Review: TV Land's 'Hot in Cleveland' comes at just the right time
By April MacIntyre Jun 16, 2010, 1:30 GMT
(FILE) A file picture dated 08 June 2008 of US actresses (L-R) Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White from the show \'Golden Girls\' arriving at the sixth annual \'TV Land Awards\' - Hot In Cleveland is a tip of the hat to the brilliant sitcom talent that Betty and her new castmates possess. EPA/NINA PROMMER
Many times TV Critics over-think their wordy opuses as they explain why we must love or loathe a smallscreen effort.
TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland" will undoubtedly get penned comparisons to the golden age of sitcoms, where our leading ladies honed their craft.
But let me be clear up front: This show is a welcome friend in a sea of slick, pointless and in-bad-taste comedies, and it comes at the right time for this humor-starved country.
TV Land delivers this retro feeling gem on Wednesday night, their first original scripted series, "Hot in Cleveland," created and written by Suzanne Martin, produced with multiple cameras before a live studio audience.
Like finding old friends alive and well on Facebook, we get to enjoy forever young Valerie Bertinelli, 50, (Barbara Cooper from CBS sitcom "One Day at a Time") leggy gams British babe Jane Leeves, 49, (Daphne from NBC's "Frasier"), still modelesque Wendie Malick, 59, (NBC's "Just Shoot Me") and America's eternal TV sweetheart Betty White, 88, who boasts a successful sitcom career capped by the iconic NBC series "The Golden Girls," cast all together in a percolating scripted adventure that takes three lonely women who have achieved some success, but long for relevance and love in new welcoming surroundings.
White is the cherry on the icing and provides the right amount of snappy zingers to take the show to classic TV levels.
Are you hooked already?
The premiere introduces us to our three middle-aged ladies flying away from LA, fulfilling their "bucket list" wish to visit Paris together and kick up their heels.
Problem is, the plane doesn't want to cooperate, and makes an emergency landing in Cleveland.
Now if you know anything about Cleveland, it is the mecca of Drew Carey's sitcom (and real) life as well as home of the Rock n Roll hall of fame and museum.
Not exactly a bustling hubbub of international types like Beverly Hills or Hollywood.
That's the problem; LA is so full of self-absorbed men used to the next young hottest looker to arrive (daily it seems) the ladies, looking great for their age, are biological road-kill to the jaded menfolk of SoCal.
Cut to our most wounded fragile player, Bertinelli, who meets age appropriate plumber John Schneider, 50 in a bar, and, as the French say, "zee lightning bolt happens."
The banter and comedy is from obvious cultural/regional differences and aging perspectives, but we are in the hands of pros here, and they feel and sound right. Malick's older actress character laments the wasted time she worried about fighting her age and trying to fit an unobtainable perfection. All they ever needed was Cleveland, aka the real world, far away from the bastardizing standards and shallowness of the West Coast. Leeves delights with her quirky accent and mega legs; she's a brow specialist who can pick up and relocate easily too. Together Bertinelli, Leeves and Malick feel real as pals, and play off each other's strengths like a Stradivarius.
Enter our matriarch and resident building manager Betty White, who now is the "Cleveland-happy" women's wing-mama as they rent a flat while figuring out the next move.
There is a perfection in resurrecting a genre in television that has been in the hands of showrunners that were too sloppy or penning undignified, half-baked premises in the past decade or so. Especially material for women.
There's love in the script, casting and the production of "Hot in Cleveland", and fans of the "good old days" of American comedies will adore this effort.
Bravo to TV Land for bringing it to us.
Hot In Cleveland begins Wednesday at 10pm/9C on TV Land.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CBetty White Biography -
Betty White Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesValerie Bertinelli Biography -
Valerie Bertinelli Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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