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Grading Betty White's 'SNL' debut
After what seemed like decades of hype, the 88-year-old comedienne hosted "Saturday Night Live." Did the experiment work?
The inimitable Betty White.
The inimitable Betty White.
Corbis
A

fter weeks of anticipation, Betty White took the stage this weekend to host "Saturday Night Live." The octogenarian wit appeared in every sketch of the Mother's Day-themed show, often alongside female "SNL" vets such as Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who reunited for the occasion. Though a grassroots Facebook campaign helped White secure the gig, she freely admitted her ignorance of the social networking site: "And now that I do know what it is," she dead-panned in her opening monologue, "I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time." Did White's performance live up to the hype? (Watch Betty White's "SNL" monologue)

Betty White totally delivered: "Screw you, sexism and ageism," says Elissa Bassist in Salon, "Betty White is the new black." Her opening monologue was so funny "it made my face hurt from smiling." And despite a few spots of "lazy writing," White proved that she is "still funny, even in an age of YouTube disposability." Cheers to the "funny old lady who, briefly, made 'SNL' good again."
"Betty White charms on 'SNL'"

White was fine — no thanks to "SNL"'s writers: "I realize White's juxtaposition of angelic manner and gutter language has proven to be a sure-fire laugh-getter," says Robert Bianco in USA Today. But the routine wears thin "after the first dozen times she says 'lesbian' or makes some sexual reference or gets bleeped out for cursing." White's a pro and a good sport, but the "SNL" writers obviously "didn't know what to do with her."
"Betty White's 'SNL' stint: Less than golden"

Complain all you want, the show was funny: "Historically, 'SNL' doesn’t always come through for its most heavily hyped hosts," says Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times. (Remember Nancy Kerrigan?) Yes, the writing was lazy and expedient, but White and the reunited ensemble cast turned "energy, enthusiasm and plain old laughs" into "one of the strongest outings of the season." Could Facebook please launch a campaign to "make her a permanent cast member?"
"Betty White in the mother of all 'Saturday Night Live' episodes"

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