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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Did you watch Betty White on ‘Saturday Night Live’ this past weekend?

In light of the reappearance of Betty White on the pop culture scene, and as a sort of hipster icon no less — we talked about this last week — it seems like the right followup to ask:

Did you watch Betty White on Saturday Night Live this past weekend?

Her opening monologue:


Reviews are mixed. Robert Bianco in USA Today complains:

Clearly, they didn’t know what to do with her.

So they had her make some blue jokes, bear the brunt of multiple “isn’t she old” jokes, and pump for the upcoming MacGruber movie — and then make a few more blue jokes. I realize White’s juxtaposition of angelic manner and gutter language has proven to be a sure-fire laugh-getter — but 90 minutes of it? Surely after the first dozen times she says “lesbian” or makes some sexual reference or gets bleeped out for cursing, the routine begins to lose some of its punch.

I didn’t watch White — I haven’t watched SNL in years, gave up on it when even the new stuff felt started to feel dated the moment it aired — but that sounds like something I might say. But Christopher John Farley at the Wall Street Journal blog Speakeasy is more positive:

Her timing was excellent, her delivery expert. She performed a real monologue-not the kind too many other hosts offer up, which are basically skits, featuring videos, and other performers. Can she host again soon, please?

And all the White love of late gave the show its best ratings in 18 months.

Did you watch? If so, what did you think? Did you skip it? Could you — like me — not possibly care any less about Saturday Night Live?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • JoshDM

    Having missed it on Saturday, I watched most of it on Hulu yesterday. It was OK. What was interesting was they brought back most, if not all, of the recent (last decade or so) female alums, so it was also sort of a reunion episode. Many roles were reprised, including Delicious Dish, among others.

  • Nadia

    I watched it and thought it was quite good. Sure, she made a lot of “old” jokes, but they were actually funny, and her sketches weren’t bad either. I usally watch SNL mostly for the Weekend Update and skip most of the other parts, but this I actually enjoyed most of the episode.

  • Laura

    I was really skeptical of how they would handle having her there, but I think they did a great job. I felt that this was the first truly funny episode in a really long time. They did make a lot of “Betty White is old!” jokes, but she did such a great job with them that they were actually funny. Additionally, watching all the other women come back was somewhat bittersweet. While they really made me laugh, it made me kind of sad realizing that next week SNL will go back to being just a bunch of dudes making unfunny jokes.

  • mortadella

    Watched and liked it very much. With the returning female cast members there, there was quite a bit of chick power on display. They handed Betty two dozen white roses at the end. Very nice.

  • DeaconJones

    I thought Betty was a consummate professional, and handled all her skits with enthusiasm, humor and aplomb, even if some of the skits were a bit tiresome in their reliance on the aforementioned, “Betty White is old” tack. I also with they’d give it a bit of a rest on the sexual humor. (I was amazed at how long the ‘muffin’ sketch went on.)

    It was great though, to see all the returning female cast members, and their tributes to her were fun and heartfelt.

  • bats :[

    I didn’t see it all, but I liked what I did see (it was also great having several former cast members on, particularly for skits like the NPR “Delicious Dish” program).

    Too bad they didn’t have Betty together with Don Pardo (the two of them with over 150 years of entertaining experience).

  • Didn’t watch it. Haven’t watched SNL in years, and frankly don’t get what the universe’s fascination with Betty White is. It’s not that I dislike the woman; I’m just apathetic.

  • Patrick

    I enjoyed it. I feared it would be much worse, but it was pleasant enough. Considering how bad the current version of SNL is, “pleasant enough” is pretty remarkable. Betty White was great. I was happy that she was in (correct me if I am wrong) every single sketch. And I read this morning that she stayed out and partied with the cast and crew until three in the morning. We can all only hope to be in such good shape at eighty-eight and a half.

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