I realize I’m a few days late. Deal with it.
I watched Betty White on Saturday Night Live last week. She was a hoot. Eighty-eight years old and still a great performer. I have no beef with her. But I think she and SNL are getting a little too much credit here and are patting themselves on the back a little too hard. I know it’s fashionable to rag on SNL. It’s almost too easy and not fair these days. So when a solid episode occurs, yea it’s surprising, but we don’t need to get all hard over it.
The main reason why the episode was good was because of the other women that returned–Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Amy Pohler, Molly Shannon and most notably Anna Gastyer. The female cast of SNL has been so weak lately that any form of talent and writing shines in the sketch format. The NPR sketch was funny and worked, but only because it was a call back to the classic “Schweaty Balls” bit with Alec Baldwin. Betty White held her own, but they threw her softballs down the middle of the plate. Who’s not gonna laugh at an old lady screaming about lesbians?
[Jay-Z was also a major force in this episode. Who else would SNL give eight solid minutes of medley to? A classic mini-set by the Jigga man.]
The bigger issue is the precedent that this whole successful Betty White campaign has set. Congratulations. The internet accomplished something. It’s not the first time. Fan feedback has brought series’ back from cancellation. And usually it’s a good thing when huge networks actually listen to their core audience. But this Betty White thing never made sense to me. It’s just too random. Seriously, she wasn’t that funny in the Snickers Super Bowl commercial. And like many others have pointed out, why Betty and not Abe Vigoda, the other old star in the spot?
Unfortunately, the trend has already tipped. Now everyone thinks they can create a silly Facebook group for whatever stupid idea they have and believe that it will come to fruition. There’s nothing more I hate than a false sense of entitlement or undeserved attention. Everyone who has started another one of these campaign groups: You are not important. You are not funny. You cannot change the world. No one cares.
The reason this whole Betty White thing worked was because it was the first. And even after SNL conceded to having Betty White host, they hedged their bets with the “Mothers’ Day tribute,” bringing back former female cast members. Don’t get your hopes up because it’s not happening again on SNL or any other show. Television is not a democracy. Enjoy that episode for what is was and move on.