PREMIERE REVIEW: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers

WRITTEN BY MAX

What could be funnier than a rusty trombone joke? Nine of them.

Betty White has been called a national treasure.  Not the type that Nic Cage would steal, but the kind we look upon kindly and appreciate while she is alive, and will probably appreciate even more when she dies.  I am all for her inserting herself into every punchline she can between now and then, and I find her sweetheart porn brain routine agreeable with me under most circumstances.  Unfortunately, her new show, Off Their Rockers, only had one really great skit, and we will get to that in a minute.  But first, the problems.

For some reason, NBC felt the need to have crowd roar during the opening credits.  Not crowd applause and cheers.  In fact, no crowd.  Just roar.  Pointless, considering they then cut to a scene of Betty on the phone talking about how she is going to get with John Hamm.  They did this after each commercial break, cutting to White while she talks about the next big dick she wants to swallow, in so many words.  And if she wants to get after it, fantastic. I’m okay with that.  But White has so much more to offer than just spreading frosting on a young man reminiscent more of a Harlequin cover than a real boy.  And while I’m sure this persona of White would love for him to tell a lie, I urge her to do the same thing everyone tells me to do, and that’s stop with the dick jokes.

The reason I want to see more from her than this, and more from her than I expect from myself, is that I’m only thirty-one.  I have time to change my sense of humor, and make jokes about kids, and politics and other not-crotch jests.  While I wish White the best and many fruitful years, do we really want to look back in twenty years and realize that the last decade of her life was one big dick joke?  Honestly, maybe we do.  Maybe we do because she has had a chance to be funny for so many years, and if this is how she wants to spend her days, then maybe it’s the old more power to her cliche.  For the sake of this show, however, I hope writers broaden her stroke a little, or the material will become redundant, and quick.  Maybe that’s the rub.  I’ve made these same jokes a billion times and now they just aren’t funny to me any more. (see the last paragraph)

The skits themselves were fine to okay.  A few brought a chuckle.  Most nothing more than a smile.  Some not even that. I enjoyed the one where Vaguely Pat Morita karate chopped the cake in the grocery store because he didn’t need a whole cake.  The skit where a man has a strange woman watch his Hoverround and goes in to take a piss, and then a big black guy wearing the same outfit comes out and takes the scooter was okay. However, half the skits had no context other than “Hey, here is an old person and they are bat shit crazy!  Look at them, they are zany!”  The context White tried to provide before hand didn’t help either.  In fact, before one set of skits she wrapped her talkie by saying, “I think these folks got the point,” and then the next skits where completely pointless.  Most of the people getting pranked just looked confused.  Some had that Homeless Man Talking To Me Look, you know, when a Bogus G approaches and you pretend you didn’t see or hear them.

The production value of this show sucked, too.  Here’s the best way I can explain it.  In the nineties, there was a popular VHS called NFL Football Follies.  We had movie time 8th period after basketball season my sixth grade year, so I brought a video my mom had bought thinking it would be okay to watch.  It was called Football Funnies.  It was basically the illegitimate brother.  The funniest thing was when a classmate quipped, “These aren’t football funnies, it should be called Football Stupids.”  I mean, the video just had a bunch of stupid clips about birds landing on the field, and running backs making too many cuts and getting tackled for a loss.  That’s how I felt about most of this show, but then, we had the Rusty Trombone skit.

Holy hell, this was awesome.  The old broad (see above photo – she is sans-trombone) plays off that she is getting text messages from her randy boyfriend.  So she stops an unsuspecting woman and asks her if she can help.  She is very upfront about why she is asking her for help and the young gal does her best to help.  So O.B. is asking her ridiculous things that may or may not be made up, and then the young girl offers that she knows what a rusty trombone is.  Then, the younger girl pauses for a second and gets a look like, “Oh shit.  I said too much.”  So now, I’m thinking, “Holy shit, she has first hand knowledge!”  Since all of the skits were basically under a minute, at this point they go their separate ways, but the younger girl keeps apologizing that she couldn’t help, and really, she was very sweet and likable, but I can’t shake the feeling that we got a chance to peek in her bedroom, and it looked a lot like a three day bender to Las Vegas, or that time she rolled in college.

This got me thinking, I would watch a week long series each year where old people went out with a cell phone and pranked people by asking them what these strange sexual positions their boyfriend/girlfriend had sent them mean.  The intentional humor would be high, but the unintentional humor would be off the charts.  This would be the funniest show on the planet if you got the right old people to play it close to the cuff.  I want this show.  I need this show.  I have to have this show.  It would be like shark week, only a billion times better.

I may watch another episode of Off Their Rocker, but I imagine the formula will be the same – two or three solid skits per week and 15 duds.  If everything else is a rerun give it a watch, but if it stays on Monday nights, there are a lot of other shows more deserving of your eyeballs.

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~ by maxaverage on January 17, 2012.

3 Responses to “PREMIERE REVIEW: Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”

  1. Hey, I wrote the ‘rusty trombone’ skit — thanks for the shout out! I thought it was funny. Watch a few more episode… more of my brand of humor gets in there, so you’ve got that going for you…

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  2. It was an excellent skit. I’ll check out some more shows. Thanks for reading my garbage!

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  3. Fortunately I saw only the second half of the show when it was rerun on Satuday night. Sorry, Betty, but I don’t think I’ll be seeing you next time. I called it “Can-Dud Camera.” Maybe anything decent was in the first half, but I’m not going to try to find out.

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