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Betty White shines on “SNL,” but show gets mixed reviews

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: It was the “Saturday Night Live” show fans demanded. But according to critics, it wasn’t the show they deserved.

Betty White, a comedic icon who makes the funniest “SNL” performer seem like a tax accountant by comparison, hosted the late-night sketch show last night thanks to a a fan-fed Facebook campaign to get the 88-year-old actress the gig. And with White came plenty of female guest stars and recurring cast members, from Tina Fey Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon.

What was missing, however, were suitable jokes. The writers force-fed White dirty lines as they poked fun of her age. She did what she could, but the show felt like a missed opportunity.

David Hinckley wrote in the NY DAILY NEWS that White “did nothing to diminish her stature last night” but said there was more at stake for the show, which “has suffered this season from postelection ratings and creative depression.”

USA Today was more harsh, saying Saturday’s “overhyped” show “mostly served to explain why SNL seemed so reluctant to bring White on board. Clearly, they didn’t know what to do with her.”

Fans don’t agree. Most of the comments that were posted on MSNBC’s forum seeking feedabck from White’s hosting gig were positive. Click here to read, and to leave your own “review” of White “SNL” performance.


About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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  • May 9, 2010 | Permalink |

    SNL has become a series of d–k jokes since Seth Meyers took over as head writer.

  • May 9, 2010 | Permalink |

    So far I’ve read one bad review (USA Today) and a herd of great ones (NY Times, CNN, Entertainment Weekly…). The NY Daily News review you mentioned was not a bad review and was favorable to the performance. You took one line at the beginning talking about the stakes and called that the review.

    And if you read the comments on the USA Today website, most of the readers of that paper disagreed with the review. I assume you were up late watching and were too tired to do more than quote 1 1/2 reviews as a serious comment. You stay classy.

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