. Betty gets to say "balls" and the studio audience laughs. And I guess the sketch takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, as a way to promote Betty's new series.

11:03 pm: Oh God, not another MacGruber sketch - but at least this one has a few laughs as Nana and her grandson almost kiss and Betty gets bleeped as she says, "Are you out of your fucking mind?"

11:08 pm: The musical guest is a rapper named Jay-Z, whose song goes on forever. I would much rather see next week's guests, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

11:19 pm: Weekend Update with Seth Meyers isn't that great until Rudolph shows up as Whitney "I'm out of breath" Houston, who gets deliciously skewered. I could've easily watched more of her instead of some of the other dud sketches.

11:25 pm: Update continues with Shannon's character, Sally O'Malley, whom I do not understand at all. She's 50 and she kicks. What's so funny about her?

11:29 pm: Update concludes with Meyers and Poehler (and a much too brief appearance by Fey) doing their old "Really!?!" segment. They made a great Weekend Update team, didn't they?

11:35 pm:
One of the worst sketches of the night has Betty playing a tough grandmother trying to scare straight some juvenile delinquents. Betty gets to say "Wizard of Ass" twice because of some weird references to The Wizard of Oz - as well as Willy Wonka - that don't make much sense.

11:43 pm:
A lame promo for the new CBS show, CSI: Sarasota, with Betty as Vivian Caruso, actor David Caruso's grandmother. They do this instead of a Golden Girls sketch?

11:46 pm: A Digital Short featuring the entire cast serenading Betty with the Golden Girls theme song, "Thank You for Being a Friend". It's sweet - but then it turns into something dumb and violent with Betty getting to say "motherfuckers" (bleeped, of course). I guess the writers think Betty saying any bad word or anything "non-grandmotherly" will get a few yucks.

11:52 pm: More Jay-Z. I like the blond singer named Mr. Hudson better, but at least Jay-Z dedicates the song, "Forever Young" (I assume that's the title), to Betty.

11:56 pm: Tina Fey, who has very little to do on tonight's show, plays a census taker interviewing Betty, who delivers a few funny lines. I like the way she says her bizarre name, "Blaarfingaar".

12:00 pm: Betty says good night and gets some flowers from the cast. The end. I would've rather watched the cast hug Betty and each other for five minutes than some of the "comedy" sketches I was forced to sit through. But at least Betty was marvelous (runners-up: Maya Rudolph as Whitney and Shannon and Gasteyer as the NPR ladies).


laura linger said...

I was really scared that I had hurt your feelings, something that I would never, ever, ever do. Love you and your blog to death and am thrilled for (and pathologically jealous of) your success.

Laura Beth

Deep Dish said...

You didn't hurt my feelings - you made me laugh. And you were only stating the truth. :)

Thanks for this sweet comment, Laura! I always enjoy reading what you write about.

Stephen said...

I thought it was the funniest SNL in decades... She was in every sketch!