Written by Heather Foley
The interwebs have been a buzz this week with an online movement to get the reigning queen of comedy, the one and only Betty White to introduce Barack Obama at Democratic National Convention. There’s an online petition with almost 10,000 signatures (I’m willing to be bet its over 10,000 by the time you read this blog), the Facebook page “Bring Betty White to the DNC” has over 30,000 likes, and Betty White has recently announced that she is a staunch Obama supporter, seems like things are lining up quite nicely. I try not to get too political in my blogs (mostly because I know I have no idea what I’m talking about), and don’t worry, I’m not going to get all Rachel Maddow on you today, but please Betty, for the love of all that is holy, sit this one out.
For the record I adore Betty White. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I am a ginormous “Golden Girls” fan. If I had to pick one show and one show only to watch for the rest of my life, it would hands down be “Golden Girls” (Anyone else craving a cheesecake right now?) And my love isn’t just “Golden Girls” based, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” is another one of my favorites and Betty White was absolutely fantastic as The Happy Homemaker (and nymphomaniac) Sue Ann Nivens. Even now, Betty doesn’t let you down, at 90 her comic timing is still impeccable. She absolutely nails every interview and even her SNL monologue.
So if I love Betty White, my beef must be political, right? Not so fast, I promised you I wasn’t going to get all political on you, and I very rarely break a promise, unless I really, really want to. Whether I’m team Obama or not isn’t the issue here (truth be told I usually just write my own name in). I believe that celebrities (or anyone really) have every right to endorse whomever they chose. My only issue with Betty White is that she’s giving all the other old fogies in Hollywood ideas.
Ever since that Superbowl Snickers commercial a couple years ago Betty White has been America’s geriatric sweetheart, and it’s a role she was born to play. Seriously homegirl has been everywhere for the past few years. It’s like she got Kris Jenner as her manager or something. Betty White has emerged as the poster child of life doesn’t have to stop (or even slow down) once you’re a senior citizen, and America loves her for it. I mean Jay-Z dedicated a song to her on SNL for cryin’ out loud! And don’t get me wrong, this is all good, I mean it’s great, she is an inspiration, but maybe things are getting a little out of hand. You see I’m slightly concerned that Betty’s recent success has given some other Hollywood seniors the “inspiration” to get in front of American citizens and try grab that Betty White level of beloved status, and they’re doing it wrong.
Exhibit A: Kirk Douglas at last year’s Oscars. Remember how uncomfortable it was to watch Kirk Douglas struggle through his lines last year? Oscar jokes suck in general anyway, so I’m sure the “jokes” falling flat weren’t totally his fault, but he should have known he couldn’t pull it off, right? I still cringe thinking about it. I’m sure he was only on stage for about three minutes but it felt like an eternity. Do we think if Betty White who is only 3 years his junior wasn’t killing them on talk shows, he would have even attempted an Oscar appearance? He was pretty much out of the spotlight all together until the Oscars. I blame Betty White.
Exhibit B: Clint Eastwood at the RNC last week. This is a tough one to discuss for me. Like most Americans I have always had a special place in my cold black heart for Clint. He breaks my heart in “Million Dollar Baby”. Maybe I have such an emotional reaction to that movie because when I dyed my hair dark people told me I looked like a female Hillary Swank. Any hoo, Clint was clearly in over his head. It was quite possibly the most bizarre thing I have ever seen on TV, and this is coming from someone who watches a lot of TLC. Twitter blew up with the whole invisible Obama things. It was kinda like Andy Kaufman meets an old school Bob Newhart one-sided phone call, only not funny, just really, really weird. Why does someone in their 80s think they can just get up and improvise a speech at the RNC in front of millions? Because Betty White could.
Honorable Mention: Dick Clark on New Years Eve. He only gets honorable mention because I’m not convinced he even knew where he was. I only kinda blame Betty White; I mostly blame his family for propping him up and wheeling him out.
Betty I’m begging, take a pass on this one. I’m not saying you’re not up to it. I honestly believe you would get up there and crush it, just hit it right out of the park. And I would rather listen to you than pretty much any other vapid celebrity out there (I’m not calling you vapid, just them). I’m worried about what older celeb you might inspire next. For the sake of your peers (I use the term loosely because you are truly peerless) slow down, I think you’re putting a lot of pressure on them. You have more skill and stamina than most working actors half your age, you are truly one in a million. We can’t blame people for wanting to keep up with you, but they just can’t. So before we have see someone like Zsa Zsa Gabor on “The Today Show” discussing her new book, jewelry line for QVC, or show on Animal Planet, please sit down with a nice cup of tea and a Werther’s Original, watch some “Murder She Wrote” and enjoy some time off. You’ve earned it.