Episode Reviews

Saturday Night Live – “Betty White/Jay-Z” (NBC)

Warning: SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Episode Title: “Betty White/Jay-Z” (Season 35, Episode 21)

Original Airdate: May 8, 2010 at 11:30 PM

Synopsis: Thanks to Facebook, Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Golden Girls) hosts a hilarious episode of Saturday Night Live with musical guest Jay-Z. Also here to help out are the “funny women” of the 2000’s, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey.

Review: The overnight reports have indicated that this episode has the highest ratings since the Election 2008 episode which had Ben Affleck and Presidential Nominee John McCain. Although, it should come as no surprise since it was Facebook that campaigned for Ms. White to begin with. Saturday Night Live is a hard show to review overall, so I’ll review each segment individually.

  • Opening – “Lawrence Walk”: For fans that have watched this show for the past few years, this segment is one of the key points to an otherwise weak few seasons. The singing girls this time brought out huge applause when Poehler, Gasteyer, and Rudolph started singing. However, when Ms. White was shown to be the grandmother they were singing to, there was about a three minute applause. A
  • Monologue: Betty White’s monologue killed. Hands down. Mentioning she had no clue what Facebook was before the campaign was expected. But she came back with this quip, “But now that I have, I must say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite.” She also said, “We have Jay-Z here tonight. If I had a dime for every time I said that, I’d have one dime.” A
  • “Delicious Dish” – This was a skit that was heavily popular for Gasteyer and Shannon back in the early part of the 2000’s. While the segment picked up, it was only because Betty White was the guest. I’m sure a lot of fans of the show now, were probably only about 10 when this skit was popular. White played a woman famous for her muffins, and many double entendres were hilarious. B
  • “The Manuel Ortiz Show” – I thought this was the weakest segment of the show. Basically, whenever a guest comes onto the show, they all dance. It was funny watching Ms. White dance, but other than that, the segment felt five minutes too long. It was needless dribble. C
  • “Gingey” – This segment also was bad. The only reason I can see it being put on was it had every single one of the guests in the same skit, interacting. The only thing that saved it for me, was how many times Ms. White said the word ‘lesbian’. For those of you that saw Ms. White on Boston Legal, you’ll get my point. C
  • “Weekend Update” – Update always is one of the highlights of the show. Molly Shannon brought back one of her recurring characters and was topped by one played by Betty White. Update also was fortunate enough to have Poehler and Fey join Seth Meyers on a “Really?” segment. B
  • “Scared Straight” – I never really have been a fan of these segments. Kenan Thompson does a good job with what he’s given for material, but it has generally been weak. In this skit, Thompson’s character and his grandma try to ‘scare straight’ these teenagers heading down the wrong path. However, in doing so, they get old movie references confused with real life. The only hilarious part is Ms. White repeating, “Wizard of Ass!” C+
  • “CSI: Sarasota” – I thought this was a gem of the night. Ms. White played a character who in real life was David Caruso’s grandmother. She had the signature sunglasses bit down to a T. The only thing that I found irritating about this sketch was the constant throwback to the theme. B
  • “Digital Short” – I am not a fan of Andy Samberg nor am I fan of the digital shorts. However, I thought this one was going to be cute. The whole cast sang the theme song to The Golden Girls, to which Ms. White said, “That was cute. But I like mine better.” She then shocked everyone by going death metal on the theme. I know what Samberg was going for, but thought it should’ve ended after the original theme song. B-
  • “Census Taker” – I thought this might have been the funniest segment of the show. Tina Fey plays a census taker who is bewildered by Ms. White’s answers. The most confusing, although her name is spelled out Lee Smith, it is pronounced Blarfingar Blarfingar. We also find out her old stripper name was ‘Ascertain’. A
  • MacGruber” – Will Forte plays the title character in the three short bits that pit him, Kristin Wiig and MacGruber’s grandmother (played by White) in dangerous situations. These three bits are hilarious, because as MacGruber is trying to get all of them out of danger, White’s character just brings up horrible stories of MacGruber’s past. Wait for the third one though, it will shock you. A

Overall, this episode was hilarious. I’m not going to review Jay-Z’s part, because I really would be too biased about that. But we all knew Betty White was funny, but I doubt anyone expected that caliber of an episode. Well, I did, actually.

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