Long live Betty

Posted by · 4:05 pm · May 9th, 2010

Facebook users got their wish last night as Betty White took the stage on Saturday Night Live…and absolutely KILLED it.

Seriously, has there been a better episode in the last five years (or more)?  I tend to find myself enjoying SNL more often than not lately because I really dig most of the cast, but we still get stinkers.  Gabourey Sidibe’s try a week or so back is the most recent example of one that just fell on its face.  But the creative invigoration of last night’s telecast was something to behold.  Everyone was firing on all cylinders.

I think we have to look to White for that, not only for the material she herself was responsible for performing (she never missed a beat, mind you), but for the obvious inspiration she brought to the writers and the cast.  Bringing a few of the former female faves back was a shrewd move, and falling the day before Mother’s Day was perfect.  “MacGruber,” meanwhile, got a hell of a boost leading up to the May 21 release of the film.

It really just doesn’t get any better.  I proud of and happy for all involved.  It goes down, for me, as an all time classic.  And perhaps I’m not alone.  The New York Times’ Melena Ryzik (better known as The Carpetbagger around these parts) Tweeted after the show that White “left the SNL afterparty to standing ovations and castmembers calling it a historic show.”

What left to say, but: Bravo.  (Full episode, courtesy of NBC, after the jump.)

[EDITED TO ADD: I also can’t remember the last time a host was literally in every single sketch, including the Weekend Update.  Maybe it’s more common than I know, but it was something that struck me.]

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20 responses so far

  • 1 5-09-2010 at 4:39 pm

    The Dude said...

    I’ve got to say, this was the first SNL in quite a while where I thought the good sketches outnumbered the bad ones. White was fantastic, and her presence seemed to motivate everyone else involved to up their game. Also loved how White simultaneously thanked and slammed Facebook in her opening monologue.

  • 2 5-09-2010 at 4:42 pm

    aaron said...

    easily one of the best episodes of the last 10-15 years. i’d say around 30% of my facebook friends’ status updates were about how much they loved it. at first i was skeptical of the “betty white meme” because i thought it was ironic but everyone genuinely loves her. it’s also awesome because how many 88-year-old women(!) enjoy a massive resurgence in pop culture?

    now where do i find a “betty white muffin” shirt?

  • 3 5-09-2010 at 5:46 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I tried to like it but could not. SNL just isn’t for me anymore.

  • 4 5-09-2010 at 6:03 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I haven’t seen SNL in years and I couldn’t get through this. Every skit is one joke repeated ad nauseam. But, hey, good for Betty White.

  • 5 5-09-2010 at 6:37 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Wow. I have to give it to the internet, they did good this time.

  • 6 5-09-2010 at 6:37 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Every skit is one joke repeated ad nauseam.”

    That’s been SNL for 35 years now. Either you laugh at the joke or you don’t.

  • 7 5-09-2010 at 6:41 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I did laugh at the schedule for the Spanish channel. 6pm – televised fireworks followed by 10pm- Jag.

    Now that’s comedy!

  • 8 5-10-2010 at 3:08 am

    the other mike said...

    lets keep it 100, that show was just ok, but i guess since its 88 yr old betty we have 2 act like it changed the world because she is so adorable. i love her by the way, but SNL needs to be put out of its misery.

  • 9 5-10-2010 at 7:11 am

    Emily said...

    Oh come on. I’m so sick of this Betty White craze. I respect her, she’s very talented, I know. But this episode was just slightly above the current average. And the average sucks.

    This episode, although above average, should be considered decent. And that’s mostly because Tina Fey and co showed up. It’s not like Betty wrote the episode people.

  • 10 5-10-2010 at 7:16 am

    Emily said...

    And to add to that – you said “Gabourey Sidibe’s try.” Obviously a talented host can considerably add to an episode. At the same time, the host does not write the sketches. Gabby didn’t blow it. Betty doesn’t get credit. The writers are the ones who ruined Gabby’s chance.

  • 11 5-10-2010 at 10:31 am

    Erik 815 said...

    Let’s just throw it out there:

    2011 Academy Award host: Betty White


  • 12 5-10-2010 at 10:45 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Mike: Sorry, but I’m genuinely reacting to a stellar show.

    Emily: Gabby blew it. Well, I don’t want to come down on her. It’s a tough gig. But she did not gel with the material and she didn’t have the right comedic timing, so it’s fair to criticize her “try.” Also, no one said White wrote anything (the word “perform” is clearly written in the copy – duh), but she certainly nailed the material.

    Anyway, I think anyone who calls this episode just “decent” just wants to piss in everyone’s cornflakes. And that’s fine. We’ve had those types since the beginning of time. No reason that’ll change now.

  • 13 5-10-2010 at 10:56 am

    Emily said...

    You’re right, Gabby didn’t “gel” with the material, but the material sucked to begin with. Even if she was awesome it would’ve sucked.

    And I know you specifically didn’t say that she wrote anything. I was just making a point about how people often blame hosts for good or bad episodes, when the majority of the credit should go to the writers.

    I certainly agree that Betty did better with her material than Gabby did though.

    And lastly, I’m not just trying to annoy everyone. There are a good handful of SNL episodes in recent years I’ve liked more than this one. It was just not that great in my opinion.

  • 14 5-10-2010 at 12:21 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Fine, fair enough.

  • 15 5-10-2010 at 3:12 pm

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    It was a great episode.

    I’ve never liked the MacGruber sketches except for the Charles Barkley episode and now this one.

  • 16 5-10-2010 at 4:21 pm

    Steve said...

    How about Betty White for Violet in “August: Osage County?”

    Get Meryl in there as Barbara…?

    Ellen Burstyn as Mattie Fae?

    Definitely an older cast than what people have been predicting, with Meryl playing up her age to play the Mama.

  • 17 5-10-2010 at 6:01 pm

    Adam K. said...

    It wasn’t just Betty and the writers; I think the single most invigorating element was actually the return of the older female cast. They were all stellar bringing back their old favorite skits (Sally O’Malley, the Delicious Dish, etc.) especially when the skits were then upped by Betty’s presence.

    The current cast (genius Kristen Wiig excepted) just can’t hold a candle to these stars from ten years ago.

    The combination of them + Betty + inspired writing + the mother’s day theme = best episode in years. Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin was the only thing on a par with this in the past few years of SNL. And all the factors working synergistically were what made it so brilliant.

  • 18 5-11-2010 at 8:49 pm

    JHS said...

    Wow. I’m kept up with SNL since the mid-90’s, through that brief golden age and the subsequent decline. It has kinda picked up in recent years, sporadically, and not nearly often enough to warrant any notice. But Betty really brought it out. Like the last poster, I think it had a lot to do with bringing back the best of the best female cast members from the 90’s. But Betty is really something, and, frankly, I’m totally game for the premise of the Facebook group making the rounds, to have her host the Oscars. It’ll never happen, but what fun it would be.

  • 19 5-11-2010 at 8:49 pm

    JHS said...


  • 20 5-11-2010 at 9:10 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Problem is she can’t do her foul mouthed grandma schtick at the Oscars, which is all the SNL writers figured she was good for.