TV Land's new series Hot in Cleveland relies a lot more on the Betty White phenomenon and nostalgia for three actresses who used to be on successful series than it does on actual writing or half-decent production, but that isn't to say it's without merit. People watch all kinds of shows for all kinds of flimsy reasons, whether it's "Look at the sad clowns!" (Dancing with the Stars), "Look at all the naked hot people!" (True Blood) or "Look at the well-clothed hot people!" (Gossip Girl), so really, when you think about it, "That girl used to be on Frasier!" is something too.
The show depicts three L.A. ladies (Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves) who get stuck on an overnight layover in Cleveland en route to a fabulous trip to Paris and decide they like how much fatter everyone is there so much that they'll just move there. Well, that's not exactly fair. Bertinelli decides to move there because she finds a man in a bar who's willing to have sex with someone over the age of 25. So, see? Totally better, totally makes sense.
They move into an old Victorian together and the caretaker is, of course, Betty White, who is a Midwestern spitfire who hates whores. Which is actually pretty funny and delightful, as Betty White just undeniably is, and the four of them together is oddly engaging, even if the writing really isn't there. I think this show may have some of that mysterious Drop Dead Diva mojo going on in it that somehow goes further than just having an affinity for the cast. Because it's not very funny, it's juvenile and insulting to women, really, but it's also... kind of enjoyable. I have no idea why, but it is. Maybe I'm getting stupider? That is always a possibility.
Did you see Hot in Cleveland? What did you think? And see what other new shows are coming up in these hard summer times.
Do four funny women always equal comedy gold? Examine the TV evidence.
Watch TWoP's editors discuss this summer's TV guilty pleasures in this segment airing on the New York Nonstop cable news channel:
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