OPENING — LAWRENCE WELK TRIBUTE TO MOTHER’S DAY — 2
Betty White shows up with Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Ana Gasteyer to sing a Mother’s Day tribute with Kristen Wiig’s disturbing small handed singing sister. It’s nice to see all these women together, but the sketch isn’t that great.
MONOLOGUE — BETTY WHITE — 10
Betty explains that she doesn’t quite understand why SNL wants to do it live since the only reason they did it back in the old days was because they didn’t have tape. She then does a funny monologue about Facebook, and proves as winning as we all hoped she would be.
MACGRUBER — 8
Betty White plays MacGruber’s grandmother, who implores him to say “thank you” when he demands help from someone. Then she keeps sharing embarassing information about him until he finally cracks, as does the bomb.
DELICIOUS DISH — 10
Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon return to their muted spoof of an NPR show. Betty White shows up to tell people about her “muffin”, which is surprisingly salty and velvety, but hasn’t had a cherry since 1939. Absolutely hysterical, and tops the Alec Baldwin Schwetty Balls sketch.
MANUEL ORTIZ SHOW — 2
Fred Armisen stars as a Hispanic talk show host, something he hasn’t done in at least an episode. He introduces feuding sisters and the gay husband that came between them. The humor is supposed to come from the accents, funny outfits, and the fact that everyone dances during the introductions. Laughing yet? Neither am I. Betty White comes in to dance and actually makes it funny for a few seconds. Then it falls apart again. Seriously Lorne, rerun a Digital Short instead of playing this crap.
MACGRUBER — 7
MacGruber insults his grandmother, who reacts by faking a heart attack. MacGruber celebrates triumphing over Grandma until….. BOOM!
LESBIAN SISTER — 6
Jenny Slate, Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Kristin Wiig, Jenny Slate, and Rachel Dratch play old time sisters trying to get their sister Amy Poehler to be more girly. They problem, as Grandmother Betty White keeps explaining, “She’s a lesbian.” Funnier than it sounds because of Betty White.
MACGRUBER — 7
MacGruber wants to bury the hatchet with Grandma and ask her something very important, which leads to an unexpected reaction from Betty White.
JAY-Z — PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, 99 PROBLEMS, EMPIRE STATE OF MIND — 1
Jay Z equals Pure S. Horrible.
WEEKEND UPDATE — 8
Maya Rudolph shows up as Whitney Houston, doing a hysterical impersonation of the unhinged singer. Molly Shannon shows up to do her 50 year old Sally O’Malley, which thankfully is interrupted by Betty White as Donna O’Donnely, who is 90 and loving it. And Amy Poehler shows up to do “Really!” with Seth.
Funny Lines: (Regarding the huge burst of volatility in the stock market earlier in the week) “It was so bad, the e-trade baby had to be changed.”
“Lawmakers in Tennessee have proposed a new law to keep pedophiles from operating ice cream trucks. ‘Not fair’ said kids who will now have to pay for their ice cream.”
(Regarding the errant transaction that caused a wild day on Wall Street) “One guy can do a billion dollar transaction and a manager doesn’t have to approve it? When I try to pay with a $50 at Starbucks it turns into a four man operation.”
SCARED STRAIGHT — 8
Keenan Thompson plays the convict who tries to scare kids straight with movie plots, and Betty White plays his racist prisoner grandmother. Keenan does a funny bit about Willy Wonka. Betty then talks about her childhood in Kansas where she was caught up in a tornado. When the kids protest that she’s talking about the Wizard of Oz, she gives them a hard way to go, telling them that they’re going to be seeing the “Wizard of Ass” if they aren’t careful. The sketch seems to get cut short for some reason, but is at least as funny as it has been in the past, with the cast once again struggling not to laugh.
CSI SARASOTA — 8
Betty White plays Vivian Caruso, the aunt of David Caruso, who keeps giving witty one liners while putting on the old-timer shades. Rachel Dratch plays her partner, Sy Horowitz. Funny, but Betty White seems in danger of putting an eye out by whipping the shades on and off.
DIGITAL SHORT — THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND — 7
The entire cast sings “Thank You For Being A Friend” to Betty in a sweet little bit, which gets the Lonely Island treatment thanks to Betty, who says she prefers HER version. Her version is a hardcore metal song with Betty wearing a mask in a video full of violent and sexual imagery. Disturbing, but funny.
JAY-Z FEATURING MR. HUDSON — FOREVER YOUNG — 2
Horrible, but gets an extra point for the dedication to Betty White.
CENSUS — 10
Tina Fey plays a Census worker, taking information from a very confused Betty White, who does some incredible work here in a well written sketch worthy of Monty Python. Best sketch of the night.
OVERALL — 8
This was announced as a “woman of comedy” episode a couple of months ago, and it seemed odd to me that Lorne Michaels would bring in most of the SNL women from the past 10 years to overshadow Betty White. Instead, it ended up being a shrewd move, as the old cast members were able to outshine most of the new in this episode, with the performers picking up the slack where the writing was soft and hitting it out of the park when the writing was strong. Yes, there was too much reliance on potty humor from Betty White, but when she seems to be enjoying herself and in on the joke, how can you not help but laugh. The Delicious Dish and Census sketches are clip worthy. Perhaps the best episode of the season, and bonus points to the writers for making it funny without Mary Tyler Moore, Password, or Golden Girl spoofs.