Thursday, June 12, 2008

Betty White: Return of the Queen

Last night on CBS, Betty Motherfucking White was back doing what she was put on this earth to do.

Letting Knight & McLeod double team her in a broom closet?

Nope. As stimulating a mental image as that may be, I'm talking Password.

Million Dollar Password to be precise.

Like the Stones once sang, I had no expectations. I sat down for an evening of TV last night, figuring I'd flip around until Game 4 of the Lakers/Celtics started at 9 (don't get me started on that particular NBA idiocy, or the 347 Hancock commercials they show every game). I initially thought I had hit the jackpot when I saw one of the Top 3 high-stakes beach volleyball movies ever made was playing on MY PHL17, the Howell/Horton/Kozak cinematic behemoth, Side Out. The frisky yet obtainable Kozak was in the middle of a particularly impressive 2-year run which also included Parenthood, Arachnophobia, and Necessary Roughness (co-starring again with Side Out's acting prodigy Kathy Ireland).

But as many characters in the Airplane! movies said, that's not important right now..

Many a summer weekday morning were spent watching The Queen of Game Shows ply her trade on all the Password permutations, though the Convy years stick out most in my mind.

But this was like turning on the NHL Finals and seeing Gretzky or Montana lace them up one more time. Well, to be more precise, Gretzky if he had a little twinkle in his eye that indicated he knew every dirty joke you know and another hundred you don't. Or if Montana were hot - in a drunk Betty Crocker kinda way.

That was the beauty of Betty White. She had the perfect combination of sweet and sinful. I picture her with a pan of fresh-baked cookies in one hand and a pair of handcuffs in the other.

The way she wielded her rapier wit on Password (or any of a hundred other game shows), there was no doubt that she could hold her own in any dive bar, stag party, or juke joint. Her zingers were surface-clean, but there were layers. Dirty, innuendo-soaked layers rife with horny traveling salesmen and randy farmer's daughters.

After watching last night's MDP, she may have lost something off her fastball, but she still paints the corners with the best of 'em.

She flirted with Regis. Her reply to Regis saying she was an "old pro", is that he was half right. And she ordered a vodka rocks at one point.

She also had several awesome in-game moments, the last of which might be one of my favorite moments in television history.

  1. You can see this in the YouTube preview below, but the way she says "Hello" kills me.
  2. The password was "paws".
    1. She was receiving (the clues) from the contestant.
    2. 1st Clue: "dog"
    3. 1st Guess: "tail"
    4. 2nd Clue: "feet"
    5. 2nd Guess? "Pedicure"
  3. The password was "balloon"
    1. The first 3 clues were "air", "helium", and "party".
    2. She responded as any 86-year old woman would: "Rave"

I had problems transcribing it without giggling. The fact that she knows what a rave is, much less have it in the forefront of her brain when those clues were presented, shows that she's a party girl of the first order.

I did have a few quibbles with the Million Dollar Password format:

  1. Too lenient with the "close" guesses. "walnut" was an acceptable substitute for "nut"? I think not.
  2. Too lenient with penalizing bad clues. "Boyfriend" should not be an acceptable clue for "girlfriend".
  3. Ugh, enough Regis. Besides being tired of his shtick, he only did the condescending Dick Clark 25K Pyramid "suggest the perfect clue after the contestant has lost" once. Grow a pair, Reeg.
  4. I miss the Super Password! gimmick where all the words were clues to another word, and whoever guessed that won the round.
  5. The money round is similar to Millionaire, in that you keep moving up levels of money, but you can lose the money you won if you go too far and fail.
    1. After each successful level, you have to decide whether you want to continue playing and risk the money or as Betty so eloquently put it "take the money and run like a thief". Though if the cameras weren't on, I'm sure she would've worked something in about Puerto Ricans. Betty White *hates* Puerto Ricans.
    2. The producers decided to pop a hole in the tension balloon by showing the contestant the first 5 (of a potential 6) words in the next-to-last ($250K) round. Both times the contestants took the $100K they had won, and I can't blame them, since the $250K words did look tough. But that's making it too easy on the contestants.
  6. The less-hot of the 2 contestants won each time. We need to get David Stern in charge of this show and reverse that trend.
  7. The Babazoni guy's eyes scared me. They bugged out like he was a lecherous cartoon wolf.

Anyway, it was a delightful surprise to see Betty White back where she belongs. Actually where she belongs is in a time-machine to become my aunt who would sneak me sips of beer and countless Charles Nelson Reilly stories. Or maybe as a wise but libidinous English teacher who would introduce me to the ways of Keats and languid love-making.

Some streaming video goodness:

Betty takes over briefly from the master (Gene Rayburn) during Match Game.
Stroke that skinny mike, you minx.

A promo for her on MDP:

The full MDP episode from CBS' site (with ads, FYI):

Lake Placid - "If I had a dick, this is where I'd tell you to suck it"

And to put the perfect cherry on top of this ice cream sundae of awesomeness, here's what a minimal amount of Googling for Betty White info led me to. Prepare your souls for the long, dark tea-times they're about to experience:

Elton & Betty White (not what you think) (at all) (really)



Goose said...

no mention of White on Match Game? Second only to Dawson in delivering the goods, she had a great run playing the sassy black woman - you know, when true black woman were not allowed on tv.

Cline said...

Match Game's another 5 posts' worth of material. And the length of this one was already spinning out of control.

And I did include a Match Game video.

Haven't watched MG a lot in a while. Are you saying you'd put Dawson & The Queen ahead of CNR? That's borderline blasphemy.

Goose said...

I'm saying Dawson on early 70s Match Game equals mid 90s Jordan in prowess and ability. If you don't pick him during the end match, then you don't want to win. It's really that simple.

I might have to write a post about it. Dawson was uncanny, and his pork chop sideburns didn't hurt.

CNR was brilliant in his wit; Dawson brought home the goods.

Cline said...

My focus was more on entertainment level as opposed to game show skill/prowess. I clearly haven't done the kind of objective Baseball Prospectus-level research you have, or are about to do.

Goose said...

Dawson wasn't all skill though; he could crack wise with the best of them.

Hall of Fame Match Game panel:

Russell (Nipsy)

That's comedic gold right there. No, it's comedic undiscovered metal that is a billion times more valuable than gold!

Cline said...

Yeah, that's probably the Top 6, unless I'm forgetting someone.

I'm not saying he cracks the starting lineup, but save a spot on the bench for McLean Stevenson. He seemed pretty bland until an idiot contestant came up with a horrible phrase and he maintained his smirking front, but laid into him. "As smart as a house plant", said half under his breath was the high point.

Wonder if this was amidst the "Hello, Larry" publicity blitz and and he was feeling a little full of himself.

Anonymous said...

I would save Russell for my dream 25k Pyramid celebrity. For my money, in order... Dawson, CNR, Somers, Flagg, White, Deutsch. Two tangent posts I would like to see: (1) Flagg's apparel and (2) Pyramid celebrities.

Goose said...

Pyramid might be a whole other blog post...if I'm competing for 100k though I'm not going Russell, I'm going Cavett and walking out there richer. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Cavett for the cash, no questions asked. But for comedy stylings, you've got Russell, Worley and Moll as your top three. As as a red blooded male, you go Post for looks.

Goose said...

Ok, you're pretty much forcing me to write a Pyramid article. I go Cavett for everything. His rapier wit, his erudite comedy - it might go over people's heads occasionally, but I don't want him dumbing it down for anyone.

I'd say more, but I'll save it for a post. Look for it 7 months from now.


Chus said...

This is what I think: Betty White

www.coruñ said...

This can't work in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.

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