Last night I found myself sitting next to my friend and occasional lover Eric Rothman. We were searching the guide on our television looking for anything that seemed remotely good. That’s when we saw it, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. Yup. This was about to happen.
Let’s be clear, I expected to see some pretty awful television but nothing could have prepared me for the cringe worthy 15 minutes I was about to put in to this soon to be trivia answer of a show (“What show hosted by Betty White, was cancelled after one of it’s actors died on camera?”)
The show opens up with Betty White, sitting at a table with her… friends? Colleagues? Mahjong team? You don’t really know who these people are but apparently they’re some sort of gang of old people who just want to prank those no good youngsters. Betty White is their ringleader who everyone goes to for permission to perform a prank, and advice on how best to do it.
First of all, you never really understand why these people are doing these pranks, and second of all, if you’re pranking people are you really going to ask Betty White of all people for advice? She’s the nicest old lady ever. Asking her for advice on a prank would be like me asking a homeless man how best to manage my stock portfolio.
Here’s something disappointing, Betty never actually does anything. If I’m watching a show and Betty White’s name are the first two words of the title, I better see more Betty White than anyone else. Instead I saw some random old lady pretend to be a nun and sit on a bench while some machine made fart noises. Hilarious? Well actually it was pretty- NO! No it was not funny! It would have been but here’s the problem with this show, nobody confronts the old people. And why would they? They’re old. Nobody tries to correct and old person’s behavior. You just assume they fought the Nazi’s and give them a free pass to do whatever the hell they want to do.
The show was confusing because after every “Prank” (I have to use quotations because these can’t be considered pranks, they’re uncomfortable situations) they would cut back to Betty White and her pals in a bunch of random rooms in a house. Does the show take place in an old folks home? Are they all living with Betty? I was so much more interested in these segments than the actual pranks. Look, if Betty White is living in the same house as a bunch of old people, just show that. Especially if they’re pulling pranks on each other. I can see those pranks now, switching out butterscotch hard candy for coffee flavored hard candy, lowering the thermostat by half a degree. That show’s ratings would be through the roof.
I give this show an F. Betty White, at this point in your career you should do one gig every year and that should be hosting SNL.