Betty White, 88, is having a moment. She has movie roles, a Facebook campaign, and a popular ad when most actresses her age only have cataracts. Why do we support this comeback? Because it is free of irony and nostalgia.
You can't swing a handbag these days without hitting Betty White. Aside from a wonderful supporting turn in rom-com hit The Proposal, she also has a Facebook group 125,000 people strong trying to convince the powers that be she should host Saturday Night Live. Then her Snickers ad during the Super Bowl scored the best numbers in the important corporate competition during the big game. More people are talking more about her than Drew Brees—whoever that clown is. We couldn't be happier for this bawdy dame.
That's right, the love for Betty White is an actual, real, sincere thing. Usually these types of comebacks are rooted in the irony of great things gone by like, "Oh, man, let's get Eric Estrada to make a cameo in our movie because his show is old and was cool when we were kids, but he's such a bad actor that it will make this thing awesome, dude." That's not the case with Betty. Of course people remember her from her hit shows like The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but that is not why she's being trotted out for a second go-round. The reason she has connected to modern audience is that she is the grandmotherly type that we all love, but she's happy to subvert that by telling dirty jokes at the William Shatner roast, playing a bitchy version of herself on Ugly Betty, and calling herself a whore on George Lopez. These recent feats are why everyone wants more Betty—not to relive her past glories but because she is doing something totally hip and now.
Like many good things in pop culture, this something that the gays have known about for years but everyone else is finally getting hip to. It's like the great new neighborhood we discovered and cleaned up and the straights come in and pay too much money for apartments after we have replaced all the "checks cashed" parlors and pawn shops with cute restaurants and boutique home decor stores. The gays have a special place in their hearts for both the show The Golden Girls and the actresses that played them and we have single-handedly kept the reruns on the air all this time. Not only have the girls always supported their causes, but we always knew that they were still rife for great comedy. Unlike when our neighborhoods are taken over, we're happy that the rest of the world has discovered this little treasure with a blonde perm, an infectious smile, and the mouth of a truck driver on his second day of sobriety.
Yes, Betty White would be a brilliant choice to host Saturday Night Live. Not only is she a comedic veteran with excellent timing and a wonderfully daffy new persona, but she is two things we rarely see these days: game and in on her own joke. We have a feeling that she would do just about anything from pretending to smoke weed with Andy Samberg to checking out Justin Timberlake's dick in a box. And can you imagine what she would do in a skit with Kristen Wiig? Amazing! Please give Betty this gig, and any other jobs out there Hollywood can dream up. The world is lousy with ironic posturing and snide resurgences, but this bit of sincere goodwill toward a star is refreshing. We don't have many years left with Ms. White, but maybe if we keep her busy, she'll stick around for a bit longer.