So, last night brought the most eagerly anticipated SNL edition of the year. After months of petitioning to get Betty White on SNL, Facebook users were granted their wish as America's national treasure graced the boards of Studio 8H.
We were treated to another installment of The Lawrence Welk Show to start things off, in which Betty White played the mother of a band of sisters played by Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer and of course, Kristen Wiig. It was a really nice way to start things off - Betty White got a one-minute applause from the audience the minute she appeared on stage - and it was lot of fun to see all the former SNL ladies in their old habitat.
Then came the monologue, which Betty White killed. She deemed Facebook a waste of time, revealed that the only way she could reconnect with old friends was through a ouija board and proudly boasted that Jay-Z was there! It was one of my favourite monologues of the season - no songs or dances necessary, just a seasoned pro doing what she does best.
NBC engaged in some neat synergising with MacGruber installments which starred Betty White as MacGruber's Nana. The catch? Nana embarassed MacGruber with tales of his micro-penis, his somewhat ambiguous gender as a child, his penchant for finger-painting with feces - it was as great as it sounds. In the third installment, MacGruber asks his Nana to make him "the happiest grandson in the world" and proposes to her. It was all really well-executed and Forte and White were terrific.
Then came the first of a host of old favourites with Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon reprising their roles as hosts of NPR's Delicious Dish. Favourite joke? "Fibre is what helps keep our relationship bran new." White played the guest - a baker of velvety muffins. Cue lines such as this - "Your muffin just squirted in my mouth", "Nothing ruins your day more than a yeasty muffin" and "My muffin hasn't had a cherry since 1939." All three ladies killed delivering each bawdy pun without a smidgeon of a smirk. Wasn't as funny as Schweddy Balls, but what is?
Confusingly we were treated to an installment of The Manuel Ortiz Show. I say confusingly because Debbie Downer and Bronx Beat were cut after dress and yet this stayed. While I enjoy watching the cast dance in that enjoyably manic fashion, the sketch itself is a little one-note and I wonder why it was left in there. I enjoyed "amigos con benefits" and I thought Will Forte was hilarious. I enjoyed the line "That's why you don't like tacos" but other than that I was confused by its inclusion.
Then we had Gingey - the only original sketch of the night? Set in 1904, it centred around a family of sisters all fastidiously dressed and their tomboy sister (Amy Poehler) who their grandmother insists is a lesbian. It wasn't hilarious but any sketch with the word "agog" is positively delightful in my book. Also, Betty White sat in the corner embroidering delivering lines such as "You're barking up the wrong lesbian!" so 'nuff said.
Then we had Jay-Z who KILLED, you guys.
It was then time for Weekend Update which, to my surprise, saw Seth anchoring solo for the majority of the duration. Maya Rudolph dropped by as Whitney Houston - cue hilarity. Molly Shannon had her appearance as Sally O'Malley somewhat stolen by Betty White who bragged about being lithe and limber at ninety years old. We were given an installment of Really?!? with Seth & Amy who waxed angrily about the foiled terror plot, shenanigans by airport staff and the Greek crisis. At this point they were joined by Tina Fey who was more qualified to talk on the subject of Greece, being of Greek heritage herself. Sample line - "I asked my mom what the Greek for taxes was. She said there was no word for that." All in all, it was super enjoyable. Also - Mohammad Al Corey Feldman. Never forget.
Next on the menu was the bajillionth installment of Scared Straight. Betty White played Lorenzo Mackintosh's grandmother Loreta Mackintosh. I actually enjoyed more than I ordinarily would due to the fact that it was shorter and tighter than other installments. Betty White, again displayed her fearlessness of being bawdy, yelling "Wizard of Ass" more than once. Also, "Prison, prison, doopety-do, a group of Jamaicans are coming for you."
There was CSI Sarasota which I loved. Rachel Dratch played Sy Horowitz while Betty White played Vivian Caruso - two old detectives investigating the "mysterious" deaths of old folks in Sarasota. Let's make this a real TV show, CBS.
We then had my favourite digital short of the season which was both lovely and hilarious. The sight of the cast singing the theme of The Golden Girls was so lovely, my heart was warmed to the point of burning. Then the whole tone flipped with Betty White donning a balaclava and growling "Thank you for being a friend" in a Slipknot-esque fashion. Maybe my favourite thing ever?
To close proceedings, we had a Census sketch reminiscent of the one with Tim Meadows and Christopher Walken a few years ago. This was probably my favourite of the night. Betty White played a woman who insisted her name was "BLARRFENGAR". When asked to spell BLARRFENGAR, White very earnestly spelled "S-M-I-T-H." Any sketch in which a character maintains their name is Blarrfengar Blarrfengar and says that it was changed at Ellis Island during a bingo trip is an out-and-out winner in my book. Also the moment at the end with Kenan and Betty was gold.
At goodnights, Betty was presented with two bouquets of flowers and then NBC cut off the remainder of what would have been the most epic goodnights of all-time.
You guys, I worried that Betty might flounder a little during a live show, but she killed everything. There was not one moment I was worried for her, because she was too busy owning every sketch and stealing every moment. If I had one qualm about the episode, it would be that there wasn't enough Rachel Dratch. Aside from that though, I'd like to thank SNL for restoring the magic back into television.
Grade - 9/10
Favourite sketch - Census 2010/Digital Short
MVP of the show - Betty White