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May. 13 2010 - 4:53 am | 564 views | 0 recommendations | 8 comments

‘Hot in Cleveland’ doesn’t look funny, but that’s not the only reason it’s time to give this Betty White obsession — and White herself — a rest

Okay, we get it! Betty White is funny. If I could, I’d adopt her, prop her up on my sofa, and have her entertain me with salty one liners all day long.

But enough is enough. Yes, she whupped big ass (as she herself might say) last weekend on Saturday Night Live. Yes, I particularly enjoyed her census-taker skit with Tina Fey and found myself wishing it would go on for a little while longer. And yes, despite the lame trailer for her soon-to-debut TV Land sitcom, Hot in Cleveland, I can’t wait for the first episode. (Hey, here’s an idea: What about a series featuring White’s character from the census skit and a homeless person pretending to be a cat?)

But no, I can’t get behind this: Facebook’s recently-launched campaign to get White to host the 2011 Oscars. Although White dismissed Facebook as “a huge waste of time” and its users as “losers” during her SNL opening monologue (perhaps her funniest line of the night — and am I the only one who didn’t think she was joking?), her fans on the site are at it again. They got her the SNL gig, now tens of thousands of them are pushing to get her to emcee the Academy Awards next year. And while they’re at it, they’re also angling for a Glee spot for the world’s favorite octogenarian.

I don’t “like” any of this. I’m enjoying the Betty White renaissance as much as everyone else, but I worry about overkill — not to mention giving too much power to people who spend all day playing Mafia Wars and Farmville. While I think casting her as Sue Sylvester’s mom on Glee would be a stroke of evil genius, and she couldn’t possibly do worse as Oscar host than such past disasters as Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman, I think it’s time to take the casting power away from people who have nothing better to do with their days than sit around creating Facebook homages to Betty White.

Also, the Oscars are sacred. They deserve a host with strong ties to Hollywood’s film community. Someone who can riff on the movies with reverence and irreverence (a quite difficult task that only Billy Crystal has pulled off with complete success in the last 20 or so years), not a TV legend with a gift for pulling off deadpan wisecracks. If anything, they should be putting their efforts behind getting Jim Carrey to host the damn thing, and to get his movie I Love You Phillip Morris in U.S. theaters once and for all.

As for this Betty White obsession, it’s time to get a life, Facebook folks. Starting June 16, you’ll get to see her on your TV screens on a weekly basis in Hot in Cleveland. And if that’s not enough (or if the show is unbearably unfunny), there are enough old episodes of The Golden Girls (seven seasons’ worth on DVD) to tie you over for the rest of your lives. Thank you for being a friend, but it’s time to make some new ones.


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  1. collapse expand

    I’m with you on this, Jeremy. Betty White has impeccable timing – consistently, eternally. Unfortunately her Facebook fans seem to have lots of time but zero sense of timing. Ready when you are to start the “Leave Betty White Alone Already” group.

  2. collapse expand

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much. This is the result of a clutch of LA-based PR guys who know exactly where to throw the money artist-agents throw at them. For example, it’s totally Twilight Zone, some of the crazy-random names that pop up on Yahoo’s “Most Searched” list, like “Mindy Cohn” out of nowhere. Ie, Betty White sold condo or something, threw the money at someone, who in turn started this retro-revival meme about her. This money will run out soon enough.

    Go ahead and call me paranoid; I’ll just reveal who Napoleon Bonaparte is masquerading as right this minute.

  3. collapse expand

    These initiatives are nothing: there’s a Facebook group to get Betty White as the goalie of the Montreal Canadiens!


    But she’ll never be the goalie that Margaret Atwood is.


  4. collapse expand

    You’re absolutely right, Jeremy, good call! Didn’t his whole Betty White thing gather serious momentum after the Superbowl Snickers commercial she was in?

    Two years ago it was Chuck Norris all over t-shirts web fora / forums. I think it comes down to a form of kitsch for the internet idle.

    And nothing more.

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