Sunday, May 09, 2010

It wasn't a White Christmas.

I've long been a fan of Betty White. I've enjoyed her roles on television series and even her role in The Proposal, alongside Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson.

So, of course, I did something I had not done in decades—I turned on Saturday Night Live because she was guest hosting. You will remember that some fans started a Facebook page to encourage the television show to give White a spot as host. Over 500,000 people joined the page.

The show gave White the spot. But they seemed quite reluctant to do so. I wondered why. But watching the show last night I immediately knew why. The writers of the show were clueless when it came to White. The material they wrote was crap.

I missed the first couple of minutes but tuned in for White's monologue which was a series of "see-I'm-old" jokes. There is nothing wrong with such jokes but a whole string of them can be tedious. And these were tedious. But I stayed tuned.

Next there came a string of skits based on SNL's "McGruber" character. One such skit might have some amusement but repeating the same joke over and over, with slightly different circumstances is not amusing. It shows a lack of imagination on the part of the writers. But I stay tuned.

Then we got a skit where the same punchline, "She's a lesbian" was repeated over and over by White. Once again the writers came up with one thing and then milked it until the cow was dry. But I stay tuned.

Then we had an endless skit relying on White talking about muffins, where the audience is supposed to think vagina. It too went on far longer than necessary, and far longer than was good for the skit. But I stay tuned.

At this point the show brought on some rap artist, Jay-Z. He started his routine and I changed channels. I didn't tune back.

Apparently a lot of people tuned into the show to see White, as SNL had the best ratings it has had in a long time. No doubt some were like myself, old fans of SNL who hadn't watched the show in years. But what I saw last night confirmed that I hadn't been missing anything.

A comedy show relies upon a combination of acting talent and good writing. White has the personality that allows her to make use of good material. But the writers at SNL didn't give her good material. Betty White might be 88 years old but it was the writing at SNL that was old and tired. It just wasn't funny. I won't be bothering with that show again. And I hope the writers apologize to White for the garbage they wrote and then research and practice seppuku. If they did it live on Saturday it might be enough to get me to tune in again, at least until they pull out the next rap artist as their "music."

Here's a I'm-so-old joke for the writers of SNL: I'm so old I remember when Betty White was young and Saturday Night Live was funny.

Photo: Betty White taking care of the writing problem at SNL.

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